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Randy Rhoads Biography - Early Years - Randy Rhoads Biography - Quiet Riot Years
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Randy Rhoads Biography - Early Years
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Randy Rhoads Biography - Quiet Riot Years
Randy Rhoads Biography - The Ozzy Years
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Quiet Riot Years:

One of his best friends in the early days when was Kelly Garni. Kelly and Randy started playing
together around 1971 and eventually formed Quiet Riot together after combining their talents in
many other bands including Milfred Pierce, the Katzenjammer Kids and Mammoth. When they
met, Randy had already started to form his own style and by age 13 Randy was already making
older guitarists "look bad" with guitar playing that far exceeded his age.

Garni lists Randy's major influences in those days as Glenn Buxton of Alice Cooper and Mick
Ronson of David Bowie. I was then that Randy started experimenting with "weird noises" and
"strange sounds" that would become part of the Rhoads sound copied by many guitarists even
today. This music was reminiscent of Buxton. According to Garni it was at this time when Randy
created a lot of the trademark licks and Erie sounds found on his later albums with Quite Riot
and Ozzy. Kelly and Randy would routinely spend all week looking for a gig and then every
weekend playing at a party in someone's backyard in Burbank. They hardly ever got paid for the
gigs, but the music was the most important thing. Garni said of the early days, "When Randy
played they all jumped to attention....Even though it was only a backyard, he put such a good
show that you felt like you were at a coliseum at a major rock gig. He knew how to dazzle an
audience."

During these years Randy and Kelly became well known in the area and created a quite a local
reputation for themselves which helped launch their next band Quiet Riot. In 1975 Randy and
Kelly formed Quiet Riot. After years of backyard bands they wanted something more "formal". So
they audition for a lead singer and found Kevin DuBrow. Kevin's audition was held in the kitchen
at Mrs. Rhoads house. She remembers the day well, "Kevin saying, 'Well if you don't like me just
say so and I'll leave.' Randy and Kelly said, 'Now wait a minute, there are probably some things
we have to work out. Let's talk about it.' That was actually the very first day for Quiet Riot."

Kevin recalled that day in a later interview, "He was just 17 at the time; I was 18. He had hair
down to his waist and a thumbnail about four inches long. I looked at him and thought, 'No way
can this guy play.' But I figured what the hell, and went over to his house to hear him play
through this tiny amp. He plugged in, and I thought that my head was being plastered against
the wall; every lead that I could ever imagine - he played them better than anybody I'd ever
heard on record."

Randy and Garni worked with Kevin until they decided to add him to the line-up. The original
band members of Quite Riot included Randy on guitar, Kelly Garni on bass, Kevin DuBrow on
vocals and Chris Forsyth on Drums.

Within a year Quiet Riot was the hottest band around. Soon they were regulars at "Starwood" in
Santa Monica. Still playing basically for free, but to them the music was all that mattered. In
the early days in the rock scene groups wrote most of their own music and "Aside from playing
guitar," Garni said, "Randy came up with a lot of the songs, too... Randy would come up with an
idea and then we'd all jump on it; I think that's how a lot of bands go about. Randy was a very
prolific writer, too - he'd always have something new. In the early years he and I came up with
a lot of riffs to jam on, but later on when Kevin came in and he and Randy wrote most of the
songs."

Quite Riot performed four or five gigs a week and soon created enough excitement that they
landed a record deal with Japan's CBS Sony record label. As Garni put it in a later interview,
"Well, we scored the deal to do the two Japanese albums and they did very well over there. I
still have a stack of letters from fans there and we got some big write-ups in the magazines,
too. They kept calling us the 'Next Big Thing' and the 'New Sound' in music."

After the success of the Japanese albums Quiet Riot tried to no avail to put together a tour and
to land an American record contract. "The only thing that was bad about it was that the
records were never out here. So, it kind of made feet like you really never had a record deal.
You got the record and you were able to look at it, but you sure as hell couldn't go in some
record store and buy it because, back then, imports weren't really that big of a thing," said
Garni.

In 1978-9 Garni left the band to pursue a career as a paramedic. It was then that Rudy Sarazo
joined the group as the new bassist and although he appeared on the cover picture of Quiet
Riot II album, he didn't play on either of the Japanese releases.

A few months before the breakup of Quite Riot Randy went to the guitar workshop of Karl
Sandoval and asked him to make a guitar for him. Sondoval created one of Randy's trademark
polk-a-dot guitars. As Sandoval and Randy had several meetings to discuss the creation of the
now famous guitar. Randy had drawn pictures of the new instrument and had all the details of
the guitar well thought out. The shape as well as the color of his new guitar would, from then
on, be associated with Randy. He wanted a Flying V shape, tremolo unit, double humbucking
pickups, and one volume and one tone control per pickup. Sandoval described the guitar in
detail in a later interview, "The guitar has an old '60's non-adjustable Danelectro neck that has
been shaved and modified to look somewhat like an arrowhead. It has a rosewood fingerboard
and a wide, flat feel. The action is very comfortable. The tuners are standard Schallers. The
thing that was different about it was the Strat-style side-mount jack underneath the V section,
which was one of his ideas. he also wanted the toggle switches at the end of the wing. Polka
dots were used because they were like his trademark, and the inlay on the fingerboard is
supposed to resemble bow ties. Both of these were his ideas, too."

Quite riot had a large following in the years with Sarazo. Rudy later said that Randy was the
"focal point of the band" his polk-a-dot theme expressed in his guitar and his clothing was
copied by many of his fans. "It was great! ...you'd see a bunch of little kids with his haircut
wearing little polka dot bow ties and vests, trying to be like him. And then there were a lot of
clone Randy Rhoads guitar players in bands," Sarazo said.

Quite Riot eventually broke up in 1980. Randy thought at the time that Quiet Riot might make it,
but later, during his tour with Ozzy he said, "...now that I'm away, I knew it wouldn't. I have to
say that. It was kind of like I was growing up at the time and didn't know it. There's a lot more
room for guitar in this band than in Quiet Riot,"

Sarazo said later. "[We] didn't do much traveling - we went from Oxnard down to Riverside. We
mainly were an LA club band, doing weekends at the Starwood or Golden West Ballroom. We
didn't get an American record deal, which is one of the reasons why Quiet Riot broke up."

"That was frustrating," Randy stated. "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."

 



 

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