In the late 1970s and early 1980s a young guitarist made an impact on the world of hard rock and heavy metal that would outlast his life. Randall William Rhoads was born in Santa Monica, California in 1956. His love of both hard rock and classical music would influence his style of playing, and would eventually influence other players in metal that would follow his lead, utilizing his neoclassical methodology. His life would be sadly cut short, at the age the very young age of 25, when a tragic plane accident ended both his career and life. A new documentary details his impact on the rock world and his struggles to become one of the more iconic and respected guitarists of his era.
Through the use of archive footage and interviews with those touched by him and his guitar talents, director Andres Relis tells Randy’s story of how a mostly humble, but talented guitarist would make a lasting impression in rock music. As a fan of music documentaries and biographical videos, I have watched and enjoyed several profiles on musical artists and groups I have admired in my lifetime so far. Now, even though I very much admire Randy Rhoads and appreciate his impact on rock guitar, I feel that the limitations imposed upon the filmmakers of this documentary restrain them from making what is nothing more than what feels akin to a straight to video home documentary.
In my experience, I have enjoyed mulitiple home video “rockumentaries” by artists I love, and this doc feels very much like this type of media. That is not to say that I didn’t enjoy this profile on Randy Rhoads. The film gives a more focused and intimate look at the artist and his experience that lead him to become a guitar icon. However, I also believe that the limited budget prevented the use of certain music in telling Rhoads’ story, particularly that of Ozzy Osbourne.
The music used in the doc mostly comes from his stint in the band Quiet Riot. Rhoads was one of the founding members of the eventually successful rock band, but actually quit the group to further his career, as lead guitarist of Ozzy Osbourne’s first band post-Black Sabbath. I am fairly certain that the filmmakers would’ve had to spend a pretty penny to include the actual recordings of Randy Rhoads performing with Ozzy Osbourne, and this explains their absence from the film.