Musician, guitar instructor and Guitar World contributor Adrian Galysh recently came to us with a fascinating story about making a connection with one of his primary guitar idols, Randy Rhoads, and in particular, with Randy’s mother, Delores Rhoads. Below, Galysh recounts the touching story, which involves a full-circle moment that was more than 30 years in the making.
“This past Saturday, my Acoustic A-Z gig at D'Argenzio Wine Room in Burbank, CA, turned out to be one the most special, memorable, emotional, and powerful events of my life. My acoustic performing partner, August Zadra (of the Dennis DeYoung band), and I love playing there and have always loved the energy of the room, and we consider Kathy and Richard D'Argenzio to be our friends.
“After playing a set and then starting the next set, Kathy and Richard came up to the front where August and I were performing. They normally like to do this at our shows, usually thanking us for performing, and thanking the audience for attending. This time, they had a surprise for me.
"For those who don't know, Kathy is guitar legend Randy Rhoads' sister, and Richard is his brother-in-law. I often cite Randy Rhoads as THE reason I began to play guitar, and then endeavored to make a life-long commitment to being a professional musician. (As most readers will know, Randy tragically died in a plane crash while on tour with Ozzy Osbourne in 1982.)
“This past June I visited my parents in Virginia, and while I was there I asked them if they had a tube with some old posters that used to hang on my wall as a child. I was specifically looking for a Randy Rhoads poster. They still had it, and on a whim I brought it back to Los Angeles with me. I emailed Kathy to tell her about this poster, with the hopes of, just maybe, displaying it at D'Argenzio along with some of their other great Randy Rhoads pictures and memorabilia. A little while later she emailed me back, saying "Don't let me forget, next time I see you, I have something for you."
“I was puzzled, and truly couldn't think of what it could possibly be. About three months went by, so it wasn't no longer at the forefront of my mind. But on Saturday I was excited to show her this poster which, with the exception of four tack holes, was still in great shape after 32 years!
“As you can hear from Kathy’s story in the video, after her and Randy's mother, Delores, died at 95 years old in 2015, she was in the long process of going through her things and sorting out her household. After going through thousands of pieces of fan mail that filled boxes upon boxes, Richard came across one with my name it, dated November 12, 1987, and asked Kathy if she thought this was the same "Adrian Galysh" as yours truly.
“I'm not sure even what to call what happened, but what are the odds that at a young age I would be introduced to the guitar playing of Randy Rhoads, be impacted so much that I would write a letter to Randy's mother, then pursue a career as a professional guitarist, eventually move to Los Angeles, 16 years later get to know his sister and brother-in-law, Kathy and Richard, and then after another three years have them find this letter that even I had forgotten I wrote…when I was 12 years old!?!? All I can say is, THANK YOU. What a gift. I'm not sure how the universe can top this. WOW.”
“Additionally, I was able to find the Andrew Rich addressed on the envelope, who worked at Winterland Productions. He was fresh out of college and this was his first job, assisting the president of Winterland, which made band t-shirts, posters and merchandise. He was in charge of running the fan clubs of the various artists who they worked for, including Randy Rhoads.
“Andrew responded to my email: ‘Wow, what an amazing trail of good karma, and even to close the circle, how you tracked me down at my new [well, not new anymore, but current] company. You made my day, and I'm happy I was part of the circle. Thanks for letting me know that all those years ago, every one of the many fan letters that came to Winterland was important, and deserved the attention we gave them.
Below, you can read the original letter that Galysh sent to Delores Rhoads 31 years ago. For more information on Galysh, check out his official website.