Randy Rhoads: All Aboard!
Several evenings later, Randy and I sat in the front lounge of the tour bus, watching a movie during the after-show drive. I’d noticed that he didn’t seem himself. There was a look on his face I hadn’t seen in quite a while.
“Is everything all right?” I asked.
Randy lit up a cigarette. “Ruds, I don’t even know where to begin,” he said. “I don’t feel like I’m myself anymore. Maybe it’s because we’ve been spending so much time in L.A. It seems that everyone wants to hang out with me. Like the other night in San Diego when everyone came down from L.A.—I got drunk and started throwing furniture out the window with Ozzy. That’s not really me. That’s not the reason why I started playing the guitar.
“I don’t know. Maybe it’s because since we started this tour I feel like I have to compete with the stage. I look behind me and I see this great big castle, the enormous drum riser, Little John running around the stage. I just feel like I’m in a circus.”
“Wow, I’m surprised,” I replied. “I thought that after you got those Best New Guitarist awards you’d be feeling on top of the world.”
He shook his head. “They’ve just motivated me to get back to where I was before we started touring—you know, putting all my spare time into writing and learning classical guitar.”
“With our schedule?” I asked. “How are you gonna pull that off?”
“Oh, I’ve got some ideas,” he said. The next morning, January 7, we arrived in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for that evening’s performance at the Tingley Coliseum. After an early check-in, I met Randy for breakfast. When I arrived, he was browsing through the local phone book.
“What are you looking for?” I asked.
“A classical guitar teacher,” he replied, as he examined a local music store’s half-page ad. “Looks good. I’ll call them after breakfast and book an afternoon lesson.”
Later, at soundcheck, I asked Randy how his lesson had gone.
“Well, when I got to the music store, the teacher turned out to be a fan. All she did was ask me how I played the songs."
"So you wound up giving her the lesson instead?" I asked.
"Not only that, but I payed for it, too!" We both laughed.
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