In case you haven't heard, there is a new Randy Rhoads book coming out this month. Influenced by the "KISSTORY" coffee table book, "Randy Rhoads" is a 10x13 biography/photo book with over 400 color pages dedicated to one of the most influential guitarists in Heavy Metal. Rhoads is to Hard Rock/Heavy Metal as to what Jimi Hendrix is to 'Classic Rock.' And what sets this book apart from all other books on the late guitarist, is not only the size of the book, but the fact that it wasn't written by 'just some writer.' "Randy Rhoads" is the brainchild of 43 year old uber Rhoads fan, Andrew Klein. Along with Randy Rhoads guitar student Peter Margolis and writer Steven Rosen, this is the 'be all/end all' of the literary works you will find on the legendary virtuoso. RockMusicStar was recently granted with an interview with author Andrew Klein, as Klein gave us the full background on the creation of the book, the lengthy process he went through getting the book published, and also cleared up some long standing rumors surrounding the legacy of Randy Rhoads.
RockMusicStar: Andrew, first of all, thank you for taking the time to speak to us here about your wonderful book that you have coming out. Could you please give us the background on how the book came together, and what inspired you to release "Randy Rhoads?"
Andrew Klein: I met Peter Margolis, our senior editor of the book, while we were working together on another project. Through that working relationship, we decided to do this book. Peter was a friend and guitar student of Randy's for a couple of years. I'm a guitar player, and Randy is my hero. He is my idol. He's everything to me. He was THE male role model in my life since I was 12 years old, and he still inspires me to this day. When he passed away, I was one of the many fans that began calling his mom in late 1982 or early 1983. I used to call her every Sunday for many years. When I moved from Florida to Los Angeles in 1999, I no longer called, but instead, I would often go to Musonia (School of Music - where Randy Rhoads taught guitar) to spend time with Delores and her family. They were really nice to me. They always welcomed me, and never rushed me out the door. One of my fondest memories of my time spent with Delores was when we stayed at Musonia late one night, looking at all the photos of Randy that I donated to her school. She shared more of her memories of Randy with me as she turned each page of the photo albums. The tragedy and heartbreak of losing a child is immeasurable. Randy was her pride and joy.
The book was something I felt I could do, because I knew so much about him, and it was something I wanted to do because (at the time) there just wasn't anything out there (in dedication to Rhoads). Although there was the 1987 "Tribute" album, not much was done for Randy, with the exception of semi annual press coverage, and later, some signature guitars. I wanted to do a book like this, for people like me who desperately wanted it. I wanted to do something grand and classy. Something that would be worthy of having his name on the cover. I was actually inspired by the "KISSTORY" book. I got the "KISSTORY" book in 1998/99. I got it in the mail and I ripped it out of the box, and the first thing I said to myself was that I wished someone would do something like this for Randy. So I did it.
RMS: Being that you mentioned the "KISSTORY" book, I would to commend you on releasing a similar book in quality - yours obviously being in dedication to Randy Rhoads. I also have to commend you on the fact that you're only charging $99 for the book, which is less what "KISSTORY" cost to purchase in the 90's.
AK: Thank you. To be honest, some fans feel that the book may be too expensive. I can understand them feeling that way. I believe that once they receive their copies, they will feel it was money well spent. I wish we could offer it for less money, but because of the grand scale of it. It's a very expensive book to print.
RMS: The book's authorship is credited to yourself and Steve Rosen, and you also mentioned Peter Margolis is the senior editor. How did you actually split up the writing process between all of you?
AK: I hate to use this expression, but it really took a village. Peter and I formulated an outline of the stories we wanted to tell. I had the vision for the book, and crafted the chapter titles, format, and layout. Using Steven's interviews as well, as some interviews that Peter and I conducted, Steven was able to craft Randy's story around our outline in a brilliant way. He is the most gifted writer of our generation. We had several assistant editors working under Peter. After the book was edited, I sat with our Graphic Designer, Denny Anderson and created the art around the text and images. Denny is another gifted artist who we were very fortunate to work with. We worked well into the early morning sometimes, because Denny's favorite expression was, "I don't want it to be done, I want it to be great."
RMS: Was the book approved by the Rhoads family?
AK: Unfortunately, no. They are not supportive of it. Like the others that came before it, this is an unauthorized biography.
RMS: Being that there are several Randy Rhoads books out there, how would you compare your book to what is already out there? I've also heard several good things about Rudy Sarzo's book, "Off the Rails."
AK: Rudy is a really good friend of ours. He was an incredible supporter of our book and still is. He was also interviewed for our book. I have read Rudy's book and I think it's great. He wrote it from his perspective about his own life, during the time he spent with Randy. Our book is about Randy's life, career, and his legacy, from the perspective of those who knew him best. There are a few other books out there that seem to be comprised of information from the public domain, and I don't think anyone has interviewed the number of people that we did. We sat down with a lot of the people that knew Randy, including his fiance, Jodi Vigier.
RMS: If you could, I'd like for you to clear up a Randy Rhoads rumor. For many years, it's been reported that when Randy died, Grover Jackson had given Vinnie Vincent one of the Jackson Shark fin 'V' guitars that were built for Randy just before the time of his death. This one was metallic gold.
AK: At the end of 1981, just before the "Diary of a Madman" tour, Jackson (guitars) made Randy the black (Shark fin 'V') guitar. After he got that guitar, he asked Grover to make three more for him. One of them was going to be another black one, with a tremolo. Another one was going to be just like the first black one, but it was going to be white. The third one was never finished. The white one was accidentally sold at the NAMM show in 1983. The black one was eventually sold as well. The third one very well could be the one given to Vinnie. I asked Grover numerous times about the gold Jackson that Vinnie Vincent had. He said he couldn't remember the exact details, but he believes the one that was given to Vinnie was 'not' the third (Randy) one. Grover told me that he still had the templates for the guitars he made for Randy. Vinnie loved them, so Grover used the template to make one for Vinnie, which became the gold one with the Floyd Rose that Vinnie played on the "Creatures of the Night" tour in 1982/1983. The pink one Vinnie played on the "Lick It Up" tour was one of the first of the mass production models that launched the Jackson worldwide success in 1983.
RMS: Recently released was the Ozzy documentary, "Thirty Years After the Blizzard," which was huge nod to the Randy Rhoads era. What was your opinion on that?
AK: I think Sharon Osbourne did a really good job. Bob Daisley has hours and hours of recorded rehearsals, outtakes, and all the writing sessions. He referred to it as the "Holy Grail of Randy Rhoads." At some point, Bob contacted Sharon to make an effort to release the material together. Whatever differences they had/have couldn't be worked out. Sharon was committed to releasing something to honor the 30th anniversary of the "Blizzard of Ozz," even if it meant excluding Bob's tapes.
RMS: Speaking of the Osbournes, do you think what they've done over the years in reference to Randy (ie: the audio/video releases, Sharon revealing she had an affair with him) has more helped or hindered his legacy?
AK: Well, nobody knew about the affair with Randy until Sharon wrote about it in her own book. Had she not written about it, nobody would have ever known about it, outside of Randy's circle. I've had numerous conversations with Randy's fiance and close friends about that. It is true that they had an affair, and it's something that Randy regretted terribly. I've read numerous letters he sent to Jodi about it. Randy was placed into a very difficult situation between Sharon and Ozzy that made him very uncomfortable. That said, I think Randy's legacy is alive and well and intact. Overall, I think more could have been done for him. Many fans are constantly asking the million dollar question; is there professional film footage of Randy Rhoads onstage with Ozzy Osbourne. The answer is YES, but we may never get to see it. Ozzy's concert at The Capitol Theatre in Passaic, New Jersey on April 24th 1981 was professionally shot. Every concert in that theatre from 1973-1984 was pro-shot. It was a 3-camera black and white shoot. The entire concert was filmed. I've had numerous conversations with the theatre's owner, John Scher about this. Randy also talked about it in specific detail in one of his letters to Jodi that I've read. He was excited about it and he said the band performed exceptionally well, knowing that they were being filmed. Whether or not the fans will ever get to see it, remains to be seen.
If you're out on the west coast, authors Andrew Klein and Steven Rosen will be doing a "Randy Rhoads" book signing in Los Angeles, CA on September 8th, 2012 at Book Soup on Sunset Blvd. For more information on the book, including ordering details, please go to http://velocitybooks.org/
Special Thanks to Andrew Klein for submitting the exclusive Randy Rhoads photos used for this article.