A '60s guitar hero who never seemed to be in the right place at the right time, Randy Holden has attracted a small but intense cult following for his work with various California groups in the '60s. After a couple of surf singles with the Fender IV that featured his inventive reverbed fretting, Holden joined the Sons of Adam, a Los Angeles band that cut three decent garage-psychedelic singles. Holden's characteristic Jeff Beck-like sustain can already be heard on these, the best known of which is "Feathered Fish," which was penned by Arthur Lee of Love (although Love never recorded it). When the Sons of Adam broke up, drummer Michael Stuart, in fact, joined Love, while Holden joined the underrated punky San Francisco psychedelic band the Other Half. His searing, suspended leads are the highlights of their sole album (they also recorded a few single-only songs).
Holden is actually best known for his short stint in San Francisco's Blue Cheer, which bridged psychedelia and heavy metal. Holden replaced Leigh Stephens, but left during the recording of the third Blue Cheer album, New! Improved! (he appears on side two only). Holden then recorded an extremely hard-to-find hard rock album as a solo artist, Population II, for the small Hobbit label in 1970 before drifting out of the music business. Most of his work, however, has been reissued sporadically by small labels in the '80s and '90s.
Randy Holden - Early Works '64-'66
Randy Holden's career spans over 40 years and many different bands. The first band he played with were The Iridescence back in 1959, their material being mostly Blues.In the mid Sixties he joined The Fender IV (photo) and it was here that his guitar sound started to take shape. Then Randy joined the Sons Of Adam in 1966 and from here he formed The Other Half, a West Coast Garage Punk band who released 2 albums and 4 singles during the late 1960’s, their self titled album ending up more in psychedelic territory, but with Randy’s guitar style starting to shine through. When The Other Half split, Randy replaced Leigh Stephens in the infamous West Coast Proto Metal band Blue Cheer bringing with him his now legendary guitar style and immense amplification techniques which took Blue Cheer to levels of sound never thought possible before.
After recording one album with Blue Cheer (New Improved! 1969) Randy left to pursue his eternal quest for the ultimate in amplified guitar sound and teamed up with drummer Chris Lockheed for what became a legendary solo album, Population II (1970) and they toured America with this ‘nuclear powered’ band that featured 16 Sunn amps (this was just for Randy!!). The album never officially got released and Randy had some bad experiences with all his kit being stolen and he eventually turned his back on the music industry, unfortunately never really getting the recognition he deserved as a pioneering guitarist.In the 1990’s after many months of ‘pestering’ by an obsessive fan Randy picked up a guitar again and headed into the studio.In 1996 Randy released Guitar God, featuring former Blue Cheer drummer Paul Whaley on an unsuspecting public and it went down a storm. Recorded in 1997 and released in 2001 was the follow up, Guitar God 2001 with Randy Holden firmly back in the seat using an awesome custom ‘Glass’ guitar made for him as a present from his wife. (Pooters Psychedelic Shack)
Long overdue comp of pre Blue Cheer garage psych featuring Randy holden. All of the Sons Of Adam recordings including previously unheard stuff is here along with The Fender IV's entire output. Essential. (Freak Emporium)