Randy Stonehill

15 Aug
Randy Stonehill 2012

Randy Stonehill
in Sweethome, Oregon, 2012.

The first time that I heard of Randy Stonehill was in the spring or summer of 1972, when he played at the Agape Inn coffee house, where I was an alternating MC with George WJ Shearer. Randy had just released his first album, Born Twice and was promoting it. He did a funny and intense performance of his material and sort of disappeared from my sight until 1976, when he released Welcome To Paradise. I saw him at Disneyland’s β€œNight of Joy” that year along with Larry Norman for the first time. I saw Randy play numerous times after that in Los Angeles, Oregon, and even Illinois.

One time he played with John Pantano and Ron Salsbury of the J C Power Outlet opening at a small theater in L.A. It was a great show, especially when John Pantano asked the crowd if they wanted to hear Country music, to which some yelled “yeah,” to which he responded, β€œWell, we’re not playing anything but rock & roll,” as they dove into a feedback distorting screeching song. Then there was the time at Occidental College, in Los Angeles, at president Obama’s alma-mater, that Randy played alone with an acoustic guitar, at the peak of his prowess.

When I moved to Eugene, Oregon, in the early 1980s, I saw him perform, as part of an evangelistic crusade at the Foursquare church that I attended. In 2001 I had the opportunity to photograph Randy having a reunion on stage with Larry Norman, after a 20 year estrangement, at the Cornerstone Festival in Bushnell, Illinois. Then in 2004, I interviewed him for the Wittenburg Door and finally photographed him performing in Sweethome, Oregon, 29 July 2012, where he played in a semi-tropical paradise.

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