“Any way people show they like the vibe is appreciated.”
‘I was inspired to write the song after seeing Ron Paul’s appearance on the Jay Leno show earlier this year,” says singer/songwriter Randy Lane, aka Ran Diego, of his recently recorded tune “Ode to Ron Paul.” “Diane Marie at Concrete Music helped me make a video for it, superimposing quotes from [Paul’s] speeches over images of iconic American landmarks, oil wells, war footage, and military cemeteries.”
Lane admits he had a little help with the song’s lyrics, courtesy of the founding fathers. “A lot of the lines come straight from the preamble of the Constitution.”
A San Diegan for 25 years, Lane has long specialized in bluesy boogie-woogie tunes, though his sound has taken on a somewhat Fleetwood Mac tint due to his frequent collaborations with Diane Marie, as heard on his 2010 debut full-length Emo and Logic. He’s frequently seen busking downtown, performing on various street corners, particularly around Fourth and Fifth avenues between E and K streets.
“Busking is a great way to get direct feedback from listeners in a way you can’t experience in a club or a stage setting.” For instance? “Any way people show they like the vibe is appreciated, especially when they tip. Anything spendable, edible, drinkable, or smokable is fine.”
What if a passerby doesn’t like the vibe? “Well, the one I hear most is ‘Don’t quit your day job.’ People always seem to think that’s funny. Or ‘You’re the worst musician I’ve ever heard,’ stuff like that. You really put yourself out there as a street musician, so you have to be able to take whatever comes your way. As long as some of them tip, it’s worth it. At the end of the day, if I can afford strings and coffee, it’s a successful gig.”
WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO?
- Tom Petty, Wildflowers. “The title track alone makes this album a keeper.
- Gustav Holst, The Planets. “Trippy and powerful.”
- Creedence Clearwater Revival, self-titled. “They covered ‘I Put a Spell on You,’ by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, like nobody else.”
- Red Hot Chili Peppers, Californication. “I love this band. Great songwriting, tracking, and production.”
MOST EMBARRASSING SONG IN YOUR MUSIC PLAYER?
“The Love Boat theme. I guess I busk at the Embarcadero too often.”
DO STREET MUSICIANS COMPETE ON OPPOSITE CORNERS?
“Sometimes, but it’s usually sign-fliers and panhandlers that cost me the most. Potential tippers get overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of people asking for tips. Then they just tune everyone out.”
STRANGEST BUSKING EXPERIENCE?
“Cirque du Soleil had a drama troupe in town publicizing an event. Suddenly, out of nowhere comes a dozen people dressed like angels. They all gathered round me and sang and danced. It was surreal. I felt like I’d died and gone to heaven. Literally.”
“I saw David Lee Roth in 1988, in Toulouse, France, when he was backed by guitarist extraordinaire Steve Vai. Diamond Dave wasn’t even drunk. Not that night, anyway.”
“I spent nine years working in a corporate environment. They can keep their ‘real’ job. I prefer my unreal job any day.”
FIRST TIME DRUNK?
“Back in the ’80s, I attended a wedding reception, had too much champagne, and passed out.”
SOUNDTRACK OF YOUR LIFE?
“Tom Petty, ‘I Won’t Back Down.’ Particularly the line, ‘You can stand me up at the gates of Hell, but I won’t back down.’”
WHAT SCARES YOU?
“Creating and playing music that no one will ever hear.”
“When I was five, we got Wonder the Horse. The name was because it was a wonder we ever got a horse.”
WHO SHOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE?
“Nicolas Cage. His face is shaped like Wonder the Horse’s face, just like mine.”
“I absolutely refuse to tweet online.”
“I once had some of my best axes stolen. Waah!”
WHERE DO YOU TAKE OUT-OF-TOWN GUESTS?
“The La Jolla coast, especially the tide pools.”
FIRST JOKE YOU REMEMBER?
“Where did Napoleon keep his little armies? Up his little sleevies, of course.”
WHERE DO YOU HANG OUT?
“Balboa Park is beautiful, it’s usually calm, and it’s a great place to people-watch. There’s a spot where the airliners pass over and cause the most unusual vortex-like sound I’ve ever heard.”
SOMETHING WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?
“I like to put peanuts in my Dr. Pepper.” ■