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THE METAL DEN Presents: RANDY RHOADS 30 Years Gone (A Tribute From The Grave)



TMD Rocks!
by Randy “Rocket” Cody

TMD guest contributor Bill Lonero took the time to make a trip out (March 19th) to the gravesite of late great OZZY OSBOURNE and QUIET RIOT guitarist RANDY RHOADS located at Mountain View Cemetery in San Bernardino, California. TMD has scripted up a tributary ‘play by play’ of the event, combining it with a number of pictures, along with some interview questions directed at Lonero, himself a blazing axe shredder coming up in the rock scene today.

(This article originally posted on March 20, 2012)


THE METAL DEN Presents: RANDY RHOADS 30 Years Gone…
(A Tribute From The Grave)

March 19, 1982

The Day The Music Died…


Rocket: When do you remember hearing Randy Rhoads play for the first time?

Bill: The first time I heard Randy was when I was 11 years old. I heard “Blizzard of Ozz”. I had already been heavily influenced by Angus Young and Eddie Van Halen but when I heard Randy it was a whole different animal. There were classical influences in his playing and at the time I didn’t understand fully what was going on but I knew it was something special. Randy approached the guitar not like a guitarist per se, but more like a sculptor or an artist. Each note, phrase and lick was carefully constructed. His playing really is a work of art. Randy was also the first guitarist that taught me that you can incorporate other styles of music into your playing. That it didn’t just have to be rock.

Rocket: Randy Rhoads was a great writer, but his soloing… was like poetry in motion. Is there a favorite solo of Randy Rhoads during his two albums with Ozzy that is your personal favorite?

Bill: Oh man that is hard. I absolutely love his soloing on “Mr Crowley”. It is so fluid and smooth. Also it’s not just his soloing but his rhythm playing was very unique. He would throw in these little licks in between his riffs and they didn’t seem forced. It was just a natural extension of his style. A lot of times when players are really technical they have a hard time of being emotional in their playing. Randy wasn’t like that. Every note he played you felt like he was bleeding that note. That’s one of the things about Randy that is so special, he was a complete player. It wasn’t just technique and no substance. It wasn’t a great songwriter and no technique. He possessed it all.

Rocket: Now when you went up to Randy’s grave today to visit him, is this the first time you’ve ever done that?

Bill: No. I’ve been there quite a few times before. Every time I go to Palm Springs to vacation I make it a point to stop by his grave to pay my respects. And each time I go it really is a touching experience. Today was a special trip though because it was the 30th anniversary of his passing. He influenced so many people and his influence will continue on for generations. Not only was he a brilliant musician but everyone I’ve talked to that were friends with him talks about what a wonderful and kind human being he was and I think that’s something that people tend to overlook. He was just on the verge of superstardom and he was still grounded and humble. That’s something that everyone should strive to achieve no matter what walk of life they are.

Rocket: What do you see there, brother, with your own eyes? He is encased in his
own marble monument and I imagine it’s got to be quite a site to behold in person, correct?

Bill: Every time I go there I just think “Man he’s right there! He’s inches away from me.” It gives me chills thinking about it right now. It’s so unfair that he was taken so young. The monument is gorgeous, really classy. Just like Randy and his family. I also think that it’s a shame that we don’t have more actual video footage of him playing. The best that I’ve seen is the “After Hours” footage which I’ve watched hundreds of times. I can’t help but think that there must be more really good footage out there. How can there not be?

Rocket: And what in your mind or heart were you thinking? Anything specific?

Bill: Just how much love was there today. So many people came together to show their respect for not only him but his sister Kathy and brother Kelle and his mom Delores who I have to add are absolutely wonderful people. Kathy looks EXACTLY like him. The first time I met them was at my friend and photographer Neil Zlozower’s studio in Hollywood, CA. They were there to film an episode of Neil’s online show “The Zloz Hour”. I was shaking actually when I walked in the room and saw them but after a few minutes they just made you feel special. The most amazing thing was they had brought along Randy’s first guitar which he had when he was 7 years old. It is a 1918 Gibson Navy acoustic. When they brought it out my mouth dropped and then Kathy asked me if I wanted to hold it. I’ll tell you what man, that was a moment I will never forget. Not only am I holding Randy’s first guitar but I’m doing it standing next to his brother and sister and the photographer that took most of the famous photos we love of Randy. There are certain moments in your life that you look back on and this is one I will be looking back on from my rocking chair when I am 80 still trying to figure out Randy’s magic on my beat up Wolfgang.

Rocket: Were there a lot of other visitors at the event as well?

Bill: Definitely! There were people that flew in from Scotland, Japan and who knows where else. Zakk Wylde came by in the morning before I got there and Tom Morello was leaving just as I was walking up. Frankie Banali was there as well as Kelly Garni and of course Kathy and Kelle Rhoads. It was just so amazing to see the turnout for such an amazing talent. In today’s times of “American Idol” and auto-tune, it’s great to see that true talent is still respected and honored.

Rocket: Why do you think Randy Rhoads remains so popular even to this very day?

Bill: Because he was a genius. If he wasn’t as good of a musician as we all know he was then his star would have faded long ago. But it hasn’t. It’s only gotten brighter and it will continue to do so. In the world of stars Randy is a Super Nova. Also, I think Randy has remained as popular as he has because people recognize that he was always striving to learn, always striving to be a better musician. He had plans to leave Ozzy and go to UCLA and study music. He used to find teachers on the road and take lessons from them. That to me speaks volumes. He was always reaching to be better.

Rocket: Finally, we all know Randy was also a great music teacher. If you could’ve had Randy teach you one of his classic Ozzy songs in person. Which one would you choose and why?

Bill: Only ONE song? That’s like asking Michaelangelo to only teach me one painting technique lol. Man I’d have to say “Dee”. I mean I know how to play it but I would just love the opportunity to sit and watch him play it. But if we’re talking full electric guitar I’d pick “Revelation (Mother Earth)”. I’d want to just sit and watch him go through this masterpiece. But damn I can’t choose just one so I’m also gonna say “You Can’t Kill Rock and Roll”, “Diary of a Madman”, “Goodbye to Romance” and “Flying High Again”.

So many fans of Randy Rhoads gathered around to celebrate the music
and life of the musical legend on March 19, 2012. It is hard to believe
thirty years have now passed since he left us.

“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 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

“I was never a big fan of the whole ‘party-hard-we’re-gonna-rock-harder’ world. I liked music. But I could see myself in Randy, how he was a real student of music. The fact that he practiced for hours on end really appealed to me. He was serious, and he wanted only to get better at his craft. When I was practicing eight hours a day, his was the poster I had on my wall.” – Tom Morello

“The testimony to Randy’s greatness is the fact that we all still remember. Whenever my buddies and I get together, we can’t help but talk about Randy Rhoads,” Wylde said. “Let’s say he didn’t have to go up to God’s tavern when the good Lord needed him. Let’s say he just walked away from it all and went back to teaching, which he was thinking of doing; he wasn’t all that comfortable with the fame thing and playing big places. He’d still be a total legend for what he did on those first two Ozzy Osbourne records. What he achieved in just a couple of years is right up there with the best of the best. He did on two albums what most guys can’t do on 20. That’s pretty remarkable.” – Zakk Wylde

“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 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 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 infintesimal compared to what he was capable of. And he was such a giving, loving kind of guy.” — Tommy Aldridge

https://www.facebook.com/randyrhoads.forever/