(Gibson) Joel McIver has just released a comprehensive biography on late guitar legend Randy Rhoads. Crazy Train: The High Life and Tragic Death of Randy Rhoads traces the guitarist's life from his early years in North Hollywood, California, where his mother ran a successful music school, to his final tour with the Prince of Darkness.
Why did you choose to write a book about Randy Rhoads? Randy's is the quintessential rock and roll tragedy. We never saw him at his best, simply because he didn't get to live long enough to reach the peak of his talent. Although his legacy has been celebrated with the occasional release—and, of course, his music lives on—there has never been a really in-depth book about him that goes deep into his talent as a guitarist. That was my objective, and—thanks largely to the many kind people (such as your good self!) who helped out—I'm hoping I got it right.
As you were researching Randy's life and career, what was the biggest surprise? Apart from the fact that he'd never used a whammy bar until he got his Sandoval V—he was all over the place with it at first—he used to double-track a lot of his solos so precisely that you'd never be able to hear the second track!
What is Randy Rhoads' place in rock history? Randy should be remembered as the man who launched Ozzy's solo career, who came up with the Jackson sharkfin shape, and who showed every budding rock star that you can come out of nowhere, be an instant celebrity and still be one of the most decent people who ever lived. His early death is still a huge loss. more on this story