He played with a local blues and jam band and co-founded the band Martha's Laundry, which later morphed into Prune Music store, with keyboardist Dave Kessner.They opened the store in 1967 inside a building that had been a Chinese grocery store.However, he would hop freight trains nearly every weekend from Santa Barbara to the Bay Area to see friends and return to the Beat coffee houses and bookstores of Berkeley.The next four years he attended UC Berkeley studying humanities, English Literature and "invitation only" creative writing courses where he mostly wrote accounts of riding the rails with various hobos, but never quite graduated.MESA was started by Randall Smith as a small repair shop which modified Fender Amplifiers, particularly the diminutive Fender Princeton.
Offshoots of Prune Music continue in Berkeley to this day with Subway Guitars, Sam Cohen (aka Fat Dog) and Guitar Resurrection in Austin, TX with former Martha's Laundry guitarist, Jim Lehman (aka Lizard Slim) They were partners until 1975.
Their store never generated a huge profit, but it became best alternative music store in the hippie scene.
Mesa/Boogie began with a practical joke: he borrowed a Fender Princeton (a small 12-watt amplifier) from his friend, Barry Melton of Country Joe and the Fish, and hot-rodded it by replacing the amplifier section with that of a Fender Bassman and installing a 12-inch speaker instead of the original 10-inch.
He attended Miramonte High in Orinda, CA and graduated in 1964.
His freshman year he attended UC Santa Barbara, as his parents wanted him removed from the influences of Berkeley (20 minutes from Orinda).
Mesa has continued to introduce new models in the 2000s and 2010s, with models such as the Road King II, the Lone Star and Lone Star Special, the Stiletto and Express lines along with lower watt versions of its large amps, such as the mini Rectifier, and the Mark V:25 and Mark V:35.