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Rockers Pay Musical Tribute to Randy Rhoads + John Bonham at 2014 NAMM Convention

Charles Epting for Loudwire

The NAMM convention brings together literally thousands of musicians from all over the world, which means it’s the perfect time to pull together the ultimate all-star tribute shows. This year in Anaheim, Calif., two such shows took place: the Bonzo Bash, which honors late Led Zeppelin stickman John Bonham, and the Randy Rhoads Remembered gathering, held in honor of the late great shredder. Both shows are the brainchild of well-known drummer Brian Tichy (Whitesnake, Foreigner, Billy Idol), and in fact his Bonzo Bash already has has a successful string of performances under its belt.

The tribute to Bonham took place on Jan. 23 at the Observatory in Santa Ana. Featuring literally dozens of well-known drummers, including Mike Portnoy, Ray Luzier from Korn, Stephen Perkins from Jane’s Addiction and Tichy himself, each player had a chance to rock the Zeppelin tune of their choice while a top-notch house band handled the guitars and vocals.

It was a sprawling five hour-plus show that dug deep into the Zeppelin catalog. The big surprise was a special award given to estranged Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward, who was actually on hand to collect his prize.

Just two nights later at the same venue, Tichy was back in his emcee role to herd together guitar players this time. Playing for large parts of the evening during the tribute was bass player Rudy Sarzo, who played with Rhoads over the years before his untimely death in a plane crash while on the road with Ozzy Osbourne.

Sarzo told Loudwire, “Of course this is a very bittersweet thing for me tonight. I still think of Randy all the time and have very fond memories of the amazing times we had playing together. It’s really nice that members of his family are here tonight so that they can see and hear everything he means to us.”

Former Ozzy bassist Phil Soussan added, “What’s amazing to me is how Randy still manages to influence so many of us and so many young players that are coming up. He was just that special.”

Guitarists for the night included Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal from Guns N’ Roses, Joel Hoekstra from Night Ranger, and Phil Demmel from Machine Head, among many others.

For dramatic effect, replicas of Rhoads’ iconic guitars were positioned on either side of the stage.

When all was said and done, ringleader Brian Tichy told us, “I’m really happy with how things turned out for the shows. It took five months of preparation but I was most excited about the Randy show because it’s brand-new. I love Randy, I love those records and I got to play drums all nigh and with all of these great musicians.”

Makes us look even more forward to NAMM next year.

Check Out Photos from the Bonzo Bash and Randy Rhoads Remembered Below:

Charles Epting for Loudwire
Charles Epting for Loudwire
Charles Epting for Loudwire
Charles Epting for Loudwire
Charles Epting for Loudwire
Charles Epting for Loudwire
Charles Epting for Loudwire
Charles Epting for Loudwire

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