Randy Rhoads: All Aboard!
“You want me to do what?” Ozzy stood trembling on the gauntlet, staring in disbelief at Sharon.
“Ozzy, just listen to me,” she said, trying to calm him down. “All you have to do is climb on top of the hand, hold onto the handrails and step on the lever behind you to hurl the raw meat.”
For a moment, he said nothing, as if considering the prospect. Then the whining began again. “I ain’t bloody doing it! I’m afraid of heights!”
“Oh, here you pussy!” said Sharon, pushing him out of the way. “Let me show you!” She climbed aboard the massive prop, which promptly rocketed 10 feet into the air. “See how easy it is?” Sharon shouted down to him.
“Well, why don’t you bloody do it?” he replied.
“Ozzy, we’ve spent far too much money building this bloody thing for you to resist getting on it. You’re going to climb up on this thing at the end of the show even if I have to drag you up here myself.”
“Oh, bloody well,” he muttered, and wobbled off to the dressing room.
As we headed to the stage for soundcheck, Randy stopped briefly to give an interview.
“I’m not so nervous,” he casually replied, when the interviewer asked him about opening-night jitters. “It’s just that there’s so much going on and not enough time to do anything. I’m not confident about everything yet. I haven’t had time to sort everything out.”
Asked how he was dealing with his sudden fame, Randy was characteristically humble. “Since I started this, great things haven’t stopped happening. It gets to the point where you don’t know how to handle all the good news. Everything is great. You just dream of being in a band and getting the chance to do it.”
Had performing with Ozzy been among his dreams? the reporter asked. “Well, I think this is beyond it,” Randy replied, “ ’cause I’m really lucky to jump from a local band to headlining like this. When we got together it was like, ‘Let’s knock it out and see what happens.’ ”
With the interview, Randy and I continued to the stage and got on with the lengthy soundcheck. Between the castle-themed stage set and the giant gauntlet, the tour was already beginning to feel a little like a circus; even the crew had been issued hooded monk’s robes. It was just about to get a little weirder.
Following the soundcheck, as Randy and I made our way backstage, we were approached by a dwarf. “Hey, you guys look like you’re in the band,” he said. “I’m John Allen. I’ve been hired to be part of your show.”
Randy and I looked at one another and back at the dwarf. We were speechless.
“Do you know where I can find Sharon Arden?” the little man finally asked.
“She’s probably in the production office down the hall,” Randy managed to get out. He pointed in the direction of Sharon’s office, and the dwarf ambled off.
Randy sighed. “I can’t believe we’re gonna have a dwarf onstage with us. This band is turning more into a circus every day.”
For Randy, the news that Sharon had hired John Allen to perform with us was especially hard to accept. Just the evening before, Guitar Player and Sounds magazines had presented him with the award for “Best New Guitarist.” Cradling his trophies and smiling for the camera alongside Ozzy, Randy felt he had achieved one of his dreams. Moreover, he suddenly realized that both his peers and the public appreciated his talents. These accolades proved to be the defining moment that inspired Randy to make a commitment to raise his musicianship to the next level. Undoubtedly, the Osbourne circus would have played a lesser role in his future musical endeavors.
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