Randy Rhoads: All Aboard!
Tommy explained that the monitor wedges weren’t loud enough to compensate for the distance between the stage and his drum platform. “So, basically, I’m screwed, right?"
“Don’t worry,” Sharon assured him. “We’ll just have the sound company come up with a drum monitor system that will take care of your problems.”
All Tommy could do was wait and hope that the techs at TASCO, the company hired to handle our audio requirements, could come up with a solution.
It was Randy’s turn to speak up. “That’s fine for T.A.,” he told her, “but my amps are so far behind and muffled by the castle walls, and I hate the sound of my guitar through the monitors. I was thinking of setting up my amps in front of the walls.”
“Sorry, Randy,” she said. “I know how important it is for you to have the right sound, but I’m afraid it would ruin the clean look of the stage.”
Randy was ready with a backup plan: “Then how about if I put a Marshall stack in front of me instead of the usual monitor wedges?” he asked.
Sharon relented. “That’s fine, as long as you hide them in the pit where they can’t be seen.”
Randy smiled with relief.
“How about you, Rudy?” Sharon turned to me. “Are you having problems too?”
I’d been dealing with my own sound issues, just as Randy had, but my problems were not nearly so dire. “Yeah,” I told her, “but I can always ask the sound company to beef up my two front wedges with 15-inch speakers and pump a bit of bass into my side-fill. It will probably sound better than my backline anyways.”
Sharon looked around the set and spied Don Airey, perched with his keyboards on a balcony 10-feet above the stage, directly behind me. “Donald, can you hear the boys all right from up there?” she yelled up to him.
Don shrugged. “If playing up here is the only way I can be onstage, then I guess I can trust the sound company to make all the necessary adjustments to my monitors,” he politely consented.
“Well, then I’ll have a talk with TASCO as soon as possible and make sure you boys are taken care of,” Sharon said, doing her best to take the reins. “I want to make sure everything’s right before I bring Ozzy down to rehearsals. I just know he’s going to take one look at the size of the set and throw a major wobbler.”
Sharon didn't disappoint us: a truckload of reinforcement sound gear arrived the next day. Tommy’s standard monitor wedges were replaced with a pair of side-fill monitors that could be rolled underneath the metal grid. With the monitors blasting directly below him, Tommy had the powerful drum sound he needed. Randy surrounded himself with a Marshall stack by tilting one cabinet in front of him and another stage left next to the side-fills. As I had requested, my backline amps were reinforced with two floor monitor wedges containing a pair of 15-inch speakers and a midrange horn. The stage-right side-fill monitor pumped with an evenly balanced mix of all the instruments. As for Don Airey: a seasoned professional, he rose above the challenges presented by such difficult circumstances to contribute his world-class musicianship. It was time for Ozzy to come down and join us.
“Fuck me, Rache!” Ozzy muttered to Rachel Youngblood, our tour seamstress, as he entered the studio and set his eyes on the castle. He looked like a kid on Christmas morning that unexpectedly got the bicycle of his dreams. “Come on guys, let’s rock and roll!” Ozzy yelled into the microphone. His uncharacteristic cheer spread across the room as we started playing the show’s opening number, “Over the Mountain.”
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