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  • March 2013
    M T W T F S S

Randy Rhoads Remembered: An Interview With Ron Sobol, Author Of Randy Rhoads: The Quiet Riot Years

Posted by Levine Communications Office on March 21, 2013

By: Leslie Michele DerroughRandy-Rhoads-Book-Cover[1]

“He was a beautiful man.” That is how Ozzy Osbourne remembers the young guitar player who joined his first solo band following Ozzy’s departure from Black Sabbath. Ozzy wanted the best players that he could find to prove to not only his former band-mates but to the music world in general that he was not washed up. It took only seconds for him to fall in love with Randy Rhoads, who at the time was in the popular LA band Quiet Riot, thus securing Rhoads one of the hottest spots in the metal establishment.
Sadly, he was not long for this world. At 25, Rhoads was killed in a freak plane crash while on tour with Ozzy in 1982. In fact, this week marks the 31st anniversary of his death. Not surprisingly, Rhoads’ music remains as much a part of present day rock & roll as it ever did. But while his short tenure in Ozzy’s band is what most people hearken to, it was his time in the early days of Quiet Riot that enriched his soul. And those days have been beautifully captured in Ron Sobol’s magnificent book, Randy Rhoads: The Quiet Riot Years.

The oversize book, which is accompanied by a delicious documentary featuring live footage and interviews, brings to life the Randy Rhoads who was a friend and band-mate, practical joker and budding guitar player. With treasured ephemera such as show flyers and ticket stubs, candid memories and hundreds of priceless photographs, this book is a must-have for Rhoads fans, Quiet Riot fans and music fans overall. Sobol has taken great care in putting the book together, formatted like a scrapbook from some of the best times of his life. The pages are laid out for optimal visual devourment and the memories are kept satisfyingly short, just sumptuous enough without the heaviness of too much detail. As with Sean Yseult’s 2010 White Zombie memoir, which was also published in a scrapbook-like presentation, Sobol has given fans the best gift they could wish for: a peek inside one of their favorite musician’s lives where every little detail is a treasure being unwrapped.

It must also be noted that although there is a heavy focus on Rhoads, there is another musician who lived this life with him. His name was Kevin DuBrow and although his reputation as a wild & crazy personality remains a part of his legacy, Sobol, who was best friends with DuBrow since before QR was formed, has also brought to light a young, bubbly teenager who idolized Humble Pie and Rod Stewart and wanted nothing more than to be a rock star.

The DVD is a treasure trove of live Quiet Riot footage and interviews with band members Rudy Sarzo and Drew Forsyth, Rhoads’ guitar tech Brian Reason, fan club president Lori Hollen, DuBrow’s mother and Rhoads’ girlfriend. You see the band frolicking in dresses that were found in a dressing room, performing at a Chili festival and Rhoads taking your breath away playing a live guitar solo.

Last month, I talked to Sobol about his youthful days with Quiet Riot, his love for photography and why he decided to finally share his memories of Randy Rhoads, Kevin DuBrow, Kelly Garni, Drew Forsyth and Rudy Sarzo.

Why was this the right time to put this book together? And how long did it take you once you got started on the project?

It took about two years and it was put together because I was asked if I wanted to have some of my photographs in another book and I liked the way that other book came out. So I asked them if they could do a book with my photographs. It was going to be a book with not just my Quiet Riot pictures but I used to shoot other rock bands, like Queen, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Cheap Trick. Once it started to be put together there were so many Quiet Riot pictures we decided to do a book about Quiet Riot’s Randy Rhoads years.

Do you think you will eventually do the other book?

It depends on how successful this one is. This came out pretty much in December so it’s only been out a little while and it’s just really hitting the public now. So we’ll see what happens. It’s a possibility.

I’ve seen some of your other photographs on your Facebook page.

Yeah but I don’t put my best pictures on there (laughs) I save the best ones for something like a book. The ones I’m putting up there are mostly my rejects (laughs) You know, it’s funny, because I just put a picture of Randy when he was in Ozzy up on a Randy Rhoads page on Facebook; well, there are actually a lot of them but this one has 138,000 people following it. So I put a picture up and I got like the greatest reaction to it but to me it was a reject. But everybody loved it. I guess what I think isn’t good necessarily doesn’t mean that it’s not good, know what I mean. Maybe I’m my own worst editor (laughs)

You have a great one of Queen on there. I don’t know how that can be a reject.

(laughs) Well, thank you very much. A lot of those pictures were sent to Japan and they never sent them back to me. I used to shoot for Japanese magazine so a lot of my stuff is in Japan in some drawer I’m sure and I’ll never get it back. Back in those days, it wasn’t like anybody thought to save the pictures necessarily. I didn’t really think about that then. But now it’s the big thing where people want older pictures from then. Fortunately, I saved most of my Quiet Riot ones. But some are still in a drawer somewhere in Japan.

When you were putting this book together, how did it make you feel?

You mean did I get emotional? Well, you know, the kind of emotion I got was excitement from finding pictures that I had forgotten about. Like the picture of Randy with, how should you say, that sexual anatomy guitar (laughs). I had forgotten about that picture and it wasn’t something I remembered until I found it. I went, “Wow, look at this. This is great. This is perfect for the book.” The mug shot pictures towards the back of the book, I forgot all about those until the book writer said to me, “Do you still have the intro tape?” Quiet Riot used to go out to an intro tape, which was about five minutes long, where there was police siren sounds and crowd noises and explosions and there was a guy announcing, “We’ve just received word of a riot that has broken out downtown.” I took mug shots of the band and we used to project them up on the screen for that intro. Well, I forgot about that. I guess I’m going into a pretty long story but I was searching everywhere and I thought, Oh man, I got to find those. I searched for like three days looking for them. Finally, I found them in a corner in a lonely box all by itself. I was so excited to find those. That would be the emotions I had as far as the book. As far as the movie, every time I watch it I get choked up at the end with Kevin and Randy’s passing.

Read the rest of the interview at Glide Magazine

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