Check out this rare article from 1987, in the magazine Rock Scene.
The rare part is comments from Drew Forsyth (only comments seen in print from him about Randy) and Warren Entner, Quiet Riot’s old manager and Starwood club owner/manager.
The other’s comments are from Delores Rhoads, Chet Thompson, Max Norman and Rudy Sarzo.
In March of 1982, all of music lost one of it’s rising stars. Mr. Randall William Rhoads was killed in a plane crash. To some his death was the equivalent of losing John Lennon or Keith Moon or Janis Joplin or Jimi Hendrix. Some of us still remember where we were and what we were doing when we first heard the news.
As for myself, I remember being at a club out on Long Island watching some friends of mine who were in a band called Loud. It was approximately one in the morning and the band was between sets. The DJ was playing Judas Priest’s “Living After Midnight”. Suddenly the music stopped and the crowd began to cheer, thinking that Loud was about to take the stage again. When the DJ got on the microphone to say something, only a few realized that there was a problem. The DJ, his voice choking and trying to hold back a year, announced that Randy Rhoads had passed on. I saw tears, astonishment, and disbelief. But me, I was angry. I was angry that someone with so much potential could be taken away from us with the snap of a finger. I also began to ask myself questions. But none of the questions were answered. Apparently, there was no way to escape this reality. Randy Rhoads was gone. He was never coming back.
As the years went by, and I gaze at the “Tribute” album, I realize that Randy never left us. I may never be able to shake his hand or have him sign my album cover or interview him, but his music will always be there to keep his spirit alive and well.
Below are the memories of Delores Rhoads, Randy’s mother; Drew Forsyth, original Quiet Riot drummer; Warren Entner, Quiet Riot’s manager; Chet Thompson, Hellion’s guitarist and Randy’s student; Rudy Sarzo, Quiet Riot and Ozzy bassist; and Max Norman, producer and engineer of the first two Ozzy Osbourne records and the “Tribute” album.
In talking to Mrs. Rhoads it was obvious that she was not only a devoted musician, but a devoted mother as well. Mrs. Rhoads talks about Randy’s youth. She recalls the time when Randy began to show talent, and reminisces about Randy’s first teaching experiences. Finally, Delores Rhoads speaks to us about her relationship with Randy Rhoads, her son.
“He took lessons in school when he was very young. I started my daughter and Randy at the same time on folk guitar, where they learned the chords and a few popular songs. But that wasn’t enough for Randy. He wanted the electric guitar. I did have a very good electrical guitar teacher named Scott Shelly. Randy started taking lessons from Scott, and within a year Scott came to me and said that there was nothing else that he could teach Randy. I thought he was kidding me, but he said he wasn’t.
He was around 16 when he began to teach at my school. He was a lot better than any teacher I had. He could relate very well to the students. He was able to pace his students very well. He had his own system that he worked out to teach them lead. He also played a lot with them and they were so delighted because it made them sound good. Even the poorest students were elated because they thought it sounded so good.
I remember the last time he was home. He was only home for a week. He came home on the weekend and then Monday our schedules were both very busy, but that morning we both had time. He suggested that we play together. I always enjoyed doing that. He played classical guitar and I played the flute. We just enjoyed that morning so much. I think we spent the whole morning playing together.”
Warren is currently managing Quiet Riot, Black N’ Blue, and Faster Pussycat. Back when Quiet Riot began, he noticed something in them that said that they had what it took to be big. Warren went on to co-produce Quiet Riot’s two Japanese albums. Warren recalls the dog-days of Quiet Riot.
“The guys, you have to remember were still in their early 20’s. There were pranks that were going on constantly. It was your basic high school bathroom humor. Randy got a kick out of putting all sorts of notes on the back of my jacket, my shirt, across my legs, and in my pockets that I would find a week later. They were always doing their best to undermine any solemnity and seriousness that was going on.”
“I think I was impressed with all of them that they could adapt to things and learn quickly at such a young age. Also they could apply it to themselves. I think, though, that their goals were from the creative and musician end, and how they could improve as performers, players, and songwriters.”
“One thing that used to re-occur every time they played live was that Randy-from the moment they started playing around Los Angeles, kids gravitated towards Randy. He was a unique and special performer. What I was real pleased to see was that Randy was so beautifully receptive to this adulation on a local level. He was teaching guitar at his mother’s school and he had a lot of kids who were just in awe of him. Whenever we played a gig, Randy would come in with a list of friends and students. But there would be 75 names on the list. Everybody else would have three or four and he would have 75 he’d want to get in free. The band would then come in with this great intro that they had. Right away, if there were 400 kids at the show, 200 of them would instantly try to flock to Randy’s side. He would always have a ball up there. Afterward he would talk to as many of them as possible. He was a real good kid who never let his ego get distorted.”
Drew was the original drummer in Quiet Riot. Today, Drew has put together a band that includes Craig Turner. Craig is a guitarist who studied under Randy and is currently teaching at Musonia, the school owned by Randy’s mother, Delores. Drew remembers a devilish side of Randy. But Drew is quick to point out that, although he may have had a mischievous side, he was never malicious. Says Drew,
“Anything Randy ever did was in the name of having fun.”
“I met him when I was in junior high school. He was kinda strange for a junior high school kid. He wore makeup and had real long hair. I was surprised by him a little. He really wanted to be a rock star when he was real young. So my first reaction was surprise. In junior high school, you don’t meet a lot of people like that.”
“He did some crazy things. They were always little devilish things. I remember we went to a party once and he took this girls shoes and put them in the fireplace. He was laughing while she was looking for her shoes. You, for instance, would never want to get into an elevator with him. If there was someone on the elevator, he would always put his head on their shoulder and make some weird noise. He and Kelly would go to the malls; Kelly would fake an epileptic fit and Randy would always wind up collecting money.”
“He was all fun. We never had a dull moment doing anything. I think he lived his whole life that way. That’s what always sticks in my mind about him. The crazy things he would do to make us laugh. He was like a performing comedian everyday.”
Chet is the current lead guitarist for Hellion. Chet studied under the tutelage of Randy Rhoads. Chet recalls what it was like learning from someone who would someday be looked upon as a superstar.
“When I first saw him I was blown away. That was at Hollywood High, playing in Quiet Riot. He had an incredible stage persona. I almost quit the guitar after seeing him. But then I found out that I could take lessons from him. So I called up his mom and scheduled a lesson. I was sitting there really nervous and he walks in and says he’ll be right with me. I almost fainted I was so scared. When we got in there he made me feel totally at ease. We just sat and played. He wanted to play lead because I had played for about a year. He played rhythm. The stuff that he played was actually ‘Crazy Train’, but it was slow. Almost like a ballad, He then said that he liked my playing and I couldn’t believe this guy was telling me that he liked it. After that I felt real comfortable.”
“He was very articulate with his right hand. It was strictly alternate picking, starting with the down-stroke. Even when he would just sit there and show me a riff it was incredible. He would play just like it was on the album. He was the kind of player who could just pick up a guitar and play, where others have to warm up first. He taught me a lot of scale exercises, a lot of classical, a lot of theory, a lot of temponic and blues. He made sure that he taught me how to play in every key so that I was versatile. I would always tape the lessons because there was so much to learn. A lot of different and interesting licks as well, which later turned up in a lot of the rhythms we would jam to. These rhythms later ended up being on the Ozzy record. The main thing that he stressed was to always be original. That was real important, to always have your own style.”
It is true that it was Ozzy Osbourne who brought Randy Rhoads to the attention of the world. But what about on vinyl? Who is responsible for bringing talent to a recorded disc? Any astute person would know right away that it is the producer. Max Norman is one of heavy metal’s top producers. He has worked with such internationally acclaimed acts as Loudness, Armored Saint and Malice. He also has had the privilege of engineering the first Ozzy record and producing and engineering the next two. He is also the producer of the “Tribute” record. Max recalls what it was like working with Randy and putting together the “Tribute” record.
Max describes the making of “Dee”. “He was downstairs on the studio floor with his acoustic. We didn’t know how long it was going to take before we got a good take. So we said we would throw on a 30 ips quarter-inch and let it play. I found that tape at Ridge farms. I think we did that later on one night because there were airplanes around there. We did that fairly late to try to get rid of some of the planes, but there were still some around. Once we had one we out it on a multitrack and worked on it a little more. In fact, what you hear on the “tribute” record was done right before the take that ended up on “Blizzard Of Ozz”.
In describing Randy as a guitar player and person, Max says that “he was a fairly quiet guy. Didn’t drink much, but smoked a lot of cigarettes. He was pretty funny. He was a happy guy most of the time. I liked his playing. He was one of my favorite players. He always buried himself in his guitar. One thing that used to amaze me was his doubling and tripling of solos. He did that quite a lot. I think it was a great loss. I’m also glad that there was something left.”
On their producer-artist relationship, Max says that “Randy was extremely easy to work with. He was always open to ideas. You could always count on Randy to put his two cents in, though if Randy had an idea, you always listened because he was smart. To be honest with you, I think he would have made a great producer someday, because he had an ear for the little things. He was also” never satisfied. If I felt something was right, he would still want to do it once more.”
Rudy Sarzo is currently the bassist in Whitesnake. Rudy first became a member of Quiet Riot prior to Randy leaving to join Ozzy’s band. Little did the two know that they would be playing together with Ozzy. As you should know, there are always stories you tell about life on the road. Whether you’re a family member vacationing or a musician, there are certain stories that always stand out. Rudy shares two of those stories with us.
“Once you record something in the studio, you leave it behind unless it becomes part of your set. You really don’t remember how to play it as well as you did on the record. So this kid comes up to us in Victoria, Canada and recognizes Randy. This kid just happens to have a guitar. So the kid says to Randy, “Look, I’m having a hard time playing the guitar parts to “Goodbye To Romance”. Will you teach it to me?” Randy said yes and the kid gave him the guitar. Randy was always willing to comply with anything within reason. So this kid gives him the guitar and Randy starts to play, but then realizes that he doesn’t remember any of it. He forgot it. So after five minutes of struggling, the kid takes the guitar and shows Randy how he did it on the record. That was a little embarrassing for him, but we all thought it was funny.
“At the time of “Diary Of A madman”, Randy was concentrating on his learning. He always had an acoustic guitar with him. Whenever we would go into a particular city he would go into his room, pull out the yellow pages and find the most reputable music school. He would ask who the teacher there was so he could get guitar lessons and classical lessons. So he would show up, and usually the kids there were high school kids. The teacher there would be a high school student. But when the kid would realize that he was teaching Randy Rhoads, he would wind up giving him or her lessons. But he would still pay for the lessons”.
And so we conclude our remembrance of Randy Rhoads. It was fun talking to the various people who were touched by Randy. It’s also hard to believe that he’s gone. Once again, a very special thanks to everyone who took the time to help us with this feature. Randy, we miss you-but you’ll never be forgotten!
Source: Randy Rhoads.TK
If you’re reading this – check out this old business card of yours that I found!
Thanks for the great article.
Holy time warp, Batman. That’s very cool.
Would it be possible for me to obtain the card? I’d like to place it in my archives.
As for the article, I really enjoyed talking to all these people. Trying to remember if Beth Nussbaum or Hank Bordowitz was my editor. I actually cringed when I read it because the writing is so terrible. Thank for sharing.
BTW, I current publish a blog called THE GREAT BEYOND MUSIC BLOG.
Check it out.
I sent you a DM.
What a gift to music. ..Randy STILL inspires today and many more years to come. Rest in peace Snoopy.