Randy Seol

Randy: ‘The audience always lit up when we played’

Randy Seol drummer Strawberry Alarm ClockThe Strawberry Alarm Clock turned out to be one of those magical bands, thanks to the chemistry of the players and the music it produced. The audience always lit up when we played.

I’ve had great and wonderful times getting back with the group, feeling the same chemistry and excitement from our audiences.

Here’s the story of how I got my start and joined the band:

At the age of 5, I used my folk’s furniture as drums. It wasn’t long after that my Dad got me a practice-pad drum set and private lessons.

I knew I liked playing and it was in kindergarten that I learned the power and communication of drums. I was given a drum during our group exercise to keep the beat while my fellow classmates walked in line. I soon found I could make everybody run or come to a slow crawl depending on the speed I played.

Growing up in Riverside, Calif., I loved listening to Gene Krupa and Sandy Nelson. At 8 years old, I joined my first band, a trio called the Goldtones with Glenn Campbell, a steel guitar player who later went onto play with the Misunderstood and Joe Cocker. After we won my first talent show, I graduated from a two-piece Slingerland set to a four-piece Gretch.

Buddy MIles with Strawberry Alarm Clock drummer Randy Seol(Photo, right: Randy backstage with Buddy Miles.)

Winning that contest got us noticed and we started playing live on a country radio station every Sunday. When I was 10, we went on a tour of bowling alleys in California, playing backing up for Kirby Grant of the TV show “Sky King” and performing our first single “Strike” along with the B-side “Gutterball.”

The Goldtones grew to a six-piece band. I started singing, playing vibes, marimbas and bongos.

I started getting into Louis Belson and other double bass drum players. I added a tom-tom and bass drum to my set making it a six-piece. I then set out to learn all percussion instruments.

We made our first album at the Teen Beat Club in Las Vegas and it featured my first original, “Midnight in Vegas.” My Dad told me that a new English act playing a concert at the Convention Center needed a drummer. The act was Peter and Gordon.

Strawberry Alarm Clock drumsThe audition consisted of my Dad playing them a demo tape and I was hired on spot. The show went great and at 14 years old I had performed in my first major concert. I knew then that was what I wanted to do.

During my Junior High School years, I was in the marching and jazz bands. In 9th grade, our jazz band won a local competition, which entitled us to play for and be critiqued by Stan Kenton. I learned so much that day, what a great memory!

Soon after that my father felt my musical advancement was limited in Riverside so our family moved to the San Fernando Valley. Check out this Inland Empire radio station writeup: (PDF). That’s when I left the Goldtones to become a rock star in Los Angeles.

I started taking singing, acting and dancing lessons. It was after I joined Act III that I learned music theory for harmonizing. During this time I was making good money playing drums in the college pub scene.

At the same time L.A. music and psychedelic rock were taking off. Almost in the same month I auditioned for Sky Saxon and the Seeds, the Electric Prunes and the new and upcoming Sixpence, which later became the Strawberry Alarm Clock.

I was hired by the Strawberry Alarm Clock to create harmony and sing second lead on “Incense and Peppermints.” When their drummer quit, I was hired as a drummer, writer and lead singer. The Strawberry Alarm Clock gained its fame from the single “Incense and Peppermints” off the gold album of the same name.

Comments

  1. Hey Randy, Don’t know or expect you to remember me but you had a strong influence in my musical taste and were an inspiration. You had such a great attitide! You helped me believe every gig is worth playing as long as the music is good! Thanks my friend. Once upon a time I had the opportunity to jam with you on some military gig where we all showed up for the gig and had never even met before, it turned out to be a fun night and I was amazed it was you I was playing with. Life a trip! Good to see you’re still at it.

  2. amador Mosqueda says:

    Hi Randy, You may longer remember me or Isabel. We met you when you were about 12 years old.
    You lived with your parents. We where the ones who lived in the back house and did handy work for
    your parents. Its been a long time. I often wandered what happened to you and your brother. E-mail me
    and give me an update on your family.

  3. Michael P. Selinsky says:

    Goldtones at the Teenbeat Club, Las Vegas, 4416 Paradise Rd. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teenbeat_Club

  4. Kevin L. Grant says:

    Hi Randy, I hope you can remember me. I lived in Riverside when you were living there. My father, Robert T. Grant was a local talent show producer and had your group, the Goldtones on his shows. You were 14 years old at the time and I was 9. I guess I became your first “drum lesson student,” up until the time you guys moved. I remember your family, my family and Sky King over at our house on Maude St., in Riverside and we all drove up to a Resteraunt in Idyllwild (San Jacinto) CA., were we had dinner and later you played a set of drums there. We also went to KFXM in San Bernardino, CA, where your group (The Goldtones) recorded “Strike” and “Gutterball.” Whow, how time has passed. Hope you can find the time to drop a message. Hope you are in good health!

  5. Sharon (Hamilton) Dunkle says:

    Hi Randy – I remember like it was yesterday when you and the Goldtones played in my backyard for my Ramona High School graduation party and my 80 yr. old grandmother got up, took your microphone and sang “Hello Dolly” while you played the drums and the band sang and played along! And your 16th (?) birthday dinner we had at the “White Sands” in Riverside along with your brother and Sue! I used to love coming over to your house and listen to you practice after school – your discipline was so impressive! Wonder whatever happened to Warren who was occasionally there and I think played the keyboard!

    The “Starcapades” talent show was always a treat for the whole high school, because we always knew it was a “given” that Randy Seol would win 1st place playing the drums! We all loved it. Remember sitting on my front porch on San Marcos with Susan and I? My son, Dennis, went on to become a good drummer, and you were his role model! In fact, myself, son and daughter listen to your Strawberry Alarm Clock band to this day! How wonderful it would be to see you again. I’m so proud of your success, however it comes as no surprise!! Your music is great, we love it. Sharon Dunkle

  6. Hi Randy — Would love to see one of your shows if youre still playing! Am in Carlsbad, CA now so look me up!

  7. Hi Randy! With as many people as you have met along your journey, doubt you will remember me. I have been pulling together memorabilia from Palm Springs past, and I came across a photo of the Howard Manor. It brought me back to when your band played there for a period of time.

    You, and your group members, would have gatherings at your hotel room, after the bar closed. I do remember you being a heck of a nice guy. What REALLY sticks out in my mind is losing my undies. LOL! I had taken a dip in the pool, and when I went to retrieve my clothing from your bathroom, my bikinis had mysteriously disappeared.

    On my next visit, hanging on a piece of driftwood on your hotel room wall were a pair of green bikini underwear…MINE.

    Remember me now? HeeHee!

    Glad to see you are still out there spreading joy throughout the land. 🙂

  8. Gregory Dean says:

    Randy, I remember my friends at the time I attended Taft High School, said you were a student there at the same time in 1966. Is that true?

    • george bunnell says:

      Randy and I and Steve Bartek and Howie Anderson all went to Taft High…..in Woodland Hills, CA.
      Randy and I graduated in 1967, Steve in 1969 and Howie several years later.

      Randy doesn’t get online too often…

  9. mark earle says:

    Hi Randy!
    What became of the young lady you “won” on “The Dating Game”?

  10. Randy, you probley don’t remember me’ we met and talked at two parties hosted by Jennifer Bold. Because of your encouragement’ I started out again and have ended up doing Neil Young tribute music. Got some questions and would love hearing from you.

  11. Jim Brown says:

    Hi Randy, I know you probably don’t remember me, but I was in a band called the D’Matics. We played and won the Star capades best combo act the year after The Goldtones won. You guys played the intermission, and later that year we both played a concert at the park at Fairmont Park. The Goldtones and The D’Matics did a grand finale together. Our drummer at the time was Joe Wells, who had the same drum teacher you had. A few years back, I was servicing the first aid kits at a local Ford dealership, and I saw the name Seol (can’t remember his first name) on an office door. I asked him if he was related and it was your brother. Small world. Well, I just wanted to say hi.

  12. Kerry James says:

    Aloha Randy,
    I met you back in 1969 in Hawaii. I was in a band with a friend of your named Grag Jenkins. You allowed us to hang out with you and your band mates there at your hotel in Kahala. I was the drummer, and you were most amazing percussionist I had got to see and get up close to. I’m living in the Philippines now and still making music. That was such a magical time in Hawaii and great memories. Thanks for your kindness in letting us hang with you!

  13. Kenneth Naylor Jr. says:

    I am so happy to find your website. My dad Kenneth Naylor Sr. played some really good bass riffs with the GOLDTONES. He gave us much pride that he played for the Goldtones as a bass player and after he helped you find the name of Strawberry Alarm Clock Band.

    Randy, it was perfect that my father helped you find the name of your band by going in your bedroom. The Strawberry Alarm Clock you both found at your house shaped an awesome psychedelic surfer age that was awesome. That name was so fitting during that period and I salute you..

    May you always rock.. 😉

  14. Cathy Troy says:

    Hey Randy,
    I met you in 1967 when my grandfather was dating your grandmother. He and my folks were invited to dinner at your folks in the Valley, and I got picked up from home to come meet you guys. I was 12 at the time! That was a long time ago! I’m still a Valley girl and I happened to hear that you will be coming to a Valley venue near me in the near future. I go there for their Wednesday open mics and was quite surprised to discover that your band will be making an appearance. Must see!

  15. Hello Randy,
    About 1978, when I was 21 or so, I used to sell gold jewelry at the Leucadia Flea Market, called “Peddlers Village.” I befriended another gentleman also sold at the Flea Market selling Sea Shells. I knew him as Randy Seol. He mentioned to me that he had been the drummer for Strawberry Alarm Clock. I visited with him on several occasions at his home in San Diego. Eventually I began selling sea shells for Randy, along with my jewelry. Was this indeed you?

  16. Al English says:

    You didn’t mention the time we spent in Mr. Otteson’s vocal music class at Sierra Jr High. Back then I was deciding whether to pursue a music career, but I wasn’t as committed as you. For better or worse I followed other interests. I remember several times you played the vibes on the school PA at the beginning of the day. I did the same on accordion a few times. Hopefully you have forgotten that. In late ’67 the Fugs and SAC played at the Ambassador Theater in Washington D.C. I was there. I tried to get backstage to say high, but wasn’t able to. You would still have remembered me then. I am finding that getting old sucks for the most part. I hope time has treated you well. Good to see you are still hanging in there.

  17. Michael Martin says:

    Hi Randy…
    I remember when you played drums at a Sierra Junior High assembly…’64..maybe!
    You blew us all away!
    Thanks!

  18. Hey Randy, i was there at Melodyland in July 1968 to see you and the fellas plus The Seeds live. i was all but 12 years old and we still remember what a great show you guys did. My Mother,younger brother and i all were there to watch you guys and the Seeds crank it up’. My mother is 92 years young now and she still remembers that evening way back then. i still have the original “Incense and peppermints” album that i purchased way back when it was first released and still sounds “excellent”…Thanks for the memories”

  19. DeAnn Lofthus Olson says:

    Hey, Randy…You darn well better remember me! Even our parents were friends in Riverside. What ever happened to your parents and brother? Would love to hear from you. Will be in So Cal for most of July. Currently live in Freeland WA on “beautiful Whidbey Island”. Oh, I hope you respond, Always, DeAnn

  20. Mary Morgan says:

    Randy. This is Mary Morgan, Ernie Morgan’s wife. I just wanted to let you know that Ernie passed away
    on Thursday, June 23rd. He suffered a heart attack while surfing and died instantly. He will be buried in
    Oklahoma, and we will have a memorial service for him in Oceanside on Saturday, August 27th. I don’t expect you to come, I just wanted to inform you.

    He had become a very strong Christian oner the years, so I know he’s with the Lord.

    God Bless. Mary 619-855-2752

  21. Mary Morgan says:

    I forgot to tell mention to you the most important thing…..He always considered you the “best drummer he
    ever knew”. I think you knew that. God Bless You Randy. MM

  22. Scotty Johnson says:

    Randy — Not sure if you remember me but I live on Agnes street and went to Mt View Elementary school and Sierra. Also played drums at both Mt View and Sierra. Was also in a band at Sierra that played local talent shows. I believe I was 2-3 years older than you since I graduated in 64 and I remember you graduating in 67. I’m still playing drums, bongos, congas, djembe and other percussion instruments with our churches Praise and Worship Team. I have always been inspire by your play and the Strawberry Alarm Clock!

  23. Rick Hess says:

    Hello Randy — I don’t think we’ve ever met but I always liked your drumming. I also grew up as a young drummer in Riverside. I’ve been trying to find information on a band mate of mine back then Dennis Dawson who played a B3 and also managers Chuck and Beth Arrowood. I believe they used to speak of you and the gold tones and was wondering do you remember them well and what is your band managed by them for a while? Keep on Rockin

  24. You and I had the same Jr High band director about 10 years assist… Lloyd Mummert!

  25. Gary Robinson says:

    Hay randy its been a while still at it ‘A’. Email me.

  26. Hola Randy, Quisiera saber como piensas celebrar los 50 años de ” incense and Peppermint”, vas a sacar el disco vinilo original o relanzar nuevamente e, vinilo, cd y cassette el album? o smplemente no vas a hacer nada.

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