Monthly Archives: July 2011

Joel McIver’s Crazy Train: The High Life and Tragic Death of Randy Rhoads

Randy Rhoads fans rejoice! Joel McIver has just published a warm, loving, and immaculately researched biography of the late, great guitarist with Quiet Riot and Ozzy Osbourne. McIver’s research is unassailable, and his writing style so engaging it’s difficult to put down the book. Chronologically arranged, it begins with the birth of Randy’s parents and the founding of Musonia, moves through Randy’s childhood and early bands, and then delves deeply into the Quiet Riot and Ozzy eras. After covering Randy’s tragic demise – mercifully sparing us the medical details – McIver traces what’s happened to Quiet Riot and Ozzy to date. Long before delivering the book’s final sentence – “Thanks to the mark he made on rock music and the guitar world, from the way guitarists play to the shape of the instruments themselves, Randy Rhoads remains with us permanently” – McIver has more than made his case.

The author of a best-selling Metallica bio and books on Slayer, Black Sabbath, and Queens of the Stone Age, McIver wisely lets the voices of those who knew Randy best convey much of the story. The 254-page book is loaded with quotes from Randy’s family, friends, band mates, and others in his inner-circle, as well as modern musicians who bear his influence. Between 2003 and 2010, McIver himself interviewed Dimebag Darrell, Bob Daisley, Tami Forward, Kelly Garni, Grover Jackson, Ozzy, and many others, and he got Zakk Wylde to contribute a brief forward and Yngwie Malmsteen to provide an afterward. For earlier material, he mined quotes from and, as well as from my archive’s interviews with Delores and Kelle Rhoads, Ozzy Osbourne, Rudy Sarzo, and Max Norman. My thanks to Joel for properly crediting this material – like his book and its subject, McIver’s a class act all the way. For details and ordering info, visit