Randall William Rhoads was born on December 6, 1956 at St.
Johns 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.
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 mothers request) so that he could
learn to read music. Randys 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 mothers school. Scott Shelly eventually went to Randys
mother explaining that he could not teach him anymore as Randy
knew everything that he (Scott Shelly) 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. How they actually
got together is a different story with many variations:
A.) The two contacted Kevin DuBrow, went to his house to "audition"
him but originally werent interested in having him as a vocalist.
Kevin kept calling Randy and Kelly until they eventually decided
to try him out as a vocalist.
B.) Randy and Kelly Garni auditioned Kevin DuBrow in Delores
Rhoads kitchen. Kevin sang for them, then said something to the
point of, "well if you dont like me just say so and Ill leave."
Randy and Kelly decided to work with him though they would have
to "work some things out".
C.) Randy Rhoads called Kevin DuBrow, they decided to get together
to see about putting together a band. Randy went to Kevins house
with his guitar and an amp. As Randy began to play, Kevin began
to hear the best guitarist hed ever heard.
Around that same time Randy began teaching guitar in his mothers
school during the day and playing with Quiet Riot at night. Originally
called "Little Women", Quiet Riot got their "new"
name from one of Kevins 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. 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", a 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 latter part of 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 wasnt completely interested in
auditioning, he was happy with his current band and thought that
this "audition" wouldnt amount to much. As with Kevin
DuBrow, Randy's first meeting/audition with Ozzy Osbourne has
a few variations:
A.) Randy walked into Ozzys hotel room late one evening with
a guitar and a small Fender practice amp, plugged in and started
tuning his guitar. He did a few warm up exercises and got the
job as Ozzy Osbournes lead guitarist at age 22.
B.) Randy walked into a Ozzy's studio/rehearsal place late
one evening with a guitar and a small Fender practice amp, plugged
in and started tuning his guitar. He did a few warm up exercises
and got the job as Ozzy Osbournes lead guitarist at age 22.
C.) Ozzy was first introduced to Randy in a bar where someone
introduced him to Ozzy as his (Ozzy's) "next guitarist".
With Ozzy Osbourne, Randy Rhoads and bassist Dana Strum (Slaughter),
all that was missing was a drummer. Randy Rhoads brought in a
friend of his, Frankie Bannalli (Quiet Riot, W.A.S.P.), and the
band began to rehearse in Los Angeles for a short time. However,
when it became 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.
Randy was whisked off to England shortly before Thanksgiving
of 1979 where, at Ozzy's home in Wales, the two began to write
the "Blizzard of Ozz" album and audition musicians to
fill out the band. While the band rehearsed at "John Henrys",
a rehearsal hall in London, the earliest public performances of
Randy Rhoads and Ozzy Osbourne came after theyd complete a song
then go to a local pub to play the song for whoever was there.
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 of 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
Studios 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 Osbournes 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.
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. Randys white "flying
V" type guitar was yet another guitar that would become synonymous
with the Randy 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
of a Madman", the actual recording of the album became rushed.
(Randys 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
of a Madman", 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 its North American
tour in support of "Blizzard of Ozz", beginning in Towson,
Maryland on April 22, 1981, one year and one month after the "Blizzard
of Ozz" sessions began. Though they did not play on either
studio efforts, Tommy Aldrige (drums) and Rudy Sarzo (bass) joined
Ozzys 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.
The month of June (1981) brought Randy back to the Los Angeles
area for his first "local" show with Ozzy Osbourne at
the Long Beach Arena. Choosing to headline their tour instead
of going on a bigger tour as a support act paid off as "Blizzard
of Ozz" went gold 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. There are two stories as to how
the guitar was actually cut:
A.) As Grover Jackson cut the body to their design specifications,
Randy waited in Grovers office, not wanting to watch it being
B.) Grover Jackson put the unfinished guitar body on a bandsaw
and cut a "chunk" out of it. Randy, watching, said,
"yeah, yeah. Thats it!"
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 a 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 Osbournes band. The "Mr. Crowley" e.p. featured
live performances of three songs (including: "You said it
all", previously unreleased) recorded in October of 1980
in South Hampton, England, during the United Kingdom "Blizzard
of Ozz" tour. ('You said it all' was actually recorded during
the bands sound check, with the crowd noise added at the time
of mixing.) It was said that at that time the "Mr. Crowley"
picture disk became the biggest selling picture disk of all time
and even earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.
With the release of the Ozzy Osbourne Band's second album,
"Diary of a Madman", Ozzy Osbourne and Randy Rhoads
(the only original member of Ozzys band) along with Rudy Sarzo
and Tommy Aldrige traveled 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 of a Madman" tour began, their
first album, "Blizzard of Ozz", was selling at the rate
of 6,000 records each week. Backstage opening night in San Francisco,
Randy was awarded with Guitar Player Magazines Best New Talent
Award. (He also won best new guitarist in Englands "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 its 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.
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 Saturdays "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,
Jay Duncan (their tour manager), Wanda Aycock, Andrew Aycock,
Rachel Youngblood and Randy Rhoads. Andrew Aycock and his ex-wife,
Wanda, went into Jerry Calhouns house to make some coffee while
some members of Ozzy Osbournes 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
Beech model F35 (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 Aycocks 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 garage and the two vehicles inside, an Oldsmobile and
a Ford Granada. Jesse Herndon, who was inside the house during
the impact, escaped with no injuries. The largest piece of the
plane that was left was a wing section about 6 to 7 feet long.
The very wing that caught the side of the tour bus, was deposited
just to the north of the bus. The severed pine tree stood between
the bus and the house.
Ozzy Osbourne, Tommy Aldrige, Rudy Sarzo and Sharon Arden,
who were all asleep on the bus, were awoken by the planes impact
and (at first) thought they had been involved in a traffic accident.
Wanda Aycock had returned to the bus while keyboardist Don Airey
stood outside and witnesses the accident, as did Marylee Morrison,
who was riding her horse within sight of the estate. Two men,
at the west end of the runway, witnessed the plane "buzzing"
the area when the plane suddenly "went out of sight"
as it crashed.
Once outside of the bus the band members learned of the catastrophic
event that had just taken place. The bus was moved approximately
300 feet to the east of the house that was engulfed in flames.
The band checked into the Hilco Inn in Leesburg where they mourned
the death of Randy and Rachel and would wait for family members
to arrive. While Orlandos "Rock Super Bowl XIV", scheduled
for later that day, was not canceled, the Ozzy Osbourne band would
not play and the promoters offered refunds to all ticket holders.
Randy Rhoads was put to rest in San Bernadino, California.
Randy Rhoads guitar playing, however, could not be silenced
as "Tribute" was released in 1987. "Tribute",
recorded live, much of it in Cleveland, OH on May 11, 1981 and
Randys solo in Montreal in July of 1981, continued to earn him
recognition as a guitar virtuoso.
Ozzy Osbourne's first two solo albums featuring Randy Rhoads
have sold over 6 million copies combined.
Randy Perry's Randy Rhoads Biography
Randy's Rhoads Web Page http://www.flash.net/~ulknatme/