Randy Rhoads: In his own words - Guitar Great Is Remembered As His Influence Grows.
As Jimi Hendrix dominated the actions of guitarists throughout the '60s and Edward Van Halen the '70s, Randy Rhoads has come to rule the '80s. While he appeared on only two officially released U.S. albums - Ozzy Osbourne's Blizzard Of Ozz and Diary Of A Madman - Rhoads' six string brilliance and continually innovative technique made him an instant and lasting force in the rock guitar hierarchy. Now, three years after his death in a tragic plane crash in Florida, we have gathered together excerpts from the various interviews given by Rhoads to Hit Parader to present Randy Rhoads: In His Own Words.
I'll never forget the first time I met Ozzy. He had been looking for guitarists to join his solo band after he had left Black Sabbath. Evidently he had been listening to different players all day, because by the time I got to his hotel room which was about 2 a.m. - he was stretched out on the couch with his hands over his eyes. He really wasn't in the mood to hear anyone else, but since I had been recommended to him by a mutual friend he said, "Go ahead and play." I had brought this little amp with me, so when I started to play I kept things simple. I didn't want to play old Black Sabbath things or anything, so I stuck with playing some chord structures and solos. After a few seconds Ozzy sat up and looked at me. Apparently he liked what he heard. Than a few minutes after that he started to smile. I just kept my mouth shut and played.
I love guitars that have small frets. That's the thing I look for first in a guitar. Someone can tell me that they found this incredible guitar with the most amazing sound, but before I'll play it I'll put in very small frets. When I started designing guitars with Grover Jackson that was one of the things I stressed. I wanted a guitar that looked different and sounded "fat," but the small frets were very important as well.
I still feel a little strange when people stop me the street and ask for an autograph. I haven't gotten it through my head yet that being in a rock and roll band with someone like Ozzy makes you something of a celebrity. I don't mind the recognition, but after playing in clubs for a long time, having people recognize me is something that's quite a bit different.
When I was a little kid I always had an interest in music. My mother owned a music school and by the time I was 7 I was taking guitar lessons there. I was playing an old acoustic Gibson that belonged to someone in my family that I found lying around the house. I just started trying to figure things out on it on my own, so by the time I started taking lessons I had a pretty good idea of what to do. The trouble was I didn't have that much tolerance with lessons. I wanted to have fun and play new things. I didn't want to be bothered with technique and learning scales
Ozzy and I have a very good relationship, but sometimes it's a bit strange. When we’re in the studio he'll do anything to motivate me and get me to play better. I remember the sessions we did for the first album. I was really pleased with some of the solos I had done - especially the one for Mr. Crowley because it had a classical influence to it. But Ozzy came into the studio and started shouting, "is that the best you can do?" He was acting a bit crazy, and he was beginning to get to me. I realize now that he Was trying to push me to create something better. It worked. I said, "Okay, I'll show you what I can do." That's when I did the solo that appears on the album.
I listened to a lot of different rock guitarists when I was younger. One of my favorites was Leslie West of Mountain. I loved the feel he had for the guitar. It seemed like -he was in total control at all times - he could express anything he wanted through the guitar. I really liked that. I also listened to Jeff Beck and Ritchie Blackmore. They're also very emotional players. I tend to like those kind of guitarists more than the pure technicians. I admire what they can do, but I like it when it seems the instrument is an extension of the person playing it.
I love classical guitar, I've started looking for classical teachers while we're on the road. If we have a few, hours to ourselves during the day, I'm trying to find a classical teacher and go study with him. I can never get enough of the guitar. It's the most important thing to me. I'd much rather be learning more about classical guitar than just sitting around the hotel room watching old movies. I used to teach eight hours a day myself in my mother's school, so I adapt very well to a student-teacher situation. As long as the teacher is good, I'm totally committed.
My time with Quiet Riot was a little strange. I had met Kevin (DuBrow) through some mutual friends, and when we got together we found out that we liked the same bands - Mountain, Humble Pie, Montrose - so we thought we'd try to get a group together. We played a lot of clubs and we developed quite a following. I used to wear polka-dot ties, and play a polka-dot guitar back then, and I used to laugh when I'd see kids show up in the audience with the same kind of tie I had on.
No matter how successful we become, and how well known I become, I think I'll probably always be a little insecure. I don't know why - I think it's just a part of my personality. I'm very critical of my playing, and if I don't think something sounds right I'll just feel very bad. The kids don't seem to notice that much, but it's not their job to judge my playing critically. I have to be the one to do that. I always worry that I'll become complacent and begin to accept less than my best performance.
I feel strange without a guitar in my hands. I find it very reassuring to sit with a guitar and just strum. I'm not even talking about playing hard. Sometimes it's nice just to make sounds that are pleasing to everyone's ear. That's why the guitar is great.
The Day The Music Died - Randy's Rhoads Web Page