George Lynch recalls the time he subbed for Randy Rhoads

George Lynch and Randy Rhoads
(Image credit: Ebet Roberts/Redferns; Fin Costello/Redferns)

When it comes to shredders who emerged on L.A.’s Sunset Strip in the Eighties, few are more respected or revered than George “Mr. Scary” Lynch of Dokken and Lynch Mob fame. 

As it turns out, one of George’s fans was none other than the late great, Randy Rhoads. And, as a result, when Randy landed the coveted Ozzy Osbourne gig in late 1979, his first choice for filling in his busy teaching position at his mother’s music school, Musonia, was George.

“Randy used to bring his mom, Delores, down to see me play shows in L.A. and told her some very nice things about my playing,” Lynch says. “I was very flattered by that.” 

Ironically, George was also one of the front-runners for Ozzy’s guitarist gig. “It was one of those classic good news, bad news stories,” Lynch says with a laugh. “The bad news is Randy got the Ozzy gig. You didn’t. The good news is, you’re going to sub for him at Musonia!

“It was an honor to take his teaching spot, and I worked really hard to make sure I was up to the challenge, because I didn’t want to disappoint anybody. I knew I had an uphill battle because I’m not a schooled player like Randy was. 

“I didn’t know anything about music theory, could barely read notation and didn’t know scales or modes. So I had to develop a language with my students so we could communicate, which was quite a challenge. It wasn’t just showing them a lick or run; I had to explain how I looked at the fretboard and came up with things.

“It was definitely a wonderful experience, especially for selfish reasons. Because I was in the saddle for many hours a day, I’d be practicing and forcing myself to learn new stuff so I’d have things to teach people. 

“As a result, I became a much better player – I don’t know about my students, but hopefully they did too! What was funny – and I’ve told this story before, actually – is that a lot of his students were attractive girls who were there just to look at Randy because he was a handsome guy, I guess. 

“They’d show up for their first lesson with me, look really disappointed and then I’d never see them again! My best student was Brent Woods. He worked really hard and he now plays with Sebastian Bach. I’m very proud of that.

Delores did something really nice for me in the early 2000s. She gifted me one of Randy’s classical acoustic guitars

“I didn’t last very long, though – maybe six months,” Lynch says. “I was making good money building guitars on the side. I’d slap together necks, bodies and parts and then I’d sell them to my students for, like, 350 or 400 bucks. They’d get these Charvel bodies and Mighty Mite necks with cool pickups; it was a pretty good deal. Delores got hip to the fact I was doing this, though, and I guess she didn’t like it! [Laughs] 

“One particular day I had two students in my teaching room and instead of doing lessons, I was selling them guitars. She got wind of it and literally kicked the door open when the money and guitars were changing hands. 

“She was not happy because I was doing non-teaching business on her premises! Delores made a new rule, and I wasn’t allowed to keep the door closed after that – I had to keep it open.” 

Despite that little hiccup and his moving on, Mrs. Rhoads still held Lynch in high regard.

“Delores did something really nice for me in the early 2000s,” Lynch says. “She gifted me one of Randy’s classical acoustic guitars when I visited her at Musonia. I went there to do an interview in the room I used to give lessons in, which was Randy’s old teaching room. 

“His little Fender combo amp I used to play through was still there, and I offered to buy it and the MXR Distortion+ pedal because they sounded great together. I would have put them to good use, but understandably Delores didn’t want to let them go.”

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