Randy Rhoads “Devastated” After First Seeing Van Halen

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Eddie Van Halen and the late, great, Randy Rhoads were two of the youngest, hottest guitarists of the ’70s. Both happened to live in southern California, and their paths crossed from time to time.  Here’s some Eddie Van Halen tidbits from Randy Rhoads biographer, Andrew Klein:

  • The very first time Randy Rhoads saw Van Halen [in '76 or '77], he took his girlfriend Jan with him. Jan told us that Randy was ‘devastated’ after the show. Here he was, the king of Burbank. Everyone was always telling him how great he was. Then he saw Eddie and it opened his eyes and he got a major reality check. It was healthy for him. He was inspired. He thought Eddie was great. He wanted to be great also. I know they met at least four times.

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  • Quiet Riot and Van Halen played on the same bill at Glendale College in April 1977. Quiet Riot opened, Van Halen was the headliner. Randy once approached Eddie and asked him how he was able to keep his guitar in tune without a locking nut for his tremolo. Eddie refused to tell him and said it was his own secret. Randy couldn’t comprehend because he was a teacher at his core. He loved to help others and he was always willing to share anything he knew. He would teach anyone anything they wanted to learn. So, he was quite disappointed in Eddie’s treatment of him.
  • Randy and his good friend Lori Hollen were in the parking lot behind the Whisky loading his gear into this car. Eddie and Dave (DLR) pulled up alongside of them in a white Mercedes diesel and began harassing him. Lori quickly put a stop to it and actually slapped Dave across his face.
  • Quiet Riot’s drummer, Drew Forsyth, has said that the Eddie/Randy rivalry has been made up to be so much more than it was. He also said that Eddie used to come watch Randy play way more than Randy used to go see Eddie play. They were both great, and I’m sure there was an immense amount of mutual respect.
  • Randy told journalist John Stix that he does a lot of Eddie’s licks live, and it kills him that he does that. But he added that it’s just flash, and that’s what the kids want to see. That’s what impresses them. He also said that it kills him because he believes in the importance of finding your own voice and style. He thought the worst thing a guitar player could do was copy someone else.
  • When Randy was home on break from the Ozzy tour, he decided to drive to his local music store to buy some classical albums. Randy said that when he walked into the record store, Eddie Van Halen was standing on line at the register purchasing the Diary of a Madman album. Imagine that scene. Can you imagine walking into a record store on any given day and seeing both Eddie and Randy in there at the same time?

Thanks to The Selvedge Yard for assembling these snippets.