OZZY OSBOURNE: RANDY RHOADS 'Didn't Have A Nice Thing To Say' About EDDIE VAN HALENSeptember 15, 2022
In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Ozzy Osbourne discussed the supposed cross-town rivalry Randy Rhoads, the first guitarist Osbourne worked with after BLACK SABBATH, had with Eddie Van Halen.
Rhoads's pre-Ozzy band QUIET RIOT had been gigging on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, California at the same time as VAN HALEN. Although both Rhoads and Van Halen later became some of the most influential guitarists of the 20th century, playing with a similar flare and incorporating finger-tapping into their fleet-fingered solos, Eddie found commercial success before Rhoads, due in part to the fact that VAN HALEN landed a record deal years before QUIET RIOT did.
"I heard recently that Eddie said he taught Randy all his licks … he never," Osbourne told Rolling Stone. "To be honest, Randy didn't have a nice thing to say about Eddie. Maybe they had a falling out or whatever, but they were rivals."
The rivalry between Rhoads and Van Halen was explored in the documentary "Randy Rhoads: Reflections Of A Guitar Icon", which was released this past May. The film contains archive audio of Van Halen discussing Rhoads, saying, "He was one guitarist who was honest, anyway. Because he said everything he did he learned from me.
"He was good," Van Halen continued. "But I don't really think he did anything that I haven't done. And there ain't nothing wrong with it. I've copied some other people, you know?"
Randy's friend Kim McNair also spoke about the Rhoads-Van Halen rivalry in "Randy Rhoads: Reflections Of A Guitar Icon", reflecting: "This was the years of guitar heroes. To a large degree, bands were judged on their guitar player. I think all the guitar players in town kept up on each other."
Meanwhile, QUIET RIOT fan club president Lori Hollen said that at some of the band's early shows, "we would see David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen there, which was always interesting to me. Because I know Randy never went to see them play. But they would always come to see QUIET RIOT and Randy play."
Elsewhere in the film, Rhoads's guitar tech Brian Reason recalled how he used to stick a picture of Eddie Van Halen to Randy's wah pedal. "He wasn't very excited about [it], but it was in the perfect place," Reason explained, "because every time he stomped on his wah wah pedal, he stomped on it as if he wanted to crush it."
Rhoads and two others were killed on March 19, 1982 when the small plane they were flying in at Flying Baron Estates in Leesburg, Florida struck Osbourne's tour bus, then crashed into a mansion. Rhoads was 25 years old.
In his "Biography: The Nine Lives Of Ozzy Osbourne" special, Ozzy stated about first meeting Rhoads after his departure from BLACK SABBATH: "I knew instinctively that he was something extra special. He was like a gift from God — we worked so well together. Randy and I were like a team.
"One thing that he gave to me was hope, he gave me a reason for carrying on," Ozzy added. "He had patience with me, which was great. He was great to work with. He pulled the best out of me. We had a lot of fun."
Rhoads's death had a tremendous impact on Osbourne's life. "I lost a dear friend in my life — I miss him terribly," Ozzy said. "I just bathed my wounds with alcohol and drugs."
"The day that Randy Rhoads died was the day a part of me died," he added.
Last October, Randy was posthumously inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame during the 2021 ceremony. Rhoads received the Musical Excellence Award at last year's event, which was held on October 30 at Cleveland, Ohio's Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
The Musical Excellence Award is given to artists, musicians, songwriters and producers whose originality and influence creating music have had a dramatic impact on music.
Rhoads was inducted into the Rock Hall by Morello who stated in a video message. "Randy Rhoads is a peerless talent. He revived Ozzy Osbourne's career as his gunslinger sideman. And it was Randy Rhoads's poster that I had on my wall... You could study Randy's songs in a university-level musicology class and bang your heads to them in a 7-11 parking lot."
Also offering a video tribute was METALLICA's Kirk Hammett, who stated about Randy's death: "All of a sudden, the curtain came down unexpectedly and the show was over before it really, really got going." Wylde spoke highly about his predecessor, saying "Randy, hands down, sits at" the round table of greatness in the Hall Of Fame alongside Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Eddie Van Halen.
Rhoads played on Osbourne's seminal records "Blizzard Of Ozz" (1980) and "Diary Of A Madman", influenced many musicians and is considered one of the greatest guitartists of all time. His death was a huge shock to the world and Ozzy wrote in his autobiography "I Am Ozzy" that he almost quit music after Randy's passing.
Shortly after Rhoads's induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame was announced, Ozzy told Rolling Stone: "I knew him for a very short amount of time. But what he gave me in that short amount of time was immeasurable in fucking greatness. To get somebody like Randy Rhoads to play on two albums, and for those two albums to sound as good as the day they were recorded, is something else. And I'm forever in gratitude for that. God only knows where that man would be today. The very fact that he’s not here to breathe the air is just a fucking crime.
"Thank God that he's getting recognized by the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. He finally got there in the end. I'm sad that his mother was not alive to see it, because he was very close to his mom. It shows that he's not been forgotten. He was a dedicated, true musician, and he was a lovely guy. I still think about him all the time."
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