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Eddie Van Halen’s opinion on Randy Rhoads

Randy Rhoads


Eddie Van Halen’s opinion on Randy Rhoads

When Van Halen released their self-titled debut album in 1978 the whole Hard Rock scene was shocked not only for their musicianship but also for the incredible guitar playing technique Eddie Van Halen had. Releasing many influential albums in the following years, a whole new movement started since countless guitarists tried to copy Eddie’s playing and started shredding and building songs that had Van Halen’s footprints in it.


At the same time many of those guitarists were able to take those Van Halen influences and do new exciting things with it. According to Eddie, of them was the late legendary Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Randy Rhoads and he already talked about the musician and gave his opinion on him.

What was the opinion of Eddie Van Halen on the original Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Randy Rhoads

Eddie was only one year older than Randy Rhoads and both grew up in California, since the Ozzy guitarist was born in Santa Monica and Van Halen came with his family from the Netherlands when he was still quite young and they settled in Pasadena. Before fame both guitarists were playing in the same scene around Los Angeles.

Curiously, Quiet Riot also released their debut album in 1978, the same year Van Halen also had the chance to put their first record out. In the following years both artists became really successful and in 1982, in an interview with Jas Obrecht (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage), Eddie gave his opinion on Rhoads.

The interview happened after Rhoads was tragically killed in an airplane accident when he was touring with Ozzy Osbourne. “Yeah (I knew him), God damn, f*cking poor guy. He was one guitarist who was honest anyway. I read some interviews that he did and he said that everything he did he learned from me.”

He continued:

“He was good and God damn, way a fucking way to go, you know. I mean, obviously they must have been fucked up, jerking around with the plane, you know. That wasn’t an accident, it was an accident but they were definitely fucked up when it happened. They had to have been. You don’t fly that low and smash into a crew bus and then hit the house. They were jerking off (with the plane).”

“That’s just plain stupidity. I feel sorry for him. I mean, you never know man. He might be up there jamming with (John) Bonham and everyone else who kicked the bucket.”

Van Halen said Randy didn’t do anything he haven’t already done

Then the interviewer said that Roads was probably the first guy who appeared after Eddie started that whole movement of players inspired by the way he played. To that, Eddie said: “Oh sure, but I don’t really think he did anything that I haven’t done. Anyone else that does the things that I do obviously gonna sound a little different.”

“I can tell when someone is topping my technique and there’s nothing wrong with that. I mean, I learned from other people too. There ain’t nothing wrong with it, I copied other people,” Eddie Van Halen said.

Rhoads said that he used to do the same “guitar licks” as Eddie

Randy said in an interview with Guitar World back in 1982 that he felt like it would take him still a few years to develop his own style. He told the magazine that he was doing in the Ozzy Osbourne concerts the same guitar licks Van Halen used to use during the guitar solos.

“Everything happens so fast that I haven’t had enough time to think about what I want to do. I have my own personality on the guitar but as of yet I don’t think I have my own style. For instance, I do a solo guitar thing in concert. I do a lot of the same licks as Eddie Van Halen. Eddie is a great player, but it kills me that I do that.”

He continued:

“For me it’s just flash that impresses the kids. I’m trying to make a name for myself as fast as I can. I wish I could take time and come up with something that nobody else has done. But that’s gonna take a few years yet,” Randy Rhoads said.

However, people who knew Randy said that he treated Eddie like he was a rival. In the documentary “Randy Rhoads: Reflections of a Guitar Icon“, people who knew Randy said they used put a picture of Eddie on Rhoads’ guitar pedal just to make him angry. But after he would kind of like that because whenever he was going to use the pedal it was like if he was “crushing” Van Halen. Ozzy also said that Randy had some kind of rivalry with Eddie.

Another interesting fact told in the documentary was that Randy never went to see Van Halen play live. However they told that David Lee Roth and Eddie were always going to see him playing with Quiet Riot.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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