Members of Machine Head, Testament + More Highlight ‘Randy Rhoads Remembered’ Show
It’s been 32 years since Randy Rhoads‘ brilliant light was extinguished in a tragic plane crash in Florida. At the time of his passing he had only released two records as a member of Ozzy Osbourne‘s ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ band. The albums ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ and ‘Diary of a Madman’ have proven to be sacred musical statements that sound as impressive now as when they were released and to this day set a benchmark for musicians that have followed.
Enter Brian Tichy — a world-class drummer who has for the past few years assembled a who’s-who of drummers to perform their favorite Led Zeppelin songs for the annual ‘Bonzo Bash.’ The success of the ‘Bonzo Bash’ shows motivated Tichy, who also plays guitar, to throw a party for his six-string hero. So along with friend and bandmate Brent Woods he got to work on putting together a tribute to Randy Rhoads.
Woods, who had taken guitar lessons from Randy, has kept close ties with the Rhoads family. So with the family’s blessing and participation, along with the recruiting of Rudy Sarzo — the ‘Randy Rhoads Remembered’ tour was born.
At the tour’s recent stop in Englewood, N.J., the spirit of Randy’s music was celebrated as guest musicians played every song he recorded with Ozzy. There were also a few surprises, such as Randy’s brother Kelle Rhoads singing ‘Back to the Coast’ and ‘Killer Girls’ from the Quiet Riot catalog. Joining Kelle was shredder Jeff Young sporting a black vest and a red polkadot bow tie a la Randy during his time in Quiet Riot.
Machine Head‘s Phil Demmel and Testament‘s Alex Skolnick have never been shy about their admiration for Randy and how important his music was to them as young guitarist learning to play their instruments. After the show, Demmel admitted that there were a few “Pinch me, is this real?” moments as he shared the stage with Sarzo. Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Chris Caffery added an interesting wrinkle as he played Randy’s versions of the Black Sabbath classics ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Children of the Grave’.
Adrenaline Mob‘s Mike Orlando represented the new wave of musicians who have grown up with Rhoads music. There’s an ageless appeal to Randy’s playing because of how unique is approach was. While other musicians had combined classical music with metal before Rhoads, the results were often a bit dull and not palatable to the average music fan. Randy injected some California sunshine into his fusion of classical and metal. As guitarist Joel Hoekstra put it, “Randy made classical music cool”.
The night’s most powerful moment came when Randy’s sister, Kathy, came out to say a few words. After pausing for a moment, she started to weep as she thanked the crowd for keeping her little brother’s memory alive. It is then that you realize that the loss of an artist, however great, pales in comparison to the loss that the Rhoads family has endured.
The night came to a close with all of the musicians coming back to the stage to play ‘Dee,’ an instrumental ballad that Randy wrote for his mother Delores. After the show, Kathy and Kelle spent times talking to fans and sharing stories of their little brother with fans who relished the opportunity to express their love and longing for someone who was taken from us far too early. Long live Randy Rhoads.
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