Randy Rhoads

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uppladdat: 2003-02-26
Patrik Jezierski

Patrik Jezierski

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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 ...

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Källhänvisning

Patrik Jezierski [2003-02-26]   Randy Rhoads
Mimers Brunn [Online]. http://mimersbrunn.se/article?id=1756 [2017-05-22]

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