Inspirations – The Randy Rhoads Legacy
By Diane Pearson
It warms my heart to know
That we will meet again
For now I hold the memories
I have of you my friend
Running around in Junior High
Playing in a band
Living out all our dreams
Turning out just like we planned
Even though we drift apart
On one thing I can depend
That I may walk for all my days
And say you are my best friend.
Best friend to Randy Rhoads/former bass player in the band Quiet Riot/Photographer
Randy and I were in the same junior high school together. We met in the seventh grade. I was eleven and somehow he seemed to be a year older than me, but he really wasn’t. Even at that young age he seemed very artistic and was clearly different than all the other kids around. You just couldn’t help but notice. Since there was something about him that was so different, a lot of the other kids really picked on him. There was just something about him that was very different than everybody else. I mean, he was weird and he looked weird. He had more of a Beetle like hair cut. It was kind of cool actually. I recently went up to a kid that had a hair cut like the one Randy had and said ‘hey, that is a cool looking hair due’. Randy dressed different and he was small. He was artful looking and not athletic-looking what so ever. You could tell he was artistic and very introspective and just all in all different. That is what attracted me to him. One day I just walked up to him and said ‘hey, how ya doin?’ After that we just started talking and hanging out together. I started going over to his house. It was immediately clear that his family was very musical. At that time, Randy knew his guitar chords already and was just starting to learn his leads. He basically didn’t know anything. His sister played guitar and his brother played the drums. His mother played everything. She owned a music school and taught music. Everybody was always playing something in that house. Some of the neighbors even played and if you didn’t play anything, you felt like a complete outcast. So, I decided that I wanted to play an instrument. Randy suggested that I play the bass guitar. So, he got me a bass and started teaching me. As he would learn his leads he would teach me some bass and I would eventually learn to do patterns that he would practice his leads over. That went on and on everyday for years until we were about twelve. That was when we started putting together little bands, playing together at neighborhood parties and parks. Anywhere we could. We started jamming with other people. We were obsessed with it. We played anywhere, anytime, anyway we could. It was always a constant battle to upgrade our equipment. We would do odd jobs for Randys mother to make enough money to buy amps and things. We were best friends and we always hung out together. The older we got, the weirder we got. We both got into Alice Cooper soon after we met. The first Alice Cooper show that we went to was in 1971. We got really into Alice and we eventually started looking like Alice.
California is a party state. I don’t care where you live in California, it is a party state. People just love to party! We were in Burbank, California where there is a lot of surfers and stuff. All of the surfers were good friends with each other and they had parties like crazy. We were frequently asked to attend these parties and jam. It would be some type of deal where a kids parents would go out of town, they would get together and buy a few kegs, put some fliers up all over the city and throw a huge party where literally six hundred kids would show up. I am not exaggerating either. The party would take over the entire block. It freaked out all of the neighbors because there would be kids screwing and throwing up on their front lawns. Beer bottles were everywhere! Of course the cops would always get called out to shut the party down. We were very familiar with the police and they were always very cool with us. They never gave us any problems and even seemed to like us. They knew that we were just trying to play and they never blamed us for anything. We would at least get in a good hour before the cops ever showed up or could even make their way to us through the crowd of people. They had to walk through such a sea of kids. If the party wasn’t at someone’s house, it was at a local park. There were several parks that we played at where in the picnic areas there would be plugs so that we could hook up our equipment. The plugs were hot and we would bring long extension cords and our breaker box or whatever and just plug everything in. We had lights and the whole bit. We just played anywhere we could. Houses, parks, anywhere. It didn’t matter. We spent a lot of time playing in peoples living rooms, in back yards, wherever. It would be Randy, me, and we had several different drummers that we used. We were twelve at the time. Quiet Riot was formed when I was sixteen. So, from the time we turned twelve, we were pretty happening Musicians. We had our own songs and we made our own music. For three years, that is what we did. It was a cool way to grow up, especially in the summer time because we would virtually play somewhere every single night. We had several names that we called ourselves. If nothing big was going on, we would go over to someone’s house where they would have a few friends over and we would just jam. We never got paid. We never asked for much. We were just content with showing up, maybe having something to drink for free and then just being able to play in front of people. That’s what our ‘thing’ was. We would meet girls at the parties and just basic teenage stuff. It was definitely a good place to bum cigarettes.
Randy and I had three to five drummers that we used to use. We would call them on occasion when we had a gig. We would hear of a party and then track someone down to ask if we could play. They would say ”ya”, and then we would have to find a drummer. We would get on the phone and call this guy or that guy to see if they had any plans for that particular night. Our next obstacle after finding a drummer was finding a car. Luckily, most of our drummers had vans and were much older than we were. Some were even in their thirties. That is how we put all of that together. We had to get a drummer and get transportation. As far as singers would go, we rarely used them. We did everything instrumental. Through the years prior to Quiet Riot, we had two singers that I can remember. We had one girl singer. We had one singer named Smokey. We would frequently go down to the Guitar Center in Hollywood and look at the bulletin board. That was always a really big deal for us. To go down to the Guitar Center and look at that bulletin board! That is where we wrote down Smokey’s name. The post said that he was a singer who was looking for a band. Well, we were looking for a singer and so we called him. Smokey came to Burbank and saw us play. He was blown away! He was like ”wow, look at these two kids!”. We both had really long hair by then and were very accomplished players. We easily blew away people in town who were much older than us.
Smokey was the guy who really introduced us to Hollywood. He was a very tall, gay guy who looked better than most girls. He was gorgeous! He was a singer. He was like the world’s worst singer! But, he was just so cool looking. The time that we spent with Smokey brought Randy and I to a whole new level of somewhere to play. Now, we were playing Hollywood. We called the band Smokey.
We started off playing what was Rodney Bingenheimer’s club which was called Rodney’s English Disco. Rodney was a male groupie type of a person who always wanted to be seen with the rock stars. He opened this club up in Hollywood which was extremely cool looking. I had never seen anything like it before. You would go in there and David Bowie would be sitting there, and sometimes Led Zepplin and Lou Reed. All kinds of rock stars were in there just hanging out. There was no age limit, and that meant that you could literally just walk up the bar and order a beer. This was of course all through the glitter era and so everyone had on glitter. We were all very glittery and everything just shined. We were the house band there for a while and it was a very cool scene. The band eventually broke up.
One day Randy and I were at this girls house named Hillary. She was talking on the phone to one of her girlfriends about some singer named Kevin. I was like, ”singer? Kevin? Who is this guy?”. So, I thought that I would give the girl the third degree and find out some more information on this singer named Kevin. Hillary said that he looked like Rod Stewart, though she had never heard him sing. She didn’t know much about him and so she just gave me his phone number so that I could call him myself. Randy and I called him and spoke to him about what we were looking for. We wanted to check him out and so we went over to his house and took a look at him. Our first thought was that he looked pretty geeky. We didn’t see a whole lot of potential there! Randy and I just sort of looked at each other and rolled our eyes. We immediately started looking for a way to get out of there!
But, Kevin was very persistent We would try avoiding him though he would keep calling us. We reluctantly had him come over to Randys house one day. We went into Randys garage and jammed with Kevin. Kevin was just horrible! Randy and I looked at each other and basically weren’t too suprised. We knew that. After that, he still would not leave us alone. He kept calling and asking ”well, when is our band going to play? When are we going to rehearse?”. We would make up excuse after excuse. We would say things like we had a cold , or one of the amps was blown up, or there was no where to play. He just wouldn’t give up though and kept calling. So, we finally just gave up and said, ”well, let’s see what we can do with him”.
We started working on his singing and gave him a few pointers.
As time went on he actually became a very good singer. He was eventually acceptable and once he was definitely in the band, he took over everything. He ran the whole show. It was fine with Randy and I because up until then I was the one doing everything. He took over us getting a manager, running the band, finding us a place to rehearse, finding us a gig. He was a business man through and through. We just kind of said, ”well, okay. He certainly justifies his involvement here”. It was cool. There was obviously no getting rid of him! We were stuck with him! That was it! He wasn’t going anywhere! Our drummer Drew Forsyth was one of the drummers that we had used through the years. We had decided to permanently bring him into the project. We were then, Quiet Riot.
Kevin came up with the name Quiet Riot. As I recall he heard a guy say that if he ever had a band, he would call it Quiet Riot. He shouldn’t have said that in front of Kevin because Kevin said ”I’m going to have a band and I am going to call it Quiet Riot!”. So, he did. That same guy is probably going, ”wow, you know I said that once. Now it’s a big name!”.
Our first real gig was at what would have been me and Randy’s High School Prom. We had a lot of problems in school with jocks and stuff beating us up because of the way we looked and dressed. We took a lot of heat because of it and so I did not graduate. I just said ”screw this”. I just didn’t want anything to do with school. Randy graduated through the adult school program. I did get a GED also. But, our first gig as Quiet Riot was at the Senior Prom which should have been ours. It was the first place that we had ever played as a group. After we performed we were very acceptable. All of the jocks were really cool with us, and they had all seemed to grow up a little. They had time since it was actually during Junior High where we would get beat up and chased.
The second gig that we did was a Halloween party in Burbank. It turned into a real big riot! It literally turned into a riot! I mean, it was huge. Every cop in Burbank wound up being there because of all the tremendous fights that were going on. There must have been sixty people fighting! All of the people that worked there got broken arms or concussions. Everybody went to the hospital. All the while, we were up there playing. It was pretty scary.
The third place that we played was the Chili Festival. Then from there we started playing the clubs. We would play at the Starwood on Sunday nights and eventually became the house band there through the next four years or some stagnating amount of time. All of this took place over a period of four years. We recorded two albums that were released in Japan. Prior to that we did some stuff that is recorded on the Randy Rhoads Tribute Album from Quiet Riot.
By then I was eighteen or nineteen years old and I decided that I really didn’t like doing what I was doing. I was just ready for a change since I had basically been doing this all of my life. So, I left the band. I became a parametric and did that for many years. Randy didn’t stay with Quiet Riot too much longer. The Ozzy thing came up and he went for that. Then, Randy really wasn’t around much longer. I would hear from him every once in a while through phone calls. A time or two he would come home and I would drive to where he was and hang out with him for a couple of days. He came back to California one time for the Blizzard of Ozz Tour. He showed up a day early and we went out all night. Had a great time. Then, shortly after that visit, he was gone forever.
Randy and I had a very interesting life together. Our upbringing was very unique and was very unlike the upbringing that most kids have. We were kids who were living out their dreams and doing what other kids only dreamed about. We were living it. We were fifteen years old and we had groupies! We were hanging out with rock stars! We were treated like rock stars!
If we weren’t jamming, which is what we did ninety percent of the time, we did little else. This is how we got so good in such a short period of time. We really didn’t do a whole lot else. If we did stop, we would go to a big party and hang out with friends or whatever. Do things that you do at a party. One fun thing that we did was go to thrift stores and look for weird clothes to wear. We liked doing that. Randy had a couple of cars that we used to work on. I look back on that now and think of how strange that was, but we were actually pretty good mechanics. We had junkers for cars and were forced to have to fix them up ourselves.
Randy and I were like a couple of wild party kids and really didn’t acknowledge all the legalities that were occurring around us in Quiet Riot. We were too busy enjoying our youth. I remember these managers that we had, would sit us down with these Lawyers in Beverly Hills. Randy and I would just be like ”what are we doing here? This is so boring!”. They would read these contracts to us and we would just be falling asleep or making faces at each other. It was all just going in one ear and out the other. It meant absolutely nothing to us. Kevin, of course, was all ears. This was his thing. We really depended on Kevin to look after us and he did. And, he did a very good job at it as he did and has done through all of the years of Quiet Riot.
The wildest thing that Randy and I ever did, was there were several neighbors who had these tiny little sport cars that only four people could fit in. We found it great fun to go driving like maniacs through the Canyons in Hollywood Hills. Looking back on it now, it is a wonder that we ever survived! It really is. We would call them ‘runs’.
We didn’t watch a lot of television, but our favorite show was the Beverly Hillbillies. No matter what was happening musically, when that show came on everything else stopped and the Beverly Hillbillies was watched.
I remember how Randy would look at the old Alice Cooper, and his guitar player Glen Buxton. Glen makes a lot of noises and feedback when he plays. He really wasn’t a good player, but he made up for it by putting in a lot of freaky noises. His style was very abstract and not based on musical theory. I was more based on dramatics. Randy was able to gain a lot more from that. That was a major inspiration to him, that you really didn’t have to have training to come up with a unique style. Then, Mick Ronson is another good example. He has never been sited as being a major influence on Randy but I have to say that he definitely did have the most influence on him. Right down to the image. If you have access to the old David Bowie video called Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from mars, you will see an uncanny resemblance between him and Randy. That is very weird. There is Mick Ronson playing a Les Paul with Randys haircut! The magazines always say that he was influenced by Leslie West and all that, which is true, but Mick Ronson was the one. That was the guy!
The last time I saw Randy was when he came here to Las Vegas. He came a day early for the Blizzard of Ozz tour, like I had mentioned earlier. He didn’t have any of his clothes with him since they were all on the bus. He came to my house and I remembered that I had actually borrowed some clothes from him and that I still had in my closet. So, I got them and said ”look, here’s some clothes and they just happen to be yours”. He thanked me for saving them.
We went out and adventured to a bunch of buffets and bars that were there in town. We hooked up with Ozzy and the rest of the band at one of the casinos. They all wanted to see a show but Randy and I decided that we just wanted to hang out together and catch up. We stayed out that whole night and didn’t end it all until 6:00a.m. the next morning.
That was the day that they played at the Aladdin. Randy asked me to come to the show and I said that I would though I had a girl with me. He just said ”well, you have two choices. I have two seats for you in front row center, the best seats in the house, or you can just hang out backstage”. I said that I would just rather hang out backstage and he said ”okay”. When we arrived, he pulled up a big road case on wheels and put it right along the side of the stage where he was. He looked over at me throughout the show. We would make faces at each other and I would make him laugh. It was really cool. Afterwards, we had just enough time to say good-bye and then he was out of there. He was on the bus and the bus was mobbed by people. That was the last time that I saw Randy. It was nice that we had that time together. It was a rare occasion to be able to do that. We just had so much fun! I couldn’t believe how much food we ate while we were together! We were both very skinny and we must have made a visit to three or four buffets. Randy thought that the buffet was the greatest thing he had every seen! He had never seen anything like that before.
I spent more time playing with Randy than anyone has. Randy and I played together for nine years and I am the only person who can say that. I was there when he didn’t even know how to play a lead. I was there when he learned. I was so accustomed to his playing that I got to the point where I really didn’t hear it anymore. It is all these years later when I sit down and listen to these old records and think to myself, ”wow, he was really good”. Because to me, Randy was Randy. He wasn’t the Guitar God that other people are able to appreciate. I can’t view him that way. It is not in me to hear it, see it, or anything. I barely recognize it. It’s kind of weird. But, I just know his style and his music. I am able to picture in my mind his fingers and what they are doing. Mainly, because I spent so many years watching those fingers and doing whatever they were doing. It just really went over my head how good he was. Through all of the years and even with Quiet Riot. He would do this amazing guitar solo and I would hear it and it would just be the same old stuff to me.
I picked up playing the bass very easily. Randy was an excellent teacher. It became a matter of watching his fingers. Whatever his hands did, my hands did. That’s how he taught me. He said that the guitar is just like bass, which it is. If his finger was there, then go there. It became a matter of copying him. That is why over the years of playing with him, I could anticipate where his fingers were going and I knew what he was going to do. That is probably why we played so well together. He could literally say to me, ”I learned a new song today”, and I would say ”okay, let’s do it. Don’t teach it to me, let’s just do it”. He would play it and I would play right along with him. It is not that hard of a trick for anyone to learn. I was an accomplished player after about a year. Maybe even six months. We were then playing in front of people.
Mrs. Rhoads helped out in a lot of ways. She owned a music school. One of the problems that Randy and I had was being able to play loud somewhere and not have the cops called out on us for disturbing the neighbors. Or, we would disturb his brother or sister. Disturbing anything! So, Mrs. Rhoads had this band called the Six Musonians. They were a real goofy band and were the kind of guys that wore ties with short sleeve shirts. Real nerdy. They played big band music and the deal was, if we wanted to play down at her school, undisturbed and as loud as we wanted, we had to play with the Six Musonians. The idea of having to play with them was degrading and demoralizing to Randy and I but that was the deal. If you want to play loud, the Six Musonians want you! So, it was like a trade off. These guys had real thick glasses and were all real goofballs. Complete nerds. They were all scared to death of Randy and I. They played mainly brass instruments and so Randy and I played back up. Mrs. Rhoads gave us some sheet music that we had to read off of and play. Neither of us knew how to read music and so we would just fake it all the way through. That was the deal though. If you play with the Six Musonians, you can then go into the big room and play as loud as you want for an hour or two. So, Randy and I forced ourselves to play with the Six Musonians.
Occasionally, Mrs. Rhoads would recruit me to play bar mitzvah’s and things like that. I would make about five dollars playing at a bar mitzvah. That was probably the most money that I ever made playing music. Playing with the Six Musonians!
Randy started teaching when he was about sixteen. He made pretty good money. He had forty to fifty students a week and made about five or six dollars a lesson. Back then, that was a lot of money for a sixteen year old kid. Probably more money than most adults were making full time.
When we were in Hollywood, the cool thing to do was to fake an English accent. It was cool to be from England and so all of the poser types would be walking around with these fake English accents. We would make fun of that like crazy! If some chick came up to us and started talking with an English accent, Randy and I would just look at each other and start cracking up! They would never figure out what was so funny! We would just be rolling on the floor laughing! We would finally clue them in and say ”nice accent, how long have you had it, an hour?”. They weren’t fooling us!
The real funny thing about all of it is Randy developed his own English accent after spending so much time in England with Ozzy Osbourne. He couldn’t help it! When he came to see me, he had this English accent. I just kept looking at him and going ”your kidding right?”. He was so embarrassed that he turned bright red and said ”I can’t help it, I just can’t help it!”. I would just make fun of him saying things like ”well, I had better talk that way too. I don’t want to feel left out”. I gave him such a hard time about that. He was almost in tears because he couldn’t stop doing it. That was the extent of our conversation about how he liked living in England.
Randy really wasn’t a ladies man. As a matter of fact, the last time we were together he said that he could count all of his past girlfriends on one hand. I just couldn’t believe that because here he was this big rock star in a giant rock band. It was unheard of! He just wasn’t the kind of guy to go pick up girls. The relationships that he did have were quite long. He really wasn’t into the whole relationship, dating thing at all. Girls were really into him! They loved Randy! They would throw him on the ground and just be all over him. I lost so many girlfriends to Randy! I would meet a girl and everything would be going along just fine until he came along. All of a sudden, the girl and I would be having all of these problems and I would ask, ”what’s wrong?”. The girl would turn to me and ask ”does Randy have a girlfriend?”. That happened to me all the time! I could never bring any girls to meet him. I would get really mad at him and he would be like, ”what did I do?”. I would look at him and say ”God damn it! You did it again!”. He never encouraged it or anything either. All he had to do was talk to the girl and BANG! It was all over. She was hit. Then, I would find out that the girl would call his house and show up at his front door. I was like, ”what is the deal here?”.
I laugh all the time at the things we use to do. All of the memories. We were very avid practical jokers. No one was safe! We were pretty daring and creative too. We were really into crashing parties. Not just any party either. We are talking Beverly Hills parties. I personally, crashed Hugh Hefners party. I went to the Playboy Mansion on New Years Eve and actually got in! Not many people can do that. I was there the entire night and didn’t get thrown out until 5:00a.m. the next morning. I hung out with Rod Stewert the entire night. I tried to explain to him who I was but he was so wasted that he really didn’t care. His girlfriend had him on a short leash that night, yelling at him if he dared to look at another female. So, he felt pretty safe sitting there with a young, zit faced kid all night.
Randy and I would just go driving around the hills, looking for these rich parties to crash. We would knock on the door and just say ”hi”, like we knew everybody there. They would all be looking at us funny, but we were such good actors that they rarely ever looked twice. Occasionally, we would get kicked out right away, but for the most part we got in without a hitch. We would always do things that weren’t very nice. We would get a bunch of food and sneak upstairs to their bedrooms and hide it in their drawers and inside their shoes. We would do all of these things that we knew we would never be a witness to the outcome of. We would never get to go ”ha, ha, that guy just put his shoe on and there was an egg inside!”. We just thought that it was hilarious that someday, that was going to happen. But, usually by the time we left the party, we had completely forgotten what we had done.
In Quiet Riot, we really didn’t play jokes on Kevin. Kevin didn’t have much of a sense of humor back then. Now, you can get away with anything on Kevin. You can terrorize him now, where certainly back then you could not. Kevin and I were on bad terms back then anyhow. We did not get along at all. So, I couldn’t play a joke on Kevin without him punching me in the face. If I played a joke on Kevin, he took it as a major offense towards him. No matter how innocent the joke, it just wasn’t funny. I could put a sign on his back that said something funny or crude and he would just walk around with it on for the longest time before noticing what everybody was laughing about. When he did figure out what was so funny, I got slugged. Randy thought that was hilarious! No, we just didn’t mess with Kevin too much back then. Anybody else, look out!
We had special names for most everybody. They could never figure out why we called them that certain name. Then, other people would hear Randy and I calling that person a name and so they would start calling them that same name. That person could never figure out why everybody was calling them that name and nobody else really knew either. The only people who knew were Randy and I. People would ask the guy, ”hey, why does everybody call you that?”. The person would be like ”I don’t know. Those two guys over there call me that and now everybody is calling me that. I don’t know what it means”.
Like I said before, Randy and I had the greatest upbringing. Our parents were very supportive of what we wanted to do and what we were doing. They gave us our freedom which is always very important. They would help us buy equipment and go see us play at the Starwood. They continued to support us even though we were totally out of control. They obviously could not control us so they just gave up and hoped for the best.
The most important thing that could be said about Randy is how humble he was. He had no idea how good he was. He didn’t think of it that way. He didn’t look at how good am I, he looked at how good can I be. What he did accomplish truly didn’t please him. What he did never left a big impression with him. It was just something that he had done, then it was onto something else. That is why you hear people say ”Randy didn’t want these Quiet Riot recordings to be released”. I have to say, that is totally ridiculous. It is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard in my life. It is just not true. It is like some big shot football quarterback saying ”gee, I hope that nobody ever finds out that I played football in high school”. You would just never hear one of those guys say something like that. Of course you played football in high school! Then, say somebody shows a video of that person in high school throwing a pass and hitting the referee in the head. It wouldn’t mortify people! That is how I see Randy listening to those tapes. They are not bad at all. You are listening to a seventeen year old kid playing. Now, you show me a seventeen year old that can play like that! There aren’t any. So, it is ridiculous to say that Randy would be embarrassed by those old Quiet Riot recordings. Randy would understand the need for the band to have stuff like that out there. Kevin needs to keep his name out there. It was nice for me to finally have the Japanese things in somewhat of a format so that people here could purchase them. A big baring on the Quiet Riot tribute coming out was all of these fans showing up at Randys grave sight with these bootleg CD’s of our Japanese records that they paid $150.00 for! That is the main reason why Mrs. Rhoads decided to endorse the album.
Few people can die and still live on the way Randy has. It’s easy to be a legend if your famous. As much as he was a legendary Guitarist, he was a great human being as well. People still gather at the San Bernadino grave sight on his birthday and the day that he died. The day that he died draws the most people. The amount of people does seem to be lingering as the years go by. There use to be about fifty or sixty people who showed up, though now it is more like twenty. The people still come from very far away. Several travel all the way from Japan. I go there for the family and for the fans. As far as I am concerned, Randy is here, with me, everyday.
Musical Artist/Singer/Songwriter/Guitarist for American Power Metal Band
I don’t recall the year when I discovered Randy Rhoads, but it was after his death unfortunately. I was partying with some people in a park and my drummer that I had just met put a tape in his stereo. It was a live bootleg of Ozzy with Randy. Everything just stopped for fragments of time and I was transported away to this wonderful realm. I was like, ”who is that on guitar!”. He proceeded to tell me about Randy. I was already familiar with Ozzy through the Black Sabbath days, but hadn’t followed his career. I had admired Sabbath, but was not a huge Ozzy fan until my association with this drummer, and his constant playing of that tape and other albums that Randy Rhoads appeared on. It ingrained his guitar playing into my being. It was as if his soul came ripping through the speakers that very first time that I heard the tape. It was beyond any other guitar work I had heard then or since. Randy truly spoke to me.
Randy definitely is my guitar idol. I don’t strive to sound like him so much as I do to be like him, which is a very lofty goal. He had far more love for his instrument than I think I will ever have. When I loose focus, I immediately think of Randy and it pulls me back in line. But, while I think it’s flattering to his memory to learn and copy every lick of his and try to sound just like him, I think that Randy would have preferred we take the art that he created and use it for inspiration. You know ‘don’t imitate, innovate’. To me, it would be an insult to his sheer genius to try and sit down and copy everything note for note and become a Randy clone, and nothing beyond that which reflects your own soul. I am not knocking those who do, I am just saying that for me, I think he would have just wanted us to take his knowledge and incorporate it into our various different styles. There is only one Randy Rhoads and never will there be another. I would hope that his purity and self effacing personality along with his tendency would be as much an impact on everyone else as it has been on me. He was so far beyond just being a rock star.
To me, Randy is a symbol of constantly striving to do more, be more with your instrument. Music to Randy was more like a lover than a means to stardom. He nurtured it and loved it. I have a picture of Randy that I keep with me for inspiration.
Even beyond just music, there was just something him. He was such a gentle, peaceful soul. His thirst for knowledge was genuine and honest. Guitar was not a science to him as it winds up being to so many virtuosos. It was an honorable, chaste, untainted art form. He was a genius. That same brilliance will always be evident to people. True genius never dies.
I began a web page on the Internet dedicated to Randy Rhoads. When I started my page there were only four others out there that I had found and two of those quickly folded. The sites that were up had very little information and were largely take-off’s of each other. One had some pretty nice photos. I just came up with my small tribute page and it’s linked in my music links hoping that the curious will check it out and read the interviews that I found and typed on it. I have also added some links to some other sites that have some very extensive information now. I was so glad to see those out there.
I offer a metal award for sites on the web, and was very quick to award the people who took the time to research and share their knowledge of Randy with us. I created a special Celtic cross that appears next to the links, that is my REMEMBER RANDY RHOADS graphic. If we can keep him in the public eye, his legacy will only continue to grow. To me, that is the most important thing. We cannot allow the memory of Randy and his accomplishments die. He is very much alive through his music.
I know that I keep going back to Randys stellar guitar work, but I can’t help that being a Guitarist myself. His lead work was just phenomenal and it’s not just his dexterity. The way he could go from a classical run into a blues riff with such ease and smoothness. The leads always sore so well with the music. With some Guitarists, the lead is just an afterthought, and not much actual thought has been put into it, yet they are touted as being so astounding. If you sit down and dissect the songs that Randy has done and all the sections, it’s just so full of heart and soul along with exceptional skill level. That is a wicked combination. Most have one or the other. To be able to achieve both and do it so well? I am just in awe of his talent.
The team of Randy and Ozzy was just extraordinary. His loss was such a tragedy. Imagine where Ozzy’s music would be right now if Randy were still alive. I mean, even if Randy had left the band in order to pursue other projects, you know that he would still be looming in Ozzy’s music. I’m sure he’d have quest solo-ed. They were so tight and that is what gave their music such depth and beauty. Two souls flying free and dancing on the edge of hell. They created such memorable, undying music together. It still hurts to think about he tragic impact that his death had on Ozzy Osbourne. It is so obvious that a piece of him died along with Randy. They seemed so close. We all suffered from the loss, though you can tell that it really affected Ozzy.
That very first song that I heard was ‘Suicide Solution’ with that astounding, ripping solo in it. That made such a huge impression on my psyche. I would have to say that ‘Suicide Solution’ is my favorite song followed by ‘Mr. Crowley’ and of course, ‘Dee’. ‘Dee’ is touching and has such a pure, medieval flair to it. It’s just gorgeous in it’s technical simplicity.
Of course, ‘Good-Bye To Romance’ is a favorite. Having heard Ozzy talk about how this song was created and how Randy urged him to get that tune out and work on it. That he was insistently humming the song also showed that he allowed Ozzy to be Ozzy and because of that, some wonderful music came into being during that creative period. That is the sign of an excellent partnership. When your partner opens you up and doesn’t try to keep you in a well established box. So, there is one more superb characteristic of Randy. The ability to bring out greatness in others he touched.
I ask all who read this to please hold Randy dear in your hearts and minds and turn as many others onto him as you can. His legacy should live on forever for his accomplishments, his sheer love of the guitar, his beauty and his gentle soul. He was a genius, pure and simple. The world of heavy metal music is a much richer place for our having been blessed by his presence.
Randy Rhoads Admirer
I saw the Blizzard of Ozz tour and was really blown away by Randys playing. I was in high school at the time and just beginning to mess around with playing the guitar. This show was definitely the catalyst for my continuing love of playing guitar. A few months later I was called by a friend and he told me that he had just heard that Randy was killed. It was really a sad day. I was going to see the Diary of a Madman tour in just a few weeks. I spent that night making black arm bands to pass out at school the next day. To this day, I still study Randy’s work as a tool for learning and simply because I love his stuff so much. I am not a professional Musician, just a fanatic guitar hobbyist. I own several guitars including a Jackson Rhoads offset V.
I wouldn’t be able to give an objective opinion about how the music scene was changed by Randy. I was young at the time and these albums shaped my view of music. It would be a very skewed opinion. Looking back now, I can see that Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman were a major part of what began the metal scene of the early eighties. Listening to Randy certainly inspired me to want to play. His playing nailed exactly what I was searching for. It was like a person searching for something and then finally finding it. It was so good that you tended to listen to it again and again.
Obviously, his music is his lasting accomplishment. There is so little we know about Randy other than his music. His works are my Bible of guitar knowledge and I tend to quote different passages for different reasons and occasions.
I listen to your laughter
Blowing in the wind
The big bow-tied court jester
Is at his tricks again
Not a day passes
When I don’t think of you
The pranks you use to play
The trouble we’ve been through
Oh how I miss your laughter
My heart will never mend
So I’ll keep on the Riot
And think of you, my friend.
Musical Artist/lead singer of Quiet Riot/best friend to Randy Rhoads
I am a huge Humble Pie fan and I went to see them play in 1975 in San Diego, California. The show had cancelled so I came back home and there was a message for me that said ‘Randy from Smokey’s band called and wants you to call him’. So, not knowing what this was about, I called Randy and we discussed his situation. There was this guy named Smokey who was a singer in a band that Randy and Kelly were in. They use to play in a club called Rodney’s English Disco in Hollywood. Kelly and Randy had left the band and were told about me through a mutual friend. They were told that I was a singer. Randy and I started talking on the phone and he told me that he was a guitar player and it just turned out that we both had a lot in common. We then got together. It was funny because when I first heard him play, he was actually playing the songs that were eventually on the first Quiet Riot album. All with a little guitar amp and a Gibson SG. He was pretty amazing. We just started playing in the garage of his mom’s house. Randy gave me my first guidance as a singer. I was singing really low and he suggested that I try singing a bit higher.
The way that you hear him play later on is actually pretty much how he played early on as well. We soon became Quiet Riot.
Our first real band argument was that Randy and Kelly wanted to play a lot of Alice Cooper stuff and I wasn’t a big fan of Alice Cooper. Also, Randys girlfriend at the time had a big influence on the decision making that was happening in the band. I was like ”hey, why is she making decisions when she is not even in the band?”. I certainly brought the business sense into the band that was most definitely lacking. I actually shook things up a bit at the time. Randy and Kelly were just kids. I was eighteen, but still had a business sense. We finally got things organized.
The first thing that we realized was that we needed a place to rehearse. Somebody I had known mentioned this guy named Dennis who owned a plumbing company. He had a studio built behind his house where he would let us rehearse for free. He knew that we didn’t have any money. He also became our manager. He got us a recording in Sound City in Venice where we did our first demo. We recorded three songs. This was the summer of 1975. We really pressed ourselves with this single. Soon, we realized that the manager was not getting us from point A to point B, and so we let him go. We were then picked up by this company called GTO. They wanted to manage Quiet Riot and they really helped form our image. An example of that is the polka dot bow tie that Randy wore.
In 1978, in the middle of recording Quiet Riot Two, Kelly Garni decided to leave the band. His final show with us was at the Santa Monica Civic Center, opening for Angel. Rudy Sarzo joined the band and stayed from 1978-1979. We did some demo’s with Rudy and just kept trying to get a record deal but the trend was so against what we were doing. Van Halen was the only band that was getting anything.
In October of 1979, Dana Strum from Slaughter asked Randy to audition for Ozzy Osbourne. Randy auditioned and he got the gig. Randy did his final show with Quiet Riot the weekend of October 29, 1979. At that point, Randy left for England with Ozzy. He went back and forth a few times. Rudy left the band soon after Randy and went to play with Ozzy. We did a reunion gig in February of 1980 and were supposed to do another gig though Randys management with Ozzy Osbourne would not allow it. Our friendship was very strong until he bailed on that show. We didn’t talk for about three months.
I bought a new car and Randy had heard about it. He showed up one day at my house and asked me to take him for a ride. I was still pretty mad at him though he wasn’t at all mad at me. He was in a situation with those people where they really ruled with an iron fist. We started talking and I soon just realized that he and I were best friends and there was no point in being angry any longer. You can’t expect for people to be the way you are and if that were the case, you would probably always be disappointed. We became friends again. We were always very close friends though in a different way than him and Kelly. Randy just loved Kelly. They had that childhood closeness and Randy just absolutely adored Kelly. Kelly was the one person who could really make Randy laugh hard.
I enjoyed my entire experience with Randy Rhoads. He was a really funny guy and I don’t think that is said enough. He was totally hilarious and just a great person.
Musical Atrist/guitarist/songwriter for French
My first encounter with Randy was when I was probably about three years old. My sisters and their friends use to listen to Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman around 1981 and 1982. It was when Randy was still alive. I remember the music, but Randy meant nothing to me at the time. After all, I was only about three years old. The first time that I recognized Randy for himself as well as his music, was through a taped copy of the Tribute album by Ozzy Osbourne. What caught my attention at the first listen was actually all of the instruments coming together so perfectly. I was just starting to get interested in the guitar, so I didn’t know what to pick out of the music as far as the guitar was concerned. Shortly after I bought the Tribute album and I bought my first guitar. Things happened so fast after listening to the Tribute album. It was almost like instinct. It was like the music had a message for me, which is weird because I wasn’t in tune with the guitar at that time, but just hearing it subconsciously told me to learn from him. I can’t really explain it because I’m unsure myself what caused my sudden interest in the guitar.
His inspiration lives on more than fifteen years after his death and will continue to live on for several reasons. The most important is his dedication. This can only be seen through the people who can see Randy through his playing. Some people, even big Randy Rhoads fans, only see Randy as a great guitar player and try to play everything note for note like he did. Then, they think that they will be as good as he was. Well, I don’t even consider people like that to be true Guitarists. A Guitarist to me, is someone who can create music from what they feel. If you try to make a song for it’s technical involvement on the guitar, you are just mocking the sound and style of past Guitarists. Yes, they might make a name for themselves, but the true Musicians will not respect them and I feel that the respect of a true Musician is what everybody who is trying to make it in the music business strives for. My definition of a true Musician is someone who let’s every ounce of talent out the window and plays from pure heart and emotion. Randy had the talent and the emotion, and the feeling he put into his music just made that talent stronger. He is a Musician because he had the ability to use his talent and his emotion together for the ultimate blend of music.
Randys style differs from any other Guitarist, especially Eddie Van Halen, for the exact reason that I mentioned before. Eddie plays the same music and has been for twenty years. It just doesn’t seem to have any feeling to it. It’s just Eddies style and it sells records and so he continues to play it. With Randy, he played whatever he felt was right. He took the chance. That sold, too. It didn’t just sell records though, it sold on the ones who make music what it is, the Musicians. The people who don’t just play music,, but create music. Put simple, Guitarists play music and Musicians create music. Every person who feels a certain way about a song, such as a couple having ‘their’ song or a person thinking of a loved one while listening to a certain song, feels that way because the Musician intended the song to give people an emotional outlet. Guitarists who just play to impress will only impress other Guitarists.
Randy was so musically inclined that a drummer, a singer or another guitar player can learn an awful lot more from Randy. That has to be his biggest musical achievement. He can appeal to anyone in music, not just a guitar player. His knowledge of musical theory is something that any Musician of any kind could learn from and use in their style of music. I see the closest Guitarist to Randy as being Jimmy Page. He didn’t care what anyone thought, and just played from the heart. Even though his playing didn’t have the perfection that Randys did, he has the right mind set when he plays. Pure feeling and emotion. That is the essence of a Musician. Jimmy has the knowledge also. Producing all of the albums as well as playing them. Even though Randy did not produce, his knowledge goes far beyond anyone that I have ever seen in music. In reality, music is what keeps us going. Think of a world without music….I can’t.
Randy Rhoads Admirer
I first heard about Randy when my best friend bought the Blizzard of Ozz album and told me that I had to listen to it. I feel that Randy had a tremendous impact on the entire music scene. He was no wanna-be and he was a real Musician who set the standard for those who followed. He greatly influenced me in my personal guitar playing and I learned many valuable things by just listening to his music. I learned to take time with a song and make it into something more than a song. Something that make you and other people happy.
I feel that Randy just touches so many people. His music doesn’t just capture people because it’s fast. Yes, that is very cool. But it is more of the way he did it. He played with his heart and with so much passion. If you don’t have those two things then you shouldn’t be playing music. I am only seventeen and I am a Musician according to the people who hear me play. I play my guitar whenever I am awake, so basically all day long. It is sad though because some people think that just because I am young, I can’t play. But, studying Randy Rhoads and his music along with other various Artists, has helped me develop into the Guitarist that I am today.
Music Artist/nationally known as the drummer for the band Black Sabbath
I first heard of Randy Rhoads through Ozzy Osbourne. Ozzy and I, at that point in our relationship would talk to each other fairly regularly and he would just be raving about this new Guitarist that he was working with. He would often talk about Randy in the sense that he was a good kid and a kick ass guitar player. A lot of nice things. I almost got to know Randy through Ozzy. It was like a medium or something. Ozzy only had good things to say about Randy. I know that Randy was very important to Ozzy. I think that one of the things that Randy did was almost come into an era. Almost a post Sabbath era where there had been a ten or twelve year period of rock and heavy metal that was, in a sense, almost disciplined. It was regular. It was an era of ‘records will come out and then there will be rock shows’. I think that during the time period where Sabbath first started to break up, at least from my own experiences, at that point it seemed like there was a lot of chaos. It also seemed like there were a lot of bands that were arriving and were playing a sudal metal kind of feel. Randy came into an era where he almost sort of picked up the baton. I felt that Randy was unlike any other Guitarist that I had listened to at that time. He seemed like a very serious Musician and he seemed to know where his roots were. I could feel that in his guitar playing. I think that it was one of the most important things about him. It just felt so real. I think that he also invented some really good things. He was so much like a pioneer by himself and unto himself. He carried some extremely well known songs which are now legendary. The music scene was so chaotic at the time and Randy came in and was like an anchor. He held something. Ozzy has a sound in his voice that is like no other. Ozzy’s sound is Ozzy’s sound. I feel that Randy enhanced Ozzy’s voice and the entire band for that matter. I think that Ozzy’s earlier work was pretty incredible. There is a lot of stuff there that I particularly like.
When Randy died, Ozzy shared a lot with me. I went through, with Ozzy, the loss of Randy Rhoads. I would just listen to whatever it was that Ozzy wanted to share. Often, he would reflect on what a good player he was and how much he missed him. He would just talk about the loss, and this was well after Randys death when these conversations took place. So, in that sense, I felt that I was a part of the grieving process. That was a reality for me and it was my only real attachment to Randy, which was through Ozzy.
Music Artist/Guitarist for Bill Ward
That sound in Crazy Train really caught my attention. Randy had a real fuzzy tone, much different than what Black Sabbath had done. They were much darker and Randy had a much brighter sounding distortion. Randy was a very clean player. You can just hear every note that he plays and he is so innovated. His sound. He has most certainly inspired me as a Musician.
I think that the Blizzard of Ozz was a great accomplishment for Randy. That whole album was great. ‘Crazy Train’ is the one song that sticks out in my mind as being my favorite Randy Rhoads song. I’ve played it before, though my sound is so much different than his. He had a real bright sound where mine is a Tony Iommi meets Van Halen meets Eric Clapton sound. A much darker, more looser sound.
Music Artist/Drummer for Bill Ward
Randy Rhoads was one of the new up and coming rock guitar greats. He was unique in his own technique and style. His death was a tragic loss to us all.
Randy Rhoads Admirer
I went to see the Blizzard of Ozz tour on August 29, 1981 in South Bend, Indiana. I was backstage before the concert and Def Leppard was warming up. It was wild. I remember that Randy was hanging out , sitting on the side of a building on a cement walk. Everyone was saying ”there’s Def Leppards guitar player” and I just kept saying ”man, that ain’t Def Leppards guitar player”. I had never seen what Ozzy’s guitar player looked like. At the time, Randy just looked like some little girl sitting over there. When Ozzy came out, Randy walked out to. I was like ”wow, that is the same guy that was backstage!”. Ozzy walked off stage through the song ‘I don’t know’ and Randy stayed and just jammed with the rest of the band. The crowd was excellent! They did not play ‘Crazy Train’ and I can remember that there was a big write up in the paper the next day head lining ‘Ozzy’s Blizzard was a big snow job!’. The paper praised the instrumental.
Music Artist/Guitarist for Seer’s Tear
I first discovered the Blizzard of Ozz album in 1983, like most people I suspect. At the time I only heard new and exciting music. I was eleven and had no classical listening background at all. I am still trying to contextualize all of what Randy is doing on those songs today. Randy was a classical Musician. He brought these skills, such as knowledge of musical theory, and combined them with the pure energy of rock in a way that no one had ever done before, or has since in my opinion.
He also revitalized Ozzy’s career. Imagine Blizzard of Ozz or Diary of a Madman without Randys input and sound. It just wouldn’t have happened. I am sure that Ozzy would be the first to acknowledge that.
I remember reading a print of one of the small number of interviews that Randy did in one of the American guitar magazines. Randy said that he always played through everything completely clean before adding distortion. I think that he referred to distortion as fuzz. He said that some players use distortion partly to mask their faults. This idea really stuck with me as that was exactly what I was doing at the time.
Randy was constantly wanting to study and improve himself and others around him. He was a very well rounded performer, paying attention to all aspects of his art, both on tape and in concert, guitar tone, rhythm playing, effects, multi tracking and especially his acoustic playing were all developed and focussed on. This concentration on the wider picture rather than just how many notes per second that he could play should be inspirations to us all. Although some heavy metal music has dated very badly, the melodies and approach that Randy used are very much timeless. He was an innovator and an originator, and is remembered as such.
I am in England and Randys popularity here is not as high as he deserves it to be. At least not as high as it is in the United States or Japan. Ozzy still has a high profile mainly due to Black Sabbath and his ‘madman’ image. Knowledge of the albums with Randy seem very confined to people who like metal in the eighties.
The musical jump from Quiet Riot to Ozzy was amazing. In am not knocking Quiet Riot, but Randy seemed to develop so much during his short time with Ozzy. I love all of Randy’s music, though if I have to narrow it down to two, it would be ‘Revelation Mother Earth’ and ‘Mr. Crowley’. I have to say that the improvised fade out on ‘Tonight’ is also a stroke of genius!
Musical Artist/Guitarist/Lyricist for Broken Hope
I don’t remember how old I was when I first heard Randy. I was ten or something like that. I had some Black Sabbath stuff and was listening to hard rock. I saw the album cover to Ozzy Osbourne’s Blizzard of Ozz and thought ”wow, this looks pretty heavy”. That was basically when I first got to hear Randy Rhoads. I loved that album. I heard the solo in ‘Crazy Train’ and had never heard anybody play like that! I just thought that Randy was totally awesome! When your a kid, you think that people in heavy metal bands have the most coolest names. You know, like Ozzy Osbourne and now Randy Rhoads. There was just something about that name! It just sounded right. He had the right name, the right look and he played that guitar like nobody else could!
I play the guitar myself and am still finding out things about Randy Rhoads that I never knew before. I guess that he doubled all of his solos? Note for note? He would do two solo tracks in the studio. That was amazing! You hear solos like ‘Crazy Train’, and ‘I Don’t Know’ and it’s like totally shredding. When you hear them, it’s just perfect. There’s a million guitar players out there who are real shredders and whatnot, but Randy just had that ability to put down a solo that was not only memorable, but he did so with such perfection. He was amazing. He was almost like the Michael Jordan of guitar players.
I think that one of Randys greatest accomplishments was giving the entire world such fabulous music. I think that perhaps having the time to record his work and share it with everyone is a great accomplishment. Unfortunately, it seems that these great, gifted people who are just shining stars and who captivate people, are taken away from us much too young. You always wonder what they would be doing now. I, personally being a fan of guitar playing am very thankful for what he was able to do while he was here. I am thankful for what he has given to me, personally.
I think that Randy was really ahead of his time. When Blizzard of Ozz came out, it was before a lot of these heavy metal bands made it big. If you listen to his playing, you can almost hear a million people who are now trying to imitate that sound. It is not just someone who is producing music. This is someone who really put honest feeling into every single note. This is before MTV and before a lot of radio stations would play that kind of stuff. This was a guy who not only played heavy metal music, but a lot of other kinds of music as well. There is a lot of melodies and a lot of feeling in his music. He introduced classical music to heavy metal. I don’t think that there have been that many people who have been able to do that. He certainly set a standard for other Guitarists. He was a great, gifted person.
Randy Rhoads Admirer
It was the early eighties when I first heard of Randy Rhoads. I was fifteen. He really introduced classical music to heavy metal. I played the bass guitar and he sort of taught me how to ‘fly’ when I was playing a solo. He was the best! He could play all kinds of music. Blues, jazz, heavy metal, classical, you name it.
I live in Sweden. Randy is still number one here but the new generation only knows Randy as one of Ozzy’s Guitarists. They should know better!
Dyckson Dyorgio Dolla
Randy Rhoads Admirer
I discovered Randy Rhoads when I listened to Ozzy’s live Tribute album to Randy. I always read things about how good his talents were. I grabbed a copy of the Tribute, listened to it and wondered how a person could make such beautiful music like that. His solos were absolutely wonderful, especially ‘Mr. Crowley’ and ‘Suicide Solution’.
I guess that a lot of Musicians tried to follow his steps especially after his death. It’s sad, but some artists become more famous after their death. Maybe it’s my problem, but when I listen to these new artists, I see a little shadow of Randy there. I guess that after his demise, some people started to pay attention to his music.
I live in Brazil and I haven’t read much interviews with Brazilian Bands. I did read where one Guitarist mentioned Randy as his inspiration. It’s strange, but in Brazil, we have more contact with outside bands than our own. Brazilian bands aren’t really heavy at all.
Musical Artist/Guitarist for Roxx Gang
I was just a kid when I first heard of Randy. I think that I was eleven or twelve. I was on my way to school and I had a walkman on and was listening to the radio. Anyway, they played ‘Crazy Train’ and I heard the guitar solo and was blown away! I thought ”who the fuck is that?”. I soon picked up Blizzard of Ozz. Need I say more?
Randys playing was definitely revolutionary. Sure Eddie Van Halen was out but Randy had such a different approach. No matter what kind of guitar player you are, I think that Randy made an impact on everyone. He was the first guy to incorporate classical notes in his rock n’ roll guitar. The guy was fucking flawless! I am sure that he is still influencing a ton of guitar players as we speak!
My main influences consisted of Jimi Hendrix, Ace Frehley, Joe Perry and Johnny Thunders, but Randy definitely had an impact on my playing. I definitely stole a few licks here and there.
I grew up in Toronto and I remember when I was about fifteen, the main radio station, Q-107, played live concerts on Friday nights. One night they played live Ozzy from the Diary of a Madman tour. I freaked! Needless to say, I taped it off the radio. I believe that the show was actually from Toronto. The Maple Leaf Gardens. They played about seven or eight songs. God, I wish I still had those tapes! Anyway, Randys sound and playing was so fucking intense. I remember listening to his guitar solo over and over and over again in complete astonishment!
The amazing thing about Randy is that you can still listen to his records today and feel the magic of his playing. It’s timeless, just like Hendrix. He was a genius way before his time. I am sure that is often said about Randy.
I think that Randys most memorable accomplishment was just his overall playing in general. I still listen to his leads and am blown away! Randy and Ozzy were great together. They wrote some really good music. Randy definitely gave new meaning to heavy metal guitar playing. His style will always be priceless.
Randy Rhoads Admirer
I first heard Randy when the Blizzard of Ozz record came out. I think that I was fourteen years old. I remember my uncle, who also plays guitar and got me started on guitar, called me up one day and said ”you have to listen to this record! You have to hear this guy play guitar on this record! It is unbelievable!”. So, I took a listen and I was just blown away! The only other guitar player that impressed me at that time was Eddie Van Halen. I thought that Eddie was great and everything, but there was something special about Randy Rhoads that just caught my ear.
Randy had tremendous influence on me in my guitar playing. The first couple of years that I was playing, I pretty much just took lessons form a local teacher from the town where I grew up. I was just learning your basic chords and open chord formations. I wasn’t really at the point where I could learn songs or pick up things from other players. When I first heard the Blizzard of Ozz record, all I wanted to do was learn every song from it. It was a goal of mine and to this day I still listen to that stuff. Sometimes I go through slumps and I get bored with my playing. I will then just pick up those old records, put them on and listen to them. It gives me inspiration to play and maybe come up with something new and get some new ideas for things.
At the time when he came around, there really wasn’t too many guys that were playing or incorporating classical music into rock n’ roll or heavy metal. I would say that Randy was a pioneer of that style. He would incorporate classical lines, scales and feel into a lot of their songs. His guitar playing on certain songs can be compared to violin playing. Just because of how flowing and staccato it is.
Musical Artist/Vocalist for the band Windigo
I was a little too young to remember when Randy first started with Ozzy. It must have been 1981 or 1982 when I first started to get into Randy Rhoads. I actually discovered Ozzy before I discovered Black Sabbath. I knew who Randy Rhoads was before I knew who Tony Iommi was. I remember how skinny Randy was and I can remember thinking that it was so cool. I was an eleven or twelve year old kid who was into sports, seeing this guy who was so skinny yet such a bad ass in the way that he played that guitar! It was kind of like that episode in the Simpsons where Bart imagines the whole rock n’ roll thing and he’s getting drunk when all of a sudden you hear ”it use to be about he music”. Then Bart is like ”woa, cool”. That’s kind of how it was for me because I was just like ”woa, this guy is just so bad ass and thin!”. This was my visual image of Randy Rhoads. He just had that rocker sheik.
I was playing the trumpet at the time and wasn’t singing or anything but I did know music. It was right around that time when I really got into music. I began to get really obsessed with it. The walls in my room were just covered with posters and pullouts from Cream and Hit Parader magazine. I had that stuff all over my room. I was amazed and intrigued with rock n’ roll, even before I was playing.
I think that there is kind of a time line with guitarists with their fans where there is a question of who is the best and who is the most famous. I grew up in New York, and Kiss was just massive there when I was young. I can just remember kids getting really angry and almost to the point of violence with the question of who was the best guitarist, Ace Frehley or Jimmy Page? It was very intense and those were all of the older kids who would be arguing about that. Then it was passed down to my generation, where there was Randy Rhoads or Eddie Van Halen? It wasn’t so violent with us, though it was very important. Which songs displayed their best and which songs did they show off the best? It would just constantly go back and forth. I had a best friend who was so into Randy Rhoads and then my other friend was into Eddie Van Halen. It was difficult.
It was really cool though because it gave you the opportunity to really get to know the songs. Even if you weren’t a guitarist, you would know things like the thirty second bridge in an Ozzy song, where as you may not know all the lyrics. You could basically play air guitar to it. These battles between who is or was the best is a real legacy since it has been strung out over the years. In the early seventies it would have been Jimmy Page, and then in the later seventies it would have been Ace Frehley, and then it went to Eddie Van Halen, and then finally to Randy Rhoads. Randy was the next in line of guitar wizards.
Even though Randy experienced such a short time in making records, I think that the body of work speaks beyond. In regards to the amount of songs that are still remembered. Every kid that picks up a guitar today learns ‘Crazy Train’ or ‘Mr. Crowley’, and this is so many years after these songs first came out. It is kind of like a right of passage that every guitarist has to go through. To go through Randy Rhoads’ work. Every rock guitarist goes through it. It is like, if you haven’t to a certain degree, learned Randy’s stuff, you are not a rock guitarist. Since it is something that you learn at the beginning of your playing, it sticks with you forever. When somebody grows up and they are in whatever band, such as Stone Temple Pilots or Metallica, you know that ten years earlier they were picking away at ‘Dee’. You just never loose that.
Musical Artist/Guitarist for the band Windigo
I played drums all through junior high school and didn’t start playing the guitar until about 1991 when I graduated from high school. I had the advantage of having the only parents who allowed a band to practice in their house, so everyone left all of their equipment with me. So, I definitely had the advantage of always being able to mess around on the guitar since it was always at my disposal. The Tribute album from Ozzy is one of my favorite albums of all time. I use to play it constantly. That was what I use to listen to in the initial phases of picking up the guitar and learning to play. I listened to a little bit of Diary of a Madman and The Blizzard of Ozz albums.
Randy influenced me a great deal with playing the guitar. Our bands’ style doesn’t carry a whole lot of flashy leads, so it’s not really a part of my personal style though when I first started playing the guitar it was the era. It was all that mattered in how a guitar player was identified. I remember that I use to sit there and listen to ‘Mr. Crowley’, and that was the first guitar solo that I ever really figured out. That really got me exposed to a lot of the different modes on the neck of the guitar and where Randy Rhoads was playing. It also exposed me to a lot of notes that I could use and really got me started in a way to lead guitar playing. I just remember that I must have listened to ‘Mr. Crowley’ a million times during the course of a few weeks.
Randy is a guitarist who just by hearing a few notes of what he is playing, you know that it is him. That really means a lot and it is also one of the ways that you can differentiate the greats from the passer-bys. You can just immediately tell who is playing that song.
‘Dee’ is an awesome, awesome song. I really love it. Randy had such a level of emotion that he put into all of his music. I think that also identifies the greats from the average player. The greats never really settle for just anything that comes out of the guitar. They have to create that feeling, and Randy did that. I think that Randy really created the breeding grounds for great musicians. He set standards. He was able to manage both ends of the spectrum with great ease. To be intricate and simplistic both at the same time. I was really amazed by that and especially with that in the song ‘Mr. Crowley’.
I think that it was a really good break for Randy when he hooked up with Ozzy. Ozzy still sells albums and the kids are still buying them like mad. It was a very influential time for Randy and Ozzy. I don’t know if Ozzy necessarily had anything to prove when he left Black Sabbath, or if it was just the connection that him and Randy had, but I think that the two first albums that they did together were just amazing. Nowadays, when kids get turned onto Ozzy, they research back and take a look at his previously released albums. They then stumble upon Randy Rhoads. I think that the legacy of Randy Rhoads has a lot to do with Ozzy Osbourne.
Randy Rhoads Admirer
I was thirteen years old when I first heard his songs on the radio. I distinctively remember one afternoon when my brother and I were driving up to this video store. It was a cold day in the middle of winter and we had the stereo cranked up when all of a sudden the station played ‘Crazy Train’. I just remember hearing that song and thinking that it was so cool! The rhythm guitar parts were just so unique and different. Up until then, I had been listening to Hendrix, Richie Blackmore, and I always did like Black Sabbath. I was an Ozzy fan from the time I was a young kid. I was always into comic books and stuff, and I always thought that the song ‘Iron Man’ that Black Sabbath played was about the man in the comic book. At that time though, I did know that Ozzy had a new band and after I heard them, I really liked them!
Randy was a big influence on me with my guitar playing. I started playing the guitar when I was about twelve years old. I actually use to play kick ball in grade school and tried to catch a line drive and dislocated my thumb. I had a cast on my arm and couldn’t do much of anything. I couldn’t go outside, play or ride my bike. So, there was this old guitar laying around and I picked it up. Since my thumb was in a cast, I stuck a pick over it and just started strumming away. It gave me something to do. After that, I just carried on with it and I was always kind of interested in it. I started playing and I took a few lessons here and there. I would just always pick the guitar up and start playing. I had my own band about six months after I started playing, and held my first gig after about a year of playing experience. ‘Crazy Train’ was actually one of the songs that we would play.
As a guitar player, I would practice all the time. I had a drive and I really wanted to be good. I thought that playing in a band was all that I wanted to do. I think that Randy Rhoads took that all a bit further. A lot of people accused him at the time of being a copy of Eddie Van Halen. That just wasn’t true at all. Throughout the spandex era of the early to mid eighties, everyone was trying to play as fast as possible. Everybody was doing those sixteenth notes during the rhythm. It was one of the things that really stood out and identifies the music of the eighties. Randy Rhoads was one of the first people to do that. If you listen to most of the bands that are out there now on MTV or the top forty who are considering themselves rock n’ roll, just listen to the guitarist and you will soon realize that they really don’t have much skill. There is no guitar solos and there’s no proficiency. If you look at Kurt Cobain, he wrote great songs but his guitar playing was terrible! That is the way that I feel bands are today. Maybe it will come around. It is just kind of funny because in the eighties, everybody was so concerned with technicality and playing fast. Everybody wanted to play great. Now, if you can play with any degree of proficiency at all, your kind of shot! It is beginning to fall out of vogue if you can actually play. All of a sudden nobody wants a guy with long hair who can play fast. They want the guy with the buzz cut and the flannel shirt standing there holding the guitar. Ask yourself this……how many of those guys that were real greats and could play fast are still around? Very few of them. All of the fast players have been nearly forgotten. I don’t blame that on the people who are listening, but I do blame it on the record companies who would not sign them any longer for whatever reason. The record companies figure that people are going to like what they hear on the radio. It is whatever the record companies push and promote. They just decided that they weren’t going to promote that type of music any longer. It is just kind of weird how things change so fast. Everybody back then had long hair, wore spandex and made it all about technicality and promotion. So quickly it all changed. Now, if you put one album out that’s not a success your dropped from your contract. Back in the seventies, a band was allowed to develop over four or five albums. Nowadays, a band doesn’t have a chance! Or, if you put out a popular album and then it’s follow up album doesn’t sell, your dropped. The music industry is just so disposable. I see so many musicians who had a few great songs out there, were on the radio and on top of the world for a few years but are now working in a furniture store or not working at all. Look back five years and ask yourself about those bands that were popular five years ago. Where are they now? It’s a tough business.
Randy Rhoads played very clean and didn’t have a whole lot of delay in his playing. He was just playing with distortion. The quality of his playing still stands out. Some people at that time would play fast though it wouldn’t sound right. Randy played fast and it sounded good. Randy put together the unique combination of having great songs with great guitar playing. Randy also looked like the ultimate rock star. There is something said about that. A lot of the bands now have their buzz cuts and they just stand around up there on stage, not doing much of anything. Not moving around at all and just standing there strumming their instrument. My idea of the ultimate rock n’ roll band is one that gets up on that stage and entertains you! One that looks cool! Randy looked cool. He played great and he was the epitome of what a guitar hero is supposed to be.
Musical Artist/Bass player for the Michael Schenker Group/ Former bass player with Yngwie Malmsteen
I first discovered Randy when Blizzard of Ozz came out. I think that I was in the seventh grade. I had been playing guitar for a couple of years and of course I just loved Randy’s playing! I was unable to see him in concert for Blizzard of Ozz, and thought that I would be able to see his next tour though sadly that never happened. I think that Randy had a huge impact on the music scene. Not just for his guitar playing, but he seemed to be a great person as well. I always enjoyed reading his interviews because he was never arrogant and always polite and very honest. Musically, I was very influenced by him. Like thousands of others I learned all of the songs off the Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman. I would play along with the records everyday after school and later in bands.
I think that Randy still influences people today because he never tried to be the ‘rock star’. He just played from the heart and his music is timeless. My favorite Randy Rhoads song would have to be ‘Good-bye to Romance’. A great guitar solo and great song. I will always be a Randy Rhoads fan. God Bless you Randy!
Randy Rhoads Admirer
I first discovered Randy when I heard the Tribute album from Ozzy Osbourne. I believe that Randy had a huge influence on the metal/hard rock scene. His approach to music was inspirational. As a musician, I can say that Randy Rhoads has influenced me to no end. The first time that I heard his music, I wanted to buy a guitar. I eventually got one and still enjoy playing his riffs everyday. I feel that people can sense his emotion and his passion for the guitar. No one could touch him fifteen years ago and no one can touch him now.
I live in Australia and I can say that Randy is nearly never heard of here. People hardly know of Ozzy Osbourne, let alone Randy Rhoads. But those that do are fanatical. Randy has a very small, but dedicated cult following here.
Giving his music to the masses would have to be his most memorable achievement, but to be more precise it would have to be his incorporation of classical and metal styles.
Musical Artist/Guitarist for Galactic Cowboys
I discovered Randy when the Blizzard of Ozz album came out. I was a kid and hadn’t even started playing the guitar yet. I was aware that Ozzy had left Black Sabbath and was doing his own solo thing. I remember running down to the store and buying that Blizzard of Ozz album when it first came out. I loved it! One thing that I always did as a kid, was pay close attention to the music. I would put on a Led Zepplin record or whatever I was listening to at the time and pay special attention to the guitar and the drums. I would listen to songs over and over again.
Randy had a major influence on me and my guitar playing. I started playing a couple years after he died. After reading so many things about Randy, I almost felt as though I knew him. That I knew his playing. I distinctively remember just listening to him over and over until finally I just figured that I had to do this. It was all so inspiring that I went out and started playing. I use to have a wall just completely full of Randy Rhoads posters. I even used Les Paul guitars and have a big, thick snake skin guitar strap.
In a band, the guitar solo is where a guitar player has time to stand out and show off. When it comes to solos, a lot of people will make up their own solos of what they are capable of doing to impress people. With Randy Rhoads, even though he clearly had the technical abilities to flash, his solos really fit the songs. That is the ultimate compliment that I could give him as far as his playing. He never played something inappropriate to the song to make himself look good. When you look back on all of Ozzy’s guitar players, you notice that they play those solos note for note. There is no other way that you could play those solos! Randy just had such a musical melodic to his playing that kids now still pick up on.
Randy was really into the classical thing which at the time people were not doing in the rock sense. Randy mixed the classical in with a lot of the blues stuff. A lot of real soulful playing. No one was doing that at the time that I was aware of. Another thing that made a strong impression on me was that he was one of the only people, while I was growing up and reading about in magazines, that was so dedicated to music and he seemed to be the most genuinely nicest person to anyone that he came in contact with. I am not saying that other musicians were not dedicated or friendly, it is just that Randy left that impression with me. From where I was growing up, and what I was reading, his personality and his drive to keep going ahead is what stuck out.
I also know that Randy and I liked to listen to the same stuff. I remember reading that he listened to the original Alice Cooper band. I can remember reading that he was influenced by Alice Cooper. That Alice Cooper was his first rock concert. I’m a big Be Bop Deluxe fan and I can remember reading that he was really into that album of theirs called Sunburst Finish. The album came out about 1975. I know that Randy was very influenced by them. It is pretty cool to see how other people are influenced.
The cold wind tells me there will be no sun
I look ~ but never find
Thunder rolls from the heavenly sky
In a flash of lightening
An angel stands before me
You play your song
Wrap me in your wings
And tell me everything’s okay
The sun breaks through the clouds
Picks fall from the sky
Now the sun shines forever
All because of you
My entire teenage life and birth of my playing was shaped by Ozzy and Randy in one way or another. In the summer of 1981 I was at the tender age of twelve and was spending a week with my grandparents in Los Angeles, California. My older cousin Robert came to visit and had brought his radio so that he would not miss a very special concert that would be simulcast and that he had been awaiting weeks to hear. I had never been to a concert before or even heard of the Artist who was going to play. My cousin was so excited when the station began the broadcast that he could hardly remain seated. I was very intrigued.
The broadcast began with the crowd chanting ”Ozzy! Ozzy! Ozzy!” and then swelled to total chaos as the Musicians began to take the stage. My cousin was ecstatic! The opera intro began which was the background for Ozzy’s entrance, and the crowd’s chaos turned into hysteria! Then the thunder of an electric guitar could be heard shaking the room with it’s hammering feedback resonance. At the time, I wasn’t really into this type of music and it didn’t really phase me until that thunder of Randy’s guitar freight trained through me at chest height (as my cousin had the boom box at full crank by this time!) shaking me to full awareness and demanding my attention. The rest of the concert is somewhat of an aural blur at this point, but I remember that first godlike rumble as if it were yesterday and the seeds of my own need to master that power were sown.
At Christmas of 1982, I somewhat swindled my grandparents into buying me a guitar and an amplifier. I called one set of grandparents and told them that the other set was buying me an amp from the Sears catalog and could they please buy me a guitar from the same source. I then called the other set of grandparents and told them the same story though the other way around. It worked and suddenly I joined the thousands of promising young upstarts to the throne of rock n’ roll! This was very important to me at the time because of the lack of friendship to most of my classmates, and now I see that it was a need to belong as well as a need to express myself.
I was a budding teenager with all of the accompanying problems compounded by my parents’ abusive nature and religion. I was listening and playing the devils own music and they felt the need to beat it out of me. Mostly figuratively. Many a day or night I spent with my newfound comrade, tuning out the world so to speak. B.B. King once put it this way; ”The guitar can be your best friend, therapist, and best girl. But, it can also be your worst enemy”, as I soon found out. Then, a friend of mine turned me on to a group and especially a young guitarist who had tragically died in a recreational aircraft accident not too long before. This player was supposed to be a genius and rock n’ roll virtuosity. This player was Randy Rhoads.
I suddenly realized that I had found the well of that long lost thunder! His loss was a hammer blow to my need, but thank the god’s of rock that thunder lived on in the music that Randy left behind. Randy, in spirit, kept me company through those long, lonely times and revealed his secrets to me in payment for my sweat and dedication to wrestling my six stringed combatant. I slowly began to incorporate the elegance of his licks and fills into my own style, but always with great difficulty, applying balm to my tortured soul. Ah, to remember those days of innocence and enlightenment!
Years later, when I was contemplating suicide, Randy made a visit to me in a dream along with some of his other comrades from the other side. I saw in the dream a stage. On the stage was a heavenly band ripping through the most awesome music the world had yet to hear. The players were Randy Rhoads and Jimi Hendrix on guitar, John Bonnham on drums, Cliff Burton on bass and Bohn Scott behind the mike. Randy asked me to jam with them and produced a Les Paul (the guitar I played at the time in the real world) from somewhere for me to play. We together played that heavenly rock for what seemed to be a wonderful eternity but alas it was, in truth, over altogether too quickly. After the others left for other stages and other sessions, Randy stayed to talk with me a moment.
”We here are dead and locked at the state of art from the time we died”, he began. ”We cannot better our playing skills or our music. But you are alive and you have that ability”. Then, he too was gone.
After I awoke from the dream and began to reflect upon it, I came to the sudden realization that Randy had not only been talking about music, but also about the problems in my life. My tribulations were, when I was honest with myself, temporary and suicide was a permanent end to them and certainly not a good solution. I, of course, understood that the dream was only my subconscious working overtime but it did not dull the impact of the message. I still to this day credit Randy Rhoads for saving my life.
In 1990, after the military, a fellow Randy fan and I were back in Los Angeles and decided to visit the grave of Randy Rhoads since we were in the same city on other business. We found the cemetery, but at first not his resting place. As we searched we found a very nice lady who was visiting the sight of a lost family member. She unobtrusively asked us what we were doing there. We were both dressed in the latest metal fashions and so I realized, in retrospect we must have looked a bit thuggish. We explained to her that we were Musicians on a kind of pilgrimage search for the grave of one of our heroes. Though we never mentioned his name, she said that she knew who we were looking for but she wanted to make sure of our intentions first.
She explained that there had been cultists and vandals at the site over the years that had defaced the grave more times than she wished to count. We told her again that Randy was an icon to us and that we simply came to pay our deepest respects to the man who had touched our lives in such profound ways. She pointed us towards a mausoleum in the back part of the cemetery and wished us well.
As we entered the vault we were struck by the beauty and peacefulness of the place. It was made of marble and had stained glass windows. As we continued towards the rear, we found Randy. His drawer was, I believe the third or forth row up with a gold or brass guitar with the stylized double R symbol. I do not remember the inscription, only that it was simple, elegant and befitting to such a great and loved man. We met the groundskeeper as he had seen us walk in and had come to investigate, probably having the same suspicions as the woman did. He talked to us about the funeral and how Ozzy and Randy’s mother had both wept in their grief. We were greatly touched and walked away fulfilled from the experience as well as a bit more mature.
It has been said that the artist is the only true, immortal being to touch this earth since it’s inception. From the cavemen of Lascoux to the painters, poets, sculptures and musicians of modern times, they all still surround us with their inventive creativity, beauty and soul. Randys music is no exception as this book proves, or you the reader, would not be reading it. As for me, fifteen years after his death, Randy Rhoads is still a major part of my life and a major catalyst to my creativity as a musician. I am today a well respected guitarist, singer and songwriter in my area and hold Randy’s memory near, dear and close to my heart. I am aspiring to live up to his legacy.
Oh death where is thy sting…….You have stolen the thunder but not it’s echo and the power therein remains, mocking your effort.
Randy, rest peacefully in the knowledge that you have not been forgotten.
Randy Rhoads Admirer
I was fourteen years old. A friend of mine had the Blizzard of Ozz album. It was right after that album came out. I remember how different it was. Not like anything else I had heard before. I was a big Judas Priest fan and was really into Black Sabbath and a bit of Van Halen. This was just completely different. I was an Ozzy fan from Black Sabbath so was very interested in hearing this album. I just couldn’t get enough of it.
I then sat down with my guitar to try and play Randy’s music. With Judas Priest and Black Sabbath, I could pick the music up pretty easily. But with Randy Rhoads it was extremely difficult. In a lot of his music, he would play one song in the key of lets say E. Then on another, he would tune down to lets say C. His guitar was in a different pitch through every song. I found it very hard to pick up on things. His style. He was always so busy throwing in a little lick here or something else different all through the song. It wasn’t always the same style over and over.
A lot of people really don’t appreciate the guitar as a guitar player does. When I hear a song, I hear the guitar first. I’m a House Painter and when I walk into someone’s home, the first thing that I look at is the paint on the walls. It’s the same deal.
I couldn’t wait for the second album to come out. It was just as incredible as the first. That is when I started collecting things on Randy. I started to collect anything and everything that I could find on him. I had no idea that he would only be around for those two albums.
I saw Randy play in Fresno, California. It was January 3, 1982. The band that was supposed to open for them cancelled, so it was just Ozzy and Randy. They were actually supposed to play there in August of 1981, but apparently Randy got very ill and was in the hospital for a few days. They promised to return and they did. They pretty much played everything that you hear on the Tribute album. I was probably fifty yards away from Randy so I had a very good view. He really blew me away! In his live songs, you always hear a little extra something. He was never really satisfied with what he did so he always tried to be better. It was just incredible how he put things together and made them all work.
Randys greatest accomplishment is his classical. I don’t think that he considered himself an accomplished classical guitar player. He was a perfectionist and was continuing to try and better himself. Classical music is the direction that he was headed towards. The way that he combined the classical in with the heavy metal is complete genius. The song ‘Dee’ on the Blizzard of Ozz album just shows how he felt about classical music.
Randy’s music is what inspires people. His music just really says it all. It shows such an incredible talent. I know a lot of people who just hate Ozzy Osbourne but they love Randy Rhoads. They don’t particularly like the lyrics but they like the rhythm and the leads.
I think that my favorite song is probably ‘Revelation Mother earth’. I really like all of his songs though, so it’s hard to put one in front of the other because they are all great! I was told that after the Blizzard of Ozz, they went into the studio almost immediately and recorded Diary of a Madman. They put that album together very quickly. To put something together like that in such a short period of time just shows how much talent Randy had.
Musical Artist/Guitarist for band Megadeth
I was living in Baltimore when Ozzy and his band were on tour for the first album. They played at the civic center in Baltimore and it was the scene for all the guitar players in town to be at this gig especially because there was supposed to be this young, hot shot guitar player there named Randy Rhoads. Every guitar player in town was there.
It was a real breath of fresh air to see someone so energetic who was breathing life into a rock guitar. Van Halen did that. He made it exciting. Then Randy Rhoads came along and sort of stepped up the intensity switch a little bit. He stepped on the gas and at that time he was really over the top as far as a performer just going wild on stage and having outrageous heavy metal tone. It was all very distorted and very noisy. There was so many wild screams and sounds. It was a real shot in the arm to rock guitarists. Especially for people who like distortion. I just remember hearing all of the guitar players after that gig commenting on how great he was. At that time, I had just left a band that I was in called Deuce. It was a local, popular band that I was in for three years. To this day I have no idea why I left. In the Baltimore area, we were kind of like a young version of Def Leppard. We had a reputation of being a rowdy bunch of rock dudes.
To be completely honest, I was never a big Randy Rhoads fan. The music that he played and that kind of stuff. But, I was very impressed by that performance that I saw and I think that what inspired me or influenced me was the flamboyant guitars that he played. I also liked the fact that he was very energetic and a small framed guy like myself. I really liked that because it proved to me that you don’t have to be seven feet tall to play the guitar. That kind of gave me some inspiration. Musically, what he was doing was great though it just wasn’t tapping my toes.
He definitely inspired lots and lots of guitar players. At the time where I was giving guitar lessons, there wasn’t a day that would go by where I wasn’t showing someone how to play a Randy Rhoads solo. He definitely stepped up the ability of guitar players. At that point, more guitar players were playing pretty standard Clapton and bass blues licks. Then Randy Rhoads came along and put all of these other things into it. He made it so that you really had to develop a little bit of technique before you played in a rock n’ roll band. He shook up a lot of young guitar players.
I think that the best thing about his guitar playing was that he played with more distortion that anybody I had ever seen. He played it and it sounded good. Most guitar players who put half as much distortion in their songs as he did just made it sound like a bunch of noise. He really knew what to do with distortion and it ultimately changed the face of guitar tones. In the eighties, people were really experimenting with distortion a lot more than they are today.
Randy Rhoads Admirer
The first time that I discovered Randy was on the cover of the Tribute album by Ozzy Osbourne. I wondered who this guy was. Now, I look back to that same cover and see the greatest guitarist I have ever heard. I see the man who has inspired me to play and brought me to a new level as a musician.
I think that Randy brought his own style to music that was never before heard. His music told a story that no one had ever heard. Today his music is still blowing all the popular guitarists away and he still has people struggling to pick up and play where he left off.
Randy Rhoads has encouraged me to do my best with creating my own style just like he once did. The way he played, and the music that he blended has inspired me to try my hardest at being a great musician. If I ever get tired or frustrated at playing I just put Randy’s music on and that frustration turns into inspiration and desire.
I think that Randy still inspires people so many years after his death because he was the greatest guitarist of his time and to me, that ever lived. The people that were close to him speak of how great his personality was and what a great person he was. You can see his great personality through his music and I think that is what inspires people.
Some of Randy’s most memorable accomplishments are starting a band at such an early age and giving Ozzy a huge jump start in his solo career. Randy was a true musician and had a love for his instrument. He touched people with his quiet personality. Another memorable accomplishment was just being known as one of the greatest guitarists of all time and inspiring thousands of people. It is also amazing that he continues to sell records almost sixteen years after his death. The memory of this great man will never fade.
I always liked the sound of the guitar though never thought of learning to play myself until I heard the music of Randy Rhoads. I was so inspired by the style and stories his music told that I went and bought a guitar within the same month of hearing his playing. I have learned to play a great deal just by playing and listening to Randys music. I love to sit down and jam with Randy. The notes that he put together make his guitar sing and when you listen to his music, you can feel the entire story going through your body.
Randy Rhoads Admirer
My friends and myself started getting into rock music seriously in 1978 and Black Sabbath became my favorite band. Yes, in the early 70’s we all had our favorite bands like Sweet or Slade, but we were now teenagers and it was time to get serious. My friends had other favorites at the time such as Rush, Zeppelin, Kiss and Status Quo, but we all liked Sabbath. In 1978, Sabbath brought out Never Say Die which was to be the swan song of the original line up. Seeing them on ‘Top Of The Pops’ (the United Kingdom’s premier show going since the 60’s) we thought ”these guys are cool!”. We made the decision that we were into heavy metal, as we didn’t understand punk or want to be a mod such as The Jam, The Specials, Madness, etc. It’s amazing that the band No Doubt quote these guys as influences yet Kerrang Metal magazine was the only guys covering them as they were yet to break in the United Kingdom. It just shows you how much music has merged over the years.
When Black Sabbath split up we had not had the chance to see them live as the Untied Kingdom tour had passed and we had to make do with AC/DC with Bon Scott at the Glasgow Apollo in October 1979 on the Highway to Hell tour. They were supported by a group who were part of what rock press called the new wave of British heavy metal, Def Leppard. I wonder what happened to them? Anyway, as the new wave of British heavy metal took off in magazines like Kerrang, soon came the news that Ozzy was putting together a new band as Sabbath was also reconstructing with Ronnie James Dio.
We all waited with baited breath to see what kind of group Ozzy would come back with. We saw the new Black Sabbath live in May of 1980 and were looking forward to seeing the Ozzy gig in September. I can still remember being in one of my mate’s bedroom with three of four others as we crowded around the stereo listening to the first Ozzy single ‘Crazy Train’. We probably listened to both sides of the album a couple of times and decided that we liked it! We heard that he had brought in a young American hotshot named Randy Rhoads, who certainly made some raw, new noises on the guitar.
At this time, although Ozzy fails to recognize it now, the band was called Ozzy Osbourne’s Blizzard of Ozz, and they were down to play their first gig ever at the Reading Festival in the summer of 1980. Rumors of warm up gigs in pubs persist though I have yet to confirm any of them. For some reason or another, Ozzy pulled out and so the first ever Blizzard of Ozz show was the first date of the United Kingdom tour. It was in Glasgow and we had tickets. As the gig approached, we had all heard the Blizzard of Ozz album and it was an instant classic, even more than a match for Black Sabbaths Heaven & Hell. Randy Rhoads had brought virtuoso guitar playing to what was seen as a British rock band, and combined that with some very heavy riffs. It was a perfect match, bringing classical influenced scales and structure, and combining them with the gothic, black magic image of Ozzy’s band.
I was lucky enough to see Randy play in the Untied Kingdom again on August 1, 1981 at the Heavy Metal Holocaust at Port Vale Football Ground near Stroke, England. Motorhead headlined with Ozzy Osbourne, as the band was now following the release of Diary of a Madman. As special guest, the rest of the line up was filled by Triumph, Riot, Frank Marino and Vardis. The gig was a triumphant return to the United Kingdom with Ozzy’s new, now all American band. They were one of the best four piece rock bands I had ever seen in both musicianship and showmanship. I think that at the time of Randys death in 1982, such a short time since Randy had exploded onto the global rock scene, we were all still discovering him.
Randy took rock guitar in a different direction. He expanded the envelope. He developed a different, but no less technically different style to the likes of Eddie Van Halen. He applied classical traditions to the very heavy rock riffs. His solos took you on a journey. They were meaningful and reached peaks of musical pleasure that would bring tears to your eyes. The sounds that he could get out of the guitar rung meaning out of the notes. Live, as a single guitar player, he was technically able to play in such a way as to deliver a song that on the album had rhythm guitar behind multi layering during his solos.
Randy influenced a lot of musicians by his attitude towards the instrument and his dedicated musicianship. When I met Ozzy Osbourne at a record signing before his first gig in Glasgow, I asked him where Randy was since everyone was keen to meet this new guitar legend. Ozzy’s straight answer was that he was back at the hotel practicing his guitar. This quiet, unassuming, young, skinny kid was the guy that had come up with some of the heaviest classic rock riffs and heavenly solos of all time.
I play electric guitar and my first guitar hero before I knew of Randy was Bernie Torme, strangely the guy who stepped in to fill Randys spot a week or so after his death. Bernie had his own image with his white 60’s strat and a sound that was an amalgam of Jimi Hendrix, Beck and Townsend. This quiet Irishman could produce amazing feedback and great speed solos. Then, along came Randy with a very strong image and amazing technique. He blew me away. Eddie Van Halen was untouchable, on another planet at the time, but with Randy you felt as if you could delve into all sorts of historical influences and come up with something new.
I have tried to copy Randy but have trouble being as fluid as he was. The thing that stays with me is his discipline to continue and improve at his instrument. Randy knew that he could always learn something new and would book classical guitar lessons whenever his touring schedule would allow it. I read somewhere that he was considering quitting the band, maybe after his third LP, and going back to his studies in order to expand his horizons. Who knows where he would be at today if he had lived.
Randy has a memorable image certainly, but I think that what continues to inspire people today is his unassuming modesty and quest to better himself that provides us with inspiration. The qualities that I mention are a testament to this and I believe that he will continue to inspire and hold a fascination to people such as many other young musicians lost so young have. We all ask ourselves, ”just think what he could have done?”. Unfortunately, I never got to meet Randy and obviously I never knew his personality, but I just feel that he was genuinely a good guy who was almost embarrassed by peoples interest in him. It brings to mind the contrast between Ozzy’s madman, wild image and Randys quiet, humble stance. He was not an extrovert yet when he got on stage and ground out the songs, his face contorted, almost feeling pain in every note. Was he the choirboy in Satan’s orchestra, the baby faced guitar assassin?
When Randy was alive he was probably one of the top five, certainly among the top ten guitar heroes in the Untied Kingdom. For United Kingdom Ozzy fans who were into Ozzy from the beginning, I have no doubt that Randy was idolized for bringing our messiah back from the wilderness with two classic albums. I am sure that there are many Ozzy fans since Randy’s death who will regard his work as the best classic Ozzy. Ozzy fans the world over will have respect for the music that Randy gave us as it continues to be popular to this day in Ozzy’s sets. I also feel that Zakk Wylde took Ozzy forward by showing great respect in reproducing Randy’s songs. The new Ozzy guitarist played his tribute to Randy at last years Doninngton Monsters of Rock during his guitar solo featuring ‘Suicide Solution’ and ‘Diary of a Madman’.
Today in the United Kingdom and the world over, Randy is remembered most by the fans who are proud to say they saw him or met him and were crushed to hear of his death. I remember being told at a friend’s house after they had heard the news on a late night radio rock program. I was sitting in a large chair and I can remember my head dropping and not knowing what to think. We were all silent. Later that week our rock magazine confirmed the news and we were just empty. I know that the grief built up but the only time that I can remember crying was when a week or so later my dad came up to my room and asked if there was something wrong. I broke down in tears and told him what had happened. I think that my dad was touched that someone who I didn’t even know had this effect on me. He tried to comfort me though I know that he couldn’t fully understand the depth of feeling we all had for our music. It was the soundtrack to our teenage years.
For the next five or six years, every year, I would write to our local radio station with a dedication to Randy Rhoads for a rock program that aired near March 19th. They would play ‘You Can’t Kill Rock and Roll’ or ‘Good-Bye to Romance’. As I got to the end of my University studies, I wrote my thesis which when published contains a dedication for inspiration to R. W. Rhoads. Now, I do think of his from time to time and when I have gone to California on holiday, I have thought of visiting his grave. I haven’t done this yet though would like to one day.
I would like to say that Randy Rhoads was a great showman and the fact that he continues to inspire people and please hundreds of music fans and musicians today, must be his greatest accomplishment. He really moved people. I think that the Tribute album from Ozzy was a fitting tribute to him but I feel that Ozzy should release re-mixed and re-mastered versions of his songs. There are some great extended guitar solos on Diary of a Madman that could be carried on instead of fading out. There could also be some studio outtakes like the version of ‘Dee’ on Tribute. Perhaps some rehearsal tapes. This could be coincided with the release of the live bootleg video ‘Afterhours’, parts of which appear on the live version of the ‘Crazy Train’ video.
Musical Artist/Musician/Teacher/AMI Guitar Instruction
I was around twelve years old when I first heard this incredible guitar playing on the radio and asked a friend who it was. I was hooked from then on.
Randy Rhoads made the hard edge music appeal to a broad range of people and did it so with style. To this day, I still hear people trying to imitate him. When I first heard him I started learning his licks right away. It made me appreciate music theory a whole lot more.
When asked the question of why Randy continues to inspire people so many years after his death, the same should be asked about Beethoven or Jimi Hendrix. Randy was an original. A man who played from the heart and refused to settle for anything less than perfection. Greatness never dies.
Randy Rhoads Admirer
I discovered Randy Rhoads when I got my first Ozzy Osbourne CD. I listened again and again and I knew that there was something incredible happening under Ozzy’s singing. It was the beginning of a miracle guitar player. His skill and great ease made me wish that I would someday have the opportunity to meet him though as we all know, that can now never happen because of the tragedy.
I feel that Randy made an enormous impact on the heavy metal scene when he was living. Even now you can pick out things that sound like they’ve come from the sounds of Randy Rhoads. Many guitarists, such as myself, wish that they could play as well and as incredible as Randy did but he was in a league of his own. His own style can’t really be repeated. Randy Rhoads has influenced me in a way that I just can’t describe in words. He showed me so many incredible riffs and amazing solos. It’s not just his playing, but his attitude towards life itself just made me look at Randy Rhoads as an idol.
Even though it has been over fifteen years since his death, the impact that he made on everyone with his music lived through the 80’s and now through the 90’s. He influenced so many people that no one can allow his guitar playing and soul die.
Constantine S. Persaud
Randy Rhoads Admirer
I discovered Randy Rhoads when I was six years old. The Tribute album by Ozzy just came out and my uncle was playing it. I must have listened to that thing ten times. Everything about that record just amazed me. Randy’s playing was something that I had never heard before and it was very cool.
Back in the 80’s, Randy Rhoads set a Bach- rock syndrome were every guitarist tried to do the whole classical thing like him, but no one could really match what he did. Randy Rhoads has influenced my playing by encouraging me to learn more about classical guitar. Randy Rhoads is the person who inspired me to learn how to play. I would ultimately like to blend classical and rock like he did and take it into the 90’s or whenever my band makes it big. Because of Randy, I learned to play guitar at six after listening to the Tribute album. My father says that I would walk around saying ”I want to grow up and be a musician like Randy Rhoads”.
I think that Randy still inspires people today through Ozzy’s music and when those old songs are played over the radio. People stop to listen and say ”hey, that guitarist is really cool. Who is that?”.
Musical Artist/Drummer for Phantom Blue
I really enjoyed Randy’s feel and aggression with his playing. I obviously think that he went way too early. He is certainly one of the most unique guitar players of all time. My favorite song of his is ‘Flying High Again’.
Phantom Blue played at the last couple of Randy Rhoads Benefit Concerts. Every time that we play, it’s a sell out show. Musicians from all over the world will come to pay their tribute to Randy. The place is always packed and it is just amazing. The last time, it was held at the Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was just great because there was so much energy there! Everyone was there for Randy.
Musical Artist/Guitarist for Phantom Blue
My guitar teacher is the one who first had me listen to Randy. That is when I first heard him. I began learning the solo and the rhythm for ‘Over the Mountain’. Randy definitely influenced me as a guitar player. He was one of the best hard rock guitarists over the past twenty years. He will always be remembered for his stunning guitar performance at such a young age. I like his playing with Ozzy and I think that I like the song ‘Crazy Train’ the best.
Musical Artist/Guitarist for Phantom Blue
I first heard of Randy Rhoads through listening to the Blizzard of Ozz album. It just blew me away. I had always wanted to be a guitar player but I was always too lazy to want to start learning. I think that once I heard that album, I got off my butt and it was the final influence for me to get out there and start playing.
After I started learning on the electric guitar, I started playing classical. I started to learn it a little though really haven’t been playing classical for quite a few years. I always loved Randy’s playing and especially his style. He was certainly ahead of his time. He was one of the first people too bring classical into rock music. He very noticeably made a statement with that.
I don’t think that people realize just how talented he was. His style was a huge influence on a lot of people. He really gave heavy metal music texture and not just shredding. His playing had so much feel to it. He brought out a new vive to heavy metal. His sound, to this day is unique. I think that his greatest accomplishment is inspiring so many people. People like me to finally get off my ass and get to work!
I think that my favorite songs are ‘Mr. Crowley’ and ‘Crazy Train’. ‘Mr. Crowley’ just completely blew me away. Randy was definitely an inspiration to us all and always will be. I know a music teacher who teaches a lot of kids who haven’t really heard of Randy’s music. They have only heard the music that is out there now on the radio. When this teacher turns these kids onto Randy’s music they are just amazed! It’s like a whole new influence coming out for these kids. To hear someone play that metabolically and yet so technically as well. I have to give Randy Rhoads a lot of respect. He was definitely taken away much too soon. He was so into his music and so we just know that he would have kept on growing. He wasn’t the type of person who was just going to waste his talent or his life. He had so much to offer. It is a real shame that we couldn’t have seen more of it.
Cradle my baby~
Play through her…..sweet song
Now the baby sits alone…..
Since her tune’s been gone
It took two to make the music
One to play the song
Now who will rock the baby?
While her tune is gone…..
Sandoval Engineering/built the famous custom made polka-dot Flying V for Randy. Karl has built guitars for some of the most legendary musicians of our time.
I first met Randy through a referral from George Lynch of Dokken. You have to remember that back then there was a lot of musicians that hadn’t really made it big yet. They were still plugging away, performing and being introduced so to speak. What happened was that Randy saw George Lynch back stage at a concert. I had previously built a customized Flying V for George that was shaped a bit differently. The headstock was different and it didn’t really look like the Randy Flying V at all. Apparently, Randy was there either watching the performance or having to perform, and somehow picked up George’s guitar. He started doing some licks on it and was impressed with it. From there, it evolved into a phone call from Randy. He was inquiring about the guitar and asking lots of questions about custom guitars. That would be in 1979, because that was when the guitar was built. It was also during that time frame where I met Randy. It always starts off with a phone call and then coming down to meet me. At the time, I really didn’t have a shop. I was just doing a lot of work out of my house. The majority of the work that I had done was actually done out of whatever home I was living in at the time. That is how Randy was introduced to me and how we finally met.
The first time that I met him was after I set up an appointment for him to come down. He came down and brought Kevin DuBrow with him. Kevin is the lead singer of the group Quiet Riot which was the band that Randy was in at the time. There was no Ozzy yet. I think that it was perfect timing because if this had happened at a later point, I think that he would have ended up just going to Charvel/Jackson and having all of the guitars made there.
I was known in the Los Angeles area for making custom guitars. I have a variety of different pictures showing the many models and many body shapes of different guitars that I have built. I was using a Danelectro neck at the time. George’s guitar had a Danelectro neck and that is what Randy liked about it. So, Randy came down and it was kind of funny because I wish that Randy had come by himself because it would have been more one on one. But, he brought Kevin DuBrow. By no means am I bad-mouthing Kevin, but Kevin was quite a talker. Kevin could talk. So, I would be talking to Randy and tossing different ideas back and forth about the concept of the guitar that I thought he wanted and it was like anytime that I would say something to Randy, he would look at Kevin and ask ”what do you think? Is that a good idea?”. It was as if he was seeking Kevin’s approval. I almost said ”hey Kevin, why don’t you go and pick us up some coke or some beer”. That way I could talk to Randy in private and really get an idea of what he wanted. I like my customers to come up with their own original ideas and be happy with them. They have their own mental picture of the guitar and it is my job to get that mental picture, try to interpret it and then create something that becomes their third arm. Believe me, guitars become very sentimental to these musicians.
I specifically remember being in this double garage, standing with Randy and talking about some ideas that we both had for the guitar. I remember that he looked very typical heavy metal. This would be the 80’s rock look. He had the black spandex pants, the different looking shoes and multiple jewelry on both of his arms. Everything was different colored but yet it all still looked good. The guy looked like he was ready to go out on stage. It just seemed like he dressed like that all the time. The shag haircut that was poofy. He just had that look! If you were a manager or an owner of a record company and you were looking for an image, he had it. He had that aura. That physical aura of a rock star, a metal monster or whatever you want to call it. A recording artist.
We were just tossing ideas back and forth about the guitar. Randy was very firm on the fact that he wanted polka-dots. He was into the Flying V body, but he wasn’t sure about the headstock. He was also into bow ties. He wanted the concept of the tremolo usage and he liked the humbucking sound and so he went with humbuckings. Basically, it was more about the actual design of the guitar and where certain things were located and the esthetics of it and the appearance of it. The guitar ended up being really big. If you see pictures of Randy with it, you can see that the guitar is 2/3 his size! It was huge.
After tossing concepts around, I eventually got the main idea of what he was looking for, though I still didn’t know the specifics. That is about all that I can remember about the first time meeting Randy. It was basically a time for us to get ideas going and whatnot. We met several times before the guitar was finally finished on July 3, 1979. I remember that Randy was very soft spoken and had the nicest personality. He was very cordial and he truly didn’t fit into the image of what we now see as the typical rock n’ roll star, where they are kind of loud, cocky and obnoxious. Even after Randy hit his fame, I don’t think that he was at all arrogant. I just recall him being the most easiest person to talk to. Very, very easy going. Very polite and not at all loud. Randy usually came by himself to meet with me after that first, initial encounter. He would come by an make deposits and what have you.
I remember him showing up one day with his girlfriend. I kept thinking how they both looked so much alike! It was almost as if they were brother and sister. Randy was really, really thin. He was very small and had very small features. I just kept staring at him and his girlfriend because they looked so much alike.
Randy also made some drawings of the guitar. You have to remember that the concept of the guitar wasn’t designed yet. It was all ideas. So, Randy went home and did some drawings. Some of them he did when I started to write up the guitar. They were drawings of a variety of headstock’s.
Randy did want the polka-dots sequenced in line. He did not want them put on sporadically. If you look at the guitar, the polka-dots are in perfect line. That was very time consuming.
Randy gave me some drawings of bow ties. So, in my mind I am trying to picture this guitar. I would say that based on the idea that he gave me, I came up with the end result. It wasn’t like, okay, I have the body done with the neck on it so come down and check it out. I just don’t remember that happening. It was pretty much him giving me the concepts of it and then me finalizing it. So, I am a co-designer. I see it that way and that is what I tell people. When Randy came down to pick the guitar up, he got to see the finalized guitar. This is what we see in all of the magazines and posters that have been sold.
Randy pointed out to me that he wanted white polka-dots on black. He wanted the humbuckings, the tremolo system and the Danelectro neck because he liked the way that it felt on George’s guitar. He wanted a Flying V body but he didn’t know what kind of wood to use and so we kind of developed a mahogany idea because his Les Paul was mahogany though it had a maple top.
We eventually came up with what is called an arrowhead headstock. The Flying V body I did not design, that is a Gibson design. I came up with the final pattern of the headstock. I know that the six in line keys that were requested have to be positioned a certain way. I wanted the strings straight across the neck because we’re using a non locking tremolo system and I want it to stay in tune. The headstock has to be at a certain degree. There is real guitar specifications that you have to go by to get the guitar to play in tune, to stay in tune and to function so Randy could perform the licks that we have all heard on the recordings. His ideas that I thought were pretty cool were that he wanted the strat input jack underneath the top wing so he had easy access to the strat button which was there, so that it would be out of his way. He didn’t want the cord down below because he would be tripping all over it. He also wanted a tago switch in the top wing so he could have easy access to switching pick ups. He was really into the real thick, bulky necks because his Les Paul was like that.
The tremolo was new to him. I don’t think that he had ever played a tremolo before. Eddie Van Halen used a tremolo and so did George Lynch. All those guys were monsters at guitar. You have to keep in mind that these guys were using non blocking systems very radically. They always had a huge degree at first of controlling the tuning.
Randy wanted a seven neck into the body. From the nut to the base of the neck, and even part of the headstock is a Danelectro neck. Danelectro is a company that was surviving around the late 60’s. That is what I ended up using but it was totally modified. The neck had to be bulked up in the back so that Randy could have that feel. I used the original front wire, the original position markers. The bow ties were white mother of pearl. The nut on there was, I believe the original aluminum nut that came with the Danelectro neck. This is a non adjustable neck. It had a double I-beam trefleg glued onto the fingerboard. The neck is really good. You can’t bend it. It’s like trying to bend steel. I built a variety of guitars and no matter what gage string I used, I never had a problem. The necks held nines, tens, eleven’s, anything. Randy used tens.
So, the headstock had to be modified. I graphed on pieces of maple to accommodate the arrow headstock shape. The original neck had a more slim line look. It kind of went straight.
I will go through all of the parts starting from the top of the guitar to the bottom wings. We had all chrome hardware, shower keys, the mini showers were used, a set of ten strings, a combination of original dark enly and white mother of pearl for the bow tie, aluminum nut, Danelectro neck with the double I-beam trashrod. The pick ups had brass that was chrome plated surrounds, the pick ups were demosio, they were cream. We had a PAF in the front position and the super distortion in the rear. There’s a stock fender bridge and I remember it being the cast version. The earlier versions were block, cast and then screwed onto a turn plate. This was like block and plate all cast as one. It had a regular tremolo with a chrome knob. A standard 500K pod which is what they call a white speed knob. A standard chrome tremble rhythm metal surround around the pigal switch. It was a typical Les Paul pigol switch. A fender, a cup jack plate with a standard mono plate. The electronics were very basic. The tone was pretty much like a Les Paul. The volume and tone planks pick up using either a porno 47 or a porno 5 microferic cap. I used strap lax on this guitar.
I had to think about some things. I had controls on the bottom part of the wing and I’ve got the tago switch on the top and the opera jack on the top and I need to feed wires to and from pick ups, control cavities with volume and tone, and then the tago swich. I believe that on Randy’s I routed a round hole which became like a center point to feed wire up to the bridge and then down towards the jack plate. So I think that on Randy’s guitar there’s another plate aside from the round control cover plate for the tago switch. It’s sort of a rectangular Les Paul like control cover plate on the back side. These were just made of vinyl. Either white vinyl or black. I don’t recall. The finish that was used on this guitar is nitrocelular. Straight, full blown nitrocelular flacker. From the base coat, to the sanding sealer, to the color which was black and white, and the clear top. Making this guitar, to me was a challenge. To do all the customizing that he wanted was a challenge. I had no problem with it, it was just very challenging. It took about three months to build this guitar. Working on it a little bit everyday because there is a lot of gluing and painting, getting parts. To get the dots put on was very difficult. Once all the wood working was done and it was ready for paint applications, I started with sanding sealer and leveled that off. After the sanding sealer, I applied white. I even sanded it out a little bit because you don’t want any high spots. The white coat was the base coat and then I started positioning the ivory stickers. They were ¾ inch stickers all over the guitar. But, sequential based on the lines. Then I shot black. The difficult job was peeling off the ivory stickers. On certain parts of the guitar, they were just put on randomly but on the main body they weren’t. So, all the stickers were pulled off. Then I had to do some touch ups and I had to level the black and the white which was uneven so I had to apply clear all over the entire guitar and keep doing it until it became level. Until it felt as it would if you ran your hand over the top of glass. It was sanded, polished and then buffed out.
The guitar was finished. Before it was built, I remember Randy coming down to see me. I was busy writing up the sale form and he was just kind of standing around and waiting. I had a harmony guitar that belonged to my dad that was sitting there. While I was writing up the invoice I started to hear this classical music. He had picked up the guitar, got into the classical style of holding the guitar and started playing. It was completely flawless. This guy was incredible. I could never make that guitar sound like that! The guy was so well trained in classical music that he liked the fat neck, he didn’t mind the heavy gage string, and he didn’t mind the high axen. He played it very well and he was just kind of passing time as I was writing the invoice. It was very interesting to hear him perform like that.
There were several payments that he made on the guitar. The first one was $245.00. The total cost of the guitar was $738.00. I started on 7-3-79 and finished on 9-22-79.
Most musicians don’t pick up their instrument when they first see it. They kind of just stand there and stare at it. Randy picked it up and he had a case already made for it. he placed the guitar in the case and it fit like a glove. He was very, very careful with it and I don’t remember him playing the guitar when he picked it up though I am sure that he did . They all do.
Three weeks later I received a phone call from Randy. There was a time before that phone call when he called to ask how to keep the guitar in tune. I remember that call. He called and said, ‘I just can’t keep this guitar in tune’. I had explained it before to him because there is a method. I said ‘as wild as you are going to use that arm, you have to tune up your instrument. You have to balance the string tension’. I had the saddles lubricated, the strings in line over the nut, I had lubrication on the string nut. I am almost certain that I showed him how to keep it in tune when he came to pick it up. He figured out right away that it was going to be a problem. And, they are. You have to really keep on top of these non locking systems.
So, I went over the tuning process again over the telephone and advised him to talk to other people like Eddie, George or others who had experience with keeping these guitars in tune. I didn’t hear from Randy after that phone call until a few weeks later, and this time it wasn’t about the tuning.
When he called, he didn’t sound too good and so I asked him what was wrong. I was a bit worried because of the sound of his voice. He said, ”well, I had an accident. I was at rehearsal holding my guitar when the strap lock came out and the guitar held up on the right side but the headstock went straight down to the concrete floor and chipped the paint and shredded the neck down the middle”. He was very bummed out and when he brought the guitar to me and I saw it, it looked like a nightmare. It was really something because he was more concerned with my work and how this all made me feel. This just goes back to what I said about Randys personality. He was such a nice person. I mean, he was apologizing to me because I spent three months building it and now it was broken. He didn’t break it, it was an accident. But, he was very concerned about how I was going to take it. I just assured him not to worry about the guitar or me and that everything was going to be cool. I had dealt with problems like this before. I just felt bad for him because back then $738.00 was a lot of money. But, the bottom line was that we had to get that guitar rebuilt.
He brought the guitar to me and I charged him $75.00 to rebuild, reconstruct, and repaint the entire neck. Not the entire guitar, just the neck. If you saw the guitar today, you would probably see some lines where it was repaired. I used anything I could to get that guitar back into shape like epoxy glue, gar, automotive bonds and even pieces of wood. Anything to get this guitar back into shape because it was severely fractured. So, if you look at the guitar today, you can definitely see evidence of the repair.
The guitar was soon back into shape and Randy came down to pick it up. That was the last time that I saw him. I don’t recall seeing him again. I do think that I received a couple of phone calls from him though I don’t recall what they were about. The next thing I knew, time went by and I heard that he was dealing with Charvel /Jackson. I wish that he would have come to me, but by then he was with Ozzy Osbourne. I would have built him a guitar but for whatever reason he went and dealt with Charvel /Jackson.
If you were to see the guitar today, it would be very yellow even though the pocket dots were white. The nitrocelular that I used has a tendency to crack. I would almost guarantee that this guitar looked like that all over which is actually kind of cool because it has a vintage look to it. I would really like to see that guitar today.
Peter Carriere- (Fan)
A friend of mine had tickets to see Ozzy Osbourne, which I wasn’t for or against it. I really didn’t think too much about it one way or another. We went to Music Mountain to see him play. Def Leppard opened which was really great to see. Then Ozzy and Randy came out and I had never heard a guitarist play like that before in my life. Music is a very emotional thing to me. It’s even embarrassing sometimes. He came out, played and I just stood there on the hill with tears in my eyes and my hair standing on end. I couldn’t believe it! That was my first introduction to Randy. The feel of his playing was just incredible! Very smooth. Very fast though extremely clean. You could still hear every note that he played with all of the distortion. He still annunciated every single note that he played. I had never seen anyone play like that in my life. I just stood there in shock. My jaw was dropped!
Without even knowing him, from all that I have read he had quite a unique personality. Aside from technique and everything, I think that’s probably more of what effected me than anything. It’s kind of like, he reached out with something that was inside of him. Beyond the fingers and playing notes on the guitar, he left such an impression with people because it was such an explosion. There weren’t guitar players like that around. Randy, being that kind of a person and that kind of a player, made such an impact on people. He captured that in his music and it still comes across today.
Tim Mallick- (Fan)
I heard Randy for the first time in the early 1981. The song was Crazy Train and it was starting to get lots of airplay here in Pittsburgh. I was just starting to play guitar at the time and loved Eddie Van Halen. I remember being so blown away by the solo and the rhythm parts of the song. It flowed so easily. It was at that moment when my guitar idol became Randy Rhoads. I still loved Eddie but there was something different about randy. His music was so structured. The solos were more a part of the song rather than a stand alone piece. I think that never before in rock history have two people influenced a sound like Eddie and Randy did. They were the best of the eighties, they were at opposite ends of the spectrum and we will never see such a revolution in sound and ability again.
Revolutionary. That is the closest word that I can think of to describe what Randy did to rock n’ roll. It was the first time that classical made an entrance in rock rather than the blues based rock of the past. Even Eddie couldn’t compare. The scales and rhythm parts were so new and they caught on like wildfire spawning a slew of imitators and wanna be’s. I think that he gave rock some legitimacy that it had lacked in the past. Now, you had to have some technical ability to be in the elite. Randy still had one of the best ears for songwriting also. All of those early Ozzy hits were Randys guitar parts.
I don’t play guitar like I use to, but back in the day I bought everything I could on Randy. Every book of personal information, every guitar tab book, every album and even the guitar that I had was the Flying V like he had. Just from practicing his songs made me so much better with my playing.
It’s been a long time and Randys songs still sound fresh. I think that there is a romanticism surrounding the death of famous people who die young. Randy had the ultimate look for rock n’ roll, but he was a dichotomy. He was ferocious on the guitar but so mild and unassuming as a person. I think all that combined lends itself to his legend. Plus, he gave everything that he had to his one love, music. That kind of dedication is rare in this day and age and I think people respond to it when it happens. As long as there is rock n’ roll, and as long as there are guitar players, there will be Randy Rhoads.
I think that Randys most memorably accomplishments are bringing some legitimacy to this thing we call rock n’ roll, giving us a few classic songs, and sharing with us all too briefly a talent that most will never come close to having.
Justin Lebb- (Fan)
I first heard Randy when I bought the Diary of a Madman CD. I was completely amazed at his classical licks and metal approach to them. I cannot begin to describe the influence that he had on me. I think that Randy continues to inspire people because they want to play exactly as their guitar hero. I think that some of his most memorable accomplishments were staring a successful band at the age of sixteen and being able to hook up with such a great metal head such as Ozzy Osbourne.
David VanLanding- ( lead vocalist for Michael Shenker)
Obviously, I discovered Randy Rhoads around the same time that most everybody else did. It was when he first started with Ozzy. It was so frustrating when he died because that man had more to offer than most people out there. He was just amazing. I liked that he really made a craft out of what he did. Much more so than many others that are out there. Some people are happy just to get to a certain point and then be happy with that. I, on the other hand are not.
I think that his greatest accomplishments are what other people have to say about him. About being so dedicated. I didn’t know him personally, but from what I have heard and have heard from other people who are in the business, when others would be out partying and living the good life, he would was practicing and still trying to become an even better guitar player. I think that anyone who is a true musician can relate to that. I sing for Michael Shrenker and it is really amazing because even though Michael has been ion the business for so many years, he still practices three hours a day. I was so amazed my that. I have always been a Shrenker fan as well, but that made me an even bigger fan of his now that I am doing tours with him. For me, being a singer, I still practice everyday. I think that everybody has their own outlook on the way they perceive a person. I just believe in dedication and Randy really stood for that word. His music was a great accomplishment in itself. He was so inventive and so incredible. But, more as a person and crafting what he did, I think that should be recognized.
Randys sound was so raw. It didn’t sound like he was trying to let processing and the studio do all the work for him. I think that people could really see that it was him that was making the instrument sing. It’s really weird because he came out at a time where you were dealing with people like Eddie Van Halen and all of the other guys, and then here comes Randy with those two albums. It was something really special and obviously it was something that Ozzy saw.
I saw Randy play in concert in my senior year of high school. I saw him play on the east coast. I went with a friend who was a complete Ozzy fanatic and during the entire concert I had to suffer through this guy jumping up and down and screaming at whatever Randy was doing! I was like ”calm down! I’m trying to enjoy this!”.
My favorite song of Randys is Tonight. I love the end of that song with the guitar fading out. It doesn’t sound as though it was planned, just letting it go with feeling.
James Houdek- (Fan)
I was in the eighth grade and as the school bus was taking us to school I noticed a group of about seven gorgeous female school mates giggling and fighting over a large book which I would eventually find out was the Ozzy tour program from the concert the night before that someone had brought on the bus. The girls kept passing around the program and saying ‘what a babe, he is fine!’. When I finally got a chance to view what they were looking at I saw a picture of a young man with long blonde hair, dressed in all black and holding a poked dot guitar with the name Randy Rhoads printed vertically in the page.
I think that Randy along with Eddie Van Halen were both really innovative for that era of rock n’ roll music. They changed the way people approached the instrument. Musical integrity.
I play an instrument, but randy has influenced me more ion my studies to become an elementary school teacher. He was a music teacher and I feel that with any form of teaching you have to look within yourself to find answers to many questions that your students will have and always continue your own studies. That is what was so unique about Randy. He was so accomplished at his art yet he always wanted to learn.
I feel that the reason that his music is so popular is simple, he had the ability to move people through his music. He made his mother so proud of him. I had the privilege of meeting his mother at her Music School Musonia in 1997. She gave me really good advice on school and life in general. I brought her a dozen long stem roses and she told me that to this day, Ozzy Osbourne has sent her flowers every month since 1982.
Each generation has it’s own music and that music represents it’s generation. randy and his music is immortal. We miss you Randy!
Tsuyoshi Ueda- (Fan)
I was thirteen when I first heard Randy play. I listened to the song Crazy Train. Randy rendered remarkable services towards the progress in the music scene. We come to realize that there are no limits to what we can accomplish and that we can learn from him that melody is an essential factor in music.
Here in Japan, Randy made his debut as a member of the group Quiet Riot. Japanese hard rock fans admirer Randys genius. He is still very popular here among hard rock fans and guitarists. Many people feel sorry that he could not have performed here in Japan.
Eric Lewis- (guitarist for Son of Slam)
I was probably about thirteen when I first heard of Randy. It was right after he died. Randy was one of my first influenced when I started playing the guitar. I didn’t get into the electric guitar until about a month after his death. Randy set standards for what electric guitar for rock n’ roll should be. He really expanded it by adding the classical influences and giving it some class and smarts about it. he really influences me to expand my horizons and nit just stick with one thing. To branch out and show some taste in playing. The very first solo that I ever learned was Good-bye to Romance. It was a very pretty solo by Randy and really caught my ear the first time that I heard it.
Randy was such a great player and everyone respected him. It’s kind of like Jimi Hendrix in a way. When they are gone, you can’t go back. You only have their records and recordings to remember by, listen to and learn by. Randys playing was really timeless. You can listen to his playing to day and it still sounds very fresh.
All is silent now
As we listen
For a song that is only on the wind
I hear your song in the rain
And see your smile in a rainbow
Stars cling in your hair
And lightening flies from your fingers
So as the guitar quietly sits
Your song can still be heard.
Randy Rhoads came into my life when I was about fifteen or sixteen years old. A friend of mine gave me a poster of Randy for Christmas one year. To tell you the truth, I don’t even know why. She said that she just felt that I would like it and I guess a couple of times while we were listening to Ozzy, I commented on how good the guitarist was. It’s not too clear, but once I took a good listen to Randys playing, it was clear. The man took an approach to the guitar that I had never heard before. He opened my ear to guitar and I started to pay attention to the instrument. Within a year, I bought a Kramer Flying V from a friend of mine and I’ve been playing ever since.
Randy plays like no other. A good guitarist is one that no matter what he does and who can copy it, it never sounds the same when it’s duplicated. That is because you can’t duplicate someone’s feelings. That was Randy. he was six strings of pure emotion and I myself feel blessed to have heard his music. I have been playing guitar for a little over ten years now and Randys the one that kind of got the ball rolling. His music touched me in a way that I had never been touched by music before. Something in the center of my soul responded to Randys music. His music would bring tears to my eyes. it still does and it would get me thinking, what is it about this guy that makes me feel this way? Randy played with feeling, emotion and soul. He played what he felt deep inside of himself and it showed. It still does. So, after a while of listening to Randy, I learned that if you are gong to make music, find it from deep inside of yourself because that is where it comes from. That is where I go when I play the guitar.
I feel that Randy still has the ability to influence people because he was genuine and pure in his playing. He didn’t try to be any other guitarist and he played because he enjoyed making music. he had his own song that he wanted to be heard. He combined technique with emotion shining through every time.
There are so many memorable accomplishments of Randys. I would say that Dee is definitely on of them. He put so much across in that one song. It was the one song where we really get to hear the classical route that Randy wanted to take. But, by far the greatest accomplishment Randy had was that of his music. Passing along the gift of inspiration that he found in himself and then sharing it with the world. His legacy will forever live on.
There are many songs I love by Randy. One song that brings tears to my eyes everytime that I hear it is ‘Good-bye to Romance’. It’s so beautiful. ‘Breaking up is a Heartache’ is one that I love. His solo in that song is so melodic and flowing. ‘Look in any Window’ , ‘Picking up the Pieces’, and ‘Laughing Gas’ are some of my favorites. Many thanks to Kevin, Kelly and Rudy for putting that out and releasing some music that is brand new to a lot of us. To think of how much Randy did in a short time and how much we still haven’t heard! ‘Eye for and Eye’ and ‘Inside you’ are fantastic! ‘Dee’ stands by itself. I believe that it was a glimpse of what Randy wanted to do in the future. ‘Tonight’ is a pretty one. ‘S.A. T.O.’, ‘Little Dolls’ ‘Diary of a Madman’, ‘No Bone Movies’, I could go on and on. But, one thing is clear, Randy played with emotion and feeling in everything that he did.
Corey Ellithorpe- (fan)
I first discovered Randy when I bought Ozzy Osbourne’s Blizzard of Ozz album about five years ago. I just loved the music. His playing is so moving, powerful, heartfelt and beautiful at the same time. Between Randy and Eddie Van Halen, the two both did an uncountable amount of modern guitar. They helped to really invent proper shred and they are both credited to with being the first to do tapping on the electric guitar.
Randy has that style and that sound that is just amazing. It is something that I, as a guitarist try to come close to, though it’s really tough to grasp. Some of his solos seem easy, but then you play them and get them down but it’s a tough battle. He was also properly trained unlike most guitar players. He had actual music lessons, not tab or something, and he learned the right way ever since he was a young kid. So, it’s frustrating for me not being able to play like he can. But, that is what makes Randy so great. The fact that no one can come close to him. I think that his most memorable accomplishment was leaving an imprint on music. Most other guitarists left imprints on the guitar world, but Randy left them on the music world along with Back, Beethoven and so on. His playing is so musical and powerful.
Aphazel- (Guitarist for the group Ancient)
I have been listening to Randy Rhoads since the end of 1982. I remember that the first album that I started listening to was Diary of a Madman. It was a friend of mine’s brother who had it and when I listened to it I got very excited. At that time, it was very different and special from the other music that was out there. Today, I am a very big fan of Randy Rhoads.
As a musician, Randy has really inspired me through his guitar solos. I really like them. The Tribute album by Ozzy Osbourne is one of my favorite albums. The songs that Randy played are just totally unique and very special. You can certainly say that he has influenced me with his guitar playing. Some of his solos are not too hard to play, though others are rather complicated. I really liked his melodies. They have very much influenced me. His greatest accomplishments, to me, is his work on Diary of a Madman and all of his great solos that he played. ‘You Can’t Kill Rock N’ Roll’ is one of my favorites.
His inspiration lives on through the magazines that continue to write about him. When Ozzy Osbourne put out the Tribute album in 1987, that really gave Randy a lot of attention. Then, the video for Crazy Train. It’s the people in the music industry that support him and his memory. Most of the fans today, I believe, started listening to his music after his death. I think that is really great. He is definitely one of my favorite guitar players.
Larry Cooperman- (New Millennium Classical Guitar Publishing Co.)
I have been teaching guitar for the last twenty five years. First electric guitar and then classical guitar for the past fifteen years. There have been many student who have come to me from rock and particularly been influenced by Randy Rhoads and his implicated classical training. If a rock player is to get the interest of a classical musician, he or she must embody a logic to playing that dispenses with the extraneous and get to the heart of the material and work that material out with the craft of a Stravinsky. Randy did this.
Flash is immaterial to a classical musician and Randy had plenty of this but played with the logic of a seasoned musician.
Robert DiNicholas- ( fan)
I lived in California in 1987 or 1988 when one of my friends told me about the Tribute album. That was when it first came out. That was also the first time I ever heard of Randy or heard him play. I was a big Van Halen fan back then and my friend kept telling me ”Randy Rhoads is the greatest guitarist ever!”. I just kept on saying, ”no way”. So, needless to say I went out and bought the album and was totally blown away!
What inspires me so much about Randy is his ability to refine his own music. I’ve never really seen any other artist do that before. Especially in rock n’ roll. Listen to the Blizzard of Oz album and the listen to the concerts that he did before his death. It is incredible how the songs are transformed into something completely new. His ability to do that was just amazing because he would abandon old idea to go on to new ones. His ability as a guitar player was incredible, Extremely fascinating. He put so much emotion into his playing.
I set up a Randy Rhoads web site to try and get people to listen to Randy. At first, it really didn’t seem like there were a lot of Randy Rhoads fans out there, though I soon discovered that there are many more than I thought. I started the site last year and I believe that there was only one other Randy Rhoads web page. Now, there are at least a dozen.
Michael Kemock- (Fan)
I was probably about four or five when I first heard Randy Rhoads. it was though some old records that were just lying around. The Blizzard of Oz record was laying around and at that time Crazy Train was being played on the radio a lot. I would listen to that song on and off. It became something that I always remember. When I was thirteen, I got really into heavy music and started listening to Black Sabbath and got really into Ozzy Osbourne. I picked up a few of his albums and out of all of them I think that the Blizzard of Oz and Diary of a madman are the two that stood out. The guitar parts on those albums was just incredible. Ozzy has had a few guitarists though they really didn’t carry out too much of a personality. Every time that I owuld listen to these two albums, it just felt as though Randy was a real part of the band.
I play the guitar and have been playing for about two years. Randy definitely inspired me. Randy had a mixture of classical guitar which was really new at the time. Nobody had really incorporated classical guitar into rock music. I try to use his style. I will move my guitar to my left knee which is kind of unorthodox and come up the neck all the way. His fingers were very spread out. I also try and play all of the old songs and things like that. His greatest accomplishments were bringing a more sophisticated style to rock n’ roll music. In my opinion, Randy Rhoads was a great musician. He would rank up there with any of the great musicians, not just in rock music. He brought a purity to rock music.
People look back and see that Randy made so many changes to rock music and the music industry in such short time. His style was so different and people keep innovating on that. There is just so much more that he could have done. It is really attractive to people. Randy is always going to be in the back of our minds because he did so much and people are going to follow his style because it was so innovative.
My favorite song is ‘Good-Bye to Romance’. I also admirer ‘Dee’ a lot because as a guitarist, I try to play it an cannot get very far with it at all. it is very difficult and quick.
I would just like to say that overall with Randy, I believe that he was a true intellectual. In the music industry, that is something that you really do not see a whole lot of. You can really feel his music. he was so precise. It was as if he were playing though his mind the whole time. I was so happy that he got to record with Ozzy Osbourne. That he received that kind of exposure even though it was for a short time. People are going to be listening to him forever. That is the greatest thing.
Bill Leverty- (guitarist for Firehouse)
Unfortunately, I was not exposed to Randys playing until the release of Diary of a Madman. I was just blown away by it. I have never heard a guitar sound so good, clean and yet explosive. I quickly picked up the Blizzard of Oz and a Japanese import of Quiet Riot.
Randys impact on the music scene was tremendous. He took rock guitar into a realm of musicianship, technique and emotion that set standards for excellence. His signature tone was also truly magnificent. Randys recording technique of multi-layering both rhythm and solo tracks for thickness has been a big influence on my recording career. His song writing and solo writing is so timeless. Randy continues to inspire people in part because his music is kept alive though the daily exposure that the classic rock radio stations give his songs. A lot of Randy Rhoads songs are played on a regular rotation. What also certainly helps is that Ozzy Osbourne continues to create really good music. This helps to enhance the interest in Randy.
I feel that his most memorable accomplishment were the songs on Diary of a Madman and Blizzard of Oz. They are all masterpiece compositions. He also accomplished the respect of the music industry as a world class composer and performer.
Karl Compton- (Fan)
I first discovered Randy about two years ago. I was getting into a lot of Black Sabbath at the time and I heard the song ‘No More tears’. Before that, I had never heard any of Ozzy’s solo stuff and it was one of those songs that doesn’t even need to grow on you. It’s just too great. Not really understanding much about Ozzy or his music, I purchased both of the albums No More Tears and Blizzard of Oz at the mall. It must have been a turning point in my life, musically and otherwise, because oddly I can remember every detail of buying them. I had my first encounter with Randy on that Blizzard of Oz album that day.
Randys impact was huge. To be quite honest, as far as popular music in the early eighties, Randy was the best guitarist around. Eddie Van Halen was probably the only one close, but Randy was the best. I have had this debate for hours and hours with a dozen different people and I still stand strong to my belief. The reason is that one of Randys large effects was to up the ante so to speak of being a lead guitarist. Guitarists who were considered great a few years before were being blown out of sight and memory by Randys playing. Everyone had to strive in order to get better and catch up. To sum that part up, Randy busted on to the music scene and rocked everyone’s view of a great guitarist. The same thing happened a few years later when Yngwie Malmsteen appeared. Eddie Van Halen, still around at the time, was considered a virtuoso a few years earlier. When put next to Yngwie, no disrespect, but Eddie is like a child aimlessly plucking a rusty guitar with three strings missing.
Randy just shook everyone’s belief. His name will always be associated with the early eighties as one of the very elite guitarists that was always pushing the limit. Randy influenced my musical point of view so I guess that is what I will discuss to show what a Randy-influenced person might think. I do not view music quite like the average person today so I can’t be expected to speak from their point of view. The popular music today like grunge, ska, punk and alternative have barely any basis in music. It is merely a couple of people who took a few months of lessons on their instrument, trying to catch the perfect catchy tune to make them millionaires. The musical beauty of it is almost completely lost. There might be exceptions to that rule, so I am not directing this towards them. There seems to be a movement toward music that feels honest and sincere since everyone seems to feel sorry for themselves and wants to think that others have the same problems. I can’t help but look through the candy coating of a lot of the music today. Even if the candy coating is really a dark, gloomy image because the only reason it is that way is to attract listeners. I personally don’t understand what can be more sincere that a master of an instrument expressing his vision. I guess it’s just me?
Randy has influenced me probably more than any other guitarist in the world. He is the first guitarist to teach me to love my instrument. The undying desire to learn more and more and to get better. Those are the more important things. The mental aspect of it. Of course he has influenced my technique as well. Randy wrote great songs and beautiful solos and I really want to be able to play like him. Thus, I have had to go through a rigorous process ot learn them and while learning them, I have picked up countless fingering and picking techniques as well as a lot of theory. Randy has been nothing but a positive influence on my playing.
Randy and Ozzy made some great songs as well as Randy with Quiet Riot. People want to hear those great songs. People listen to it for the first time and go ”Wow! Who is the guitarist on this song?”. Someone will tell them and that is where it begins. Once something grabs you and shakes you up a bit, you want to learn more about it. The good thing about Randy is that he is a great musician as well as a role model. The more that you learn about him, the more you appreciate him and the more you want to make yourself better. he inspires many, including myself, to never quit and to always try to be better in all aspects of life.
Probably the most amazing accomplishment of Randys was his rise to fame in the slightly trashy pop metal wave of the eighties that was always surrounded by controversy. Randy never did anything to embarrass himself or dishonor his family in any way. He was a class act through it all and that is tough. That is something that very few people can say.
My favorite songs would have to be a tie between Mr. Crowley and Diary of a Madman. I love the mood of Diary of a Madman and it just paints a picture for me and takes me there. The guitar is wonderful as well. Mr. Crowley is simply perfect. It drives and pounds when it needs to, it is sinister when it wants to be and still beautiful throughout it all. The solos are as perfect as any I have known. When you listen to those songs, you really LISTEN to those songs. At least I know that I do.
Ryan Squires- (fan)
I first discovered Randy around 1987. An English television program featured a young Scottish guitarist called Thomas McRocklin who was only seven years old! He was a buddy of Steve Vai’s and appeared in Steve’s ‘The Audience is Listening’ video. He was seven years old and was playing Crazy Train! I thought that if he can do it than so can I. I tool the time to find the song and feel in love with it and also found an amazing guy named Randy.
I think that Randy gave the music scene, guitarists in particular, a will to do something more that sixteenth downpicks. He gave them a challenge. Be hard and heavy but also be melodic.
Randys playing and music made me push my limits. If I wasn’t happy with my playing I would jam to some of Randys music and it would somehow give me a better view of what I was trying to achieve. I think that Randy continues to inspire people today because we can only guess at what he would have achieved if he had lived. It is kind of like a cliffhanger in a novel. You may have read the book and be waiting for the next installment, but you can’t help picking the book back up and reading it again, just in case you can figure out what happens.
Randys status in England is quite small because we tend to try and push our own guitarists forward. But, Randy does have a following here. If you are a guitarist, you can’t not admirer Randy Rhoads. I think that Randys most memorable accomplishment was proving that something very beautiful and delicate and also be very strong and hard hitting.
Christopher Caffery- (Guitarists for Savatage)
I first discovered Randy Rhoads as a twelve year old heavy metal fan. The first song that I heard was Crazy Train at a Ted Nugent concert in New Jersey. I knew right away after hearing the singing that it was Ozzy. I was blown away by the song and the guitar playing. I had only been playing a year at the time and I rushed out the next day to get this new record, Blizzard of Oz.
Randy Rhoads represented a very important time in music. It was the beginning of the heavy metal explosion. Ozzy’s first two solo records are two of the most classic records of that time. I don’t think that there is or ever will be a hard rock fan that hasn’t heard at least one song that Randy played. Randy brought a new type of guitar sound. Randy was the first guitarist to heavily layer his rhythms. Everyone ran out to buy distortion boxes to play the sound that came out of his hands. His song writing was so colorful and fresh. He was a total rock star and his impact will be felt for a very long time. You just watch!
By the time I was fourteen I was playing three of four nights a week in the bars of New Jersey. It was right around that time when Randy just died. I never got to see him. I could not get a ride to the Blizzard of Oz concert and then two weeks before I was to finally see him on the Diary of a Madman tour, we unfortunately lost him. I did at that time spend the developmental stages of my guitar playing listening to him and trying to play his stuff. It is funny now when I can actually play those licks, to think back to being that young and how I thought they were played. Randy was truly special. The major influence he had on me other than image and songwriting. I learned so mushc about light, shade and emotion from those two albums. You can hear just how special Ozzy and Randys relationship was just through that music. I had a long talk with Ozzy one night about it and he told me that he had never felt something that magical and he missed it always. I know how he feels. Savatage lost our Randy Rhoads, Criss Oliva four years ago. Not a day goes by that he is not missed by us. There was a similar emotion to their playing and I consider both of them to be legends and two of my biggest influences. We use to play these songs live when I had a cover band:
1) Crazy Train
2) I Don’t Know
3) Suicide Solution
4) Mr. Crowley
5) Revelation Mother Earth
6) Steal Away the Night
7) Over the Mountain
8) Flying High Again
All of this by the time I was only fourteen or fifteen. So, I think that you can imagine how Randy influenced my initial guitar studies.
I know why fifteen years after his death he is still so influential and revered. He left us great music. Jimi Hendrix was an incredible guitarist. His songs however are what enable us to really cherish his playing forever. The same is true with Randy. There is a feeling in those two albums that will never be recreated. That is what makes something classic. As much as a great guitarist, we will remember Randys music and we will always love him for that.
I think that one of Randys most memorable accomplishment was his Jackson guitar. Not only is it still being produced all of these years later, it seems to get more popular with time. Jackson Guitars themselves would probably not be such a rock n’ roll icon without Randy. Guitarists kept this guitar alive. A guitarist designed it. That says a lot right there. I myself play a creme Les Paul and a Flying V. Believe me, there are times when I am on tour playing that Les Paul when I dig into a solo and think of some of the intensity in Randys old photos. I then dig real deep and play a few licks for him, just in case he is listening. Unfortunately, I think that many of the most memorable accomplishments were yet to come. However, every time I hear Crazy Train in a bar or on the radio I can still remember the smell of the smoke filled air at that Ted Nugent concert and the anxiousness I felt getting to the record store the next day. That is an accomplishment that every musician should dream of having. Emotional as well as musical impact on a persons life forever.
My favorite song is tough. I have to just say that those two albums are my favorite albums ever. To pick one song is very challenging. One of my favorites has to be ‘Good-Bye to Romance’. The solo was perfect. One of those ones that has to played exactly like it was or it just isn’t the song. Kind of like messing up the lyrics to ‘Stairway to Heaven’. I get a lot of that pressure from fans with old Savatage music.
We all have to thank Ozzy for making sure that the flame stays alive. I hope that somewhere, Randy and Criss Oliva meet and are happy playing music together in heaven. You are both missed and most certainly never forgotten.
Brett Michaels- (Guitarist for Poison)
I discovered Randy through the Blizzard of Oz album. His guitar playing blew me away. The style that he put into his sound. His greatest accomplishments are the energy and excitement he put into the art of rock n’ roll guitar playing. It was a lot like Eddie Van Halen did before him and C.C. did years after. Randy's memory continues because he was an absolute original! My favorite song is ‘You Can’t Kill Rock N’ Roll’.
Peter McQuinn- (Fan)
I fell in love with Randy when I bought the Tribute album by Ozzy Osbourne in 1987. I was fifteen and had been playing for about a year. At fifteen I was the perfect candidate to be obsessed with Randy and Ozzy’s music. What a combination! Randys music speaks for itself. He was ahead of his time and innovative. I believe that it all came real easy to Randy and that he was a natural. He wrote some technically advanced stuff but never copped feeling.
Randy as a person seemed like the guy that you couldn’t help but like. Very nice and sincere. There are few in this world like him. Randys potential was huge. As tragic as his loss is, it has a lot to do with his legend. Way too young, innocent, good and talented to die. But, as the song goes, only the good die young and I think Randy was great and so maybe only the great are stolen from us.
I remember day dreaming about going back in time with all these articles and somehow getting them to Randy backstage and convincing him not to take that flight. At fifteen, that was how I felt and still feel that way today.
Every single guitar player in the rock vein, is somehow a better player because of Randy. I practiced and gave lessons. I guess I tried to emulate Randy for a while. He is certainly a role model.
Marko Maurovic- (fan)
I started listening to metal at around twelve or thirteen years of age. I came back from a trip and all of a sudden all my friends that were into pop music the year before were listening to metal. I didn’t understand it at first and to be quite honest I was afraid of it. You know, loud guitars, make-up, the whole dark persona of the music frightened me. Ultimately, I started liking it. I was listening to Motley Crue, Ratt and any band with a hard edge. The type of music that any ravenous teenager during the eighties loved.
One day I was sitting on the school bus and this girl got on with this portable stereo. She turned it on just to be cool. I recognized some of the songs and I thought, this is all right. I like music and I will listen to it. She fast forwarded it for some reason or another and then boom! Out comes that killer riff! I didn’t say anything out loud. I just sat there and listened quietly. In my head I was going ‘holy shit does that ever sound amazing!’. I was listening to ‘Crazy Train’ for the first time. The funny thing is, it was like I heard that opening riff before but I didn’t, and then the second riff just fit the song perfectly. The only other time that I was so charged by the sound of guitars was when I heard Eddie Van Halen’s ‘Eruption’ for the first time. I said to myself that this was really good guitar playing. Randys playing gave you that kind of chill down your spine that you could enjoy over and over again. It was a future guitar players answer for a reason to buy an electric.
I think that Randy had a great impact on the entire music scene. He made kids like me, learn cool tunes. He made the guitar roar and still be musical about it. it is hard to fully explain how important the guitar is for those that don’t play. It is the kick ass of all instruments. Randy just offered more options to the guitar which made it impossible to put down until you learned one of his songs, riffs or solos. Then when you were done you would do it again and again until it hurt. That is how important Randy made guitar playing and music. He offered options that were cool. I can remember my first guitar lesson. The ‘Mary had a Little Lamb’ days. Well, during one session my teacher belted out ‘Crazy Train’ and I looked at him and thought he was God!
I am somewhat of a part time guitar player. Randys impact on my playing was simple. Play clean and play fast. It was really that simple. The cleaner you play, that faster you sound. Classical pieces for the most part done on a nylon string guitar are at a medium tempo, but because they are so fluid they sound very fast. This is what Randy did. Not to say that he wasn’t fast. He was incredibly gifted with speed but very few guitar players on a live stage could ever sound so clean through a distorted guitar.
On a more personal note, when I get a chance to get up on stage for an open jam, Randy is the first player that I think of when I solo. It is funny because I could be doing a tune like ‘Roadhouse Blues’ by the Doors but as soon as the solo kicks in it’s Randy influences all the way! I say, why play basic blues when you can shock the shit out of the crowd by doing a Randy Rhoads inspired lick? It is neat at the end of the night when you get these young generation X kids coming up to you going ”Wow, your a damn good guitar player! That was amazing!”. My response is a simple ”no I’m not”.
For me, one of Randy Rhoads’ most memorable accomplishments came in the form of his ability to teach music. Randy Rhoads taught a music teacher that was supposed to teach him. Randy even paid for the lesson after! When you hear things like that, you automatically think what a great guy he was! He was a true anti-rocker. When every other musician wanted to get drunk, he wanted to continue his education in music. That says a lot to me about Randys dedication to music. Not too many people in any profession have that much dedication towards what they are doing in their life.
As a guitar player, I would have to say that my favorite song is ‘Mr. Crowley’. The soloing on that song is inspiring. But, for the sheer love of the music, ‘Crazy Train’ is my song of choice. It has everything memorable about a good song. For what it’s worth, it still goes over well in the bars as one of the best cover tunes of all time!
Long live Randy Rhoads! Your abilities will be forever missed. To this day, I still wish I could play one tenth as good as you. I guess that is why I am a Business Major and not a guitarist.
I still can feel you lean on me
As I play my bass
I look to my left and hope to find
Your happy smiling face~
My memories fade to black and white
But they’re all still crystal clear
And as a tear rolls down my face
I still wish you were here.
Rudy Sarzo- (Bass player for Quiet Riot)
I met Randy when he was with Quiet Riot in 1978, I believe. It was at a rehearsal and I was auditioning for Quiet Riot. I had seen Randy perform when they were playing at the Starwood in Los Angeles. I thought that Quiet Riot was a band with a lot of potential and that they were really on to something. At the Starwood, I was compelled to go up to Kevin DuBrow and tell him that whatever they were doing, to keep doing it. I thought that out of all the people in town, these guys had what it takes and they knew what it takes. They weren’t a fluke. They had a vision of what they were doing and definitely had the image, the playing and some aspects like the song writing because it was all very 70’s oriented.
I joined the band Quiet Riot in 1978. We played together and we actually did not release an album while I was in the band. There is an album where I am on the cover, though I am not playing on it. It was recorded before I joined the band. There was a period of six to eight months from the time that the bass parts were done to the time where I took the photo. For budget cuts or whatever, they kept the old bass tracks and put me on the cover. The release in Japan was Quiet Riot 2. From that point on, we went into the studio and cut several demo’s that were never really released on any major deal.
Randy left the band in 1979. We both left around the same time actually. Randy left Quiet Riot to join Ozzy Osbourne and I went on to do other things. I then joined Ozzy in 1981, right around Easter time. I was recommended by Randy and basically just went down to meet Ozzy at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles. We all met at this place they called Trader Dicks which is the lounge area in the hotel. Randy has told Ozzy enough great things about me that Ozzy was ready to hire me on the spot. He just wanted to really make sure that I could actually play first.
Now, this was to go on tour for the Blizzard of Oz. Not only was the Blizzard of Oz album already recorded, but so was Diary of a Madman. On that first tour, we were already playing a few songs from Diary of a Madman. On that tour, I was seeing something that became very huge in development. I knew that we were doing something cool and I was a big fan of the band. As I went out on stage to perform, I felt very privileged to be a part of it all. It was a time when Randys playing really came to perfection. When Quiet Riot was playing in Los Angeles, we were more concerned about getting a record deal. The record companies would go, ”listen, you guys give us a song like this”, which was whatever the top forty song at the time, ”and you guys will get time”. We use to go into the studio and try and come up with a song just like the song that the guy wanted us to do, but by the time we had done it they were already looking at something else. They would go ”well, that song is old now so you have to do something else”. So, we were always basically chasing out tail. But, when it came time for randy to record with Ozzy, Ozzy told him to just be himself. That is when the Randy Rhoads that everyone knows came out.
What made it very special is that we caught everybody by suprise. When people see you and say ”wow, where did you guys come from?”. It was very special for me and Randy since we had never experienced that before. For Ozzy, coming from Black Sabbath and Tommy Aldridge from being with other bands, it was just the way it was supposed to be. For randy and me, it was like, wow this is really cool! We were just both going through the same experiences and we would look at each other and give each other a thumbs up sign right before we would go on. We would watch the entire audience reacting to the expectation of what we were about to do. It was definitely an honor to be a part of that band.
I remember when we went to play in Victoria, Canada. It was summer time and it was very beautiful. We had the night off and were walking around outside. This fan came up to us and recognized Randy. The fan had a guitar with him and asked Randy how to play the solo in ‘Good-bye to Romance’. Randy, being a teacher, picked up the guys guitar and started to play the solo. But, Randy had only just recorded the song and it wasn’t on the tour song list. Sometimes, you just record a song though you don’t perform it. Unless you have to perform it, it is not fresh in your mind. So, Randy wasn’t really playing it correctly and so the kid said, ”actually, I think it goes like this”. The kid took the guitar and started to show Randy how to play his own solo. Randy was like, ”that is the last time that I am going to give anybody a lesson”. It was so funny because being such a great guitar player and being put on the spot like that just really showed his humanity.
Going shopping with Randy in the stores was so hilarious. He was very thin and wore like a size one! A female size looked big on him! He would walk out of the dressing room saying that the pants were too baggy on him. We would all just be laughing at him!
Randy Rhoads had a way of making people feel as if they were his best friend. I have heard so many people say that and I even thought that I was his best friend. Maybe it was because I spent a lot of time with him on the road. He did have his other, very private life though. When we would come home to Los Angeles, all that he basically wanted to do was stay at home, play with his model trains, eat Chinese food and spend time with his girlfriend. That is what he enjoyed. To Randy, privacy was very precious and I understood this. He needed time to prepare before we went back out on tour. He needed those private moments to compose and possibly even grow as a musician. To practice his guitar which was his devotion. His passion.
The last time that I saw Randy was when I was sleeping in my bunk and he was heading out the door of the tour bus. He said to me, ”hey Rudy, do you want to go up in this plane?”. We were aware of the bus driver and the fact that he was a pilot also. We also knew that at the bus depot where the buses got serviced in Florida, there was a landing strip. It belonged to the owner of the bus company. The bis driver had talked to us many times about when we got to Florida that he would take us up for an airplane ride.
We had a very long drive from Knoxville, Tennessee to the middle of Florida. It was a non-stop drive for the bus driver. After the show we got on the bus and drove straight there. I would say that it was about seven or eight o’clock in the morning when Randy came to my bunk and asked me if I wanted to go up in the plane. I stuck my head out of the bunk and said, ”no, I want to wait until we get to Orlando to get out of this bunk”. I just didn’t want to get out. I stuck my head back in the bunk and went back to sleep. The next thing I know, is I hear this huge ”boom!”. I woke up out of a dead sleep to this. I jumped up and out of my bunk. Ozzy and Sharon were asleep in the back lounge of the bus. They came rushing out and Tommy Aldridge and I started to walk out of the bus. There was glass all over the bus and we looked outside. We see out Tour Manager on his knees, crying and pulling his hair out saying ”they’re gone, they’re gone”. I am just going ”what is happening?”. I had no idea what was going on. I stepped out of the bus and I saw the garage of the house that the bus was parked next to on fire. Tommy and Don Airys started looking for a fire extinguisher. Meanwhile, I am still uncertain what was going on. I am just thinking that there was a fire. The Tour Manager was in such shock that he couldn’t make any sense of what was going on. Finally, when I get all the information that they were on the plane and they crashed, my emotions overtook me. This place was in the middle of nowhere and there was absolutely no noise. No traffic noise or anything! Only nature and your own hysteria. There was this low frequency that just filled my ears. It was just total despair. I just couldn’t believe it. I was numb and in shock. I was hoping that a miracle might have happened such as Randy might have jumped from the plane and was in a tree somewhere. It took a long time for me to get myself out of that denial faze. It took a couple of hours for the Fire Department to show up because in those days we didn’t have cell phones or anything like that. The person who owned the house that was on fire was hearing impaired so Tommy Aldridge ran into the house to tell the guy to get out because the house was on fire. That is where they made the necessary calls to the authorities. From the time it happened, it must have been four or five agonizing hours of being on that location and not being able to do anything.
By the time we got to the hotel, there was a church near by that was within walking distance. We all went there, including Ozzy. Things were never the same after that. I have had kids come up to me and say, ”hey, Randy was partying, huh?”, and I just tell them that it wasn’t anything like that at all. It was an innocent ride in an airplane that went terribly wrong. Infact, apparently the first ride on the plane was taken by Don Airys and Jake Duncan who was out Tour Manager. They went up in the plane. After that ride, the pilot said that he was going to take Rachel, who was the lady hired to take care of us while on tour. Rachel would take great care of us in the bus and always cook for us. She would take care of our stage clothes. Just an incredible individual. The pilot offered Rachel a ride and Rachel said that she had never done that before. Rachel was an older woman and she had a heart condition. The pilot made a point of telling Jake Duncan that he was just going to take her up and not do any stunts. When Don and Jake went up on the first flight, they were doing some small stunts. Apparently, when Randy heard that it was going to be an innocent flight, he said that he would go up in the plane in order to take some pictures. Randy loved to take pictures. Randy was also pretty afraid of flying. His first flight ever was when he joined Ozzy and went over to England. Randy went up in this plane since it was going to be a safe, simple flight up in the air and then back down again. Unfortunately, that is not what happened.
The plane actually hit the bus first. The wing clipped the bus that was parked in front of the house that it eventually crashed into. I remember standing next to the point of impact on the bus. It was about where my nose was. I would have to say that if it had hit a few inches lower, it would have crashed into the bus instead of just clipping it. But, it clipped into the bus, a tree and then into the garage of this house. They had a couple of cars that were parked inside the garage and so it exploded on impact.
For a long time after that, I had dreamt of Randy. There comes a time though, when you have to let go because you are basically keeping the spirit from going to the next step. That is why ghosts exist because people hang on to those spirits themselves and they deny the fact that they have gone on.
Randy really showed me what it was like to be a great takent as well as a great human being. A lot of people in the industry are very talented but they can be real jerks. Randy was never like that. As big as he was a talent, I never saw him be a jerk to anybody. As far as his passing, I needed to have a closure. For his spiritual sake and for my own. There is no end to Randy as far as his relationship with me. He is always someone that makes me feel like he was my best friend. Feelings like that never really end. In my memory, every time I go out on stage, he is there with me.
John L. Kokel- (Fan)
I think that it was in my teenage years. I just remember thinking how good the blend of lead and rhythm was on ‘Crazy Train’ that was on the radio and from there I just dove into Ozzy’s first two albums and immediately after that whatever Randy Rhoads recordings with Quiet Riot I could find. I suppose I was a Randy Rhoads fan before I was an Ozzy Osbourne fan, really.
I don’t think that Randy and as much of a big impact on the music scene as he should have had. But, to people like us and true-blooded musicians, I think he really hit a nerve especially in his passing. A great many people recognized what he was trying to do. To try and actually be the living essence of a musician. To embody every ability and characteristic of the perfect musician. When a great many musicians actually come successful, they just sort of sit back and figure that there is nothing more to learn since they are already successful. Too many popular guitarists get featured on the covers of guitar magazines when they have only taken the time to learn three chords and one scale and maybe a basic major scale. I admire Marty Friedman because I remember reading something of his where he admitted to going into Megadeth as lead, lead, lead, but over time fine tuning his rhythm playing my working with Dave Mustaine. Any musicians like Randy Rhoads who keeps striving to be great, even after success is to be admired.
I don’t think that I would have picked up a guitar if it had not been for Randy and everything he said without really saying anything at all. I have known a lot of guys who just get the tabs for pop songs, learn the two of three chords to play the required rhythm part and then call it quits. I ask why they never attempt anything with hammers, pull-off’s, tapping or just trilling away with three fingers? I get an answer like, ”No way man. That stuff is just out there so you can be a cocky show off”. Well, I am sorry but that is just an excuse to be lazy and never push yourself as a musician. I admit, I am no Randy Rhoads, then again who is? But, I still try my absolute hardest to learn and improve especially since I have immense trouble reading sheet music. I mostly just sit down and figure out how everything is done by ear. Once I know how a guitarist does things, I take similar styles and techniques and work with them into my own sound. Randy, however is a hard one. If you incorporate Yngwie Malmsteen into your playing, it’s noticeable. Same with George Lynch. But Randy is definitely different. In spite of his flawless execution, he played 10% with his hands and 90% with his heart. That is not something that one can imitate. That is something that you have to do for yourself.
I think for a lot of people, Randy was a symbol more than anything else and I actually don’t see any problem with that. Why is Abraham Lincoln remembered 130 or so years after his death? he was a symbol. One of honesty, integrity, and a compassion for the treatment of other men. Sometimes, being remembered as a symbol is bad. I actually remember Kurt Cobain when he was alive. It seems like no one else does since he was just another budding alternative musician at the time. But, when he killed himself he became a national icon of depression, rebellion, going against the grain and ultimately hatred of ones self. I know that he didn’t intend this message, yet kids of generation X ate it up like Halloween candy. Well, Randy was also a symbol in his passing but a very positive one. Like I mentioned before, he was a true epitome of what every true musician tries to be and he never stopped trying to be that much better. The part of the symbol with the most impact is that he had so much potential energy that he was just starting to let out to let the world see. Just before he really started moving towards his full potential, the whole possibility came to an end on that day in March of 1982. I think that someday that symbol will inspire another individual to pursue Randys progress and eventually surpass it. I think that there has only been one man since Randy who really loved the music in a similar way and that was Stevie Ray Vaughan. Of course, his story had a similar ending.
I admire the fact that Randy picked up the guitar when he was like six or seven years old and just obsessed with it until his last day on earth. I can guarantee from what I know of Randy, that day he died he probably practiced at least once that morning. I just have a feeling. The one thing that everyone seems to remember is the fact that he couldn’t stop in a town or a city without seeking a professional classical guitar player for some good inside tips. Considering that he only applied classical style to a couple of pieces on record, this just goes to prove that he was doing all this purity out of his undying obsession with the guitar.
As a whole, my favorite song that Randy played on would have to be ‘Diary of a Madman’. Although there isn’t much on that number that was outstandingly Randy, the song as a whole is a true masterpiece between Randy’s flawless work and Ozzy Osbourne’s remarkably creative lyrics and execution, and the entire mosaic of Rudy Sarzo and Tommy Aldridge with the strings and choir. Truly a classic. But, as far as a piece to get the whole picture of what Randy was, I would have to say that ‘Mr. Crowley’, preferably the live cut since that 90% emotional part was much more evident on stage. His solo’s, fills, and improvisation are just something to be heard. His solo from the Tribute edition of ‘Suicide Solution’ is fast but it just doesn’t have the raw emotion of his work on Mr. Crowley.
Gary Hoey- (Guitarist)
I discovered Randy through Ozzy, I was a huge Black Sabbath fan so when Ozzy went solo I was waiting to hear what he would do. When he came out with Randy I was just blown away. I think that Randy Rhoads was he epitome of the guitar hero. His song writing was setting a new standard for rock guitar. I think his untimely death had a big impact in the entire music scene.
The way that Randy combined rock, blues, classical and metal into a unique sound was inspiring. Hi playing was so proficient that he made me want to go practice. His guitar sound was huge! He changed his sound from song to song. These things are what influenced me the most.
His music was so powerful and emotional. He put so much of himself into what he did and his fans can always enjoy that. Music is a powerful language that speaks to any culture, and good music is timeless. I think Randy’s greatest accomplishments are all of the great albums that he recorded and left for us to enjoy. Also, the spirit of his personality and humbleness.
My favorite song is ‘Good-bye to Romance’. I think it was the first song that he wrote with Ozzy Osbourne.
Weren’t we quite a pair~
You and I back then
You came to me with questions…
And came to me a friend
And you showed me everything
A guitarist is supposed to be
Now spread your wings
My special friend….
Forever you’ll fly free
Tommy Aldridge- (Former drummer for Ozzy Osbourne)
I was living in England and working with Gary Moore. I was rehearsing with Gary when I met Randy. Randy and Ozzy came down to the rehearsal in order to meet Gary. While there, Randy picked up a guitar and started jamming with us for about an hour because Randy was a big Gary Moore fan. I don’t know how big, but big enough to come down to the rehearsal to meet Gary. This all took place in London. I did the tour with Gary and a couple of albums. It was right after I left Pat Travelors and I wanted to hang out over there for a while and have the opportunity to play with some English musicians. I was over there for about a year and a half.
My first impression of Randy was how small he was. I hadn’t even heard him play yet and so that was my first impression of him. He was just such a small guy. Then, he picked up the guitar which was a Les Paul and what he was playing at the time, and it looked like a precession bass. He just started jamming with it and it was absolutely amazing!
I had known Ozzy from when he was with Black Sabbath. At that time, I was with a band called Black Oak Arkansas which was a southern band. We went to support Black Sabbath on one of their tours. The first time that toured outside of the United States was to tour in Europe and Scotland in order to support Black Sabbath. That is how and when I met Ozzy Osbourne.
I worked with Gary for a while and then Ozzy and Sharon approached me. Sharon, who was Ozzy’s girlfriend at the time, became his manager and later his wife. Her name was Sharon Arden at the time and her father owned Jett Records which was the label that Ozzy was signed to. They contacted me and I decided to join. We auditioned Rudy Sarzo along with some other bass players. We chose Rudy and went off to do the Blizzard of Oz and then the tour
I think that the Blizzard of Oz was a real coming out for Randy. Playing with Randy was a very memorable experience for me. I have been very blessed to have worked with many notable guitarists over the years. Randy Rhoads showed me everything that a guitarist is supposed to be. He is the one that all of the others are judged by as far as my taste in a guitarist. He was just so original and he was also a real technician. Those two things are almost mutually exclusive in a guitarist. I mean, you get some guy that can play really technical, but they really have nothing to say. It’s like someone who has a great vocabulary but they don’t express any passion with anything that they try to convey to people. They know every word in the dictionary but they don’t have anything of importance to say.
Randy was so able to play with such passion. Apart from everything else, Randy had many special qualities that had absolutely nothing to do with guitar playing or being a musician. He was a wonderful human being and those qualities carried over into his music. Just his personality. He looked very much like he sounded. Very dynamic on stage. He definitely brought the best out of me. I think that the best playing that I have ever done was while I was working with Randy Rhoads. Your really only as good as the people you are working with. It’s probably how Mitch Mitchel felt while working with Jimi Hendrix, or how John Bonam must have felt while working with Jimmy Page.
Randy was a real sweetheart of a guy. He was very humble. He had a respect for me because I had established myself in the business before he could. He was not in ‘ah’ of me, but a bit of a fan only because I was a couple of years older than he was and had been in the business for a while. He had heard about me and knew that I had worked with Gary and some other guitarists that he looked up to. Whenever Randy and I first got to playing, I would look at him and say, ”Wow! That was absolutely amazing!”. He would almost blush after I would say things like that because he just couldn’t believe that someone was complementing him. That is just the kind of person that he was. He was so easy to get along with. I never heard him raise his voice to anyone. Ever. He was just a very sweet man. it was a big loss for everyone when he died.
Looking back on that tragic day, I remember that we had been traveling, of course like we did every night. We were coming through the south on our way to Florida and were going to stop at our coach company which was in Kassenie or someplace like that. The bus driver, who was also a pilot, lived there because out bus company was based there. He said to us several times, ‘well, when we stop there I will take you guys up for a little joy ride’. I was not interested at all because I travel for a living and the last thing that I want to do on my spare time is get on an airplane. I was just not interested at all. Plus, this guy had been traveling all night and had no business flying an airplane.
We arrived there early in the morning and I was still in bed, half asleep and I could hear the plane flying around. Don Airy had gone up. When they landed, I could hear someone saying, ”Randy, you should go!”. So, Randy and Rachel, who was our wardrobe lady decided to go. Rachel was Sharon’s fathers’ maid. She was a black lady in her mid fifties with a heart condition.
The last time that I saw Randy was when he walked down the isle of the bus and flung open the curtains to my bunk. He grabbed me to wake me up and said, ”Tommy, come on! Let’s go for a ride!”. I said, ”Randy, I don’t want to go up in that silly airplane right now and I tell you, nobody has any business up there. The guy has been driving all night and has no business being up there flying around!”. He said to me, ”oh, come on”. Again, I said no. So, Randy and Rachel went up. It was about 8:00a.m. at that point and I could hear them flying around. I had just gotten up, poured some milk into my tea and was stirring it when all of a sudden there was this huge smash and then the roof of the bus off! Right above where I was standing! I could immediately smell fiber glass and all of these weird smells. I was still half asleep. The bus drivers girlfriend was at the door of the bus and began screaming. I went running outside the door of the bus yelling at everyone and asking , ”what happened?”. All that I could hear was, ”they hit the bus!”.
I couldn’t see the airplane. The bus was parked in front of this home which was very strange because this home and the runway was out in the middle of nowhere. There was the landing strip and then this home which had a circular drive way in the front of it. Then, there was nothing but woods around. The bus was parked in front of the home and the tip of the wing hit the bus and then the plane dove down into this garage section of the house.
After leaving the bus and hearing what everyone was saying had happened, I turned around and realized at that point that the plane had indeed hit the bus, though I was still trying to find the plane. I couldn’t find it! all of a sudden, I see all of this black smoke coming off of the roof and I am thinking, ”oh my god, they hit the roof of the house!”. I went running around and the garage door was open. I realized at that point that the plane was in the garage. I could almost see it. I started to go into the garage and at that point it just exploded. It blew me completely backwards and it singed the hair on my eye lashes. It was a huge explosion. I jumped up and realized that now, the entire house was on fire, so I ran around the house to see if anyone was inside. I went up to the front door and turned the knob. It was not locked and so I just walked inside. There was this old man sitting there and I startled him really good. He was deaf and I didn’t know that at the time. He had no idea what was going on and here I was, this strange man in his house with black stuff all over my hair and face. I was yelling at him and I can only imagine what was going though this guys head. He finally came outside of the house which soon burned literally to the ground. The Fire Department finally came out there though there was no fire hydrant anywhere and so the house just burned with the plane in the garage.
Everyone was so frantic. Angry at each other and very chaotic. It was just terrible. In a flash, Randy was in the bus saying, ”come on Tommy, come on!” and then he was gone. Never to be seen again. We were all severely affected by it though Rudy even more so since he had worked with randy so closely and he really knew Randy longer than any of us. It was through Randy that Rudy became involved in the band. It just really emotionally affected Rudy.
I remember when Randy came up to me and was just enchanted with the classical guitar. He wanted to get out of the rock n’ roll business and go back to school in order to take courses in classical music. Randy would try and take guitar lessons in every city that we stopped in. He would always try and find a classical guitar teacher in town and take a lesson from them. Nine times out of ten he would wind up giving them the lesson since he was so much more qualified that most of the teachers were. Teaching is what he was doing initially. He taught guitar at his mothers music school.
Randy had decided that he just did not want to do what he was doing anymore in rock n’ roll. He was very disenchanted with everything and confided in me a number of times about his dissatisfaction with the rock n’ roll business and how he wanted to get back to the purism of the guitar. That is what he had inspired to do. He wanted to go back and finalize his schooling and become a classical guitarist. He only did two records with Ozzy Osbourne and you can only imagine the impact that he had with Quiet Riot in Japan when he never even set foot there! He would have been amazing!
Subsequent to Randy’s death, I tried to stay around and help Ozzy out with trying to find another guitarist to finish the tour with. It was very tough for Ozzy because Randy Rhoads and Bob Daisley put all of that material together. Randy had such a huge impact on Ozzy’s career up until maybe his last two or three albums. That is amazing and it completely astounds me! Randy made such an impact with just those two records that he did with Ozzy.
We brought in an Irish guitarist by the name of Bernie Torme. I didn’t know anything about him but we were stuck between a rock and a hard spot because we had dates that had to be done. That is the reason that I stayed. I tried to help Sharon and Ozzy. I really felt sorry for Ozzy because he was just so lost. I felt a real loyalty and responsibility to Sharon and Ozzy to try and help them get it together. To find someone who could at least give Ozzy a chance to finish that tour and fulfill his commitments. Ozzy ultimately found a great guitarist in Zakk Wylde, but he never found what he had in Randy ever again. That only comes once in a lifetime. That package where you have a guy who is an amazing guitarist, an innovator and who is also a creator and terrific song writer. A composer. Randy was a composer. Randy had all of that information. That is why he is still so revered and his name is still going. What he did was really timeless. Just listen to those records. His choice of notes and how he chose to play. Those riffs in the music, those were his riffs! I just felt so fortunate to be involved with someone like Randy. He was the instinctive and motivation for me to get together with Ozzy. It was to work with Randy Rhoads. I was not a Black Sabbath fan. Those guys use to scare me to death! I would see them come out and perform and I would just think to myself, ‘oh man, I had better go to church after this!’. I was just not a huge Black Sabbath fan. I went with Ozzy Osbourne because of Randy Rhoads. Because of Randy’s involvement. He was just simply amazing!
Erika Gabert- (Fan)
I discovered Randy Rhoads around 1992. That is actually when I first remember hearing his name. I didn’t start to listen to his music or learn about him until around 1994 pr 1995. I feel that Randy’s impact on the music scene is immense, whether people realize it or not. He showed people how to incorporate classical music into heavy metal and he demonstrated how the guitar was truly supposed to be played. His attitude toward most things was calm, patient and dedicated. He was very remarkable.
Randy’s influence on people will always be felt. It will never go away because Randy died so young. I find that people seem to admire and respect him all the more because of that. Even though it has been over fifteen years since his death, people will never forget him or his music. He will always live on. Randy made so many accomplishments during his short life. It is just amazing! His most memorable has to be his obvious and incredible talents on the guitar, his love of classical music and being able to merge that classical music with heavy metal. I once heard that classical music is like the ABC’s of music. If this is true, Randy certainly realized it.
I think that my favorite song is ‘Mr. Crowley’. There is something about that song. It never gets old and never gets tiring. It shows off Randy as well as Ozzy’s talents very accurately.
(Musician/Guitarist/Songwriter for the group 'French'.)
It must have been around 1985. I use to listen to a lot of different kinds of music at the time though I pretty much grew up around heavy metal type music because of my dad. My sister also listened to Ozzy Osbourne. My childhood seems to have a lot of memories of Ozzy’s music and Kiss concerts! After hearing Randy play, I was very impressed. He seemed to bring back style to rock n’ roll. After the disco era, it was like a breath of fresh air. I started playing music when I was about twelve years old. I started on a $75.00 acoustic and worked up to the Flying V that I own today.
I think that Randy’s greatest gift was that he inspired so many people. That is a pretty good accomplishment. To be thought of as one of the greatest more than fifteen year after your death is really something. My favorite Randy Rhoads song is ‘Diary of a Madman’. It has such a different sound to it. Not like anything else. He uses about every type of music that he ever got really good at playing. He combined so much in that one song and he also brings a lot of classical guitar into it as well.
Robert Forster- (Fan)
I am not exactly sure when I first heard Randy, but I remember about eleven years ago, maybe even longer than that, I was over at a friends party and I heard this awesome music in the back ground. The song was ‘Iron Man’ done by Ozzy Osbourne and Randy Rhoads on the Randy Rhoads/Ozzy Osbourne Tribute album. I truly enjoyed the music! The guitar was excellent. It is very difficult to put the emotion that I felt into words. I was just tapping away with my foot and mentally singing along and fighting the urge to play the air guitar!
I feel that Randy was and still is the best! I think that he lead the music or steered the music to what is known today as alternative. All of this with his mixed styles of guitar. From what I understand, is he was experimenting with mixing music like classical and rock to form a new style. He was also very young at the time he was playing with Ozzy, so he had the ambition and drive to become even better, if that was possible, and even brought the new age or what is known as alternative music to us listeners sooner. I also feel that he paved the road for modern musicians of today and showed that you can make it if you desire it.
I think that Randy Rhoads was my hero. He was an idol to me when I was playing guitar. I can no longer play or haven’t played in many, many years do to carpal tunnel syndrome. He was a dream of mine though. To play like Randy and to be like Randy was a dream that I once had. For instance, every child wants to be Superman with his great powers. Well, I wanted to be like Randy Rhoads and his great solos! I knew that if I wanted to be famous in the music world, I had to be as good or better player than Randy.
No one, in my mind, can put so much emotion into the music like Randy. Not Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai, Ace Frehley. No one. None of them, to me, can effect me emotionally as Randy could. I did think that Ozzy Osbourne deserved to have such a talented person as Randy Rhoads in his band. I think that Randy put Ozzy on the charts. Every time you see or hear Ozzy Osbourne, you think of Randy Rhoads. I just wish that I could have seen Randy in concert, close up. I only got to see him from the nose bleed section!
Randy’s most memorable accomplishment was the blending of several styles of music to create a new form or style of music and letting the world hear it. I enjoyed the music that he created and composed. I like all of Randy’s songs though the three that come to mind as being favorites are ‘Crazy Train’, ‘Believer’, and ‘Mr. Crowley’.
Marc Ferrari- (musician)
I discovered Randy around 1980 when the Blizzard of Ozz release came out. Everyone was raving about this hot, new player. I think that Randy really brought a breathe of fresh air to the metal scene and his classical influences infused a welcomed change. Although I admired his talent tremendously, I never tried to copy his licks. I was always trying to find my own niche. He did inspire me however to better my overall playing. I saw him play live in 1981 and I will always have that memory of him playing his heart out. he looked so cool on stage. I think that Randy Rhoads is among the most influential players of his generation. His most memorable accomplishments would have to be influencing an entire generation of players by bringing heavy metal with classical elements and helping to revive the career of Ozzy Osbourne in the process. My favorite song is ‘Dee’.
Michael Czapkay Sudduth- (Fan)
I first heard of Randy in 1982 around the time that he died. So, I never saw Randy in concert except on video. A friend of mine gave me a tape of ‘Crazy Train’. He said, ”check this out!”. I had been a Black Sabbath fan for a few years, but when I heard the Blizzard of Ozz, I ended up more impressed with the guitarist than I was with Ozzy. I asked my friend, ”who is this guy playing guitar?”. he told me that it was Randy Rhoads. That was where it all started.
Randy was no mere flash guitarist, though some have than impression. He could play fast and clean, but his phrasing was brilliant and his style unique. I am thinking of his scales and his use of filler leads in particular. He could squeeze a scale in just about anywhere and the song would never loose it’s flow.
Like other great guitarists, he spoke through his instrument. More importantly, he seemed to speak a language quite different from the typical rock guitarist. I attribute this in large part to his classical background. Anyone acquainted with the classical genre can tell that Randy was classically trained. The classical background is apparent in even the most intense of his rock guitar solos, and it underlies the structure of much of his phrasing. Rock music has traditionally been grounded in blues. One of Randy’s important contributions to rock and heavy metal is the integration of classical scales into a music genre that was largely indebted to the blues tradition. The result was musically profound and technically sophisticated, but it was aesthetically simple and moving. If you listen to Randy, you experience emotion and intellect. That’s the sort of completeness of soul that he communicated through his instrument. Randy brought class to rock guitar.
I was a rock guitarist with a love for classical music, but I hadn’t quite figured out how to put the two together, much less did I have the guts to try. Randy was a revelation and became a great inspiration. There is was, everything that I was looking for. It was possible and brilliant. Randy also taught me how to use the entire fretboard, to see scales in their completeness. He also helped me with my phrasing and throwing in licks as fillers while keeping rhythm. I ended up incorporating a lot of triple note scales in my playing as a result of Randy’s influence.
Rick Monroe- (Musician)
I was living in Florida when I first heard ‘Crazy Train’. I was a little stoner kid and a friend of mine goes, ”check this out!”. I heard the opening riff and I had never heard anything like that before. I was just amazed. Musically at the time, it was a big turn around from what I was into. Before then, I was really into Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd and maybe some Kiss. Randy had just a whole different sound. After that, I just started listening to his music.
What keeps inspiring people is his indulgent persistence to technique, and his ability to just let loose. He was so well trained and yet so loose! He was so crazy on the guitar! He was able to do both where a lot of people who are well schooled can’t let loose and the people who are really loose are not really well schooled.
‘Crazy Train’ must be my favorite song. That is the riff of all times! Randy and Stevie Ray Vaughn. Those guys guy just basically bled notes. You know, some people play and some people bleed. It seems as though the ones that bleed somehow get taken away.
Roberto Vitoriano- (Fan)
I discovered Randy when I was a young boy at the beginning of the eighties. Some of my friends, fans of Ozzy, gave me some tapes with some live recordings. I soon took notice that the person playing on those tapes was a perfect genius. I will never forget about the day that I received those tapes. I still have them after sixteen years!
I think that Randy played with his intelligence and own capacity. He created an impact that sensitive people noticed very quickly. The impact of his music brings out emotions in people. Randy played the music perfectly. Randy continues to inspire people and he will do that forever. He was so unique in his style of playing. He didn’t just use the guitar as an instrument, but as a way of expressing his personality and soul. The guitar spoke the words that he wanted to say. Some artists show their emotions through paintings or writing. Randy showed his through the guitar.
I live in Brazil. We have very strong rock influences here. We have rock musicians for the international scenery. Randy is very well known here because he was playing at a time when hard rock and heavy metal seemed to come into this country. It was the beginning of the eighties. Radny left influences here as Jimi Hendrix left for the people who listened to rock in the seventies.
Mark Wood- (Electric Violinist and Composer)
I first heard of Randy when most everybody did. It was when Ozzy Osbourne picked him up as a guitar player. Everyone was waiting to see who Ozzy would pick as the ‘guitar hero’, and obviously he picked the right guy.
I play violin and have played at the last two Randy Rhoads Benefit Concerts. I play a six string fregit electric violin and I play sort of a heavy metal version of violin playing. I found that when I did the Randy Rhoads Benefit Concert, the crowd went crazy when they saw be playing the guitar transcriptions of ‘Mr. Crowley’ on the violin! To me, it was a big thrill to be able to play his solos which I felt always addressed classical music. It just all really fit in well with the violin. Randy had a great classical sense to his playing and his inprovagations. I totally fell in love with his music when I first heard it. For years after, I would learn his solos on violin, not on guitar. So, his influence to me was different than other guitar players.
Rudy Sarzo was nice enough to invite me to the first and second Randy Rhoads Benefit Concert and it was always such a treat to play in front of these kids who would see me walk up on stage with my weird violin and rip into a Randy Rhoads solo! It was definitely one of my biggest thrills, to be able to share that with all of those kids. To be able to show them how musical Randy was. It really just wasn’t just all about his guitar playing. It was a lot about his notes and his note selection which was pathacable to music more than just to a specific instrument such as a guitar. It was really, really cool. In fact, on my new record, I am probably going to do a version of ‘Mr. Crowley’ and duplicate Randy’s solo perfectly. Playing it on a violin and showing how pathacable it is to this particular instrument and also how versatile his music was. I have just been a huge, huge fan of his. It was also an honor at the concert to meet his mother and his family. It was an honor to be able to stand out from all of the other guitar players who were standing on stage doing exactly what Randy did. It was nice and wonderful to hear and share that, but I also feel that it was an added thrill to me, to be able to bring something different to the party.
It is hard to say why Randy continues to inspire people so many years after his death. The music industry in the Untied States is so different than it was back then. Unfortunately, the people who really have beautiful technique and practice their instruments and have flawless control over their instrument are not standing. It may change, I hope. Mostly in Europe and Japan, Randy’s draw there is very, very influential. I think that just for me in general, just to get his classical influence with rock and bring out this beautifully clean technique and clear musical ideas of that kind of music. Unfortunately, he never really developed the way he wanted to because of his early death. Who knows what he was going to pursue. It would have been incredible. After the Ozzy Osbourne thing, his catalog of work is very short. That is very unfortunate. I am not familiar with his Quiet Riot work but I do know that his Ozzy work was his best at that time.
‘Mr. Crowley’ is my favorite song to perform. The live record of Randy that Ozzy put out is without a doubt the finest playing of Randy’s. It is the Tribute album. I build my own violins and I can remember being in my wood shop and listening to a live broadcast of Randy. It was so astonishing to hear him play like that. The recorded versions seemed farley stiff but then when you heard him play them live, it was like a fireball!
Randy is without question the only guitar player that has ever captivated Ozzy’s career. Since Randy’s death, Ozzy’s music is still great and Zakk Wylde was great, but nothing really got back to that intensity and power of writing and playing that Randy brought to the table. Everyone was just sort of imitating what Randy was doing. It was very difficult for anyone to fill his shoes. We will always resort to listening back to the Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman to hear that kind of playing. At the time, he was in competition with Eddie Van Halen which was really difficult for Randy because he didn’t want that and he wanted to get out of that. I can remember reading articles where he would talk about trying to escape that kind of imitative whammy bar kind of hot dog playing. He was so far beyond that but he had to do some of that because the music demanded it at the itme. I can only imagine what kind of work he would be doing now if he would have lived.
Randy, as a person wasn’t like some guitarists in the public eye who are heavy drinkers, partiers or duggies who destroy hotel rooms. Randy was never looked upon like that. He always had a tremendous amount of self respect and carried a gentle and shy nature about him. I remember reading about when they would tour, in each city that they stopped in he would go and seek out a classical guitar teacher in order to take a few lessons and keep his chops up. For me, I think that’s the epitome of a great mentor to kids, other than someone who trashes hotel rooms. I don’t know if that is something that is really pushed as part of his legacy, though that is something that I will always respect and remember about Randy.
Johnny Coughlin- (Fan)
I was listening to the radio one day when I heard them say, ”this is WCCC 106.9 radio in Hartford, Connecticut and we have some terrible news to announce. 1981’s Guitar Player of the Year and my personal favorite guitar player, Randy Rhoads, lead guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne was killed a few hours ago in a plane crash somewhere in Florida”. He said it with such emotion that everybody in the room at the time became quiet. After that, Randy Rhoads memorabilia became a part of my life. The more listened Randy, the more I wanted to be able to play the guitar. I started taking lessons from the Guitar Academy. I learned to really listen to a song’s content. Not just the words or the beat of a drum. You listen to the background and the little fills that Randy became famous for. I definitely think that I started playing guitar to be a Randy Rhoads but that happens to very few people.
Randy always did and always will be affiliated with being a rock n’ roll god. He was everything that a guitar player could be. he had the right attitude, good looks and a bright, warm personality. He was very innovative and played almost impossible fills that are not heard at all anymore. That style of guitar playing has disappeared. Everybody likes to throw on an old album and listen to the classic heavy metal music. When you think of Randy Rhoads, you are thinking of the best! Randy will always be remembered by youths because he was like the Jimi Hendrix of the eighties. He brought us a new blistering solo pattern to try and copy and imitate at home or for our friends. He will always be in my memory. Randy will also always be remembered for being the elite. His infamous guitar, his long blonde hair, his ability to take the guitar where it had never gone before, and of course being with Ozzy Osbourne. That is what really put Randy on the market. God bless Ozzy for keeping his memory alive and standing by his side, never forgetting him even after all of these years.
I really like the entire B-side of Diary of a Madman. I like both albums very much though I like the runs and all the guitar solo’s that fade out on that side of the record. it makes you think of how good this kid really was when he starts to jam and put all that guitar work at the end of a song. Even Max Norman, the producer said, ”the kid played on and on at the end of those songs on that record”. It makes you want to get the tapes from Ozzy’s vault and just listen to the guitar work that Randy threw away. It was probably incredible, but if it wasn’t perfect, randy would not have put it on the record. He was a real perfectionist!
Eric Johns- (Musician)
I first got into Rhoads and his whole style of playing when I was about eleven or twelve years old. My mom was a studio musician who did mostly country and eighties style country rock, singing in Nashville during the whole urban cowboy era. So, there was always tons of different kinds of music in our house. Mostly, I can remember listening to a lot of Fleetwood Mac and Boston. Bands like that. Anyway, around that time I met some kids at my school who were older than me and were into Ozzy and Black Sabbath. One day, I was over at somebody’s house and they put on a copy of Blizzard of Ozz. I was totally blown away! I had never really heard anyone combine classical modes and structures into really heavy metal music. I remember saving my allowance for weeks to be able to get Diary of a Madman and my own copy of the Blizzard of Ozz. After listening to Diary of a Madman once, I was hooked!
Randy’s impact on the whole music scene of the eighties and early nineties is undeniable! He solo style has been copied by more people than anyone else, except maybe Eddie Van Halen. The whole gothic metal wave of bands was pretty much entirely inspired by his style. I know that when I was sixteen and in my first real band, we would have killed to be able to write something as scary as ‘Diary of a Madman’, or ‘S.A.T.O.’. We never even got close. That was part of the genius of what he did that separated him from his imitators. He never sounded contrived or cliché. He never became a parody of himself. His music will always be noble.
Randy inspired me at the beginning of my attempts to become a musician. His music opened me up to exploring different types of music that I would not have normally been exposed to. Through wanting to find basis for his classical influences, I discovered Bach, Paganini, Chopin and more. In fact, if I hadn’t discovered the whole gothic metal thing when I did, I don’t know if I would still be singing today. At the very least, I can say that I definitely would be singing something vastly different from what I do now.
I think that Randy’s music still inspires creative people even after that style of music has gone out of fashion, because it is simply good art. There is an attention to detail in his playing that just wasn’t there in many albums then or now. To be honest, I outgrew the lyrical content of any of Ozzy’s music by the time I was sixteen. What kept my interest was the music.
Randy’s biggest accomplishment to me, was bringing respectability to a genre of music that was considered to be pretty lowbrow amongst serious musicians. No one has really attempted what he did in all too short of a recording career. He blended classical and hard rock perfectly, while still making it catchy enough to sing along with and shake your fist to.
My favorite song is definitely ‘Diary of a Madman’! I totally love the Bach influenced passages, especially in the coda of the song when they are played with distortion. The first time that I heard it I got chills!
Barbara Calhoun- (Fan)
Like most people, I discovered Randy when I first heard ‘Crazy Train’. I was on the bus going to school and one of the older kids was listening to it at the back of the bus. I was so captivated! It was just so different. Then, I went to stay the night with my friend Holly and she had the Blizzard of Ozz album on and we listened to it that whole night. It kept playing over and over and we just couldn’t get enough of it. Randy had the sound that everyone in my generation was just waiting on. I bought the Blizzard of Ozz on cassette and the Diary of a Madman. I played those two tapes until they would not play anymore. You couldn’t even read the writing on them! I was eleven years old then and twenty seven now and I still listen to those two CD’s all the time! Each time I listen to them I can pick out something different in Randy that I hadn’t noticed before. All the fades like in the song ‘Tonight’. If you turn it up extremely loud when it’s fading out you can hear some really, really awesome stuff in there. The song was over and Randy was just beginning! I guess his life ended much like the music he wrote ended.
I think that randy taught a lot of people that it’s not about being a rock star, but about being a musician. He seemed to create a positive karma everywhere he went. Aside from being a massively talented musician, I think that he earned a lot of respect from other musicians because of his whole attitude. That combined with the mastery of his craft made very lasting impressions on people. He was the kind of guitarist that everyone in a band wished they had or wished that they could be. No matter how good he got, he would strive to be even better. I think that Randy is a rock n’ roll royalty.
Randy is recognized as a musician and not a rock star. It is the same reason why a lot of legends are created. He shined above and beyond the rest. He was very talented and he was the guitarist of our time. Younger guitarists would strive to be just like him and a lot of it has just carried on. You know, the Randy Rhoads influence came out in a lot of bands. People play his guitars. I think that Randy put Jackson Guitars on the map. A lot of guitarists were influenced by him, such as Darrell from Pantera, and then others are influenced by them. So, it’s kind of a chain reaction. I even get a lot of e-mail from younger people who have recently discovered Randy Rhoads and are just awestruck and want to know more about him. Almost every Randy Rhoads fan has said this at least once in their life. I wish there was more or I can only imagine how he would be now. I run a Randy Rhoads Web Site and my goal with it is definitely to keep Randy’s memory alive. there is not a lot out there on Randy anymore. Just a few years ago, you could go into any music store and buy the Diary of a Madman or Blizzard of Ozz tab books, but now you can’t even order them through those same stores. Magazines don’t really cover anything about Randy anymore. Every year in March they use to run some sort of Randy remembered thing, but that is scarce anymore. I run my web site because I have tidbits of Randy that I have collected over the years and a lot of it’s lost or gone, but what I do have I keep on y web site so that other people can enjoy it as well. I run the Randy Rhoads web ring because a lot of people who also run Randy sites would e-mail me and want to exchange links and so I just got ambitious one day and decided to make cool graphics and stuff and link us all together. I am actually proud of the web ring because I didn’t think that there was going to be that many Randy pages out there. I though that there would only be five of us, but there are now like fourteen sites in the ring. To me, that is a lot of web space that is dedicated to Randy, and that says that there are a lot more people out there that who know talent and passion when they hear it or see it. the response that I receive from people is overwhelming. I get tons of e-mail from people who just want to say that they love Randy as much as I do. it is really cool. You should read some of the entries in my guest book, on the web ring page and on my page. Both of my Randy sites have won awards and Jackson Guitars uses my web site as their Randy Rhoads link. I am very proud. I love Randy Rhoads and I want everybody in the world to know how massively talented he was. the way I see it, the only reason that we have history is because someone, somewhere recorded it in some fashion or another. Me being the old school metal head that I am decided that we need out history to be preserved. That is my contribution to my peers.
I think that Randy was a pioneer. He took metal to a new level and the cool thing is was that no one could deny the fact that he was truly an excellent musician. This is including people who don’t even like metal. So, I guess that what I am trying to say is that he really put that form of music on the map as a serious form of music, and not just that blaring crap that everyone always yelled at you to turn down. he was very diverse and open minded. He gained recognition and respect in an industry where he could have easily been passed off as a dime a dozen, and he did it in such a short time from the time he got with Ozzy. I think that this is a sensational accomplishment for such a soft spoken, shy and modest type of a person. Handling that kind of attention must have been very hard for a personality like that and he did it with so much grace.
My favorite songs are ‘Diary of a Madman’, ‘Revelation Mother Earth’, and ‘Mr. Crowley’. I love the eerie, tragic, classical feel to those songs. I think that those three lean on me more toward what was inside Randy then we will ever be able to know.
Paul Schrader- (Musician for native Tongue. Bass player)
I was in grade school when my best friend, who was four years older than me, got the Blizzard of Ozz album. That was it for me. Randy Rhoads influenced a lot of players when I was growing up. Everyone seemed to copy him when he was alive. Randy wrote the coolest songs and they were ones that I tried to learn when I first started playing guitar. I think that his greatest accomplishments were the two records that he did with Ozzy Osbourne.
Bob Blake- (Fan)
I was in high school in Connecticut in 1980-1981, when a friend of mine discovered the Blizzard of Ozz. It soon became a favorite album along with Van Halen I. We were pleasantly suprised when immediately after hat, Diary of a Madman came out. We listened to those two albums quite often.
Among guitar players and guitar dominated music, Randy opened a lot of eyes and ears. His stuff had a total freshness to it, without ignoring the tried and true concepts of scales, chord progressions and harmony. I think a lot of players get stuck in a particular genre and don’t work enough of different styles into their playing. Randy showed how classical music could contribute useful things to the heavier styles. In am not a musician per se, but I do play a little guitar. Every so often I pick up the tab for something from either Blizzard of Ozz or Diary of a Madman to challenge myself. For someone as small as he was, Randy sure did have a great reach. Both my right and left hand technique has to improve before I can do justice to any of Randy’s music.
For those of us who have heard and remember his music, he will always be a part of our lives. Time will only tell how long people keep playing his stuff and how much impact he will have in the future. It would have been interesting to see how far he would have progressed of he had lived longer. Robert Johnson died at an early age but is still remembered by the blues community after all of these years since his death.
I really love Suicide Solution. Musically and lyrically it is great. I even bring up the song in my classes when we talk about chemical solutions. People always think that the song suggests suicide as an answer. They don’t realize that it is a warning that alcohol solutions will kill you. It is an example of Ozzy’s unexpected intelligence.
Rob Johnson- (Guitarist)
I was thirteen or fourteen when I first started to get into the guitar. I thought that the guitar player with Ozzy Osbourne was really good. Randy probably had a greater impact in my guitar playing than Eddie Van Halen or people like that. I liked Van Halen, though I liked Randy’s technique a bit more.
Randy made me definitely want to start studying more as far as learning my scales and chords. Working on melodies. I tried to learn all the riffs from the Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman. He certainly inspired me to improve my technique and aspects of melody. I like a lot of his rhythm work as well as I do his leads.
I think that one of his greatest accomplishments was just being able to play with such a famous band and rock star like Ozzy, and being a great guitar player. His biggest accomplishment was also inspiring a whole new breed of guitar players from his style. I think that all of his inspiration is his greatest accomplishment ever.
His inspiration continues because if you listen to his playing, it’s just amazing and just by the videos that I have seen and the live albums that I have heard, you can just feel the passion that he has for the guitar. I think that he has always been the best guitar player that Ozzy has ever had. I think that is it. When he did those albums, it just blew people’s minds because of the technique, song writing and his sense of composition and melody. It is very hard to play his music even today. Some of his riffs and licks are still very hard. Like Eric Clapton’s music, even though he does inspire people, his music is not as difficult to play as Randy’s is. The reason that I like Randy is that he just wasn’t like an every other day person that was influenced by the blues. I was pretty inspired by hi classical inspiration and thought that it was very cool that he was applying that to rock music. before anybody!
One of my favorite songs is ‘Little Dolls’ from Diary of a Madman. I like ‘You Can’t Kill Rock N’ Roll’ and also the solo from ‘Mr. Crowley’.
Curtis Priest- (fan)
I discovered Randy about two years ago when I was listening to the radio. The song was ‘Crazy Train’ and then they played ‘Over the Mountain’ after that. After I heard those two songs I went out and bought the album Diary of a Madman and it is my favorite album that I own besides Blizzard of Ozz.
Randy’s impact on the music scene was very important. It didn’t really effect country and jazz, but to all other styles of music it must have had a huge impact. It changes the way we look at music today because it makes us look beyond the lyrics and the music itself. It makes me look into the technique and the years of dedication it takes to be in the music business.
Randy influenced me not to just have a good technique on the guitar but a great technique. He taught me that if I learned to play all styles of music such as rock, classical and metal, that I would become a much better guitarist. By knowing these different styles, it opens up your range of ideas and musical knowledge.
Just like the situation with me, the radio puts on the old classic albums of all time and you get to hear these killer guitarists like Randy, Lynard Skynard and Stevie Ray Vaughn. Guitarists that you really never heard of. Then a song comes on the radio and you are just totally blown away by the tone that the guitar has and it’s like, ”wow! How could I have not heard these guys before?”. That is how it all gets started. Randy also influences all of the world with his solos that are in his songs and his combinations of metal and classical guitar.
In my opinion, the most memorable accomplishment that Randy ever made was blending the two styles of music together to make an extremely unique sound that no one had ever heard before. Also, he made the double tapping technique which made a unique sound out of something that everyone was copying off of Van Halen.
‘Mr. Crowley’ is probably my favorite song. In that song you have clean tone, distortion, chorus, tremolo, harmonis, classical licks, blues riffs, bar dives and the two best sols that I have ever heard in my life!
I was fifteen when I first heard of Randy Rhoads. I had just picked up the guitar and was starting the band. The other guitarist was really into Randy Rhoads where I was into Eddie Van Halen. It was the cause for a lot of bickering. I finally heard Randy play and I really got turned onto him. Eddie and Randy were both very unique artists. But, when I first heard ‘Crazy Train’, I just thought to myself, ”wow, this guy can really play!”. At that time, I was one of the guitarists in the band and now I am the lead singer.
The fact that he could pull off that acoustic number ‘Dee’, just showed to me the growth that he had. There’s certain people like Jimi Hendrix, eddie Van Halen and Eric Clapton who just have their own style. I think that is why Randy continues to inspire people today.
My favorite song of his is ‘Good-bye to Romance’. The guitar solo in that song is terrific!
Russell Brown- (Fan)
I was about eleven or twelve when I first heard of Randy Rhoads. I could do nothing but fall in love with the guy’s ability! My eldest brother introduced me to the Randy Rhoads Tribute album, as a test for his new hi-fi speakers. Of course, the volume was as high as possible and he let rip with ‘Suicide Solution’. Wow! It was great! As soon as I had the money, I bought the LP for myself. Now, I have even bought the CD! At the age of fourteen I picked up the guitar for the first time and bought the Tribute Tablature book. I’ve never looked back. That single piece of music got me heavily into the heavy metal music scene.
I think that Randy helped shake things up for heavy metal guitar. The super groups of the seventies were fading out fast, and a new wave of heavy metal was coming in. This was in the form of bands like Metallica and Slayer, taking noise levels to the extreme. Randy had formed a base for the speed at which lead guitarists had to perform for this new type of music. He also helped spawn the basis of the future work that Steve Vai and Joe Satriani did. Randy helped to create the space age whammy based guitar that they play nowadays. It is unfortunate that the space age guitarists didn’t appreciate the color and feeling that Randy put into his leads.
I started to play guitar at a school club called Rock School. We learned songs like ‘Wild Thing’ by the Troggs and ‘Rockin All Over the World’ by Status Quo. I wanted to take my guitar skills further, so I bought the Randy Rhoads Tribute tablature. It took me a long time to be able to play the songs, and I still can’t reach the speed at which Randy played. But, the acceleration of my guitar skills was accented by buying the Tribute book. I fact, I still use it heavily today as it is a primary reference for my final year project at the University. His guitar style serves as a catalogue of heavy metal riffs and licks. I can play almost any heavy metal track after a few run throughs because of this. it has helped me with my band work, giving me the ability to create color in my songs and leads and for the keeping the rest of the band tight and playing together. We have played several Ozzy tracks, going by the Tribute album versions, including ‘Crazy Train’, ‘Good-bye to Romance’ and ‘Paranoid’. I use the track, ‘Dee’, as a warm up for my fingers.
Everybody in England knows about Ozzy the ‘bat biter’. As I have found, the people that do know about Randy regard him highly. They don’t appreciate the work of any of the guitarists that have played with Ozzy since. Randy definitely stands out as a guitarist. It’s a pity that people have short memories because the space age guitarists seem to have stolen the limelight. It would have been a totally different story if Randy hadn’t died. Iron Maiden says it best, ‘Only the Good Die Young’.
Speaking as a reader of his guitar style, his greatest accomplishment has to be the way he combined very traditional classical scales and modes with heavy metal. His leads are filled with amazing use of guitar theory and upheld at such speeds that heavy metal thrives on. His songs swirl in a mixture of airy classical chord followed by firm Black Sabbath style riffs, and then spill into solid emotive leads. This is extremely difficult to do, and it still amazes me! I quote the Ozzman himself, ”Randy use to flash up and down the guitar neck in a blur, eeeuuuooohhh, just like that!”.
My favorite song has to be ‘Revelation Mother Earth’ from the Tribute album. Sheer poetry! A heavy metal song based completely on classical natural minor E scales, giving it a super gothic feel. The lead is so exciting to play. The cleverest bit is that once it finishes, it goes straight into the punchy, fast lich that starts off ‘Steal Away the Night’. It was a pity about the drum solo in that song. That is the only bad bit on the entire album.
Pat Gasperini- (pound)
I discovered Randy Rhoads when he was in Quiet Riot. I thought that he was tearing it up back then! he was a great inspiration in my guitar playing and also my song writing. He was most definitely a big inspiration to me.
I’ve been playing guitar since I was about five years old. A lot of Randy’s feel and soul is very similar to the way that my band approaches things. Everybody expresses themselves in a different way. Watching Randy play with Quiet Riot and then with Ozzy Osbourne was just amazing! I was totally blown away and the audience would just stand there with their mouths dropped to the floor!
If Randy were around today, he would be totally unbelievable. He was so far ahead of his time. from a musicians point of view, he took music to another level. There is a lot of great guitar players out there but a lot of them get by with copying things from other guitar players. Randy Rhoads did his own thing. He had his own playing ability and song writing technique. I know that he played a big part in writing all of that material. Randy was true to his music and that is a big statement. A lot of people are in the business for other reasons, but Randy was definitely true to his music and I believe that is why he continues to inspire people so many years after his death.
My favorite song would have to be ‘Flying High Again’. Let’s face it though, they are all my favorites!
Jason Legg- (Fan)
I was coming home from school one night and I heard Ozzy Osbourne’s ‘Iron man’ on the radio. I though it was a pretty cool song. I asked a friend who that was and he said that it was Ozzy. I got home that night, went through my dad’s CD collection and came across the Randy Rhoads Tribute one. I took it into my room and popped the CD in and listened to the entire thing. There was one song on there called ‘Crazy Train’. I listened to that song over and over again! Never in my life had I heard a song with that kind of phenomenal guitar work. it was just power chords over and over again, like some of today’s music. It was something that I wanted to hear more of.
What Randy had going was something extraordinary. With his mixes of classical and rock guitar, it lead a whole new generation of music. But unfortunately, there wasn’t enough people that worked with that style of music. If more people in the music business would have experimented with Randy’s style of music, music would be more unique.
After listening to many hours of Randy’s music and watching a video called ‘Guitar Method in the Style of Randy Rhoads’, I got to thinking about how much I would like to be able to play like he did. Some of the music today is kind of getting off track musically wise. You hardly ever hear any guitar solos anymore. I wanted to bring his style alive again one day, and bring back guitar solos and make music the way it should be. I went out and bought a guitar and am currently playing it. Thanks to Randy, I found something that I like doing. He gave me the determination to one day revive some of the best guitar work ever done.
Randy had a very different way of looking at things than most people. With his combination of classical and rock guitar, it brought a unique sound to music. It is challenging to play some of the stuff that he did, and it makes playing his music fun. What I think is the most important thing about Randy is that he was always striving to be better. He never reached a level where he thought he was good enough. By doing this, people look up to him and it encourages them to improve themselves and strive themselves to be better. This is the effect that it had on me. Also, the creativeness Randy had in his guitar work is just unbelievable.
I would have to say that Randy’s greatest accomplishment was his work with Ozzy. It is probably his most memorable. I never knew until recently when I started finding background information on him, that he played with Quiet Riot. his music with Ozzy is all that I knew of.
My favorite song is the definitely the version of ‘Crazy Train’ that is on the Tribute album.
Luke John- (Another Society)
I am only 22, but I have been a serious head banger since I was about 8. I was probably in the seventh grade when I first heard of Randy Rhoads. I remember cranking those Ozzy Osbourne records extremely loud! Before I learned to play the guitar, I would sit on my front porch with the guitar in my hands and play the song ‘Dee’ in the background on the record player. I would turn it up really loud and pretend that I was playing it. People would walk by and be in total amazement! I finally did learn how to really play ‘Dee’, but it sure was funny to watch these people walk by the house with these astonished expression’s on their faces.
Randy’s playing made me want to get better and better. I was really beginning to listen to how people played. The way that he portrayed his music as in ‘Dee’ and other songs just made me want to improve my playing more and more. There is not too many people around today that can play like Randy did. It has become a goal for people. It’s like, people just want to be like Randy Rhoads. To blend classical music with heavy metal. I don’t think that anyone is going to ever do it quite like Randy did. It sure would be nice to have him around today to see just what he would be doing in life and in music.
Geoffrey Engman_ (Fan)
I was about fourteen years old and I was sick of playing my sister’s old records. I couldn’t believe that she had an Ozzy Osbourne record which was Diary of a Madman. I thought that Ozzy was too hard core heavy metal. I tried it once and did not like it at all. It was too heavy. But, after being bored to death with all the other records, I tried it again. This time I skipped to the song ‘Diary of a Madman’. I really liked the acoustic beginnings. Then I listened to it more until I soon gained a lot of interest. Now, I concentrate on Randy’s sound every time.
Randy’s dedication has increased my own awareness that you have to follow through with the things that you love and enjoy, and that there are always new adventures and possibilities to explore. I like the idea that Randys searched for lessons when he was on the road. That proves to me that he really loved his instrument. I even went so far as to actually make my own stereo electric Flying V guitar from scratch. I scaled it exactly like Randy’s polka-dot one along with the harpoon head stock, but will paint it a different color scheme. Remember, even Randy said that you have to have your own style.
Randy was always exploring new sounds and his studies. He wanted to manufacture new sounds while keeping his own style. He was very different with his sound. Sustaining or hanging on a note for a long time while slowly bending the string was very neat. My favorite song is ‘Crazy Train’ because of the fills and the solo. The words are very good also. His soloing is very up an down like a roller coaster.
Of all the questions I’ve been asked
The hardest one was this….
To fill the shoes of a special man
Who forever will be missed~
And though I didn’t know you
I feel that you were there…
This amazing guitarist
With a tender heart
To whom none can compare.
In the previous years to joining Ozzy, I had been playing in a band called Gillian in Europe. We had a number one album in England and that sort of thing. I left in July of 1981. In the period between that and actually getting the call from Ozzy’s group of people, I was starting to work with a band called the Electric Gypsies. I had also done a tour with Atomic Rooster in Germany and Italy.
I received a phone call from Dave Arden. He was working with Jet Records and at the time that was the label in England. He told me about Randy’s death. I hadn’t heard about it and to be perfectly honest, the only track of Randy’s that I had ever heard before that time was ‘Mr. Crowley’. At that time, Ozzy was not as known in Europe and England as he was in America. He was just known for being with Black Sabbath.
I was heavily involved in my own projects at the time. I had the album just about ready to come out and so at first I said ”no”. I really didn’t want to do it. David Arden kept on calling and finally talked me into it. What changed my mind was two things really. One was that Dave kept saying, ”please, please, the band will probably break up if you don’t do it”. That was kind of flattering. The second thing was that at that point in time I did not have any money at all. I was totally skinned and involved in a law case against Gillian. Dave offered me a lot of money.
The first thing that had to happen was that I had to get a Visa and whatever in order to travel. That took about two days. I rushed out and bought both of the albums that Randy did with Ozzy. I listened to them and thought, ”oh my God! This is hard!”. I thought that it was going to be ‘Paranoid’ or whatever, but no, it was definitely not easy. So, I just began practicing night and day. As it turns out, they actually had two other guitarists that they were auditioning. I did the audition and got it. To be honest, at the time when Dave Arden phoned up I was only asked to stand in. I was never asked to join the band. So, it was basically to be operating as a stand in.
After I got it, I had to talk with Sharon Osbourne who explained that the money wasn’t exactly what I had been promised. I was kind of miffed about that. That was the day after I arrived. The day that I arrived was the first day that I had ever met Ozzy Osbourne’s band. Ozzy was very, very nice and he was obviously grieving and very devastated about it all. It was an awful experience for the entire band. I felt that after I got there, even though the money wasn’t what I had originally been told it would be, I would stay and do it and see how it goes. I had only played three tracks that they had auditioned everybody on.
We flew out the next day. I had a rehearsal of the whole thing at sound check. We did the gig that evening. At that time, I didn’t have any of my guitars. They were all still stuck back at the Los Angeles Airport. So, they had to go out and find a guitar for me to play. It was all just awful! I was so scared! I was playing on a guitar that was absolute crap to play and I was playing songs that I didn’t know. I hadn’t seen the stage until that very day. It was a crazy stage set. I was always hearing, ”stand here! Now move over there! No, not there!”. It did eventually go alright though. The day after that first show I received my guitars.
I wasn’t happy at all about having to replace Randy Rhoads. I kept on thinking that if it had been me, and if it had been in Europe, and if it had been with Gillan, I don’t know if I would have wanted the band to carry on. I was very unsettled about it all. I felt that I wasn’t the right person to do it, and I also had the situation in Europe where we had been playing large places. I wanted a change and to go back to playing smaller places where I would have a chance to jam and play. I never really thought of myself as a rock star. I was a guitar player and I really didn’t feel that happy in a large production type of thing. It just really wasn’t what I enjoyed and I also felt that it really wasn’t fair to Randy’s memory.
About a week and a half into it all, I called Ozzy to my hotel room. I told him that I did not want to carry on, though I would hang in there until someone else turns up. At the time, there was literally hundreds of guitar players trying to get the gig, so I didn’t feel that it would be very difficult to find a replacement. To be honest, I think that one of the reasons that I was asked in the beginning was because I was not very aggressive about it. I didn’t regard it as a great step up. I wasn’t like, ”Wow! Here I am!”. I was very quiet and European about it all. Maybe even cringing a bit too.
During the time where I stood in, we had a lot of days off. Ozzy was having throat problems and I am sure that he was still grieving. It must have been very hard for him to get up on that stage without the man who really kind of helped him become a major act again. I think that I only played about six or seven shows before I ultimately left. Everyone was very nice to me. I am sure that they had a problem when they glanced over to my side of the stage and Randy was not there. That reality unfortunately kicked in.
Prior to joining Gillan in 1978 or 1979, I had been a recording artist on Jet Records in the United Kingdom. Jet was owned by Don Arden, who was Sharon Arden (later Osbourne), and David Arden’s father. Both Sharon and David were involved with Jet Records. It had not been a very happy relationship for me, and I therefore had a bit of jaundiced view of things when David asked me to stand in.
Because of a certain, shall we say, long term lack of trust of the Arden’s on my part, possibly totally unjustified, when David Arden talked me into standing in, and said that I would be paid $2000.00 a week, I asked for one week’s pay up front. Call me paranoid, but I really did not trust him too much, not least because neither Ozzy or Sharon had spoken to me. I asked for the money up front because I was advised to do so by Gillan’s manager Phil Banfield. Phil Banfield now co-manages Sting. Through Phil is how David got my phone number. After David agreed to this, I actually left for Los Angeles one day later than intended due to the money not being paid.
This probably appears very unnecessary, and it probably was but god knows at the time I needed it! I had not asked for any amount what-so-ever. $2000.00 a week is what David offered me, not what I had asked for. And, I like for people to keep their word. I would have done it for much less, but he never asked me to.
The day that I was to leave no money had arrived. I phoned David at home, who said that he could not understand it, but that it would be sent to my house before I got on the plane at Heathrow, and that I should phone home and check before leaving. Off I went, picked up my ticket and decided that I would go regardless. Unfortunately, the ticket was a single, not a return as I had asked for. When I got to the desk, they refused to let me on the plane since they said American Immigration would not let me in without a return ticket. I don’t know if it has changed since but that was the situation at the time. Alarm bells started gently ringing! I phoned home and found that $500.00 had arrived, not $2000.00. So, I phoned David and explained to him that there had obviously been some terrible mix-up, and that I would be ready to leave as soon as it was all sorted out. It soon was and I left for Los Angeles the next day.This experience was typical of my previous experiences as an artist for Jet Records, and it really left me with an even more jaundiced view of the whole thing, before I had even started.
When I got there and auditioned and got the gig, Sharon took me around the back of the rehearsal studio to tell me. She said, ”you’ve got the gig, the pay is $500.00 a week”. I think that she said $500.00, whatever it was it was a lot less than $2000.00. I said, ”but David said that it was $2000.00 per week?”. She said, ”David’s on drugs. He doesn’t know what he is talking about”. I said, ”Oh”, shrugged and laughed. It was funny.
This really made me uneasy. Money’s not really that important to me, but I like people to keep their word. All of that valley of the shifting sands stuff didn’t quite sit for me. The reason that I stayed and didn’t leave at that point was because I liked Ozzy personally a lot. He was obviously devastated by the loss of a friend, and considering the state that he was in, he made a lot of effort to make me feel at home. That could not have been easy. Also, at that stage having heard the albums, it was musically a real, real challenge.
Also, I would like to say that all I had really heard of Ozzy prior to being asked to stand in was when he was in Black Sabbath. I wasn’t a real fan, in fact I didn’t like them much at all! I thought the black magic bit was downright silly, though like everyone else I had played ‘Paranoid’ in cover bands early in my somewhat variegated career.
In Gillan in 1979 through 1981, we had a lot more exposure in Europe and Japan than Ozzy had. I think he must have concentrated on the United States which we had ignored basically because no one wanted us! I had heard ‘Mr. Crowley’ on the radio and liked it, but that was all. So, like I said earlier, after being asked I went out and bought the albums. I was just totally blown away. I thought that they were absolutely brilliant and that Randy was just one great, amazing player. Having heard them, I was very flattered to have been asked. I could sort of see why I was asked. Both of us used tremolo arms quite a lot, and both of us played lead licks as part of the rhythm track. Neither of those things were common at that time, though later everyone on earth was doing them. But, I can’t express what a challenge it was to play his stuff. I learned so much from that and it was a real privilege to get that chance.
I think that the first gig was Allenstown, Pennsylvania. Someplace around there. It was close to Harrisburg. As I said, I only had one complete run through the set, which was in the afternoon during a long sound check. It was very difficult to try to take in a one and a half hour set and songs and arrangements and solos and beginnings and ends in such a short time. The arrangements were pretty different to the albums which I had now been listening to for about four days, and there was some other stuff which wasn’t on the albums at all. It was very difficult to remember it all.
I had a hired strat, which was nothing short of vile for the gig, and another strat which Ozzy had bought for me in Los Angeles. It was lovely and I still have it. But, strats need pedals to get near to Randy’s sound. My guitars and pedals and amps were in customs at the Los Angeles Airport. I had no pedals that first night. Someone suggested that I use Randy’s pedals. I felt very unhappy about that, but since I had no others and it sounded like shit without, there seemed no other choice and I finally agreed to and did so. I’ve never said this publicly, but this was I think for me the defining moment, the point at which I decided that I definitely did not want the gig.
There is something terribly personal about a guitarists setups, their amps, what pedals they use and how they are set. I really felt that something so personal should have gone to his family or his girlfriend, even a friend, a roadie, burnt or something, but most definitely not to me on that night. I didn’t even know the guy, and there I was resetting and using his pedals. I found it wrong and quite honestly, heartbreaking.
I don’t really think that people die and cease to exists, they just move on, but be they here or be they not here, they deserve respect. And that episode seemed to me to show more respect for the door takings than for Randy’s memory. I would also like to say that as far as I can remember, Ozzy was not involved with this. He would have been much happier not to play at all. I left it until we were in New York to talk with Ozzy about not carrying on, but that really was the moment of decision for me.
I used the pedals that night, perhaps it was damp on the switches, it’s never happened to me on any other pedals at any other point in my life, but they turned off a few times of their own accord. That didn’t worry me too much though, if it was Randy he was probably just trying to help. God knows, I was in dire need of it!
But, I did not feel right about it. It did not sit right. After all, it could have been me. I’m Irish, we may not always show that much respect for the living, but we do respect the dead. It seemed to me that there were people in Ozzy’s organization who appear to have more respect for the next paycheck, and I am not talking about any members of the band. Even that is fair enough, though who am I to criticize. But, it is not my way and I could not do it. That is my not very happy moments of that first gig.
I have seen some quotes about the reason I did not want to carry on, being that I was scared of large audiences. That is plain silly. Anyone who plays knows that an audience of 20,000 people is much less scary and easier than an audience of 50.
I find it odd that I can’t remember anyone saying anything from the stage about Randy. maybe I have blanked it out, but I don’t remember it. It always bothered me that the show appeared to go on as if it never happened. Maybe I have blanked it out.
I remember Ozzy being very upset when he found out that the merchandising stall was still selling Randy’s merchandising. He was angry because as I recall he had told Sharon to have it removed since he did not want to profit off of Randy’s death. Sharon said that it was a tribute to his memory.
When I left, Ozzy paid me as per David Arden’s original $2000.00 per week, and gave me a very generous bonus on top, and that strat which he had bought for me. He was a real gentlemen.
I would also like to say that al big rock tours have a momentum all of their own. Once it is going it’s hard to stop. There’s a lot of people’s mortgages, rents and paychecks and families riding on them. I would not like to think that I was criticizing those people in any way. That is their priority, and that’s okay too. I think that Sharon used that momentum to try to keep Ozzy going.
But, being some sort of musician, music is to me a bit sacred and a bit magical, as it is to most musicians. I don’t think generally magic mixes too well with the music industry. In this case, the industry seemed to me to be ignoring that one of the main creators, probably THE main creator of that particular magic, was no longer there. I was and remain far too anarchist a peg to want to fit into that particular strangely shaped industry hole.
Stupid example, but it’s the only time in my life since I had a major row with my Mum at age 15, that I was ordered to wear certain clothes. Sharon felt that I had to look like Randy! Cool for Randy, but not too cool for me! And not really very cool at all in the circumstances. Sad. Sharon also complained a few times that my solo spot in the set was too long, which it definitely was. She didn’t understand that it was the only part if the set that I really knew how to play! Being me, my playground amongst all the stress! The audiences seemed to like it! Looking back, I liked Sharon lots and found her very, very funny, but I think she probably felt I lacked a certain amount of respect. Which I probably did.
I would also like to say that I don’t think that Rudy, Tommy or Don wanted to carry on at all. Ozzy definitely did not want to. They were all just devastated. I think that they all just wanted to walk away. I think Sharon, because of her ties with Ozzy, did not want to see him descend into the abyss of alcohol and drugs which she had got him out of after Sabbath. I think that she probably forced the issue, and it carried on as it did because of that. She was mainly just trying to protect Ozzy. If I helped at all in getting Ozzy, Tommy, Rudy and Don over the very big hill of the first gig after Randy’s death, I’m very glad and proud to have done so. They deserved it, and it was the least that I could have done.
But, somehow I can’t help feeling that there should have been more of a middle way. I couldn’t live with it the way it was. I mean, if the band had been called, Randy Rhoads Blizzard, it would have stopped in it’s tracks. It didn’t seem right that it carried on regardless. I had a problem with that. I never said any of this to Ozzy or Sharon or anyone at the time. I just wanted to get out. It didn’t seem to me that I really had a right to any opinion on it, to people who had lost close friends. I was just a hired hand. I hadn’t lost anyone or anything. But, I did have a problem with it.
Eric Turner- (Warrant)
I was in the ninth grade or so when I first heard the Ozzy record. I remember hearing ‘Crazy Train’ on the radio. At that time all of my friends were getting into Ozzy and Randy. They were all reading the magazines about Randy’s old band Quiet Riot. I started collecting photos and began finding out a lot about Quiet Riot too. I never saw Quiet Riot play with Randy and I never saw Randy play with Ozzy either. I remember the eyar that Randy died, I was going to see him and Ozzy on New Years Eve play, but I wound up not going. I just figured that I would catch the show the following year though in March Randy died.
At that time, I had just started playing the guitar. I was fifteen when I got my first guitar. I definitely tried to learn all of his riffs and actually took some guitar lessons at his mothers music school after I moved to Los Angeles. I am more of a rhythm guitar player, but when I first started out I would try and play some leads here and there. I would try and learn different riffs of Randy’s and some from other bands of that era as well.
When you hear one of Randy’s solos you just know that it is him automatically. He had his own style and sound and he was very identifiable. The many scales that he used were very identifiable. Randy touched and inspired many people to pick up the guitar and I think that’s a pretty fantastic accomplishment.
Turtle Lane- (Fan)
I discovered Randy in 1981, the year the Blizzard of Ozz came out. At the time, I was six years old and I didn’t know who he was, but I knew that I wanted to be a guitar player and be just like him! Funny, because I am still trying to play like Randy. It’s easier said than done.
Randy’s impact on music was hard. He was accused of being an Eddie Van Halen rip off, but Randy brought guitar playing to a whole new level. Randy has influenced my studies by opening doors of technique. His music gives me ideas for mine. He has inspired me to do more taps and a more classical style of playing. I think that his most memorable accomplishments to me, are Blizzard of Ozz and the Tribute albums. For most of us, it is the only recordings of Randy in the raw. If I had to chose which songs are my favorite, I would have to say ‘Crazy Train’ and ‘Suicide Solution’ off of the Tribute album, and ‘Dee’ from either the Tribute album or Blizzard of Ozz. ‘Crazy Train’ has that hard core, metal, blues feel, and I love the fills. ‘Suicide Solution’, live, has Randy in the most purest form. Plus, he does a kick ass solo! ‘Dee’ is a beautiful, classical style piece. I can almost feel what Randy was feeling while playing it. Plus, how many artists dedicate songs to their mothers much less name it after them?
Kane Roberts- (Musician)
I first heard of Randy Rhoads when the blizzard of Ozz first came out. I was impressed mostly by Randy’s sound and it actually kind of freaked me out. I may be wrong, but it sounded like he used a haromizor and stuff like that. he just came out with a much different sound. Guys like Hendrix and different people along the way all came out with a whole new way of making the guitar sound. I thought that Randy did the same thing. He wasn’t just hammering or coming up with different notes, his voice on the guitar was completely different. The other thing was that his solos were very complexed rhythmically and everything. I felt as though he was a complete package. I went to see him play live somewhere in New York on the Blizzard of Ozz tour and everything was just going on! Not only was he a fantastic musician, but he was a real showman as well. Ozzy has always been one of my favorites and him and Randy complimented each other so well. It was the complete experience for me.
Anyone who has a moment in history, whether it be a couple of minutes or a couple of years, can possibly become a legend because they actually capture a moment or a bright spot in everybody’s lives. When you look back through history at what has gone on in the past, there are some moments that just always shine. Randy was just one of those guys. He stands apart from a lot of great musicians. There are a lot of people who play great guitar. They may have had a lot of technical ability or a striking image, stuff like that. It’s the guys who have all the plates spinning who’s names seem to survive even though physically they do not survive.
As a guitar player, for me it was his way of combining his sound with his technique and the notes that he chose. If you sing, you have to really match up and there are so many things that have to come together. It’s phrasing and it’s your tone and how you project what it is that your feeling. There are so many guitar players and just the fact that he is one of them that really put all of that together is a great accomplishment in itself. It might have been something that he was just blessed with but my suspicion is that he worked really hard at what he did.
Brett Spahr- (Fan)
I remember when I was in grade school, my uncle had given me an old Gibson guitar to play around with. I knew this older kid who had been playing for a little while and we started talking one day. I went over to his house and we went up to his room. He put this tape on and was like, ”check this out”. ”All aboard, hahahahahaaaaa”
I had no idea who was playing. I just knew that I had never heard anything like it and that it was fucking awesome! He let me borrow the tape and I think I listened to it everyday for about a month straight. It absolutely blew me away!
Just listen to anything that randy ever recorded. Guitarists like him are one ion a million. He was so dedicated to music and had a style that was so unique. He will probably inspire people 1500 years after his death. He has so many memorable accomplishments that it’s hard to narrow them down. Every time that I listen to the Tribute album it sends chills through my spine. It is absolutely unbelievable. It’s one of those albums that you can listen to from beginning to end. It is the best live album that I have ever heard. My favorite song is ‘Suicide Solution’. That opening riff is so simple, yet so unbelievably heavy.
Brad Schurter- (Fan)
The first time that I heard Randy was in late 1982 in Texas. I heard ‘Over the Mountain’ on my radio alarm clock.
From the classical influences to the multi tracking of both rhythm and lead guitar parts, Randy had a huge impact on the music scene. His attitude that you can never stop learning and improving was well known and admired. A guitar design developed with Grover Jackson that it still in production due to it’s popularity is also among his legacies. Randy’s writing and playing style will certainly be a source of inspiration for years to come. His sense of melody was incredible and his solos were singable. All of the songs on Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman were unique, never repeating himself in another song. Those two albums were huge accomplishments. But, the King Biscuit Flower Hour radio concert showed what Randy was capable of outside of the studio. He was constantly studying and practicing while on the road, and it showed. His fills and playing were unreal on this recording. Both Kevin DuBrow and Joe Holmes have mentioned how great Randy sounded that night and many devoted fans believe that it is Randy at his best!
Michael Staertow- (Musician)
I first discovered Randy about seventeen years ago in 1981when I was in junior high school and the Blizzard of Ozz record just came out. I remember hearing ‘Crazy Train’ and ‘Mr. Crowley’ playing on the FM radio. I was immediately taken back by the sound of Randy’s guitar. I had just began playing myself, so I was extremely impressionable at that point and quite an impression was made indeed. I was never a big Black Sabbath fan, so when Ozzy came to town I neglected to attend. But, I happened to be up late one evening when a local station, WUHF 31, aired an ‘After Hours’ music special featuring Ozzy Osbourne. Luckily enough, I popped a video tape in and the rest is history. I would go on to watch this tape religiously from that moment on, in complete awe of Randy’s playing, presence and aura he cast in front of my eyes. Randy was, what I once hoped to be myself, and much of my earlier playing years were spent emulating Randy. Quite an impact I would say!
As the world was taking on the impact felt by the coming of Eddie Van Halen’s turning point in guitar history, I thought that Randy brought many of the same elements that Edward did, only Randy represented a more disciplined school of playing in that he introduced an awareness of modal passages to the meloncoly everyday rock styles of that time. He incorporated a classical influence to a generally blues influenced area. Also, Randy’s perfect layering of his guitar tracks stamped his signature on virtually everything that he recorded. Don’t get me wrong, Eddie is amazing, but Randy was special. A gift to popular music, a true inspiration. Randy made an impact in every guitarists style. His gift through his musical contribution.
Randy inspired myself to be committed to becoming the best guitarist I could possibly be. he made me aware of the possibilities to add texture to song writing through the use of modes. Also, through layering guitars in the studio using alterations, inversions and things like that. His soloing inspired me to the possibilities of creating melodies independent of the overall song itself. Just Randy’s overall vibe in inspiring within itself.
Randy continues to inspire people today because he was extremely genuine about his art. It was Randy pouring out his heart musically which transcends all language barriers. From what I understand, Randy was a very quiet man. he spoke through music and from his soul. He touched myself in this way and I continue to incorporate this belief in my own music in hopes of making the same impact someday. The fact that he has influenced an array of guitarists and contributed to their playing continues his legacy, not to mention all of his recorded work which are among the greatest, I feel, only if we could have enjoyed more.
My favorite songs are ‘S.A.T.O.’, ”Revelation Mother Earth’, ‘Suicide Solution’, and ‘Over the Mountain’. Very hard to pick just one!
Jason Scott- (fan)
I first discovered Randy when me and my brother Jeremy, the first Ozzy and Black Sabbath fan in the family, played ‘Diary of a Madman’ for me, and asked me if I could play the intro. This was the first experience. My second Randy involvement was when I bought Ozzy’s Randy Rhoads Tribute album. I loved what I heard. I liked Randy’s guitar tone better on the studio albums, but nothing could touch the enthusiasm and drive like Tribute. He loved playing and you can tell by just listening. His love is what inspires me to keep pushing to make myself a better player.
There is no doubt in my mind that Randy inspired many of today’s best players such as Dimebag Darrell from Pantera, and Joe Holmes from Ozzy Osbourne’s band. Many people heard him and what could be done, so they tried to build on that. Zakk Wylde even loved Randy’s playing. There are so many people who site him as an influence, professional and amateurs, and there will be many more to come whether they become known or not. Randy has made me want to learn more about my instrument, and about different kinds of music that the guitar can be used for such as classical. Before Randy, I never really had an interest in classical guitar, but now that I hear what he did and what could be done, I want to learn more about it and other forms of guitar based music, and ultimately become the best player that I can be. Randy has inspired me to push my limits and try harder and harder to get better and better.
His emotion is a big factor in Randy’s inspiring people so many years after his death. He loved playing and he was a great player and wrote some great songs. The flow of the songs, and of his playing, just catches people’s ears and they just have to listen. The way that his songs fit so well together. His leads fit so well into the songs. The way that everything just comes together. People like what they hear and it sticks with them.
Randy’s most memorable accomplishment is first and foremost when he met Ozzy! That was a great accomplishment. If he had never met Ozzy, he may not have ever been known. Then, we wouldn’t be doing this would we? Second, is his great playing and writing on the Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman albums. These were milestones in metal and hard rock. They often say that Van Halen and Randy brought hard rock back, but no. Randy did it with Ozzy. I like Van Halen, but a lot of their songs are just silly sounding. Randy and Ozzy’s songs have meaning, both musically and lyrically. Randy was no mere three chord player. He played the best music he knew how, and complimented Ozzy’s lyrics along with giving them a good foundation, all the while having songs that could be made into instrumental pieces. All in all, Randy’s most memorable accomplishment is inspiring people, like me and other guitar players, to learn from him and also to introduce him to other people and educate them on what can be done.
My top songs would have to be ‘Crazy Train’, ‘Mr. Crowley’, ‘Little Dolls’, and ‘Diary of a Madman’. I love those the most. ‘Crazy Train’ for the feel of motion, like a train. ‘Mr. Crowley’ for the wonderful solos, all improvised! ‘Little Dolls’ for the feel and the sound of the guitar. ‘Diary of a Madman’ for the darkness and the classical guitar moments of the song. I love all of Randy’s songs!
Devin Richardson- (Fan)
I first heard Randy Rhoads at my friends house. He got me into Ozzy Osbourne with the album Blizzard of Ozz! I then became an Ozzy fanatic and have learned about his history. I thank my friend for this.
I feel that Randy impacted the music scene due to his writing skills and great solos. With songs like ‘Crazy Train’ and ‘Mr. Crowley’ and the live flair that he impacted the media with. He has inspired me to learn classical guitar and to play clean and just have fun! He inspired me to start a band and study a variety of musical styles. I think that his most memorable accomplishments are the Blizzard of Ozz album that he did with Ozzy and also his work with Quiet Riot. My favorite song is ‘Crazy Train’ off the Tribute album.
Jeremy Popoff- (LIT)
The first time that I heard Randy Rhoads was probably when most people heard him, on the Blizzard of Ozz album. It was around 1981, so I guess that I was about 10 years old. Actually, this older guy down the street from me had this killer red Les Paul. I remember him playing the solo from ‘I Don’t Know’, note for note, and it was blaring through the house. I was already an Ozzy fan, but that is what turned me on to Randy Rhoads and that was probably one of the main reasons that I wanted to start playing the guitar.
The song that comes to mind as being a favorite is ‘Mr. Crowley’. His solos in that song still give me the chills. I know that it is not really a sad song or anything, but there is a lot of killer weepy stuff going on in it, which I dig!
Jim Wills- (Fan)
I first found Randy in the summer of 1981. The Blizzard of Ozz came through Columbus, Georgia around October or November of that year. At the time I was 17 and engrossed with only Kiss and was not familiar with Ozzy at all. However, a good friend was and went to that show. I will never forget the next day at school. He came running off of the bis screaming, ”Oh my god! Oh my god!”. That is how I first heard of Randy Rhoads.
What I always felt was that Randy had a greater impact on the individual lives of people and fellow musicians which lead to an impact on the entire music scene. Eddie Van Halen was king at that time, but after one either simply saw or heard Randy it became, ”Eddie who?”. He was mesmerizing! Randy was so powerful just to hear, but when you actually saw the person behind this heavenly sound that could rip the heart out of your chest, that is when it hit you! All of this is what I feel his biggest impact was. He made playing heavy metal an art. A true meaningful art form. Having a guitar and long hair was no longer good enough.
Randy caused me to become a born again musician. Randy made me put down my guitar and actually take a look at myself as a person and a musician. Randy made me feel for the first time that it was really alright to just be myself. That was the only way for me to grow as a person and as a musician. All of this in turn made me a much more dedicated guitarist and actually somewhat obsessed with my playing. Randy taught me that there was no such thing as good enough. I am always striving to get better and better and I am never content.
Randy’s inspiration continues today due to the lack of interesting guitar players. Unfortunately, guitar playing is not a big interest to today’s youth. In fact, my whole opinion on today’s music scene is somewhat negative.
Randy’s list of accomplishments are far too many to list. We really can’t say what his accomplishments were because Randy was not finished before he was stolen from us. Perhaps his most important was how he changed the world of heavy metal. Blending classical music with blues and metal is what changed everything about it. To me, Randy’s style is the definition of heavy metal. I will never forget the first time that I heard ‘Mr. Crowley’. When I heard that blistering solo, chills ran down my spine that I can still feel to this very day. I would listen to that song over and over and still to this day it is by far my favorite song!
Patrick Conboy- (Fan)
I am fourteen years old and I first heard Randy a little less than a year ago. I was in the mall taking a look at the Tribute song book and that is where I read about Randy. I play the guitar and I play with some friends though we are not officially a band yet.
Randy’s life was like a story book. It really didn’t hit me until I heard the song ‘Mr. Crowley’. I heard the guitar solo in that song and was totally blown away! I think that it was at that point when I really got interested in Randy Rhoads. Randy’s music is very difficult to play. It is very technical and he plays everything so fast but yet smooth. I have tried to play it in a slower tempo though it is still very difficult.
I think that Randy was one of the first to introduce heavy metal to classical music. A lot of people borrowed that. There is just not a whole lot of people out there that can play like Randy. If I could compare his sound to anyone, it would be Zakk Wylde.
Benoit Chevallier Mames- (fan)
I am a guitarists. I was studying for partitions with my guitar teacher. He asked me if I wanted to try to do a solo of Randy Rhoads. I didn’t know who that was. So, he began to play the solo from ‘Good-bye to Romance’. I thought it was really magical. There was technique and harmony. Randy Rhoads used difficult techniques like sweeping, legato, tapping and the tremolo bar to produce a very pleasant sound. Because of Randy, I try and enter some influences of classical into my playing. For example, minor scales. Randy was very original.
I live in France and Randy Rhoads is very well known here! His technique was really incredible. The only thing which was not perfect, I think was his sound. You know, in the Blizzard of Ozz his guitar had a strange sound to it. It was obviously better on the Tribute album. ‘Mr. Crowley’ is my favorite song! The rhythm part is perfect and what a solo!
Randy~ a name that we both share
And we share more than that
No one has ever touched me so
Do you hear my words to you?
Yes~ and I hear yours……
So I keep alive your memory~
And your legacy will endure.
I first heard Randy Rhoads when the Blizzard of Ozz forst came out. My sisters boyfriend was all excited about it because he was a Black Sabbath fan. So, based on his excitement, I bought the tape of Blizzard of Ozz. I listened to ‘I Don’t Know’ and ‘Crazy Train’ and decided that I didn’t like it. So, I sold the tape to my sister for $5.00. A few weeks later, my sister was in our living room doing her homework and listening to some music as I walked by and heard what was the coolest music I had ever heard! I asked her what it was and she said that it was ‘Good-bye to Romance’ from the Blizzard of Ozz tape. That is when I said, ”give me my tape back!”. I ended up buying the record and became a huge Ozzy and Randy Rhoads fan. It wasn’t until sometime later that I realized that I wasn’t much of an Ozzy Osbourne fan, right around the time of The Ultimate Sin album. The album was alright though I was a fan of Randy Rhoads’ music. Quiet Riot or Ozzy, it didn’t matter as long as Randy was playing.
I remember being in Westboro, Montana towards the end of 1981. I was at a family friends house who had a son who played and taught drums. I said that I wanted to play the guitar and when he asked why, I said ”I want to be just like Randy Rhoads”. he wasn’t even into that type of music and he was much older than I was, but he knew exactly who I was talking about and said that he thought that Randy Rhoads was a great guitarist. It was then that I realized that he had a talent that transcended musical tastes. He had a raw talent that that musicians could see. They may have not liked the music, but they could isolate and appreciate the talent he possessed.
The impact that Randy had on the entire music scene was huge, but sadly enough the majority of it came after he died. Randy helped pioneer a musical style that was in the verge of extinction and breathed some life back into it. What’s incredible to me, is to listen to the music he wrote with Quiet Riot and then what he wrote with Ozzy Osbourne. There is some good music with Quiet Riot, but the stuff that he wrote with Ozzy Osbourne was far ahead of where he was in the previous years as a local Los Angeles guitarist. There seems to have been almost no progression. He went from good to unbelievable in a matter of a few months.
I have noticed that people in general are as inspired by what they knew of his personality as well as his musicianship. People didn’t just want to play guitar like Randy Rhoads, they wanted to be just like Randy Rhoads. His music offered something for everyone. It could be pretty, it could be heavy and sometimes it was both. His music is timeless. Every now and then when I am listening to one of the records he played on, I still hear things that I hadn’t noticed before. This gets me excited about his songs and music all over again.
I run a Randy Rhoads web site called The Day The Music Died. There was an old song that used that lyric in respect to the day Biddy Holly died. Obviously, Randy Rhoads was from my generation and had a huge impact on me. So March 19, 1982 was the day that the music died for me. My goal with my web site is to share all the information that I have found and collected over the years with other Randy Rhoads fans who might appreciate the information as much as I have. For the longest time I wanted to know more about what actually happened in Leesburg, Florida. All that you ever heard in magazines was who, what, where and when. You usually didn’t get more than a paragraphs worth of information. Once I got all of the information concerning the accident that I had always wished for, I started putting it all on my web site.
I think that Randy’s most memorable accomplishment, musically, is the fact that he died over a decade ago and his music is still as popular, if not more popular today, than it was when the Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman were released. They are still in rotation on radio stations throughout the world. A radio station here in Dallas was playing a half of an hour of 80’s magic. All requests, three times a week. I called and requested ‘Over the Mountain’ and was told they couldn’t play that because they already have it in their rotation and they’re trying to play songs from the 80’s that you don’t hear everyday. This was 14 years after Randy died!
I think that Randy’s most memorable accomplishment, as a person, was that he left a lasting impression on everyone that he met of being a genuinely nice person. I have never heard anyone talk of Randy Rhoads, be it an interview on tape or in print or face to face with someone who knew him, that did not speak of him with the utmost respect.
My most favorite Randy Rhoads song is ‘You Looking At Me Looking At You’. My favorite song with Quiet Riot and Randy is ‘Picking Up The Pieces’.