Randy Lutge deserves recognition for cultural contributions to our fair city, Palo Alto. He and his family managed The New Varsity for many years, and he was encouraging to the small group that tried to reclaim the historic and beloved venue as a cultural asset in 2011 and 2012.
Randy also has an archive of about 400 videotapes shot during the late nineteen eighties and early nineties. Most notably is probably the world’s best resource on Michael Hedges, the jazzy multi-intrumentalist and guitarist who died too young to garner the acclaim he deserves, at least so far. There’s also: Stanley Jordan, Will Ackerman, Tuck and Patti, some John Fahey — the founding of Windham Hill Records is intertwined with the history of the venue.
There were a smattering of punk shows in that era, although few of those were documented as well as was the acoustic guitar virtuosity.
I was pleased to see two early (by my standards) recordings of Eugene S. Robinson, who I know as the co-founder of Oxbow; before Oxbow, who still tour and produce under-appreciated cds, Eugene fronted Whipping Boy, which I never saw — until last night via the above video. The concert was January, 1985, with the local favs supporting a relative unknown touring band named Social Distortion.
“Venus (She’s got it)” has an interesting history in its own right. There is a good wiki on it. It hit number 1 in U.S. pop charts thanks to Shocking Blue, and then a second life in 1986 by Bananarama. I presume the Whipping Boy version is a reaction to Bananarama. In Russia, “shizgarah” apparently (if you believe what you find on the internet) is a code word in certain feminist and underground circles.
Here in contrast is a very recent version of Oxbow (Robinson, Dan Adams, Niko Wenner and Greg Davis) unplugged. They’ve still got it. And don’t be fooled by this tiny desktop in my kitchen configuration: Eugene and them still plug in and froth-rock out, despite juggling various grown-up demands like careers and families.