Randy Rhoads – Guitar God Profile

By on 09/16/2014
Randy Rhoads
        • Born: December 6, 1956 – Died: March 19, 1982
        • Like many other guitar greats, Randall William “Randy” Rhoads had left the world of the living too soon. The neoclassical guitarist played for heavy metal acts like Quiet Riot and Ozzy Osbourne’s band; As short as his career was, he managed to cement his reputation as one of the greatest guitarists of his time, as cited by Rolling Stone and Guitar World.
        • Rhoads stood out from his peers because of his unique ability to fuse both classical music and heavy metal, an unlikely combination which helped make Ozzy’s debut solo effort, Blizzard of Ozz, a multiple-platinum selling album.
        • His musical style could be attributed to the fact that he was raised with a classical music background. His mother, Delores Rhoads, taught music at Musonia, a music school she opened as a means of providing for her children.
        • It was at this same school where Rhoads taught guitar to students as his day job while playing at clubs. A graduate of Burbank High School, he was part of special program which helped him finish his studies early and have a full-time career in music, both teaching and playing.
        • Mrs. Rhoads recalls that time: “They would come out of the room walking on clouds because of the good experience.” Rhoads himself said: “When you teach something to a student, it clicks in your head. You may find the answer to another problem you have been trying to figure out. I taught eight hours a day, six days a week, every half hour a different student. I had little kids, teenagers, and even some older people. When you sit there and play all day long, you’re going to develop a lot of speed. I learned to read, too, but I have to look at it, think about it, and then play it. About the third time I do a piece, I can read it. I think half of your sound comes in the way you play.”
        • Here’s what Rhoads’ mother had to say about him:
      • Having no stereo at home, Rhoads and his siblings made their own music to pass the time. This, and his strong proficiency in classical music solidified his roots before he was exposed to rock music.
      • Although Van Halen was the prominent heavy metal act at the time, Rhoads distinguished himself from Eddie Van Halen because of his peculiar training. Most guitarists aspired to be like Eddie Van Halen with his tapping style – Rhoads, on the other hand, used his classically-influenced licks to become an equally respected Guitar God during the 80s.
      • It was in 1971 when he watched an Alice Cooper show with his brother that he decided he could make a serious career out of playing guitar. Along with Cooper, Rhoads was also inspired by other bands such as Led Zeppelin and Mountain.
      • One of his earliest bands was called Violet Fox, covering songs from Mountain, the Rolling Stones, Alice Cooper and David Bowie. Although they played the local scene for less than half a year, it proved to solidify his heavy metal training that would prepare him for his first label band, Quiet Riot.
      • Mrs. Rhoads said that ”By the time he was 13 or 14, his little group was playing for parties and picnics, in the park, and down on the Burbank Mall. He was playing a lot by then. I used to go with him and load up the equipment.”
      • It was around 1976 when Quiet Riot became an up and coming act in the L.A. music scene, alongside with heavy metal great Van Halen. Soon enough, they were so good that they earned themselves a record deal with Japan’s CBS Sony record label, releasing Quiet Riot and Quiet Riot II in 1977 and 1978 respectively.
      • Quiet Riot disbanded eventually, with Rhoads leaving mostly out of frustration with the band’s progress. In spite of their popularity, they couldn’t secure a record deal in the U.S. Randy said, ”We thought we were good, yet the record companies kept turning us down. We thought the success of Van Halen would help us, but actually it hurt. Most of the record company people would say, ‘We don’t want the second LA. metal band.’ That’s why we released the albums In Japan. There’s a big market for rock and roll there, and at that time we were just thrilled to get our records out no matter where it was.”
      • Speaking of Van Halen, Rhoads had a chance encounter with Eddie after seeing one of his shows, which reportedly left him “devastated.” Legend has it that Rhoads was disappointed after Van Halen refused to share one of his secret techniques. It marked the start of the highly publicized rivalry between the two Guitar Gods; according to close sources, it was overhyped and the two had the highest respect and admiration for one another.
      • And so by 1979, Rhoads showed up at an Ozzy Osbourne audition for his new band. After talking to his mother about trying out for another band, he immediately landed the gig after doing a few warmups on his guitar. Rumor has it that Ozzy was so drunk at the time that he immediately passed out just after telling Rhoads, “You’ve got the gig.”
      • This was the start of a productive partnership between Rhoads and Ozzy, with the Blizzard of Ozz taking heavy metal fans completely by surprise with its unorthodox riffs that soon set the bar for the genre for decades to come. Classic hits like “Crazy Train”, “Suicide Solution,” and “Mr. Crowley” not only revived Ozzy’s career, it also immortalized Rhoads as one of the Guitar Gods in rock history.
      • His six-string guitar work was particularly outstanding, giving rise to other virtuosos such as Yngwie Malmsteen. You can hear this from songs such as ”Over the Mountain,” “Flying High Again,” “Little Dolls,” and “Diary of a Madman” – all of which were from Ozzy’s second album.
      • Here’s a rundown of his rig:
      • Guitars:
        • Gibson ’74 Cream Les Paul Custom
        • Karl Sandoval “Polka Dot” V
        • Jackson Black Rhoads w/ Fixed Bridge
        • Jackson White “Prototype” Concorde
        • 1950s Gibson Les Paul Black Beauty
      • Strings:
        • GHS Boomers, 10-11 Gauge
      • Effects:
        • Dunlop Crybaby Wah
        • Roland:
          – RE-201 ‘Space Echo’
          – Volume Foot Pedal
        • Korg echo
        • MXR
        • – Distortion +
          – 10 Band EQ
          – Flanger
          – Stereo Chorus



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