Randall Philip Kane, founder of Catal...

Randall Philip Kane, founder of Catalyst Club, dead at 85

There are 93 comments on the Santa Cruz Sentinel story from Jul 28, 2009, titled Randall Philip Kane, founder of Catalyst Club, dead at 85. In it, Santa Cruz Sentinel reports that:

Randall Philip Kane, the founder of The Catalyst nightclub in downtown Santa Cruz, died Monday morning at his home in Corralitos.

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Walnut Creek, CA

#1 Jul 28, 2009
I was surprised to find Randall Kane's obituary buried in the middle of section B. Such a Santa Cruz icon would have been front page news for most of us.(where are you Wallace?) I was surprised and saddened to hear of his death. Wasn't it just a few weeks ago that I saw him tootling around on his bike? We had some GREAT times at the early Catalyst. Thanks for the memories!
Nancy Lenox

Santa Cruz, CA

#2 Jul 28, 2009
Randall Kane did indeed own the Catalyst for many years, and certainly was responsible for making it a world-class nightclub, but he was NOT the founder. It was founded by a collective of UCSC and community members, and run in its early years by the irrepressable and irreplaceable Al Diludovico.

“Pearls before swine”

Since: Mar 08

Santa Cruz, CA.

#3 Jul 28, 2009
I first set my toe in Santa Cruz back in 1977 when my boyfriend and I came to see a Taj Mahal concert at the Catalyst. It was the "new" Catalyst in those days. And Pacific Ave. was still the Pacific Garden Mall. Randall Kane has been a fixture in Santa Cruz for all of this time, bringing band after band to Santa Cruz allowing us to have acts of the caliber that usually play in big cities only. His cultural contribution to our community has been immense. I only hope that his six children will find the means to keep the Catalyst going. Thank-you Randall Kane for bringing me to Santa Cruz and for all of the incredible music you've brought to our community over the years.

Bella Vista, AR

#4 Jul 28, 2009
Does anyone remember the Benefit for Will Geer that was held at the Catalyst?

Santa Cruz, CA

#5 Jul 28, 2009
Sorry Becky but Randal already sold the Catalyst a few years back to some guys from San Jose. I don't get out much these days because of the little ones but I have had some great times and seen some great shows at the Catalyst. I hope that the new guys can keep it going.
Thanks for the memories


#7 Jul 28, 2009
The old Catalyst on Front Street in the early 1970's... electric violin music of Oganookie... a Latino in a Cisco Kid-like outfit checking ID's at the door... San Martin pomegranate wine sold cheap in a carafe by a large bearded bartender... psychedelic acrylic art by Richard Gustafsen scattered on the walls...and the elfin figure of the owner surveying the joy he was bringing to the community. Thanks, Mr. Kane.

Since: Aug 08

Santa Cruz, CA

#8 Jul 28, 2009
I moved to Santa Cruz in 1981 and immediately started going to great shows at the Catalyst. RIP Randall, and thanks for giving/bringing so much to Santa Cruz!
Rocket J Squirrel

Santa Cruz, CA

#9 Jul 28, 2009
Thanks Randal for all of the great music over the year and great breakfasts. You are what made Santa Cruz like so many others before you, a unique and rare place to live and work.

Washington, DC

#10 Jul 28, 2009
Randall was the second best boss I ever had (Brian Walton being the very best, and he passed away almost 2 years ago). Working at the Catalyst was definately the most fun I ever had on the job!! Great shows, get food, great co-workers!! Great fun!! He was always encouraging and he quietly helped out so many of his employees and others in the community. I remember him telling me the story that he was supposed to board a plane to Havana to celebrate 1959 new year's eve but the Revolutionary Army arrived victorious in Havana and the flight was cancelled. He lamented that he hadn't made it to Havana yet and was happy that I had. I will miss running into him around town.

Saint Petersburg, FL

#11 Jul 28, 2009
So blessed to know his beautiful granddaughter Jenny. Rest in peace, Mr. Kane.

“On your left”

Since: May 08


#12 Jul 28, 2009
Randall provided the musicians of Santa Cruz a high quality, professional venue where we could perform. Before playing at The Catalyst, my memories were as a little junior high student in 1967, walking into The Cat at the St George Hotel and having a pastrami sandwich and Vernor's ginger ale for the first time. I was able to perform in both sites and a wealth of positive memories from my times at The Cat.

Restt well, Randall.
Johnny Mcd

Durham, NC

#13 Jul 28, 2009
I worked at the Catalyst Club kitchen/garden room with Randall for many years. I was only 17 when I started there in 1981. I baked bread with him a couple of times a week and made soups and stews. He was a great teacher to me and encouraged me to get my degree from the University, which I eventually did. It was great advice I will never forget. He was very kind and forgiving to the extensive crew that ran the club from early morning till very late night. He was always willing to help someone out with a cash advance for emergencies or other problems. He always had a big party at the club, closed to the public, on Christmas for the crew members and their families with select "insiders" customers always there for the ride. What a great contribution he made to the people of Santa Cruz. He was really on to something, booking the best bands I have ever seen, providing great meals at reasonable prices to all and having a place on Friday's where everyone was smiling and dancing and having a great time. Thank you for the great times and memories, you are missed so much. Rest peacefully, Johnny.

San Francisco, CA

#14 Jul 28, 2009
The old catalyst was really something out of another era. Really catured the feeling of the sixties spirit. Thanks for all the good times Randall...I wish I had said something to you all the times I saw you at the post office on your bike and thanked you in person.

Clarksburg, CA

#15 Jul 28, 2009
Wow - cannot believe it. Randall has been a part of Santa Cruz culture for so long. I am sorry the Sentinel did not do more to honor a man who - yes -eccentric - did so much for music in the area.
I will miss seeing him riding his bike - beret, sunglasses and rainbow suspenders and all. The Catalyst has not been the same since he sold it.
End of an era...
Please Sentinel - do a better job reporting on this interesting man who helped shape downtown and the music scene in Santa Cruz.

United States

#16 Jul 28, 2009
Ooganookie! And wild Annie playing her electric violin and grinding away in those skin-tight jeans. And all the wild paint on the walls, and the outrageous graffiti on the bathroom walls. And the woman-on-a-bearskin-rug painting. That was the original Catalyst in the old St George Hotel. It was packed, packed, packed!! The new Cat was much larger with a better music venue and (arguably) the longest bar in existence. But it wasn't the same as the original. It definitely is a landmark, thanks to the incredible genius of Randall Kane.

Plymouth, MA

#17 Jul 28, 2009
Abby wrote:
I was surprised to find Randall Kane's obituary buried in the middle of section B. Such a Santa Cruz icon would have been front page news for most of us.(where are you Wallace?)
The Sentinel these days is entirely agenda-driven and answers directly to Santa Cruz County's political power structure. If Kane was on the outs, or simply hadn't sucked-up enough to them in recent years, that would explain the buried coverage.

As for The Catalyst itself, it was a great place to see fairly major acts, usually on weeknights as tour buses headed from LA to SF stopped over before weekend dates in the city. Sometimes tickets were surprisingly cheap.

On other occasions, truly major stars played semi-secret dates to test out album material ahead of national tours.

Anyone remember CSNY's earthquake benefit in 1989? A moving experience.

El Sobrante, CA

#18 Jul 28, 2009
I've seen incredible shows at the Catalyst over the years. I thank God I was able to experience them at a venue like the Catalyst. Thank you Randall Kane. Rest in peace.

Santa Cruz, CA

#19 Jul 28, 2009
The Catalyst is an original.
Thank your Mr. Kane for the fond memories.

May you Rest In Peace.
westside local

Santa Cruz, CA

#20 Jul 28, 2009
I came to Santa Cruz because in 1970 a friend of my Brothers whom I lived with in Los Gatos said to me one day" have you ever been to the Catalyst in Santa Cruz? There are a lot of kids there that look like you!" LOL I had my thumb out the next day and I have never left...I worked for Randall for a short time in 1974 and hung out there as though it was my church...that served beer...I met friends who are still in my life today. What a wonderful place and great memories for all who knew it... who remembers the Catalyst Follies??? What a kick they were!
Thanks Randall for all you gave to us!! I will never forget you or the Catalyst in the 70s!

San Diego, CA

#21 Jul 28, 2009
To borrow a phrase:
I'm saying THANK YOU for a REAL GOOD TIME!


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