L.A. GUNS guitarist Tracii Guns has explained his decision to narrate last year’s “Randy Rhoads: Reflections Of A Guitar Icon”, a documentary about legendary guitarist Randy Rhoads, despite the fact that the Rhoads family was not involved in the making of the film.
Earlier today (Friday, January 13),Guns shared the “Reflections Of A Guitar Icon” poster on his Instagram, and he included the following message: “So this was released last year.
“I have a very sacred relationship with Randy‘s sister Kathy and it was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever had to make.
“Kathy and myself are really protective over Randy‘s legacy and we made this agreement long ago that exploiting Randy‘s name in any impure way was not acceptable at any time. So, when I got the call to do this my heart raced.
“So here is the deal. This documentary was going to be completed and released no matter what and I knew that in advance and I knew Kathy was not supportive of this type of thing.
“My decision was based on this . If the documentary was going to be released I knew that it was anyone else really but me possibly that Kathy would be very sad and also angry. I watched the documentary before I made my decision and I made the decision that it was put together with love and also critically accurate and that instead of feeling like it was something put together loosely I felt proud of the directors work and we moved forward. I didn’t tell Kathy in advance because I knew she would try to talk me out of it and because I have so much respect for her I would have agreed not to do it and then someone else would have done it anyway and then that resentment could have possibly lasted a lifetime in Kathy‘s mind but, I knew once I talked to her and explained the situation that she would probably agree with me and then we could all feel good about my decision. And that’s exactly what happened and it actually brought us closer together.
“I waited almost a year to post anything about this great story because I did not want to exploit the business side of this specific product. The good news is that it has been extremely well received and Randy fans have expressed their gratitude for learning new things about Randy and getting to hear his voice. It’s truly a magical documentary and at this point I suspect most of the people reading this have seen it by now.
“Long live Randy and his spirit and I love you to the moon and beyond @dargmama .”
“Randy Rhoads: Reflections Of A Guitar Icon” was made available in May 2022 on Video On Demand. The 85-minute film was directed by Andre Relis. It was written and edited by Michael Bruining.
“Randy Rhoads: Reflections Of A Guitar Icon” includes interviews with Randy‘s mother Delores Rhoads, brother Kelle Rhoads, Eddie Van Halen (VAN HALEN),Rudy Sarzo (QUIET RIOT),Frankie Banali (QUIET RIOT),Joel Hoekstra (WHITESNAKE),Bruce Kulick (KISS),Doug Aldrich (WHITESNAKE, DIO),Gary Moore, Dweezil Zappa, George Lynch (DOKKEN) and Ozzy Osbourne.
During an appearance on SiriusXM‘s “Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk”, Relis explained why he thinks the Rhoads family chose not to be involved in the making of the film. “I do believe the family’s very protective of it,” he said. “They had ideas early on about what they wanted.
“I wasn’t around when these earlier documentaries were in production — I wasn’t around in the sense that I wasn’t involved with them; I had nothing to do with the earlier ones,” he continued, referencing “Randy Rhoads: The Quiet Riot Years”, the 2012 documentary from QUIET RIOT‘s personal photographer/lighting director Ron Sobol, and another documentary from director Peter M. Margolis and Dakota Films which was reportedly started in 2007 and completed a decade ago but never made available. “And it appears that there was difficulties from the Osbourne side too to license music. And beyond that, I really don’t know, man. It’s a weird one. And that’s actually what really intrigued me, because my specialty, as a producer, is to get stuff out that a lot of people have a hard time getting out, whether it be a feature film or a documentary or whatever it may be. There’s been quite a few projects that I’ve honed in on and got stuff done that a lot of people before me couldn’t.”
Although Relis was able to license “pieces of the Sobol doc,” he was unable to secure the rights to much footage of Rhoads with Osbourne or any of the music the pair made together. “[Sharon and Ozzy] weren’t gonna give it to me, man,” he said. “And they made that very clear to me once they found out I was doing this documentary. That was the challenging part. I had to go in this on my own without their support. I tried to get their support, but they weren’t having it. So, yeah, every little piece of when he joined Ozzy was very difficult to get.
“From my research, the Osbournes own all, if not 99 percent, of the live footage from that era,” Relis explained. “So I had to find a gentleman, and it took me many months, who controlled even some real basic footage of Ozzy with Randy on stage.”
Relis went on to say that he “got some really interesting communication from Sharon. Not the best, friendliest stuff was coming from that side of things,” he revealed. “I won’t go into detail on that. But I can say that I find it very mysterious.
“There was another documentary [in the works] — a bigger-budget Dakota Films documentary in 2008, 2009. They did everything, and they were close to getting it released,” he continued. “And from what I understand — I can’t say this, ’cause I wasn’t there — but the Osbournes wouldn’t license ’em any music, and from the perspective of the [Rhoads] family, it seemed to me like they weren’t gonna get on board with anything unless the Ozzy music and the stuff with Ozzy was in that documentary. And if it’s impossible to license, then you’re kind of in a conundrum.
“It was very bizarre,” Andre said. “And the reason as to why they didn’t want a documentary out in 2008 and they don’t want a documentary out now, I don’t know — I just don’t know. But I’m not gonna let it stop getting a documentary on Randy Rhoads out there. Forty years after, there’s no other documentaries out there on his life, and it needed to be done and out there for the public to really put the respect into this man’s legacy.”
Asked if the interviews with the Rhoads family members in “Reflections Of A Guitar Icon” is “new footage,” Andre said: “No, that’s not new footage. I tried to get their cooperation. And I don’t need to get into the details of it all. But I’m hoping, now that it’s out there, that they realize that this a real tribute to Randy Rhoads and it’s a piece to show his legacy. But for whatever reason, I think partially because of what was going on with the Osbournes, they just couldn’t get on board.”
Relis admitted that he has received some “blowback” from “some of the diehard Randy Rhoads fans” about the fact that the family wasn’t involved in the film. “I tried to get ’em involved,” he said. “I did everything I could — offered ’em participation, everything, to get them involved — but for whatever reason, they didn’t wanna be part of it. And I don’t know why. It’s a big mystery to me. But I’ll ask those fans out there: would you rather have nothing or a documentary that really showcases his legacy?”
Back in January 2013, Rhoads‘s estate filed a lawsuit against the filmmakers and authors Margolis and Andrew Klein, the publishing company Velocity Publishing Group, Inc., and co-author Steven Rosen in connection with a failed documentary film project on Randy‘s life and the publication of a book stemming from the defendants’ involvement in the project. Two years later, a California appeals court ruled that the creators of the book did not breach a contract with Rhoads‘s family by using materials they had agreed only to use in a never-made documentary, saying they had a First Amendment right to publish it.
Rhoads and two others were killed on March 19, 1982 when the small plane they were flying in at Flying Baron Estates in Leesburg, Florida struck Osbourne‘s tour bus, then crashed into a mansion. Rhoads was 25 years old.
In his “Biography: The Nine Lives Of Ozzy Osbourne” special, Ozzy stated about first meeting Rhoads after his departure from BLACK SABBATH: “I knew instinctively that he was something extra special. He was like a gift from God — we worked so well together. Randy and I were like a team.
“One thing that he gave to me was hope, he gave me a reason for carrying on,” Ozzy added. “He had patience with me, which was great. He was great to work with. He pulled the best out of me. We had a lot of fun.”
Rhoads‘s death had a tremendous impact on Osbourne‘s life. “I lost a dear friend in my life — I miss him terribly,” Ozzy said. “I just bathed my wounds with alcohol and drugs.”
“The day that Randy Rhoads died was the day a part of me died,” he added.
In October 2021, Randy was posthumously inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame during the 2021 ceremony. Rhoads received the Musical Excellence Award at last year’s event, which was held on October 30 at Cleveland, Ohio’s Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
The Musical Excellence Award is given to artists, musicians, songwriters and producers whose originality and influence creating music have had a dramatic impact on music.
Rhoads was inducted into the Rock Hall by Morello who stated in a video message. “Randy Rhoads is a peerless talent. He revived Ozzy Osbourne‘s career as his gunslinger sideman. And it was Randy Rhoads‘s poster that I had on my wall… You could study Randy‘s songs in a university-level musicology class and bang your heads to them in a 7-11 parking lot.”
Also offering a video tribute was METALLICA‘s Kirk Hammett, who stated about Randy‘s death: “All of a sudden, the curtain came down unexpectedly and the show was over before it really, really got going.” Wylde spoke highly about his predecessor, saying “Randy, hands down, sits at” the round table of greatness in the Hall Of Fame alongside Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Eddie Van Halen.
Rhoads played on Osbourne‘s seminal records “Blizzard Of Ozz” (1980) and “Diary Of A Madman”, influenced many musicians and is considered one of the greatest guitartists of all time. His death was a huge shock to the world and Ozzy wrote in his autobiography “I Am Ozzy” that he almost quit music after Randy‘s passing.
Shortly after Rhoads‘s induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame was announced, Ozzy told Rolling Stone: “I knew him for a very short amount of time. But what he gave me in that short amount of time was immeasurable in fucking greatness. To get somebody like Randy Rhoads to play on two albums, and for those two albums to sound as good as the day they were recorded, is something else. And I’m forever in gratitude for that. God only knows where that man would be today. The very fact that he’s not here to breathe the air is just a fucking crime.
“Thank God that he’s getting recognized by the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. He finally got there in the end. I’m sad that his mother was not alive to see it, because he was very close to his mom. It shows that he’s not been forgotten. He was a dedicated, true musician, and he was a lovely guy. I still think about him all the time.”