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Randy Rhoads Guitar Player 1982 



RANDY RHOADS
1956 - 1982

A Biography by Family, Friends, and Fellow Musicians
As told to Jas Obrecht



From Guitar Player, November 1982


RANDY RHOADS had become one of rock's most acclaimed guitarists at the time of his death earlier this
year. A magnificent performer, he rose to fame quickly and became a hero to legions of young players. He
left us a legacy of only a few albums, the best known being two records with Ozzy Osbourne. By all
accounts, though, Randy's considerable talents extended far beyond the realms of heavy metal. He lived for
music, and was well loved and respected by those with whom he grew up, studied, or played. They tell his
story best.

Delores Rhoads

My son Randy was born on December 6, 1956, in St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California. He has one
brother whose real name is Doug, but who goes by the name of Kelle Rhoads when he sings. His sister is
Kathy. Randy was the youngest. His father, who has always been a music teacher in public schools, left
when Randy was 17 months old, and I raised the three children by myself. In 1949 we started building a
music school and store in North Hollywood called Musonia, which I still own. We couldn't afford a TV or
stereo until quite a bit later than most people, so there was not a lot of music to listen to at home. Randy
just had to develop things on his own. Of course, I was always on the classical side. I played professional
for a short while, and also taught music--especially trumpet--in the public school.

Kelle Rhoads

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 thing 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.

Delores Rhoads

Randy started taking lessons in my school when he was about six-and-a-half. We had an old Gibson
acoustic that belonged to my father. Randy picked that up and just loved it from the very first--as soon as
he was large enough to hold it and do something. I had a guitar teacher in the school at that time who was
a pretty good rock player--I guess rock was just beginning to come up. So Randy studied with him. It was
not too long until the teacher came up to me and said, "He knows everything I know! I can't teach him
anything more. He's gone beyond me already." Randy just loved it so much. He played all the time; he never
put it down. He was so dedicated. In all the years I had been teaching--and that's a good many years--I've
never seen a student who just loved it so much. In his early teen years, when Randy talked on the phone
he would hold the receiver with his shoulder and practice at the same time.


Delores Rhoads

When Randy was a teenager and even before, we used to ride on the trains to Chicago, New York, the
Southwest, and on down to New Orleans. Randy would always take a guitar with him, and he would never
leave it anyplace! It was in a big case, and we had to carry it on the train and wherever we walked. I
remember we once had a little bit of a layover in Chicago, and we walked towards a drugstore. Some really
creepy looking characters started to follow us, and I thought they were going to try to steal the guitar. We
ran to get back into the station just to protect the guitar! When we'd travel on the train, he's say, "You
know, Mom, I imagine what it will be like if I ever get to tour. It's going to be exciting to go different
places."

Kelle Rhoads

The first band that I was in was the first band Randy was in. We got the group together when Randy was
about 14 and named it Violet Fox after my mother's middle name, Violet. I played drums. Randy played
rhythm guitar on a big, red Ovation; at that time, he didn't think he'd ever be a lead player. The band was
together for four or five months, and we played some parties and some little shows at my mom's school.

Delores Rhoads

We have always lived in the same house in Burbank. In fact, Randy was still living at home even with Ozzy,
although he was on the road a lot and stayed with Ozzy in England. Randy was raised in a religious
environment. He went to First Lutheran Day School through sixth grade, and then he had to go to John Muir
Junior High. By the time he was 13 or 14, his little group was playing for parties and picnics, in the park, and
down on the Burbank Mall. He was playing a lot by then. I used to go with him and load up the equipment.
Alice Cooper became the big thing with my sons. Then their tastes changed as they grew.

Kelle Rhoads

I took Randy to his first rock concert, and he was amazed. It was Alice Cooper in 1971. He never saw
anything like it, and he couldn't talk for four hours. I think that kind of showed him what he could do with his
talent, and that's partly what made him decide to play rock. Before that, he played rock guitar and I played
drums, but we never really thought about it.

Delores Rhoads

When Randy went to Burbank High, he decided that school was not necessary. The only thing he wanted to
do was play all day. I said, "You have to finish your education." About halfway through, I went to the board
of education and asked special permission for him to go to adult school at hours that were convenient for
him and wouldn't interfere with his playing. That was the way he finished school. He was mainly in little
neighborhood groups until Quiet Riot. Quiet Riot was really a popular local band in the L.A. area. They made
a couple of Japanese albums. They were supposed to tour, but that never materialized. I guess the
management was not as good as it should have been. Nevertheless, they played a great deal. They
performed four or five nights a week, every week. Randy wrote most of their music, and the singer, Kevin
Dubrow, wrote a lot of the lyrics.

 



 

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