Randy Rhoads

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Randy Rhoads was the original lead guitarist of Quiet Riot and the Ozzy Osbourne band.


  • "I tried lessons on and off when I was young, but I couldn't stick with it. I didn't have the patience. When I went back to lesson in my teens, I took classical guitar. It did wonders for me. When I was 12 or 13, I started jamming, and that's when I said I wanted to do this for real. When I first got up and played for people, it was a fluke. These guys used to jam on a mountain in Burbank, and I thought I wanted to get up and play. When I first did it, people started clapping. A friend had shown me the beginning blues scale. That sort of showed me how to connect the barre chords to a little scale. From then on, it was just add-ons"
  • "Apparently Ozzy went through every player in L.A. after he quit Black Sabbath, and I never knew about it. I never looked for outside things; I was stuck in a rut. To be honest, I wasn't a big Black Sabbath fan. They were great for what they did, and obviously they did it well and made it huge. I respect that. I don't want to get into it too much, but I wasn't a big fan. I'm not sure why I got into Ozzy's band. Possibly he knew a certain sound he was looking for, and all of these other players tried to show off too much. I just started making a few harmonics. Perhaps it was my personality, because I was real quiet. I still don't know. I was 22 when I joined his band."
  • "I have a lot of influences from everywhere. I like a lot of classical music and blues rock. As far as the classical, I just like it. I think it's a real technical thing. I wouldn't call myself an accomplished classical player at all, though. Again, I never had the patience to go through it. I wish I could be good at it. There are many great players. Eddie Van Halen is great--I don't want to get near competing with people like him. I love Allan Holdsworth's playing. He's got a lot of great jazz scales. Andy Summers of the Police is definitely unique. Pat Metheny does some great acoustic stuff. John McLaughlin is technically great, but his is not one of my favorite styles. Leslie West was very important to me. He has a great feel. He is powerful and moody. I like Earl Klugh. Jeff Beck can do anything--he can play one note and it's great. Ritchie Blackmore was great; I loved his expression. I love B.B. King. I like Michael Schenker's and Steve Lukather's playing a lot. I also like Ronnie Montrose, especially with Edgar Winter. I like the way he bends; I could never bend like that. I liked all the English players in the '70s who used a lot of vibrato. But I don't own any rock guitar albums. I listen to a lot of background music that I don't have to think about. I don't listen to music to achieve anything from it. I just listen to relax and be social. Mostly I like mellow jazz and classical. If I'm out in public, I like to hear blaring loud rock, but never in my own house. I can't listen to my own records at home."
  • "My weakness is my insecurity. I don't go up there every night with a lot of confidence. If the sound is not right, I'll get paranoid. My strength is my determination-I just want to keep getting better. I want people to know me as a guitar player, the way I knew other people.I don't want to be satisfied with myself. My other weakness is my girlfriend, who distracts me. She is the one person who can take me away from my instrument, which is something that never happened in the past. She is also strength at the same time. You can't be lazy. You have to want to play. You have to love the guitar. I did. As a matter of fact, I was afraid of competition because I thought that everybody was better than I was. It was so close to me, I thought everybody was great."
  • "Five years from now I would love to have people know me as a guitar hero. I'd love to do a solo album, but I haven't met the right people in the business yet. I'm not at the level where I meet people all the time. It has to be the right time for the right thing. I really haven't been able to think; it's just go, go, go. Lately, I've been trying to hang onto myself, to keep up with everything.
    I'm locked into something right now, and it's not my own pace. Therefore it's kind of stifling sometimes. Playing sessions would be nice; I could do a different sort of playing and spread my name in different areas. Now it's very limited. Being with Ozzy is almost like being in KISS. That's why I'm thinking of going back to taking lessons and teaching all day long. Now it's a combination of stopped ideas and constant touring. I've got to put it together."

Quotes by others

  • "All Randy ever wanted to do was play the guitar. I don't remember him ever saying he wanted to do anything else. I can remember really well the time before he played guitar. He was a very intelligent kid who got good grades in school, and he didn't even have to try. And the that should underscore anyone's understanding of Randy is that he was so kind. Man, he was probably the kindest human being I ever met. I don't think he could have offended anybody, and I never saw him get mad. And he was like that as a child." -- Kelle Rhoads, brother
  • "Randy had much more than talent: He had charisma. He was friendly, and above all, enjoyed teaching and helping others become better players. He was more than kind, and almost always placed my name as well as the names of many other students, on the guest list just about any time he played in Hollywood. Quiet Riot was LA's favorite local band, and Randy was LA's favorite local guitarist.
    I always looked forward to my lessons. He'd almost always run late, and we would spend about half an hour a week laughing, talking, and learning. He would say, "Keith, make your guitar a part of you. Use it to express how you feel!!" He emphasized that phrasing is the most important aspect of one's playing: "People don't talk in monotone, and you shouldn't play guitar that way. Accent your playing." He worked very hard with me to help me develop my own style. Needless to say, he was a huge influence and was more inspiration than is imaginable." -- Kelle Rhoads
  • "I've performed with a lot of guitarists, including Gary Moore, Pat Travers and Pat Thrall, and there is no comparing them to Randy at all. In every respect, Randy was by far the better musician I ever worked with and probably ever will. The small amount of actual recorded music he left behind is inintesimal compared to what he was capable of. And he was such a giving, loving kind of guy." -- Tommy Aldridge
  • "Randy's heart was in the classics, to be honest; he wanted to be a classical guitar player. In fact, with the first record royalties he received, he went out and bought himself a very, very expensive classical guitar. He sat there for days and nights working on his music theories. As a matter of fact, right before he died he had been upfor four days and nights-plus gigging-working on his theory because he wanted to get into a university and get a degree in music. And every town he went to, he'd find a tutor. On days off I'd get in the bar. He wouldn't: He'd practice all day, every day. He didn't take drugs, and he didn't drink to much. Every day of his life he practiced." -- Ozzy Osbourne
  • "Last year Randy got voted Best New Talent in Guitar Player. When something like that happens to a young guitar player, he could do two things: He could say, "Hey, I've made it and I don't need to get any better at this!" or he could do the opposite, which is what Randy did. He went totally into his playing. He stopped partying hard when he realized that people were paying attention to what he was doing. On the first tour he was a little crazy, but by the last tour he was totally serious-little or no drinking. He spent all of his time in his room, playing electric or classical guitar.
    On days off, we would be in the middle of Anytown, USA. When we would get to the hotel in the morning after travelling all night, Randy would open up the telephone book and look up the music schools. He would go and take classical guitar lessons. He would come with his books and ask questions about reading, fingering positions, pieces and stuff like that. He was coming along incredibly well.
    Of course, in alot of places he would go to the wrong school. He would have to face some young, 18 year-old girl teacher who would totally freak out when she found out who he was. Actually, many times he would end up giving them lessons, but he would pay for it!!!!{laughs}
    The more recognition he got, the better he wanted to get. He was an incredibly humble guy. Every time anybody would ask him for an autograph or tell him a compliment, he would smile real shy. That was his nature." -- Rudy Sarzo
  • "I don't think he liked being on the road at all. See, people like my brother shouldn't get involved in Rock and Roll. They are higher people. I don't think he could understand a lot of it because he wasn't raised that way. A lot of times there were things that conflicted with the way he was brought up and his own morality. He saw a lot of things that really blew him away." -- Kelle Rhoads
  • "I have an immense amount of respect for what he did. Some people say I may have had an influence on his playing, but I never was able to ask him that. If it's true, I'm very honored, because I thought he was very, very good. He was also very dedicated to his playing. I think that showed in his work." -- Edward Van Halen
  • "I've heard him play on the radio, and he sounded very good. I admire anyone who can play the guitar with a style that is easily identifiable, and that's what he was able to do. Everyone says theres nothing new that can be done with a guitar, but when people like Randy come along, they realize they're wrong." -- Angus Young, AC/DC
  • "I'm a big guitar fan. I love listening to everything from jazz to heavy metal, and one of the guys who really caught my ear was Randy. He just stood out head and shoulders above other young guitarists. I don't know exactly what he did that was so special, but he was able to mix together a number of styles and influences, and emerge with a special sound. Most guitarists are clones of other famous musicians. Randy had a bit of that element in him, but because of his talent, he was able to rise above that." -- Rik Emmett, Triumph