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Q&A: Randy Rhoads’ legacy comes to life in director Ron Sobol’s DVD

Posted by Levine Communications Office on March 26, 2013

By: Jay Nanda

Randy Rhoads

When Randy Rhoads died in a small-plane crash at age 25 on March 19, 1982, he left behind a legacy of guitar playing that was cut prematurely short in his prime. And when it comes to Rhoads’ skills, most metalheads think of his tenure in Ozzy Osbourne’s band.

But before that took place, Rhoads was the original guitarist in Quiet Riot. Thanks to Ron Sobol and the help of many others, Rhoads’ time in that band from 1975-80 is now available for fans to truly appreciate.

Sobol, who was Quiet Riot’s photographer and best friend of late original singer Kevin DuBrow, has directed and written “Randy Rhoads: The Quiet Riot Years.” Available in DVD and book form through Red Match Productions, the documentary features never-before-seen video and photographic footage of how Rhoads, DuBrow, and original drummer Drew Forsyth and bassist Kelly Garni endured through friendship and hard times in their never-ending quest to obtain a record deal. It also includes the band recounting in a radio interview what they were known as before Quiet Riot. But let’s not give everything away.

Interviews with the likes of DuBrow’s mother, Rhoads’ guitar tech, fan club president Lori Hollen, the ex-girlfriend of DuBrow and later Rhoads — Jodi Vigier — and others give a fascinating insight into the life and times of those involved. The DVD has bonus footage that features an approximately 10-minute segment on Rhoads giving a guitar lesson that shows him somewhat reluctantly, yet graciously, teaching his student songs by a band with whom Quiet Riot had a rivalry — Van Halen. Click on the video box at the bottom for a trailer of the DVD and here for a look at who showed up and spoke at the film’s recent premiere.

Last week marked the 31-year anniversary of Rhoads’ death. The day after that milestone, I phoned Sobol:

Q: Randy died 31 years ago yesterday. Most of us tend to think of his guitar playing when it comes to his legacy. As someone who knew him the way you did, what’s his largest lasting impression to you?
A:
 We lost a true body of work for his massive talent. He was a great guy that was very humble. At the same time, he was really funny and an overall fantastic person. There’s not a lot of people with that much talent that are so humble. He didn’t even know how good he was.

Q: How long of a process was it for you to compile photographs, video footage and interviews for the DVD?
A:
 Well, I’ve had all the stuff. All the material I had, I just had to put them in a pile, you know what I mean? It took about two years.

Q: On the DVD it is said that the fact Jodi dated Randy after having dated Kevin may have hurt Kevin’s ego, but it didn’t affect him musically. Then on Randy’s final night with the group, it showed how everyone was truly friends again at the party and having a great time. Can you give me some insight as to how unusual, awkward and tense that period might have been for the three of them and the band?
A:
 There wasn’t any awkwardness (laughs). It was like, kind of a natural thing. Kevin was friends with Jodi. Kevin had the ability to remain friends with someone he broke up with. That wasn’t the first time he had broken up with her. Before Jodi went out with Randy, her and Kevin would get in a fight, but they were both still professional enough to keep the job going. It wasn’t like a job where she got paid, but, she was still doing her thing. Everything was on a professional level. That wasn’t brought into rehearsals or the show. There wasn’t really any tension, I’m sorry to say (chuckles). I know it would make a good story, but there just wasn’t. Unusual for people that age, in their early 20s.

Q: Was there anything said by the interview subjects that surprised you?
A:
 I was never sure exactly how Lori became the fan club president. Her telling that story about seeing (the band) in the car and them saying, “Hey, come on over to my house,” I didn’t know that exactly. I kind of knew everything. I’ll tell you what was surprising — Drew. I didn’t know Drew had those feelings. I did not know he was that angry about the whole thing.

Read the rest of the interview in The Examiner

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