Randy Rhoads, 31 Years Gone, Still Influencing Guitarists!

The Classic Randy Rhoads Poster
The Classic Randy Rhoads Poster

The first concert I ever went to was Ozzy Osbourne, January 4, 1982 at the San Diego Sports Arena. I remember it like it was yesterday. The only bummer about this show was that it was right after Christmas vacation from school. Since I was counting down the days until the show I was in essence counting down my vacation….

But, not only was it an Ozzy show, it was Ozzy with Randy Rhoads. Randy Rhoads the guitar legend who would tragically be killed in an airplane crash just over two months after this show. I can still picture the crushed students at my Junior High School wearing black armbands. That was the cool way to pay tribute to a fallen rock idol in those days. John Bonham and Bon Scott were two others so honored, I recall. I always cherish the fact I was lucky enough to see Randy live and my first concert!!

Randy was the first guitar hero to blend a classical approach with heavy metal. Most guitarists at the time were more blues/rock influenced. With only two studio recordings, “Blizzards of Ozz,” and “Diary of a Madman,” to his credit, Randy has left a huge legacy regardless. His influence still reaches out today 31 years after his death to new generations of guitarists.

RIP RR

“SATO,” is a cool song, maybe not one of Randy’s classics. I picked this video as it does a great job featuring him!

Scorpions, “Your Light”

This might not be your typical Scorpions song.

Most fans of the German rockers are familiar with hits like “Rock You Like A Hurricane,”  “Big City Nights,” “Still Loving You” and “No One Like You.” The late 70’s to the 80’s, 90’s, 00’s…was when the band developed their signature heavy metal sound. There were however two other incarnations of the Scorpions. First with 16 year old guitar legend to be Michael Schenker. The second, featured guitarist Uli Jon Roth. Under Schenker for just one album, “Lonesome Crow,” the band had almost a psychedelic sound. The Roth era was somewhere in between this and their ultra-stylistic almost hair metal sound of the 80’s.

I don’t consider the Scorpions hair/glam metal for two reasons. They were heavy metal pioneers that all the crappy 80’s bands tried to emulate and moreover they wrote good music. Anyway, somewhere between being very young acid rockers and trend setting perfectors of the ‘Power Ballad’ mega-stars  was the Uli Jon Roth years.

Heavy? Yes!…..Rockers? Totally! But what was their style?

The Scorps were very unique during this period. They were gaining in popularity, they were still under produced and very original. Roth is a great guitarist very spiritual and Hendrix-ish both terms that don’t always apply to heavy metal guitarists. But they were definitely heavy during these years.

The only way to really understand is to listen. Posted below is one of my favorite Roth era Scorpions songs, “Your Light.”

To me this song sums up the band in the early to mid 70’s. Some heavy-ness, some party feel, some hippie-ish feel and of course incredible guitar work. The song starts out heavy then immediately leads into to a funky dance vibe. But the song truly peaks on the two guitar solos. The first comes at 2:15 in the video. A slow Roth solo mostly reserved, with feeling and anthem-ish. The song then returns to the funky playful riff before the second solo. This is where Roth shows off a little more of his guitar acrobatics. It ends on a playful note as Roth solos into a fade out.

The Roth era Scorpions may be some of the truly under rated music in metal history. They were a little more free form in their songwriting than other bands and certainly then when they became a global commodity in the 80’s. Not always a good thing for massive consumption as most listeners seem to prefer produced cookie cutter bites. Most Scorpions fans have found their way back through the bands back catalog and found these gems. I strongly recommend you check these albums out as well especially if you are looking to uncover some truly quality and cool music.

Enjoy!

For previous Scorpions posts.

For previous Michael Schenker posts.

A fellow blogger’s recent post on Uli Roth.

Music to Relax! Fight, “Reality, a New Beginning”

Alright, most of you are going to think I am insane!

Fight was a 90s heavy metal band formed by Judas Priest singer Rob Halford. They were not a thrash metal band like Metallica but very heavy nonetheless.  In addition to Halford’s powerhouse vocals Fight always had great, very crunchy very musical guitar riffs.

I know heavy metal isn’t for everyone. It is an acquired taste that grows over time, but, in my opinion well worth the time. Many amazing virtuoso musicians over the last 40-50 years have chosen this hard edged rock as their genre as it allows for musicality and creativity not afforded in other popular styles.

So how can this song be considered relaxing music? It is kind of like how you feel after a workout. Your endorphins release and you get what they call a “runners high.”  There have been times I was driving home from a rough day and cranked a band like Fight..probably a little bit towards full volume and it really helped me get all the aggressions out. It calms me right back down like a nice shoulder massage would.

This is definitely different than the typical pastoral music I usually share on my “Music to Relax” articles. Although I know it is not for everyone maybe you can obtain  more of a grasp on why people truly do love heavy metal music. There are other forms of ‘ugly’ music that people enjoy as well. Think of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring or some free Jazz that does not follow the ‘normal’ ideals of nice sounding music.

Keep your ears open my friends!!

Randy Rhoads

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3apJl6PRw10&feature=player_embedded

It has been 30 years since Ozzy’s groundbreaking guitarist Randy Rhoads left us much too early in a tragic plane crash at age 25. Over those last 30 years nothing has diminished his musical legacy as he is still regarded as one of the best and most influential guitarists in rock/heavy metal of all time! Certainly on par with names like Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen and Michael Schenker.

A new 7 lb. full color photo biography has just been released on Randy and his place in music history. Looks like a great book and a must collector item. I cant wait to check it out.

http://velocitybooks.org/shop/randy-rhoads/

Scorpions & Tesla in San Diego, Your Concert Review

Really bummed that I had to miss out on the festivities this evening. The Scorpions have proven to be one of the best live metal acts over the years and the addition of Tesla as opening act is a bonus.

I was lucky enough to see the Scorps on their World Wide Live tour in 1984 supporting the Love at First ImageSting album.  To this day it was one of the best shows I’ve seen. I’ll never forget the energy they pack into a show. My favorite was the live version of Coast to Coast with the iconic image of Klaus Meine standing up on the guitarists’ legs while they were jamming. Of course Rudolph Schenker’s guitar slinging act throwing his Flying V way in the air, wonder if he has ever dropped one? He always seems to catch it. Let’s see the opening act back then was at the time a one hit wonder…Bon Jovi. Yeah I guess they did alright too.

Looking at the setlist there seemed to be a good mix of their classic late 70s-80s period as well as some of the 90’s-millennium music they’ve put out since. Personally, I would like less of the newer stuff and more of the old. Not to mention they don’t play any of their pre-Matthias Jabs music…for us loooong time fans.

 San Diego Setlist                                Click here for current setlist

Well…since I missed it I cant review the show…please feel free to leave your thoughts below if you made it…for all those of us who couldn’t.

Share anything you like about the concert… Tesla, Scorpions, setlists, the venue, the crowd, the vibe…your call.