Randy Rhoads and Eddie Van Halen’s “rivalry” discussed in exclusive clip from upcoming Randy Rhoads documentary

Randy Rhoads and Eddie Van Halen
(Image credit: John Atashian / Getty)

Last week, it was announced that Randy Rhoads: Reflections of a Guitar Icon – a documentary charting the life and legacy of the late Quiet Riot electric guitar legend – would be arriving next month.

Now, a new clip from the film has been released – premiered exclusively by Guitar World – which contains archive audio of Rhoads discussing his six-string influences, as well as an exploration of the “cross-town rivalry” he had with Eddie Van Halen.

Of the pair's perceived rivalry, guest interviewee Kim McNair – Randy’s friend – provides context in the clip, reflecting, “This was the years of guitar heroes. To a large degree, bands were judged on their guitar player. I think all the guitar players in town kept up on each other.”

Somewhat contrary to McNair’s recollection, though, and perhaps a reflection of Rhoads’ approach as a player, Quiet Riot fan club president Lori Hollen comments, “At some of the shows, we would see David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen there, which was always interesting to me.

“Because I know Randy never went to see them play,” she notes. “But they would always come to see Quiet Riot and Randy play.”

In additional archive audio, Van Halen can be heard discussing Rhoads himself, saying, “He was one guitarist who was honest, anyway. Because he said everything he did he learned from me.

“He was good,” Van Halen continues. “But I don’t really think he did anything that I haven’t done. And there ain’t nothing wrong with it. I’ve copied some other people, you know?”

In an effort to fuel the good-natured rivalry, Rhoads’ guitar tech Brian Reason can be seen in the film recalling how he used to stick a picture of Eddie Van Halen to Rhoads' wah pedal. “He wasn’t very excited about [it], but it was in the perfect place,” Reason says, “because every time he stomped on his wah wah pedal, he stomped on it as if he wanted to crush it.”

Earlier in the clip, Rhoads can also be heard discussing his six-string influences, saying, “You know, I get asked all the time, ‘Who’s your favorite? Who’s your influences?’ If you play so long, they’re bound to change. Whoever’s good, you listen to for a while.

“But,” he continues, “I can say one of my favorite sounds was when I first heard Mountain and Leslie West with [those] harmonics and the sustain, but I just thought it was the greatest thing. But since then, you know, I just like anybody who plays guitar. I don’t have a favorite.”

Randy Rhoads: Reflections of a Guitar Icon arrives May 6 with a star-studded list of guest interviewees. Narrated by Tracii Guns, the film also features Ozzy Osbourne, George Lynch, Dweezil Zappa and more.

The documentary will be available to stream across VOD platforms, such as iTunes and Amazon, from May 6.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.