January 25, 2008



When it comes to my "first" rock concert....I have a few. In the very early `70's at the Dade County Youth Fair over several years I saw Kenny Rogers and The First Edition, Johnny Nash, The Grass Roots, and even Tanya Tucker (on her first tour, age 13 ). Being that at the time I was around the same age, at all of these shows I was accompanied by family.

Later, in 1975, my first Arena Concert was Alice Cooper with Suzy Quatro opening!

BUT, I've always concidered the first time I saw SPIRIT live to be my first "concert". Novemeber 1974, with opening acts Hammersmith, and Hydra. At the Atlantis Beach Lodge Ballroom in Cocoa Beach.

Probably the main reason I consider it my first real concert is because a) I was allowed to go alone. and b) the place was parting like hell!..contact buzz at the turnstile!

I'll never forget that night, or that band...one of the great underrated L.A. bands of the `60's, by the way. The Doors stole all the thunder, but spirit could hold their own. That night they were down to the one again/off agin trio line-up, featuring Randy California, (his uncle) Ed Cassady, and Larry "Fuzzy" Knight. If I remember correctly, they played all the classic Spirit hits: "I got a line on you", "1984", "Nature's Way", "Fresh Garbage", and the monster "Mr.Skin" with it's extended drum solo (Mr. Cassady was amazing, and had one of the largest drum kits ever!). They were also playing tracks off the (then) soon to be released "Tampa Jam/Electro Jam" album, which included Dylan & Hendrix covers. Randy, once in a band with Jimmy (Jimi James and the Blue Flames), he idolized his bro, and performed the most righteous cover of his songs - ever. Jimi even gave Randy his stage name...he was born Randy Craig Wolfe.

Over the years I ended up seeing Spirit more than any other band...Coca Beach `74, Miami `76 & `78 (two shows), Hialeah early eighties, Ft. Lauderdale `91, Sebastian Beach `94 & `95. There may have been one or two more.

By the last two shows, I was becoming a familiar face, and became friendly with Randy. At the `94 show he asked if I wanted to sell their T-Shirts & CDs, sure! The next year they called me in advance to ask if I could be there for them. After that we talked a few times, telling him in `96 that my wife and I would soon be opening our own venue and would like them to play. We opened in early `98....sadly, Randy never got to play for us at Kool Beanz. On January 2, 1997 he drowned in the while rescuing his twelve-year-old son from a rip current off the shore of Molokai, Hawaii. As he pushed his son Quinn towards the shore a strong undercurrent sadly pulled him away forever. I'm sure he's up there with Jimi again - Heaven Jam/Electro Jam!

We never forgot him at Kool Beanz, and found a prominent postition for my `95 portrait of the band to hang behind the coffee bar.

I just found out that there is a NEW Spirit triple CD with live and studio material from 1974
"SPIRIT- SALVATION...SPIRIT OF '74"...can't wait for that one. E-mail: info@randycaliforniaandspirt.com for info on that one.

my blacklight portrait signed by the band

from the CD live a la paloma

Like A Rolling Stone.mp3

SPIRIT (official)

TENT OF MIRACLES (unofficial)

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