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Music, laughter play key role in Dr. Russ Randall’s 40-year-old chiropractic practice

For 40 years, Dr. Russ Randall’s patients have received more than an alignment at their office visits. The Grass Valley chiropractor’s visitors will likely get a story, a joke, maybe even a song. One way or another, he’s going to get them smiling.

“I really believe you have to have confidence in your doctor,” said Randall, who at 66 still works six days a week. “That’s the most important part. But laughter and fun and smiling are so important, I think. People come in with all the trauma and stress of life, it’s so nice to make people feel good not only with music but with treatment.”

It was April 1, 1977 when the 26-year-old chiropractor who had spent four years as an associate with a practice in Roseville after graduating at 21 from Palmer College in Davenport, Iowa first hung his shingle on Hughes Road. He’s been in his current offices at the corner of Colfax Avenue and Clark Street since November, 1990.

“I put in the The Union newspaper a month before, a little 2-by-2 ad saying I was going to open,” he said. “The first month I was here I had 200 office visits, because there were only about six chiropractors in town. Now there’s like 30 or 40.”

Randall has no immediate plans to retire. He said he’d like to keep his practice active until 2022, when he’ll celebrate 50 years in chiropractic medicine. MODEST BEGINNING

Those 200 visits weren’t enough to get him out of the office around the clock. When Randall opened his practice, he couldn’t afford both the office space and an apartment. So he slept on one of his adjustment tables before marrying his wife of nearly 40 years, Char, in June, 1977.

“I’d set the alarm so I was awake in time for patients,” he said. “I had the straightest back in town.”

During his four decades in Grass Valley, Randall has expanded his practice with more specialized degrees. In 1982, he started driving to the Bay Area on weekends. He spent two-and-a-half years earning his Diplomate in Chiropractic Orthopedics from the Los Angeles Chiropractic College. He later took a course on disability evaluation so he could work with workers compensation patients, something he still does occasionally.

“I just love people and I don’t like to play judge and jury, so I cut back on that,” he said. “But the extra credentials really opened a lot of doors, because the more you have, the more people acknowledge you.”

TURN UP THE MUSIC

When talking to Randall, it’s difficult to get him to stay on chiropractic medicine. His passion is music, and that’s where the conversation always leads. He’s from Rockford, Illinois, birthplace of Cheap Trick. Guitarist Rick Nielsen, two years Randall’s senior, went to a rival high school. In ninth grade Randall watched Nielsen perform in a basement.

He’s been playing guitar for 50 years and currently plays in Rewind Press Play, a local rock group that features primarily 50s and 60s hits.

“People will come in and say, ‘I’m having a bad day,’ or, ‘It’s my birthday,’ and I’ll say, ‘What would you like to hear?’ and they’ll say, ‘How about some Zeppelin?”

Dr. Randall then retrieved a guitar from a storage area adjacent to his main exam room and started strumming the opening of “Stairway to Heaven” before a segue into singing and playing some of Cheap Trick’s “Heaven Tonight.” He wrapped up his impromptu set with a quick sample of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s classic “Sweet Home Alabama.”

Randall’s multitasking doesn’t end there. He moonlights for Gold Country Security at the fairgrounds, weddings and other events. It’s a little side gig that pays for his expensive music collection, which features almost 30 guitars and 10 Marshall amplifiers.

“I left here last night at 6 p.m. and I got home at 3 a.m. They call me the Terminator. Do I look tired to you? I’ve been doing this for 45 years. It’s because I like people. I like diversity. I like challenges. And the thing is, if you have different hats throughout the day, it makes life fun.”

To contact Staff Writer Stephen Roberson, email

Secret Service examines suspicious package near White House

WASHINGTON (AP) The Secret Service says they have taken a man into custody who was carrying a package near the White House after he made suspicious comments to an officer. A Secret Service official says an explosive ordinance team was on the scene on Tuesday morning to examine the package about a block from the White House. A security perimeter was established near the White House grounds, but Secret Service officials say all other West Wing activity is proceeding normally.

The investigation comes after two recent fence-jumping incidents at the White House. A California man was charged with jumping the fence while carrying two cans of Mace. And a woman from Washington state got tangled up in her shoelaces trying to jump the fence last week.

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