W. Randy Hoffman, a lifelong resident of Southwestern Pennsylvania, attended his first science fiction convention in Columbus, Ohio, in 1989. While there he wrote his first song (which, fortunately for humanity, has been lost to history). He proceeded to generate a lot of poems during his college years, but didn’t set any of them to music. One day, however, he listened to a basement tape produced by his college buddies in the band Ookla the Mok (http://www.ooklathemok.com/) that contained catchy yet meaningful songs…about 1970s toys, 1980s TV, Lemon-Ohs candy, and mathematics. He said to himself, “Boy, these guys need an appreciative audience, and I know where they can find one!” He got said buddies to play at several more science fiction conventions over the following two years, where they did indeed find enthusiastic listeners, and finally decided to start writing more tunes himself.
Since 1993 he’s written over 150 songs; some of them serious, more of them funny, most classifiable as “filk” (music by and for fans of science fiction and fantasy). A lot of these are available on his four solo albums and on the 2012 album titled “A Fifth of Vocals” by the duo Partners in K’RHyme that he formed with his performing and songwriting collaborator Kira. He got involved with the Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle shortly after it restarted in the early 2000s and a few of his songs are available on the Circle’s early anthology albums.
He’s won songwriting contests at numerous dedicated Eastern and Midwestern filk conventions, and has placed in the top three in such contests more often than almost any other songwriter over the past fifteen years. He has also organized music programming at the Confluence science fiction convention in Pittsburgh (http://www.parsec-sff.org/confluence/) since 1997, including full-weekend concert tracks since 2001.
mrgoodwraith [at] yahoo [dot] com
Photo credit by Dene Foye