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Randy Holden Interview
By MuzikMan
(more articles from this author)
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[MuzikMan] Lets backtrack a bit Randy. What happened after your stint with Blue Cheer back in 1969 that soured your taste for the music industry so much that you didn't pick up a guitar for twenty years?

[Randy] After BC was Pop II …… so let me see - it all added up to a giant deficit. Record label nonsense. There was a lack of communication, and or, no communication. Having an album ready to play, a tour ready to book, being fully equipped and ready to go, and the label sits back with it's hands folded silent doing nothing to release or promote the product while keeping a locked contract refusing to release the contract, which leaves you bankrupt. There are better things to do than spend your time working toward something and being the only one towing the load ……… if that's the way it has to be, I can do just fine without all the extra baggage.

[MuzikMan] What did you do when you weren't playing music? How does an artist survive when they are not actively pursuing what they love to do?

[Randy] I Painted– I didn't have to rely on anyone else to accomplish that. But I became sidetracked with big game fishing …… I was drawn to the Islands of Hawaii by an attraction to the natural world, and the tropics. My artistic nature was captured by the stunning color of Hawaii, and then by it's nature. On my first day of my first visit to Hawaii in 1969 an 1805-pound Pacific Blue Marlin was brought in …the biggest fish in the world ever caught on rod and reel. (I do not count sharks as fish – in my private encyclopedia of definitions of earth, it has to have scales to quality to be a fish). The angler was fighting a 150 Allison Yellow fin Tuna, and this Marlin decides it's her breakfast – try to imagine that for an instant, and tell me that isn't going to get your attention going for a swim. Just to look upon that creature is to experience in the Jurassic. The sheer beauty is magnetic. Later the same day I went for a trek up the side of the active Kilauea volcano cone vent, and climbed to the top and looked over the edge, just to blow myself away for the day, and nearly was literally. Nothing quite like that raw creative energy – I was just a tad blown away with that image staring me straight in the face. An hour later just as I climbed back down from the top, the thing exploded standing right there – this giant bubble of lava 500 feet high and 1000 feet diameter just began rising hypnotically, and blew apart pouring down the mountain side at the speed of a Cheetah on the run – had I been where I was an hour before I would have been incinerated liquidated. Big fish have that same effect – they actually will try to kill you if they can. Then because I didn't know what a 200-pound tuna looked like, a Hawaiian invited me to his home to show me. He took me round the backside of his house, and opened up a freezer, and here was this giant fish. Not your ordinary Mrs. Paul's fish sticks. After my first day in Hawaii, I thought…ok, this is normal, I must be home. I was hooked on a whole other reality that was equal to the emotional content I was accustom to playing music with 4000 watts of amps, What did I do? I don't know what anyone else does. I went fishin …… for 1000-pound Blue Marlin – that's what I do.

Caught one too, and have been attacked by Mako shark, which successfully shattered my front teeth head on, I have and more fish story's than you have pages for this interview. Come to think of it, it's just amazing I'm even alive. I caught one of those Mako critters over a thousand pounds, and it's jaw fit neatly over my shoulders, chock full of 2" curving razor sharp slender daggers, the original shredder.

[MuzikMan] What do you think about the companies that are reissuing collectors vinyl? I have covered some of the vinyl issued by Akarma Records. They have all the Blue Cheer albums. Has this created interest in your past and current work?

[Randy] I didn't know that was being done! Does the term copyright License ring any bells? – or does state sponsored musical backing sound like a worthy alternative.

Have unauthorized issue of my work generated more interest in my work. I don't think so. Napster tried to make that argument, and was proven wrong. It was proven to hurt sales.

I don't know how to agree with the idea of anyone taking someone else's property without authorization, to profit at the economic loss of another.

What if we all decided we could simply go over to farmer John's field and take whatever we wanted, and sell it to someone else, and say, wow what a great farmer, farmer John is, he grows the best food. I don't think so. After a bit of doing that, you won't have any more farmer John's growing food. That is what happened down in the Marquesas Islands. Anytime anyone tries to start a small farm operation of any kind, everything gets stolen, it doesn't matter if it's Pineapples or Pigs, so no one farms and they have the most beautiful lush fertile land you can imagine. The only meat is imported chicken legs, or alternatively, wild goat. Steak is prohibitively expensive. Lettuce cost $11.00 a head, and that tells you the story. The consequence is, all the food is imported with prices so high it's unaffordable; everyone lives on welfare of a socialist system. A Moral is, eventually creativity is abandoned. This is an example of what happens after another law subdues a people, after their own law has failed to distribute among them righteously. It goes to the heart of what does ownership mean.

While on the issue, I read where some guy named Johnny Deep of Aimster asserts the idea people are demanding a choice in music, and therefore free music file sharing is not copyright infringement, because it is the peoples right to Choice. I mean just how perverted and twisted can you get. Since when has it become the Choice of people who do not own the property in question to take it from the person who owns it? The logic escapes me. The last time I heard, it was the property Owner who owner the Right of Choice in determining whether they wish to sell or not sell. How this mysteriously gets twisted around is beyond my imagination, unless of course we have become the People's state and eliminated private property rights. But last time I checked I wasn't getting any state sponsorship check in the mail for me to be able to continue creating music – but then maybe my music isn't towing the line the state determined vision of what music is suppose to be is. Hmm… maybe that's the problem. If we try hard enough we might even be able to get really goofy.

[MuzikMan] You told me you are working on several projects simultaneously…can you explain what we can look forward to in the future?

[Randy] I am working on "Guitar God 2002" – another wild and ambitious maniacal piece a work. You won't even be ready for this !!!!!! And "Blue." A Blues Album I've always wanted to do, I am also doing some classical nylon string, we'll see about that. And I'm doing Authorized Release's of all my albums on my own label – and having fun doing it I may add.

[MuzikMan] The song "Prayer To Paradise" is an awesome jam that last over twenty-two minutes on your Guitar God 2001 CD (see review). You said you have a two-hour version of this song? How is this possible? You didn't actually play continuously for two hours did you? Or is it all pieced together from different takes?

[Randy] The song is Not a Jam, as jam is defined as a free for all absent organization, and I don't really care for jams. I like organization. Technically it's a Sonata. The only rock Sonata ever created – it has specific passages, and forms, and each lead to another place. Originally when I conceived writing this piece, my question to myself was, if I were to write a piece of music that would best define and represent the historicity of human experience living at the edge of the third thousand cyclical calendar time motion spiral, - what would I write, it became clear it would be a piece that circled the globe both culturally, and timelessly – in other words, taking musical melodic thought imagery from as many cultures and times as imaginable. It can be very difficult to remember all that music in one piece. I have done 2-hour versions, and yes, all in one performance. But like I also said, I really have to be wound up to do that, because it is an incredible amount of material, and I can only play by inspiration, as I don't read or write complex composition in standard visual form. I find visual music distracting from what I hear. Additionally there are no written signatures for a lot of the music I create – so written recordation is rather archaic in terms of being a visual communication rather than aural. It is all aural to me, and I see visions from the aural, not the other way around (I'm not sure who got that backwards, but someone use to think the world was flat too – maybe the same string of genetic code is still reproducing those things). In terms of melodic progression, I visit various places from contemporary civilizations, to early, from west to east, or the other way around, depending which way the imagine the earth rotates through time; the Middle-East is completely unavoidable with the guitar having it's origins in Persia, while the musical structural scales of the Middle-East have very complex sharps, and flats in oppositions, making them more complex than western music, more dynamic, and just about as conflicting as you can get in terms of oppositions – but I do a lot with that form, and incorporate rock to it, as well as using eastern, and western melodic influences – in other words, it is a be all end all piece of work, that leaves the legacy to more than 2000 years of the development of musical melodic history ……. It's also a work about total victory, and total defeat, and rising again, and after all is said and done, it is a magnificent march out of the fires into a reality of utter and final self realized fulfillment, and spatial harmony one with internal and external universe, So – what do you think? Ambitious enough? And it does work …I do have the desire for an eventual full 50 to 70 minute CD of "Prayer to Paradise", That's one of my projects coming up, and one I really want to do. Part of the deal is, I was so bored with the same old same old coming out of guitar it made me angry – it is the greatest musical instrument ever created by the hand of man, able to express the greatest emotional nuance, and variance of the human soul ever devised, and with it tying electricity to the touch of the sensitivities of the finger tips. It made me angry to realize so much, and see so little being done, so I decided I had to do this – I had to give Life back, to feel, let it be felt what we are, and what we feel, because we feel so much more than is expressed, that it just can't be allowed to remain silent, or be mis-directed by corp mentality. It's an awakening from an unconscious temporal existence into an eternal conscious existence, crossing over otherwise invisible lines. So I'm doing what I have to do, and that is playing my soul, and creating while there is life to create, that no one will ever be able to forget or short sell or any other medium of cynical indiscipline. I can do and play everything, and anything. And so I do it, because it needs to be done. Being locked in a box with restrictions, and limits against creative melodic expression that makes sense, and frozen from creating it is just Not Acceptable …… we are creative creatures, but creativity also needs to have order to have harmonic balance, and not just simple chaos that is easy to do. I can't imagine anything more important than being melodically in tune with the external and internal universes, nor anything more thrilling, or powerful, or great. The 3 minute hit wonder just no longer serves any concept of order – it is the systematic self-destruction of creative comprehension, exchanged for commercial death. Not a good trade. I'll take you for a ride, and you'll know you've been somewhere better than sex. I often hear music when I least expect it, and often before sleep, or in sleep. It shakes me to move to find an instrument to try to capture just a moment of it – most times it is so incredibly orchestrated I have to find the one chord everything else sings to, and try to capture that chord in memory. To know the importance of why we are here. I long for those moments when I hear the music – it is all compelling. And I really have to work hard to listen deeply, to hear all I can hear. I don't even like to stop to try to learn it's key, as I am an interference to it that intervenes. I am still trying to learn how not to intervene with this heavenly orchestration, which by the way has the most phenomenal electric guitar imaginable as it's singer of melodies and chords and you name it, I have no words for it, I have my music. And it is where I want to be. It's a forever concert, and I have never been anywhere in this world or any other in imagination that compares with where the music lives – it is heaven itself. Now have I bored you to death with words …… I'll play for you instead, then you'll see more clearly what I would rather say with guitar. It isn't in awareness all the time, and it isn't necessarily on call – it has it's own time schedule, but I'm more interested in asking it to be present more and more.

I'm getting removed from the question, but it does answer your question more fully. Closing it, my mom passed on recently in some extreme trauma – I decided I had to play music for her while she transited, as the only thing I could really give that was all I really knew. I have to tell ya, I went on an emotional voyage with my nylon string guitar that wrenched the soul. When horror and fear would strike it's terror upon her countenance, I played music against it's harm and took her from it's grip, back into peace, and beauty, and grace, and led her through the gates tear by tear, and played her into an eternity of peace and a place I can only tell you was witnessing a treasure befall and embrace her soul in the hands of my music for her. I was afraid at first, and I thought to hell with this fear of this world, I'm playing for the soul of my mother, and this must be the performance of my life, as it is all I have to give……….and it better be real from the heart and soul – I lost myself in every emotion, allowing nothing to be more powerful than the music to take her into eternity, and I'll tell you something – nothing like a captive audience – the whole hospital was in tears. Entrancing in the here and now, then and there. What a way to go. A nylon string form of "Prayer to Paradise" to be sure. I'm considering doing the critical ward concert circuit, Ha ha …..Guitar God? Sure, I've been before God with my Guitar, and right there with God –

[MuzikMan] Are you in contact on a regular basis with the members of Blue Cheer? Are they still active like you are?

[Randy] I've spoken with Paul and Dickie occasionally, and everybody agrees it could be fun to get together, But as with anything it requires a budget, and a reasonable expectation for a return on a budget.

[MuzikMan] Who are some of artists that you have had the pleasure to know and create music with over the years?

[Randy] Well gee, everyone who has played with me. No matter what differences there became, there is always a joy side to relationships, otherwise you would not have played with them at all.

[MuzikMan] What are some of differences in the music industry that you see compared to when you started? And what remains the same?

[Randy] What was not good then is more not gooder now. The industry side of music is about money, not music. It is about Quantity, not Quality. In music, as in Art, Quality is in the eye, or ear or the beholder. The presumption is, quantity of sales equal evidence of quality, but that's where the fiction begins, and the truth ends. . Music business is further removed from music than ever, every person I know in corporate music will admit that straight out front but everyone knows that – the business of music is buy low, sell high, have no overhead, profit is bottom line. There is no difference between distinctions in music as there is between ground beef and filet mignon, or a Chevrolet from Lamborghini – corporate music all has the same price tag. That's about as close to state controlled music concept as you can get. There is little difference between corporate and state bureaucracy mentality. It's impersonal. Clinton made the most Honest statement of any President ever when he said, "Government has No Love". That is just as well applied to corporate music business today. Is that different than it was before – only more exaggerated, and extreme today, but different? Only more consolidated.

[MuzikMan] Who are some of your favorite all-time artists? Whom would you consider as an influence?

[Randy] Errol Flynn, Francesco Tarrega, 18th Century, (didn't know I was influenced by him until I learned who he was). Michelangelo Carrivaggio, 15th century. Nicoli Simbari - whoever can move you at your emotive core, with nominal pretention, and formidable sincerity, that you learn from.

[MuzikMan] How does often does someone like myself approach you about your work? Do you feel that reviews are more valuable now with advent of the Internet and artist putting up their own sites? The conventional methods of distributing music are fading away; do you feel that this gives you more control over your work?

[Randy] Frequency? Oh maybe a couple of times a year. Reviews provide your audience with ability to have an instant immediate insight into the things that interest them. As far as the Internet, if there is anything you want to know, you can probably find it on the Internet. What a time to be living. Imagine all the thousands of years up to now – and look at it in the context that suppose there were people, or whatever you want to call them, who transported here to earth, and the earth creatures looked at these flying creatures, and said Oh God …… do you have any idea how close we are to time transport at this instant … oh God… that's how close.

[MuzikMan] What are some of your favorite publications for reading pleasure?

[Randy] Everything that I learn something from.

[MuzikMan] What makes Randy Holden tick? What motivates you to make music now?

[Randy] I'm a born artist. I make music, because I hear it within, and it moves me to know it. On the ambition level, I have a belief, and a desire of Conquering Suffering with Final Victory over the enemy of life with music.

[MuzikMan] In closing is there anything in particular that you would like to convey to the all the readers?

[Randy] That will all be said in my music, and you will know what it is.

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