Randy California’s Spirit

During 1965 jazz drummer Ed (Cass) Cassidy was playing gigs with Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal in a group called the Rising Sons at the Ash Grove in Los Angeles. It was here that Cass and Bernice Pearl met and were soon married. A year later Cass took the family with him to New York City when he went to play some jazz gigs. With high hopes they loaded up the ‘ol yellow Chevy which they called "The Yellow Submarine" and headed across America.

When they arrived in New York City Cass discovered that stepson Randy’s guitar had been lost in shipping. Randy went to Manny’s Music to replace his guitar. He was only 15 when he met Jimi Hendrix.

"Jimi was playing a Stratocaster in the back of the store and our eyes met and there was instant spiritual contact" recalls Randy. With the boldness of a teen, Randy asked Jimi (not knowing who he was) if he could play that guitar. Jimi complied and was so impressed he invited Randy to play with him at his gig in the Village that night. The Marquee read "Jimi James & The Blue Flames." For the next three months, five sets a night, Randy played in the band. "It was an incredible experience," says Randy. "A lot of people don’t know this about Jimi, but he was one of the most gentle and generous people I’ve ever known."

To distinguish Randy from the other Randy in the band, Jimi started calling him Randy California and the name stuck. After three months Jimi was ready to go to England to put together another band and he invited Randy along. His parents refused to let him go…he was only 16 years old! This was right before the Jimi Hendrix experience. Jimi never forgot the friendship.

In January 1997, Randy California went missing and presumed dead after being sucked into the surf off the coast of Molokai, Hawaii. Witnesses report that California pushed his 12-year-old son, Quinn, out of the current, saving the boy’s life, before being dragged in himself. His body was never found. Source: Randy California & Spirit

Spirit_12 Spirit released one of the most critically acclaimed albums in the history of rock music.  The Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus.  It contained the song Nature’s Way, which has become an anthem for a generation, expressing Randy’s strong feelings for the earth and it’s inhabitants.  Nature’s Way has been re-recorded by more than 20 artists and used in many films. Source: Randy Tribute