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News about the Ash Grove (from Hey Joe digest):

"Love w/Arthur Lee will be headlining the Grand Re-Opening of the Ash Grove in its new location on the Santa Monica Pier.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Ash Grove:

The Ash Grove was a great blues oriented club located on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood that, during the late sixties often presented groups like Canned Heat, Taj Mahal, John Mayall, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, Howlin' Wolf, etc.

It burned down 3 times and after being out of business for more than 10 years, is back in a new location. The club is still under construction, but the owner, Ed Pearl, took me on a little tour a few days ago. It will be much larger than the old Ash Grove and looks like it will be a major venue for Los Angeles, competing with The House of Blues and B.B. King's.

So be there Wednesday July 10 if you can, for Love's first local appearance since their Europe 96 tour!

Oh, did I mention its a free concert?"


Randy California appears at Al Hendrix birthday celebration

As reported by Steven Roby in the Hey Joe digest:

"Father's Day - June 16, 1996... Producer Narada Michael Walden honored Al Hendrix at his spacious home in Marin county (near S.F.) for post birthday/father's day celebration.

Al Hendrix turned 77 on June 10th but was unable to attend a celebration planned for him by Narada on that date. Not giving up easily, Narada came up with the idea to honor Al with 77 babes (beautiful young ladies) - one for each year of his life. Their assignment was to read a short headline or a Jimi/Al story for that particular year and wish Al a Happy Birthday. I am happy to say that it all came off very well. Al was extremly happy from all the love around him and at one point broke into tears of joy. Besides the babes, Al was treated to two belly dancers (one had this elaborate candle fixture on top of her head), and music by a local R&B band and Randy California (I helped with that one). Randy played "All Along The Watchtower" backed by his bass player (Liberty) and two drummers (one being Narada). The local cops grew less tolerant as the party went on (about two hundred people attended) and finally eveyone was asked to leave at 7pm (the party began at 1pm). Janie and her husband Troy were also in attendance. The next issue of Straight Ahead will feature photos and further highlights."

Randy California has recorded a version of Jimi Hendrix "Mr Bad Luck"

-Steven Roby on Hey Joe digest:

"This time around I can report that I have received the "Mr. Bad Luck/Look Over Yonder" tape by Randy California/Spirit. It sounds great, but it is a very different version than the original. Randy has updated it with an uptempo ska beat - it works! I am not a guitar player, so the best way I can describe the guitar sound he got for the solo is to say it sounds similar to the sound Jimi got when he played the solo on "Tax Free" (War Hereos version). I think this will make a wonderful addition to his new album. Also included was a nice live version of "Red House" w/organ."


Spirits Mercury albums are going to be re-released.


The new Spirit album is going to be called California Blues.


Spirit with Randy California will be playing at Pocono's Musical Gathering on the Mountain at Big Boulder Ski Area in Lake Harmony, PA on August 11, 1996. More info here.


Curly Smith (Jo Jo Gunne) is the new drummer in Boston


Larry "Fuzzy" Knight pays regular gigs with the band "Blowing Smoke" in the LA area.


The following is from an ad in Goldmine july 96: "The Ed Cassidy story-a 60 minute video of the life and career of the renowned drummer of Spirit. Plus his valuable 140 pg. musician's career guide. New ! The Ed Cassidy/Merrell Fankhauser Blues album (on cassette & CD). New! Ed Cassidy black T-shirt , M, L, XL. (Black only) -$20.00. Send $25.00 ppd. for the video and $20.00 ppd. for the manual. $10 ppd. for the tape, $15 ppd. for the CD. Add $5 US & Canada, $10 overseas. ED CASSIDY, P.O. Box 1508, Arroyo Grande, CA 93421. 805-473-0592. (Note: The video is probably only available in NTSC format, which means that if you live in a country that doesn't support this standard (like Sweden, where I live) the video has to be converted to another format (like PAL for example). This costed me about 200 kr (approx. $20) when I did it.)


The following is from an ad in Goldmine July 96: SPIRIT: Happiness is "California Blues". Coming soon new C.D. by the legendary group Spirit featuring Randy California, Ed Cassidy, John Locke, Matt Andes, Rachel Andes, Liberty, Spencer Davis, Robbie Krieger, and more! SPIRIT, P.O. Box 655, Ojai, CA 93024.


The english rock magazine MOJO( in the sept. 96 issue) is offering their readers to buy three CD's for only �19.99-and one of the albums is Spirits Twelve dreams of Dr. Sardonicus.


Cass is working on two new book projects-"one dealing with his vast experiences on and off the road and the other dealing with his ability to stay fit and healthy at age 68 plus".


In the latest issue (November 96) of Mojo magazine (U.K.), the latest Spirit re-issues (Spirit, The Family That Plays Together, Clear and Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus) are reviewed, and there's even a short interview with Randy. Unfortunately the guy who wrote the article don't seem to know much about Spirit, he thinks that the Sardonicus album was released before Clear.... I will review the re-issues as soon as I get hold of them.


Be sure & tune into the SPIRIT KSPACE CHAT at: on THURS. NOV. 14, 1996 from 6:00-7:00 pm (CALIFORNIA TIME).



Don't miss out on THE CALIFORNIA BLUES! SPIRIT'S upcoming release includes a track co-written by RANDY CALIFORNIA & HENDRIX (Randy was only 15 when Jimi invited him to join his band), a track with ROBBIE KRIEGER, SPENCER DAVIS, & a poem dedicated to JOHN LENNON & much more.


Spirit is planning AN EXTENSIVE TOUR OF EUROPE Jan.-April 1997.


The sleeve notes on the new re-issues has some info about what Jay, John and Mark are doing today: John is playing with a "pop-fusion trio" and is playing on the new album, Jay is writing soundtracks and Mark has recently toured with Dan Fogelberg and records with Native American Indians from Taos, New Mexico.


Exclusive report from Wolfgang Schmidt in Hamburg: WDR TV in Germany is planning to re-transmit Spirit's Rockpalast concert, maybe as early as in february 1997!


Wolfgang Schmidt reports: The WDR TV retransmission of Spirit's Rockpalast Festival gig in March 1978 will be on March 9, 1997. Sadly as a memorial.


Roger Sosa will be playing a tribute concert for Randy at The Perfect Blend Coffeehouse, 491 Central Street, Highland Park, IL 8PM, Friday, Feb 7th. No cover. On the official Spirit site there has also been announced that there will be a tribute concert for Randy---check that site for further details.


Debbie Pollard posted the following news on the Spirit mailinglist:

"Noel Redding was scheduled to be a guest artist on several of the 97 European dates.
Ed Cassidy has his own Big Band Swing Music show every Wed. from 3-6pm on 88.9 FM.
Jay Ferguson does the soundtrack for the TV series The Viper.
Liberty is the guy to Thank for making sure Quinn's meows are at the beginning of CALIFORNIA BLUES.

Independence Day is another great opportunity to push Spirit radio play, 'specially any & all patriotic Spirit. I'm going to repost some radio info. for the benefit of the new folks:

"We think your interest in GRASSROOTS RADIO PROMO is great! As Randy said to me many times "GO FOR IT!" Please be sure to include CALIFORNIA BLUES in your campaign as there is no major record company pushing this one. Rick Williams who is a close friend of Randy's in the Radio industry has the following suggestions:

  • 1st & most importantly Target a Classic Rock or Freestyle station
  • Use the request lines
  • It's best to use a combo: write or fax your request with a follow up call in a day or 2
  • Make your written request short & precise, postcards are good
  • While it's often difficult to reach a program director it's usually easier to reach the music director. It's best to place these calls later in the week rather than Mon. or Tues.
  • Don't forget weekly, monthly specials, tributes, anniversary's, birthday's, etc. Birthday's: Randy=2-20, Mark=2-19, Cass=5-4, Jay=5-10, John=9-25.
  • Some stations do have websites you can contact.
  • It's always helpful to develop a relationship with the DJ's.
  • Remember each time you make a request that you are a powerful Voice expressing the wishes of many of their listeners.
  • It's helpful to focus on particular songs rather than random assortments but any & all efforts can make a tremendous difference. And don't ever forget that each & every one of "YOU HAVE THE WORLD AT YOUR FINGERTIPS, NO ONE CAN MAKE IT BETTER THAN YOU......"
 "I'm trying to get anniversary's etc. which are prime times to get Spirit sets or specials on air. Mark your calendars:

Earth Day-April 22: Nature's Way, Fresh Garbage, Animal Zoo, Prelude-Nothing to Hide, etc. NATURE'S WAY is SPIRIT'S way of reminding you in a song, EVERYDAY IS EARTH DAY! Eloquent, intense & beautiful this immortal rock classic should be our nations offical EARTH DAY anthem!

Veteran's Day-Nov. 11: Give a Life, Soldier, 1984, etc.

Nov. 27-Jimi Hendrix & Janet Wolfe's (Randy's sister) birthdays: Look Over Yonder, Hey Joe, Red House, etc.

Nov. 8-John Lennon's birthday: Poem for John Lennon

SPIRIT began in Jan. 1967 - this is our 30th anniversary!

Chart debut's:
Spirit April 20, 1968
The Family That Plays Jan. 18, 1969
Clear Aug. 23, 1969
12 Dreams Dec. 26, 1970
I Got A Line On You Jan. 18, 1969
1984 Feb. 7, 1970"


News about Scott Monahan (posted by Debbie Pollard on the Spirit mailinglist):

"Scott is currently having alot of fun in a beautiful studio in La Jolla, CA. He's singing & playing various instruments for the TV series Pacific Blue, & he's working on the CD of the show's soundtrack. One of the songs is from the 60's era & Scott had arranged for Randy to do the vocals, but Randy couldn't make it down the day of recording so Scott had to do the vocals. We're not sure when the CD will be released but it does feature a variety of musical styles."


Spirit revisited

Here I have some exciting news for all off you on the list who are wondering what Cass is up to these days. Below is selected parts of a message I got from Mike Nile who is participating in Cass new "Spirit revisited" project. I guess all have to say myself is: GO FOR IT CASS!!!!!:-)))

Here's what Mike has to say:

"Since Randy's death at the beginning of this year we have all been wondering what Ed Cassidy (drummer for Spirit), was going to do. He called me a couple of months ago and said he wanted to get Spirit back together and start to tour again. At first I didn't know what to think....trying to put Spirit back together without Randy....but George Valuck (an old Spirit keyboard player) lives here in Denver, and we were able to find a guitar player named Michael Carpenter that is a great player in his own right to play Randy's parts. "Spirit Revisited" will be playing October 22, at the Little Bear in Evergreen, and a few other gigs in the surrounding Rocky Mountain area. After that we will try to stick to warmer climate gigs until the winter is over. Cass doesn't want to play in the cold weather....and since he turned 74 this year...can you believe it?...I really can't blame him for wanting to stay as comfortable as possible while out on the road.

We play a good portion off the classic Spirit songs, (in fact songs that have not been played for years because there were not enough players in the band, or they were Jay's songs and Randy didn't do them. The following is the set list:

I Got A Line On You
Fresh Garbage
Uncle Jack
All the Same
Dark Eyed Woman
Prelude-Nothing To Hide
Nature's Way
Animal Zoo
Mr. Skin
Turn To The Right
Time To Fly
Love From Here
I'm Truckin'
When I Touch You
Street Worm
Love From Here
Tent Of Miracles

George has been covering Randy's parts vocally and I'm doing all of Jay's parts. We start touring the states in October and are looking to bring the show to Europe if possible. Perhaps if there are Spirit fans in various parts of the world that would be interested in seeing the band, and can suggest the name of a promoter or venue we can contact them. You can let me know (editors comment: send info. to me at and I will send it to Mike) and I will pass the info. on to the agency that is booking us.

I think this music is too important to just "let die", and even though the records and CD's are available, it was the touring and giving the next generation of younger fans the opportunity to hear the music live, and feel the "vibe" of Spirit that has kept the legend going all of these years. Cass is a drummer, and drummers have to be playing. Even though I'm extremely busy in my life, (I have a recording studio, a record label, an online distribution company, producing several acts, doing sound beds with Mike and Bob Lee at Brown Bag, and have my son Ryan that I am raising), I plan on still making the time to play with Cass. I think Randy would have wanted it that way.

Meanwhile...I have been producing different bands for the last couple of years (Alley Records), and started writing music for the first time in a while. Some of my songs have been covered by a couple of different artists and will be coming out on CD some time this year. Damien McCarron and the Indulgers are a traditional Irish rock band and have decided to use four of my new songs on their up and coming CD, and an artist called Tor has a CD coming out with a couple of my songs. Right now I have no plans for releasing my own CD, but I am going to be recording some songs for a couple movie soundtrack possibilities soon. I'm also working on writing and producing an artist here in Denver that has a mellow hip-hop-pop thing going for a deal with Tommy Boy records in New keeps me busy...and out of trouble.

Lost in bass,

Mike Nile


Todd Smallwood, Matt Andes & Rachel Andes performs at benefit concert.

The following was posted by Debbie Pollard on the Spirit mailinglist: "This Friday, September 19, Todd Smallwood and Company will be performing at a benefit concert for The Hamilton High School Gospel Choir Scholarship Fund at UCLA'S Pauley Pavillion at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $5.00 at the box office. For info. call 310-ucl-awin or 310-335-2520. In conjunction with a womens volleyball game, the performers are: Jackson Browne, Todd Smallwood and Company, and The Hamilton High School Gospel Choir. Jackson has been very involved with this inner city choir and Todd produced the choir in Under Seige 2. Todd tells me "we're hoping to bridge the gap between the choir with some serious rock n' roll." Sometimes called Little Brother, Todd Smallwood and Company are: Todd, Matt Andes, his daughter Rachel Andes, bassist Phillip Chen, Jackson's keyboardist Jeff Young, & Marty Ferra, Glen Fry's drummer. In her 1st live performance Rachel will sing Desert Rain, co-written by her dad & Todd. Desert Rain was incorrectly posted as co-written by Mark Andes, a common mistake with the 2 brothers. I originally assumed the band was called Little Brother because both Matt & Mark were in the band at the time, but "little brother" is Gregg Allman's nickname for Todd. Jimi Hendrix used to call Randy "little brother" also! Todd told me "Matt & I are both serious students of Randys style. In fact, my top 2 influences are Randy & Jimi. Randy taught us both so much, & he directly taught Matt his style." Randy showed Matt some of his trademark secrets when he gave Matt a Silvertone guitar like his. I told Matt "you are so lucky!" He solemnly responded "I know it Deb, he taught me guitar & alot more." They have been close for many, many years. Matt & Todd wrote the achingly beautiful, heartfelt INTO THE BLUE (for Randy), which they performed with Bruce Gary (a longtime friend of Randys) for the 1st time at his memorial on January 18, 1997. You can read the lyrics at Spirit's official website: Matt, Todd, Bruce, & Rachel are all on Spirit's latest release CALIFORNIA BLUES which is available directly from Spirit at: P.O. Box 655, Ojai, CA 93024"


Mark Andes & Eliza Gilkyson

This was posted by Fred Mills on the Spirit mailinglist a couple of weeks ago:
"On her new "Redemption Road" CD (Silver Wave Records) -- stop me if you've heard this already, I just got it myself --Mark is all over the thing: executive producer, co-writer of two songs, electric/acoustic bass + guitar + slide + vocals on most cuts. Really nice disc, too, solid singer/songwriter stuff with alternately lush and folk-baroque arrangements. She's been around for some time but for current reference she'll likely draw comparisons, vocally, to a Tori Amos and Shawn Colvin. Her brother Tony who was in the second version of X plays on it, as does X drummer DJ Bonebrake."


News about John Locke!

John has been playing on a record with a band called "Left of Memphis"! John Fulton recently posted this review on the Spirit mailing list:

"Hello all,

I don't know if anyone else out there picked up on Debbie's note about Left of Memphis w/John Locke on Keys on few tracks.
Anyway, I did, and I just wanted to let you all know its a really great CD!!! I usually get new things [they arrive in the mail everyday], play them and file away... I had to keep this one out and give it several spins... Very mellow, mostly acoustic, great lyric, etc...
It's not Spirit, but I think you will enjoy this one too...
Left Of Memphis is Leslie Merical & Marty Van Loan along with some excellent backing musicians...
The CD is about split between tunes each wrote and sing lead on...
My favourites are A Thousand Years (Marty tune) and Three Angels and A Saint (Leslie's tune)
Anyway, had to give them a plug - I put thier address in CC: in case anyone missed it from Debbie.
Also, have to say thank you to Leslie who not only signed the CD for me, but managed to get Mr. Locke to sign it as well!!!

"May your rock's always roll" (John Locke April 8, 1998)

I think I have a new Favourite saying next time that survey thing rolls around!!!

Enjoy the weekend,

Keep The Spirit Alive


Spirit revisited announces two more tour dates

Cass, Mike & Co. seems to be going out on the road again! Check out their website at for more information.

Little Brother - a band featuring Mark & Matt Andes!

Little Brother is band whose members include Todd Smallwood, Mark Andes and Matt Andes. On a forthcoming album there are guest appearances by Rachel Andes and Gregg Allman. Debbie Pollard posted this report to the Spirit mailing list:

"Todd Smallwood is very busy with several projects. He just wrote the title song for Disney's YOU LUCKY DOG and has 2 cd's nearly ready; "Todd Smallwood & Company" and "Little Brother". Mark Andes owns several Harley Davidson motorcycles's and when he found out my husband Rick and I both ride Harley's he had to come over and check them out. He also wanted to give me a demo tape of LITTLE BROTHER "a great new group I'm in with my brother Matt. We realized something's happening, it was obvious we were writing songs for us -not for someone else and that's important. After leaving HEART I had to find music that meant alot to me. This music is very therapeutic. You'll love it Debbie." He's right, I do love it, specially the recent promo I just received! I'd originally assumed the band was called LITTLE BROTHER because at the time Mark and Matt were both in the group, but Todd chose the name because Gregg Allman calls him "little brother!"

Interestingly, Hendrix and his "little brother" Randy are Todds two main influences. Todd told me "Matt and I are both serious students of Randy's style, he taught us both so much." Carrying on a SPIRIT family tradition with several generations of family and friends, INTO THE BLUE is a exciting collection of great original songs and Matt Andes beautiful artwork is an extra special bonus. "DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF OUR BRO.......RANDY CALIFORNIA" INTO THE BLUE reflects a common theme with songs like: Cloudless Sky, Walk Into The Light, Still A Mystery(W/Jeff Healey), After The Rain(w/Gregg Allman) and more. The 2 songs I can't get out of my head are BLUE WATER and FREE. Todd's sensitive duet with Matt's daughter Rachel enhances the haunting beauty of FREE "brings you back to me, memories running thru my mind, and thou it's hard to see I believe that one day I will be FREE......" FREE was co-written by RANDY CALIFORNIA, MATT ANDES and TODD SMALLWOOD! This wonderful cd closes with the long awaited release of the achingly beautiful INTO THE BLUE (FOR RANDY). "AQUA BLUE I CAN SEE YOU RAINBOW SHINING HIGH ABOVE......." This song was performed on January 18, 1997 at Randy's memorial at the Ventura Beach. The lyrics are posted at SPIRIT'S official website. Todd, Matt & Rachel are all on CALIFORNIA BLUES.

"You were here with a message & a song not so long ago, it was clear, a spirit wise & strong......." Debbie


John Locke news & new CD dedicated to Randy!

Debbie Pollard posted this recently on the Spirit mailing list:

"Locke Alert! The original members of Spacebones are together again & recording. Stay tuned for the announcement of his groups new name, etc. John is also involved with a co-writer in a seperate songwriting project.

Norwegian rock 'n rollers NOIA rock! Their just released self-titled debut which includes The River Song & Still Around, which has a great guitar solo that reminds me of Randy, can be purchased directly from them at : for $9.99, (in Swedish currency 59 kr) check with Hans for more details. The CD can also be ordered through F.A.T.E. records, Eikelundsvein 21, 0588 Oslo, Norway. This wonderful cd "is dedicated to the spirit of Randy California." Right on!"


This info. was posted by Debbie Pollard on the Spirit mailinglist:

"SPACEBONES featuring John Locke on keyboards, Andro Kotula on bass (5-string fretted & unfretted bass), Bob Nichols on drums & Cooley on percussion will appear at THE OJAI WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL on SATURDAY MAY 24. The event takes place at the Ojai Bowl from 2-10 p.m. Tickets can be bought thru music stores in Ventura County, Ticketmaster, & the Ojai Visitor Center (805-646-8126, w/credit card). For further info. you can contact: FARM (The Foundation of American Roots Music) at 805-646-7230.

SPACEBONES is a hot item in the local music scene & have been delighting audiences everywhere they play. Their music is hard to describe, they're not fusion, but more like rock & world music. John describes them as an original instrumental band. I hear they are alot of fun.

The exact showtime for SPACEBONES hasn't been confirmed at this time but John assures me they will be on stage after 5 p.m."


Press release: New Spirit CD release

I received this press release from Simon Hart at Past & Present Records in London:

"Spirit, the legendary band formed by Randy California and his step father Ed Cassidy toured the UK in 1978, culminating in this showpiece gig at London's famous Rainbow Theatre. This superb CD captures the excitement and tremendous musicianship of that memorable evening, as the band were roared home by a packed house. As a bonus, the CD also features 8 further tracks recorded live in Florida also in 1978. This re-mastered CD is a real audio treat for Spirit fans and collectors alike.

Tracks: Looking Down, Animal Zoo, 1984, Nature's Way, Hollywood Dream, It's All The Same, I Got Line On You, Downer, Wild Thing, Rock 'n' Roll Planet**, Nature's Way**, Animal Zoo**, 1984**, It's All The Same**, I Got Line On You**, These Are Words**, Hollywood Dream**.

  • Bonus tracks Live in Tampa & Miami 1978

Release Date - October 1st, 1999. Catalogue number - PAPRCD001. Bar-code: 5034748001802

Past & Present Records, P.O.Box 24515, London E17 4QP, U.K.

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