Friday, 15. December 2017
Home Articles
Knoxville Metro Pulse - You Can't Kill Rock N' Roll
Article Index
Knoxville Metro Pulse - You Can't Kill Rock N' Roll
Page 2 - I Don't Know
Page 3 - No Bone Movies
Page 4 - Fying High Again
Page 5 - Off The Rails
Page 6 - Over The Mountain
All Pages

Feature Story

You Can’t Kill Rock ’n’ Roll

Diary of a Madman

When Steve Blevins was 16, in 1982, his mother wouldn’t let him go see Ozzy Osbourne. “I told my mom I wanted to go, but she was a very religious person,” he says. “She wasn’t going to let me go get my soul damaged.” Few performers since Jerry Lee Lewis inspired the kind of hysterical fear among parents and preachers that Ozzy Osbourne did in the early ’80s. Twenty years before his turn as the demented patriarch of The Osbournes, the former leader of Black Sabbath was just starting his solo career. He promoted it by biting the heads off flying animals and pissing on the wall of the Alamo. His stage show featured a Spinal Tap-like medieval castle as a backdrop. In advertisements for the Diary of a Madman tour, he’s pictured wearing a devil’s cape and horns. Evangelicals and animal-rights activists picketed outside his concerts. Ozzy was, by most media accounts of the time, a moral nuisance, a threat to the public welfare, and quite possibly the very personification of evil. It was precisely that image that lured Blevins from Jonesborough to the Knoxville Civic Coliseum on Thursday, March 18, no matter what his mother said. “It was my first rock concert,” Blevins says. “It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. They had this big castle on stage. To me, a 16-year-old kid who’d never been to a concert, it freaked me out with all the stuff that was going on. It was pretty wild. Then Randy Rhoads came out. He was real small; his guitar looked huge on him, and this monster sound was coming out of it. It was the most incredible show I’ve ever seen.” Dressed in a leather vest and spiked wristbands, with his signature Flying V-shaped black-and-white polka-dot guitar and feathered and frosted blond hair, Rhoads’ appearance was enough to raise eyebrows. He raised them further with his performance—his full tone, sharp, quick-hitting rhythms, and classically inspired arpeggiated solos on “Crazy Train,” “I Don’t Know,” and “Flying High Again,” and his vivid re-inventions of the Black Sabbath standards “Iron Man,” “Children of the Grave,” and “Paranoid.” It was all a revelation to Blevins. “When I went to the show, I didn’t go to see Randy,” he says. “I didn’t know who Randy was....I wanted to go see Ozzy because I was a Black Sabbath fan. I was pissed because Ozzy left Sabbath. I went to see Ozzy and I was introduced to Randy that night. After that night, I was inspired to be a guitar player....We were on the floor, right in front of Ozzy, probably 10 or 15 rows back. But we kept moving to the right and ended up right in front of Randy Rhoads.” A few years later, Blevins was playing guitar for a spandex-and-hairspray band from the Tri-Cities called Damage Inc. He spent the late ’80s and most of the ’90s playing professionally with a series of touring bands. “That show inspired all that,” he says. It was a timely inspiration. The day after the Knoxville concert, Blevins and his friend were on their way to a fast-food restaurant for lunch when they heard on the radio that Osbourne had died in a plane crash. “It was a mistake,” he says. “Ozzy wasn’t dead. It was Randy. It freaked us out.” Like Hank Williams, who died somewhere between the Andrew Johnson Hotel and West Virginia, and Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff, who gave his last public recital at the University of Tennessee in February 1943 a month before his death, Rhoads is now a part of Knoxville’s mythology. His ghost became inextricably linked with the city at the moment of impact.


Immortal RR

immortal rr

RRR Volume 1 CD


Randy Rhoads DVD