20 years ago today (1/2/97) guitarist Randy California from U.S. group Spirit drowned when rescuing his 12-year old son when he was sucked into a riptide in the surf off Hawaii.
In 1966, when only 15, Californian Randy Wolfe met Jimi Hendrix in a New York music store. They got talking, played some slide and soon Hendrix was adding the nickname “California” to Randy’s name and asking him to sit in with his band, Jimmy James and the Blue Flames, at the Cafe Wha? in Greenwich Village. The following three months (and five sets a night) had a lasting influence on both players; Hendrix was spotted by the Animals’ bass-player Chas Chandler (who became his manager and brought him to London) while the under-age Randy eventually headed back to the West Coast and formed the psychedelic outfit Spirit. Watch this full concert of Spirit via Rockpalast in 1978.