Randy Rhoads feelings about Eddie Van Halen might not have been as acrimonious as Ozzy Osbourne recalled in a recent interview.
While there's lots of evidence to suggest that Randy and Eddie were rivals coming up in the Los Angeles music scene in the late-'70s, Randy expressed a more nuanced view of his guitar journey-in-progress in a 1982 interview with Guitar World.
Prompted about his playing style, Randy asserted that he had a "personality on the guitar," but he didn't believe he had yet attained a style of his own, akin to his Van Halen counterpart.
"For instance, I do a solo guitar thing in concert, and I do a lot of the same licks as Eddie Van Halen," Randy told the magazine. "Eddie is a great player, but it kills me that I do that."
While he aspired to develop his own style, Rhoads said he hadn't had time to devote to exploring and experimenting on the guitar since joining Ozzy's band.
“For me it's just flash that impresses the kids," he said. "I'm trying to make a name for myself as fast as I can. I wish I could take time and come up with something that nobody else has done. But that's gonna take a few years yet.”
Eddie had a similar perspective on Randy's playing, calling the Ozzy guitarist an "honest" player in one archival interview.
"He was good," he said at the time. "But I don't think he really did anything that I haven't done. There ain't nothing wrong with it, man. I've copied other people..."
Randy, who died in a plane crash in March of 1982, told GW that part of his personal challenge in developing a unique style was the result of his years teaching guitar and conveying concepts from other people's music to his students. (Eddie, on the other hand, never taught guitar [just ask his son].)
"I learned more by teaching the guitar than by doing anything else," Randy said. "Students would come up with chord progressions and ask what kind of lead they could play over them. More often they wanted to learn note-for-note solos from their favorite players. That's when I started to learn other people's licks."
Ozzy said in a recent interview with Rolling Stone that Randy "didn't have a nice thing to say" about Eddie Van Halen. "Maybe they had a falling out or whatever, but they were rivals," he recalled.
That statement was supported by Andre Relis, the director of the Randy Rhoads documentary, Confessions of a Guitar Icon, who said there was real tension between the two guitarists from back when Quiet Riot and Van Halen were peers on the Sunset Strip, each angling for a record deal.
Quiet Riot fan club president Lori Hollen recalled often seeing Eddie and David Lee Roth at Quiet Riot shows in L.A. in the '70s, but she added that "Randy never went to see [Van Halen] play."