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Mike Randle
Alternative


Growing up in Los Angeles, his earliest memories included listening to his parents' eclectic record collection filled mostly with folk, country, and singer/songwriter albums. Given that premise, there was also an inexplicable inclusion, Aerosmith's Get Your Wings, which promptly stood out to the young Mike Randle, introducing him to the depraved realms of rock & roll. He began absorbing music like a sponge, eventually gravitating to the Beatles and the Beach Boys. By his early teens, Randle had begun playing in rock bands and soon thereafter began initial songwriting efforts. In 1984, he formed the new wave/synth-pop band Camera's in Paris, which lasted through 1985. Randle then went on to form the neo-mod band Bad Press with Garfield Wolfe, Charlie Glover, and Keith Chaney. It was a significant evolution both in terms of the music and because it brought him into contact with the cohort who would become his most significant musical partner. Chris Johnson eventually replaced Chaney on bass (and was in turn replaced by Colin Wolfe) and Rusty Squeezebox took over drum duties from Glover, forming the definitive lineup. The band lasted into the latter part of the decade, but more importantly, Randle and Squeezebox developed a close-knit friendship and longstanding musical relationship. After the demise of Bad Press, Randle left his native Los Angeles for the greener, more serene pastures of Santa Barbara in 1989, taking a job involving science experiments on the University of California-Santa Barbara campus. He left behind his musical career, except for the toss-off cover band he played in. The lure of his hometown once again beckoned the following year, however, and he moved back to Los Angeles in 1990, hooking up almost immediately with Squeezebox. The two formed Baby Lemonade in November 1992 with David Green and Henry Liu (replaced by Dave Chapple in 1995). They started playing shows throughout L.A., one of which caught the attention of '60s folk-psych legend Arthur Lee. Lee fired his band and asked Baby Lemonade to back him as the re-formed Love. They agreed and had the opportunity to tour Europe with Lee before resuming their work as Baby Lemonade. The band recorded the Wonderful EP on Sympathy for the Record Industry in 1994, followed the next year by their debut full-length for that label, 68% Pure Imagination. Both received widespread acclaim, as did their second LP, Exploring Music, upon release (on Big Deal) in late 1998. The band helped to turn the L.A. underground pop scene into a buzzword by the end of the decade, along with bands such as Wondermints and the Negro Problem. As 2000 approached, both Randle and Squeezebox decided to record solo albums to explore personal, sonic, and songwriting ground that didn't seem to fall within the parameters of Baby Lemonade. Randle's My Music Loves You (Even If I Don't) was released simultaneously with Squeezebox's Isotopes on the independent label eggBERT Records in May 2000. The album was, indeed, a dramatic departure from any of Randle's previous musical endeavors, reaching out to envelop everything from bossa nova and kitschy lounge to Prince-style grooviness and the kind of atmospheric soft rock native only to Southern California. Following the release of the solo albums, Randle and Baby Lemonade reconvened to begin recording their next opus, a song cycle The High Life Suite. Stanton Swihart

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