Boston's Randy Roos-A Local Legend Sustains Infinitely
I forgot to mention a key facet of Randy's musical persona that makes him such a good fit for writing to picture; he bought into synthesis early, and if anything, should be rightfully acknowledged as one of the great pioneers and most proficient connoisseurs of guitar-synth. As you might imagine, he's quite capable of fashioning a one man recording project, but seems to prefer collaboration with others, evidenced by a newly issued EP of 'electro word-rock' called 'Media Today,' by the intriguingly monikered VanGogh Shadowtree . Also in the can is another band collaboration, the yet-to'be-released jazz-jungle-electronica crossover project Vertigo Z .
But Randy regularly strips his rig down to a Red SG and Fender Twin for engagements with a new Boston Institution, bassist Mike Rivard's Club D'Elf , usually found bi-weekly at Cambridge's Lizard Lounge. This unit features a revolving cast of Boston's best, jamming on free, funk, ethnic, trance and jungle forms. I'll assume there's no need for me to finger the one guy in the lineup that makes a certain iteration of this band my favorite.
Randy also happens to be one of the best photographers (notice the absence of the word 'amateur' here) of the great outdoors that I've ever seen. The distinguishing feature of his photographic skills comes in direct contrast to his ardor for musical techiness; that is, he captures otherworldly imagery while utilizing absolutely zero photographic effects.
There's a lot of other stuff missing from the intro, so read along, in installments if you'd prefer, for a good long look into a multifaceted intellect and like, totally great guy.
AAJ: Let's start with Orchestra Luna .
Randy Roos:I'll go before that, with Softwood, a really neat band. That's when I was in college, from '70-'73. I was at Tufts University as an electrical engineer, and then switched to music quickly. It worked out because they knew their music department was a bit weak and they let me do outside things. They paid for two years of outside music lessons with Mick Goodrick that I got full college course credit for-so you know, that was cool. They paid for the lessons because some sort of private study was required, and they acknowledged that what I wanted to do was worthwhile. The head of the music department liked my playing and he was formerly a jazzer. He was the only one- all the other guys were straight classical guys and they had no interest in anything about what I did, but this guy was a former jazzer and he knew I had some capability and said, 'Sure, get what you need and we'll do it.' So I had four semesters of private study from Mick, who would always give me an A, so I got four semesters of A's which was cool, too. This was right after he started Berklee. Do you know Thom Rhotella- the smooth jazz guitarist? He was a teacher at Berklee then too. When I first got to Berklee, I was assigned to Rhotella and right away, he recommended I study with Mick. He said, 'I am not the guy for you.' And I had met Mick when I was in high school in '68, and took a summer course at Berklee. He was my assigned teacher. I was a little blues guitar kid, but he liked me, and we had a great time together, so when Rhotella recommended Mick I was enthusiastic. At Tufts, I hooked up with a guy who's still a great friend of mine, Phil Owens, a vocalist, and he had a bassist. They added me and we added a drummer.