Changing His Tune

Randal Sanden Jr. was destined to become a music man of
sorts. “When I was little my dad played the drums, so I guess you
could say I was born into it,” Randal said. Growing up as an only
child meant Randal did not have any siblings to play with. “So,
I grew up always having a musical instrument to play instead.
Our family homes always had music rooms with just about every
instrument,” he added.

Each day after school, Randal would go home and play
some of his father’s instruments. “I would be very careful
with them when using them and then put them away the way
I found them,” he laughed. When he got a little older, both of
his grandmothers taught him to play the piano. “Then, when I
turned 10, I learned to play saxophone in the school band. That’s
also when I learned to read music,” he recalled.
By the time Randal was 12 years old, he could play almost
any kind of instrument. “It is also when I got my first gig,” he
beamed. “It was to play on stage with my dad’s blues band. It
was at a ‘hole in the wall’ kind of club. I still remember that first
night when I stepped onto the stage with my sax and played in
some of their sets.”

Randal soon decided he wanted his own band, so he and some
high school friends put one together to play in a school talent
show. The band worked so well they decided to keep on playing
together. “We started playing parties for the senior classes and
at night clubs. I had an old Cadillac when I was 16, and we were
always able to fit the band with all of our gear into that ’66
Caddy,” Randal said.

After school, Randal moved to Austin. “I would play gigs on
Sixth Street all the time and would get there via skateboard with
my sax strapped onto my back,” he laughed. “I just wanted to
play every day!” Randal then relocated to California for a few
years, where he played in all different genres of bands, earning
him the nickname “Horn Solo.” He also produced and created
his first solo album. Randal eventually gained an audio/video
degree, which helped him write, self-produce, engineer, fund and
create the artwork for all of his albums — currently 19 in all.
As a young adult, music showed Randal how to creatively
express himself, and he is thankful for all of the support and
encouragement he received along the way. “I have been blessed
to be able to come across the people that I have,” he said. He is also very
thankful for the gift of music and how it has
transformed his life.

“Growing up in the ’80s, I was considered a punk because I used to skateboard,”
he shared, admitting there were some troubling times during
his teens. “But my parents didn’t let me get away with anything,
especially since I was an only child,” he laughed. “My parents
were very supportive of my music and then when I started
studying journalism and photography. While I studied, I saw
all of my friends were going to jail left and right. The arts kept
me busy because it was time consuming,
which kept me out of stuff. Then and
now, [music] helps me to forget about a
bad day. I think those are truly magical
moments.”

Randal feels that creating or playing a
tune is one of the best ways to express
oneself, and that it is important to pursue
and cultivate an innate talent and share
it with others. Music gives insight into a
very intimate side of the creator, which
makes it even more satisfying to share
with others.

“People who have the gift
of art and music just need to do it and
share it with others because it creates joy
for both the creator and the listener. My
wife, Elizabeth, says that music is the
art of the soul,” Randal smiled. “In my
music, I usually write about the nuances
from my life, relationships and things I
have seen or done in my life. My wife and
children have given me new inspiration to
be successful.” Not only has he written
songs for them, but he feels that his songs
now have more thought-provoking lyrics.

Besides having a musical production
business, booking, promoting and
writing his music, Randal also loves to
share his music at his church, First United
Methodist of Red Oak, where he plays
his saxophone. Randal encourages
children to play. “All types of art,
including music, have been shown to
help kids do better in school,” he said.
Lately, Randal has been quite involved
in creating music videos for his band
and performing as a local disc jockey. “I
am also going to start teaching beginner
guitar,” he said. “I am currently putting
together the curriculum that I plan to
teach.” While his tunes may have changed
throughout the years, Randal’s love of
music has always remained, a love he
cannot help but pass on.