The following is part of a series by Randy Lutge, a longtime friend of Michael Hedges and Manager of the New Varsity Theater in the 1980s. Randy Lutge went to Gunn high school in Palo Alto, California — the same school as Alex deGrassi and Will Ackerman. While studying at U.C. Berkeley, he studied “ethnographic filmmaking,” a study that would inform much of his later life’s work. During summers at Cal, Randy toured Europe, playing guitar and singing in the band “Montana” with college buddies. In 1974, his father took the lease on The Varsity Theater in Palo Alto and asked Randy to join him there as a manager and live music producer. He would eventually become a partner in that business. When the lease ended at The New Varsity, Randy spent 17 years with Alexia Moore Wine Marketing. Today, he is a professional photographer/videographer living in the coastal town of Mendocino.
The Slow Series: Michael plays Two Days Old slowly so that a friend might learn it
I believe it was sometime around 1983 that Michael taught two workshops in Palo Alto at the invitation of Rick Van deVeer. During one of those sessions an attendee asked Michael how to play a certain part of one of his compositions. Michael demurred and said, “Oh, you don’t want to play my tunes, better that you discover your own creation.”
These roughly-edited video tutorials were subsequently released on YouTube.
This footage has helped countless students of Michael’s work learn these now-classic tunes, many of which Michael debuted at the New Varsity Theater. The “slow” series includes, “Lenono,” “Two Days Old,” “Layover,” “Ragamuffin,” and “The Happy Couple.” The videos show much of the sweet, generous personality of my dear friend.
When Michael built his studio in Mendocino I would take many trips up the coast to hang out with the Hedges family and record some original songs together.
In 1984, Michael Hedges walked into a San Francisco guitar shop and discovered his next musical pursuit: an acoustic relic from the 1920s called a harp guitar.
Which artists were Michael influenced by? Jake White, Hedges biographer explores Michael’s early musical influences.