It wasn’t the only excuse he used before finally taking part a trial performance in September 1979 as Osbourne was assembling his first post-Black Sabbath band, according to the new documentary Randy Rhoads: Reflections of a Guitar Icon.
“I wasn’t a big Sabbath fan, to be honest,” Rhoads says in an archival interview from the film. “I mean, they were great, what they did, obviously – did it and made it huge. Gotta respect them.” But he also notes: “I was kind of worrying about auditioning because I’d never been to an audition.”
Rhoads’ attempts to distance himself also included criticizing Osbourne’s tattoos, sibling Kelle Rhoads confirms in Reflections of a Guitar Icon: “He used to go, ‘I don’t like Black Sabbath very much. I know you do, so we’re not gonna get into it.’ But he goes, ‘Who the fuck would write his name on his hand?’ He goes, ‘I don’t understand that.’”
Kelle and bassist Dana Strum, who was helping Osbourne with the audition process, continued to press the busy Rhoads. (He’d been working as a guitar instructor by day and Quiet Riot‘s guitarist at night.) “Randy said, ‘Well, I teach here ’til 9:30, 10 o’clock at night. I’m tired – I don’t know,’” Kelle recalls, “and then Dana said … ‘Trust me. Something tells me you need to do this.’”
An incredible moment in rock history followed: With just one day remaining before Osbourne returned to the U.K., Rhoads finally auditioned – and an inebriated Osbourne offered him the role then and there, before allegedly passing out.
Strum describes feeling validated for having found “the guy” in Rhoads: “I had a feeling,” he says in Reflections of a Guitar Icon. “There’s no one who’s not going get what I get.”
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