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Knowledge Is Power
Randy Rhoads













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This part of the site is dedicated to my favorite guitarist.

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This is the biography of Randy Rhoads:

(The writers are mentioned at the bottom)

Randall William Rhoads was born on December 6, 1956 at St. John's Hospital in

Santa Monica, California. With one brother (Doug) and one sister (Kathy),

Randy was the youngest of three. When Randy was 17 months old his father,

William Arthur Rhoads, a public school music teacher, left and all

three children were raised by their mother, Delores Rhoads. William Rhoads

would later remarry, producing Dan and Paul, half brothers to Randy.

Randy started taking guitar lessons around the age of 6 or 7 at a music school

in North Hollywood called Musonia, which was owned by his mother. His first

guitar was a Gibson (acoustic) that belonged to Delores Rhoads' father. Randy

and his sister (Kathy) both began folk guitar lessons at the same time with

Randy later taking piano lessons (at his mother's request) so that he could

learn to read music. Randy's piano lessons did not last very long. At the age

of 12, Randy became interested in rock guitar. His mother, Delores, had an

old semi-acoustic Harmony Rocket, that at that time was almost larger than

he was. For almost a year Randy took lessons from Scott Shelly, a guitar

teacher at his mother&'s school. Scott Shelly eventually went to Randy's mother

explaining that he could not teach him anymore as Randy knew everything that he

knew.

When Randy was about 14, he was in his first band, Violet Fox, named after his

mothers middle name, Violet. With Randy playing rhythm guitar and his brother

Doug playing drums, Violet Fox were together about 4 to 5 months. Randy was in

various other bands, such as "The Katzenjammer Kids" and "Mildred Pierce",

playing parties in the Burbank area before he formed Quiet Riot in 1976 with

longtime friend and bassist Kelly Garni. Randy Rhoads and Kelly Garni

(whom Randy taught to play bass guitar) met Kevin DuBrow through a mutual

friend from Hollywood.

Around that same time Randy began teaching guitar in his mother's school

during the day and playing with Quiet Riot at night. Originally called "Little

Women", Quiet Riot got their new name from one of Kevin's friends from the band

Status Quo. Quiet Riot were quickly becoming one of the biggest acts in the Los

Angeles area and eventually obtained a recording contract with CBS/Sony records,

releasing two full length l.p.'s and one e.p. in Japan. Quiet Riots two records,

Quiet Riot 1 (1978), which was originally recorded for an American record label,

and Quiet Riot 2 (1979), received rave reviews in the Japanese press, claiming

them to be the "next big thing". Unfortunately these recordings were

never released in the United States. While there were plans for Quiet Riot

to tour Japan, their management turned down the offer and Quiet Riot stayed

in the United States continuing to sell out college and high school auditoriums

as well as clubs in the Los Angeles area. Randy was very into his look on stage.

He would dress excentric, often wearing polka dotted outfits. He would also sit

and draw his name in various designs. One of those now famous designs can be seen

on Ozzy's tribute album: the "RR" was Randy's creation. About 5 months before Randy

left Quiet Riot, he went to Karl Sandoval to have a custom guitar made. Several

meetings and drawings later they would ultimately create a black and white polka

dot flying "V" guitar that would become synonymous with the name Randy Rhoads.

The guitar would cost Randy $738.00 and was picked up by Randy on September 22,

1979. (September 22, 1979 saw Quiet Riot playing at the "Whiskey a go-go" in Los

Angeles, California,... so chances are, that was probably the first place he ever

played that guitar in front of an audience.)

In the late 1979, at the request of a friend (Dana Strum), Randy went to audition

for a band being put together by former Black Sabbath lead singer, Ozzy Osbourne.

As the story goes: Ozzy had auditioned just about every guitarist in Los Angeles

and was about to go home to England, the hopes of a new band washed away. Enter

Randy Rhoads. Randy wasn't completely interested in auditioning, he was happy with

his current band and thought that this audition wouldn't amount to much. Randy

walked into Ozzy's hotel room late one evening with a guitar and a small Fender

practice amp, plugged in and started tuning his guitar. Randy began to do a few

warm up exercises. Ozzy was so impressed with his warm that he instantly gave

him the job as lead guitarist at the age 22.

Ozzy began to assemble a band that would (ultimately) record his first two solo

albums. How the band was formed is a story within a story. There are a few

variations:

A.) With Ozzy Osbourne, Randy Rhoads, bassist Dana Strum (Slaughter), and

drummer Frankie Bannalli (Quiet Riot, W.A.S.P.), the band began to rehearse

in Los Angeles, California. However, when it came time to go to England,

where Ozzy's albums would be recorded, the record company could only obtain

a work permit for one non-English band member, Randy Rhoads.

B.) Drummer Lee Kerslake (who played on both of Ozzy's solo albums) auditioned

and got the position. A few weeks later while in England, Ozzy happened across

Bob Daisley. Boasting about this guitar played he'd found, Ozzy convinced Bob

to join his band. A few weeks later they began to rehearse for the first album

in Los Angeles, California.

C.) Ozzy already had a few band members when he met Bob Dailsey, who would be

the only one to continue on in the band. Randy Rhoads was added shortly

thereafter. Lee Kerslake was the last member to join as well as the last

drummer to audition. They rehearsed and wrote the first record in England

before embarking on a UK tour towards the end of 1980.

Randy was whisked off to England shortly before Thanksgiving of 1979 where,

at Ozzy's home in England, they began to write the "Blizzard of Ozz" album and

audition drummers. While the band rehearsed at John Henrys, a rehearsal hall

in London, the earliest public performances of Randy Rhoads and Ozzy Osbourne

came after they'd complete a song, then go to a local pub to play the song for

whoever was there. They played under the name "Law". One such song - Crazy Train,

appeared to get the audience moving, leading them to believe that they "had

something". With ex-Uriah Heap members: Lee Kerslake (drums) and Bob Daisley

(bass), the Ozzy Osbourne Band entered Ridge Farm Studios in Surrey, England

on March 22, 1980 and began recording for almost a month.

"Blizzard of Ozz" was originally to be mixed by Chris Tsangarides who was

fired after one week because Ozzy felt that it "was not happening" with him.

Max Norman, Ridge Farm Studio's resident engineer, was then hired to pick up

where Chris left off and would play an integral part of both Ozzy Osbourne

studio albums and the live e.p., as well as later down the road with "Tribute".

After the finishing touches had been put on "Blizzard of Ozz", Randy Rhoads

returned home to California in May of 1980, where he teamed up one last time

with the members of Quiet Riot at the Starwood club in Hollywood for their

final show. However, this would not be the last time he played with Quiet Riot

bassist Rudy Sarzo, who would later join Ozzy Osbourne's band just before the

start of the United States Blizzard of Ozz tour. Once back in England, the

Ozzy Osbourne Band surfaced for their first official show on September 12, 1980

when 4,000 fans broke the box office record at the Apollo Theatre in

Glasgow, Scotland. "Blizzard of Ozz" went straight into the U.K. charts at

number 7 as they toured around the United Kingdom for close to three months

playing 34 shows. Sales of Blizzard of Ozz more than doubled with each U.K.

town they played.

December of 1980 brought Randy Rhoads back home to California for Christmas.

Once again Randy wanted a custom guitar built, this time he went to Grover

Jackson of Charvel guitars, about a week before Christmas. With a drawing

scribbled on a piece of paper, Randy Rhoads and Grover Jackson created the

very first "Jackson" guitar to ever be made. Randy's white flying V type

guitar was yet another guitar that would become synonymous with the Rhoads

name. The finished guitar was sent to Randy in England about two months

later.

During the months of February and March of 1981, the Ozzy Osbourne band

once again entered Ridge Farm Studios to record their second album titled

"Diary of a Madman". With an impending United States tour to follow soon

after the recording of "Diary", the actual recording of the album became

rushed. (Randy's solo on "Little Dolls" was actually a scratch solo and

was not intended to be the solo for the finished song.) None of the band

members could be present for the mixing of "Diary", which only furthered

their already mixed feelings of the album.

With "Diary of a Madman" already recorded but not yet released, the Ozzy

Osbourne Band began it's North American tour in support of "Blizzard of

Ozz", beginning in Towson, Maryland on April 22, 1981. Though they did

not play on either studio efforts, Tommy Aldrige (drums) and Rudy Sarzo

(bass) joined Ozzy's band in time for the North American tour. They

toured across North America from May through September of 1981 playing

songs from "Blizzard of Ozz" as well as "Diary of a Madman", with a few

Black Sabbath songs thrown in to close their shows. Choosing to headline

their tour instead of going on a bigger tour as a support act paid off as

"Blizzard of Ozz" went gold (500,000 albums sold) in 100 days, though in

some of the smaller cities in the United States, their shows were threatened

to be cancelled due to poor ticket sales. In one such city, Providence,

Rhode Island, the Ozzy Osbourne Band (along with opening act Def Leppard)

was informed by the concerts promoter that (due to poor ticket sales) he

did not have enough money to pay either band.

Towards the end of the United States "Blizzard of Ozz" tour, Randy once

again went to Grover Jackson to have another custom guitar made. He complained

that too many people thought his white Jackson was a flying-V. He wanted

something more distinctive. A few weeks later, Randy and Kevin DuBrow went

to look at the unfinished guitar that Grover Jackson had begun work on. Once

in the wood shop, Randy and Grover Jackson began drawing on this

unfinished guitar for close to an hour before a final design was decided

upon. Ultimately they came up with a variation of his white Jackson, only with

a more defined look to the upper wing of the guitar. Randy would receive this

guitar, the 2nd Jackson ever made, just before the start of the "Diary of a Madman"

tour. At the time, there were three guitars being made for Randy. He recieved

the first one, the black custom, as they continued to finish the other two.

(Unfortunately, one of the two guitars, that were being built for Randy at

the time of his death, was accidentally sold at an NAMM show by Grover Jackson.

The third guitar, which Jackson stopped working on at the time of Randy's death,

is currently owned by Rob Lane of Jacksoncharvelworld.com.

Ironically, as with Quiet Riot, Randy Rhoads' guitar playing would be heard on

two full length albums and one e.p. while in Ozzy Osbourne's band. The

"Mr. Crowley" e.p. featured live performances of three songs including "You said

it all", a song previously unreleased, recorded in October of 1980 in South

Hampton, England, during the United Kingdom "Blizzard" tour. ('You said it all'

was actually recorded during the bands sound check, with the crowd noise added

at the time of mixing.)

With the release of "Diary of a Madman", Ozzy Osbourne, Randy Rhoads, Rudy Sarzo

and Tommy Aldrige set off to Europe in November of 1981 for a tour that would

end after only three shows. The tour had to be cancelled after Ozzy collapsed

from both mental and physical exhaustion. The entire band went back to the United

States so that Ozzy could rest. They would come back a little over a month later

with a four month United States tour to start December 30, 1981 at the Cow Palace

in San Francisco and a single (Flying High Again) that was making it's way up the

charts.

Traveling with a crew of approximately 25 Las Vegas and Broadway technicians,

Randy Rhoads went from selling out Los Angeles area clubs with Quiet Riot to

selling out the biggest arenas in the United States on one of the most elaborate

stage sets with Ozzy Osbourne. When the "Diary" tour began, their first album,

"Blizzard of Ozz" was selling at the rate of 6,000 records a week. Backstage

opening night in San Francisco, Randy was awarded with Guitar Player Magazine's

Best New Talent Award (I have video of this if you're interested, check out the

bootleg section!) He would also later win best new guitarist in England's

Sounds magazine. With that, the band began an exhausting yet memorable tour

that seemed to be plagued with problems. Their concerts were boycotted by many

cities while others were attended by local S.P.C.A. officials due to claims of

animal abuse. Meanwhile "Diary of a Madman" was well on it's way to platinum

status.

With all of this going on around him, Randy Rhoads' interest for classical

guitar was consuming him more each day. Often times Randy would have a

classical guitar tutor in each city the band played. It became common knowledge

that Randy wanted to quit rock and roll temporarily so that he could attend

school to get his masters in classical guitar. Randy also wanted to take

advantage of some of the studio session offers he was recieving. There is a rumor

that Ozzy once punched him in the face to "knock some sense into him" (literally).

March 18, 1982, the Ozzy Osbourne band played what would be their last show

with Randy Rhoads at the Civic Coliseum in Knoxville, Tennessee. From Knoxville,

the band was headed to Orlando, Florida for Saturday's Rock Super Bowl XIV with

Foreigner, Bryan Adams and UFO. On the way to Orlando they were to pass by the

home of bus driver Andrew C. Aycock, who lived in Leesburg, Florida, at Flying

Baron Estates. Flying Baron Estates consisted of 3 houses with an aircraft hanger

and a landing strip, owned by Jerry Calhoun, who along with being a country

western musician in his earlier days, leased tour buses and kept them at the

Estate. They needed some spare parts for the bus and Andrew Aycock, who had

picked up his ex-wife at one of the bands shows, was going to drop her off

in Florida.

The bus arrived at Flying Baron Estates in Leesburg at about 8:00 a.m. on the

19th and parked approximately 90 yards away from the landing strip and

approximately 15 yards in front of the house that would later serve as the

accident site. On the bus were: Ozzy Osbourne, Sharon Arden, Rudy Sarzo,

Tommy Aldrige, Don Airey, Wanda Aycock, Andrew Aycock, Rachel Youngblood,

Randy Rhoads and the bands tour manager. Andrew Aycock and his ex-wife, Wanda,

went into Jerry Calhoun's house to make some coffee while some members of Ozzy

Osbourne's band slept in the bus and others got out and stretched. Being

stored inside of the aircraft hanger at Flying Baron Estates, was a red and

white 1955 Beechcraft Bonanza F-35 (registration #: N567LT) that belonged to

Mike Partin of Kissimmee, Florida. Andrew Aycock, who had driven the groups

bus all night from Knoxville and who had a pilots license, apparently took

the plane without permission and took keyboardist Don Airey and the bands

tour manager up in the plane for a few minutes, at times flying low to the

ground. Unbeknownst to anyone at the time, Andrew Aycock's medical certificate

(3rd class) had expired, thus making his pilots license not valid.

Approximately 9:00 a.m. on the morning of March 19th, Andrew Aycock took Rachel

Youngblood and Randy Rhoads up for a few minutes. During this trip the plane

began to fly low to the ground, at times below tree level, and "buzzed" the bands

tour bus three times. On the fourth pass (banking to the left in a south-west

direction) the planes left wing struck the left side of the bands tour bus

(parked facing east) puncturing it in two places approximately half

way down on the right side of the bus. The plane, with the exception

of the left wing, was thrown over the bus, hit a nearby pine tree, severing it

approximately 10 feet up from the bottom, before it crashed into the garage

on the west side of the home owned by Jerry Calhoun. The plane was an estimated

10 feet off the ground traveling at approximately 120 - 150 knots during impact.

The house was almost immediately engulfed in flames and destroyed by the crash

and ensuing fire, as was the garage and the two vehicles inside, an Oldsmobile

and a Ford Granada. Jesse Herndon, who was inside the house during the impact,

escaped with no injuries. The largest piece of the plane that was left was a

wing section about 6 to 7 feet long. The very wing that caught the side of the

tour bus, was deposited just to the north of the bus. The severed pine tree

stood between the bus and the house.

Ozzy Osbourne, Tommy Aldrige, Rudy Sarzo and Sharon Arden, who were all asleep

on the bus, were awoken by the planes impact and (at first) thought they had

been involved in a traffic accident. Wanda Aycock had returned to the bus while

keyboardist Don Airey stood outside and witnesses the accident, as did Marylee

Morrison, who was riding her horse within sight of the estate. Two men, at the

west end of the runway, witnessed the plane buzzing the area when the plane

suddenly went out of sight as it crashed.

Once outside of the bus the band members learned of the catastrophic event

that had just taken place. The bus was moved approximately 300 feet to the

east of the house that was engulfed in flames. The band checked into the Hilco

Inn in Leesburg where they mourned the death of Randy and Rachel and would

wait for family members to arrive. While Orlando's Rock Super Bowl XIV

scheduled for later that day, was not canceled, the Ozzy Osbourne band

would not play and the promoters offered refunds to all ticket holders.

Randy Rhoads was put to rest in San Bernadino, California.

Randy Rhoads' guitar playing, however, could not be silenced as "Tribute"

was released in 1987. Tribute, recorded live, much of it in Cleveland, OH on

May 11, 1981 and Randy's solo in Montreal in July of 1981, continued to earn

him recognition as a guitar virtuoso.

Written by Randy Perry.

Parts of this biography

have been modified from the original by Mitch Van Beekum.

 

                     Randy Rhoads  Dec. 6, 1956-Mar. 19, 1982
Randy Rhoads was a very talented guitarist whose life was taken very young.
He was one of the original founding members of Quiet Riot and was Ozzy Osbourne's first guitarist from when he went solo from Black Sabbath in 1979 to his tragic death in 1982.
He had extraordinary talent and there are no words to possibly describe his spirit and personality.Here are some quotes by him before his tragic death and maybe some pictures:

Quotes taken from an interview with John Stix, August 14, 1981

"Five years ahead? I would love to have people know me as a guitar hero. I'd like to be able to do something more instrumental. Someday maybe put out a solo album where I can dig into a lot of instrumentals."

"Both of my parents are music teachers. My mother owns the school that I taught in. My brothers and sisters are musicans. My mom pushed me all the time. She knew that I could do it. She knew more than I did. She thought I would go somewhere. She gave me the job and helped me get equipment, which a lot of parents don't do. Alot of my students had to go out and fight for it."


"It's totally strange. It still hasn't hit me yet. I've still got my past in me. I guess I'm trying to mature into it, but I don't have my feet on the ground at all. I don't even know who I am, what I am. People say this will go to your head and make you egotistical. That's a load of shit. What it does is make you totally frightened and humble."

"I've got a '64 cream Les Paul andd a '57 black Les Paul with three pickups. The Flying V was made by Carl Sandoval. He used to work at Charvel and he went off on his own. He made it for me. It has a DiMarzio Distortion Plus on the treble position and a DiMarzio PAF in the bass pickup. The only one I wasn't playing was the Charvel. That one he made for me after I joined Ozzy. The Charvel has the Seymour Duncan Distortion pickup."

"I always practised a lot of double picking. Not so much trying to ba a flash picker. Take a few notes and play them normal, and then try to syncopate it by alternating the strokes."


"I used to have my students practice hammering up and down the neck, going through all the frets with the four fingers and picking each string once. Going from the first fret, all the way down the strings, then up to the next fret then down the next. If you do that every day, you build up a lot of strength."


"Revelation is my favorite, and Mr. Crowley. Both of those have much classical in them. They're my favorites because of that."


"Possibly he knew a certain sound he was looking for, and all these other players tried to show off too much. I didn't get a chance to show off. I just started making a few harmonics, and maybe perhaps it was my personality, because I was really quiet and everybody was too outgoing. I still don't know."
I wasn't a big Sabbath fan, to be honest. They were great at what they did. Obviously they did it well, and made it huge. I respect that. Let's not go into it, but I wasn't a big fan. So anyway, I was kind of wary about auditioning because I'd never been to an audition. When I did come down, he said all these guys had Marshall stacks and Echoplexes. I brought a tiny practice amp. I started tuning up and he said, 'You've got the gig.' I didn't even get a chance to play."

"I just tuned up and did some riffs, and he said, 'You've got the gig.' I had the weirdest feeling, because I thought 'You didn't even hear me yet.'"


"I guess I thought Quiet Riot would make it, but now that I'm away, I knew it wouldn't. I have to say that. It was kind of like I was growing up at the time and didn't know it. There's a lot more room for guitar in this band than in Quiet Riot. So Ozzy auditioned a lot of guitar players, and this guy called me and said Ozzy's heard everybody and he liked my playing. He said, 'You should go down and audition.' At first, I said, 'I don't know, I couldn't do that.'"


"Strange enough, one of the bass players (Dana Strum) in a local L.A. band auditioned for Ozzy on bass. They were looking for a guitar player. He was using this guy from L.A. for a while. Apparently Ozzy went through every player in L.A. I never even knew about it. I never looked for auditions or gigs. I was stuck in a rut."


"I'll tell ya, when I was 12 and 13, I started jamming, and then I said that's it. I want to do this for real. When I first got up and played in front of people, it was a fluke. These guys in Burbank used to jam on a mountain. I thought, 'I want to get up and play.' When I first did, people started clapping. I was blown away."


"The kids that we play for aren't interested in musical expertise. If I sat down and played some classical, besides those that were interested in the musical side of it, with most of the kids, it wouldn't impress them. They're headbangers. Ozzy has an incredible following with his audience, and most of his kids want non-stop..... It calls for flash. It's very heavy and everything is very powerful. The solo features are only to show off Tommy and I. At the same time, they're not supposed to represent anything like,'This is what I can do.' It's just a quick flashpot going off."


"My first real band was Quiet Riot. I was 16 or 17 when we started. Before that it was just friends."


"I used to play constantly. In fact, I couldn't put it down. Now that I'm out there, I practice less than I did because I don't have the time. I can't sit down in a hotel room and practice."


"I can read, but I have to look at it, think about it, and then play it.
About the third time, I can read it."


"There's just so much feeling you can put into it. Leslie West was one of my all time favorite guitar players. I loved his feel. He used a lot of classical. I can feel he's really into it when he does those little classical lines. It's melodic but mean."


"We were in a band called Quiet Riot. Rudy was in it as well. He was the bass player. We used to gig pretty often in L.A. It was all originals. We had two albums in Japan, on CBS/Sony. After teaching, I would also rehearse and do gigs with this band. I was busy playing a lot. I got this offer, and since then, I went."

"To this day I don't have a guitar idol. I have people who are my favorites."

"I always loved it. I started with an old beat-up Gibson."

"I've been playing about 18 years and I started to get a style when I started teaching. People wanted to learn everybody's licks, and at first it was okay. Then I thought 'Wait a minute, you've got to get your own style.' So I started combining what they wanted to learn and just a bit of techhnique. You hear so many different people everyday, you find yourself in it, if you can understand that. You're teachinng everybody's licks all day. I never did that, because I never had a stereo. I never copped licks off records. I started when I was really young, when I was 7. I never got to cop records because I didn't have a record player. So by the time I got to teaching, I didn't want people to carry on doing that too long."


"I started at 7 and I'm now 24. Another thing is,I tried lessons off and on, but I couldn't stick with it. I didn't have the patience. When I went back in my teens, I took classical. It did wonders for me."

 

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Randy Rhoads