Nominee – 1996 6th Annual LA Music Awards
Ozzy Tribute Band
There is a tribute band to every mega rock act but back in 2007 nobody was doing an exclusive Randy Rhoads tribute and with the 25th anniversary of Randy Rhoads’ death approaching I thought it would be cool and meaningful to pay homage to him and attempt to recreate his playing, tone, and image the best I could to give a glimpse of what it might have been like to see him live if you are too young to have had that chance as I was.
Back when I got the idea for this tribute I searched YouTube to see if anyone had done this before and found a few Ozzy tributes with Randy-esque guitar players but they included the Jake and Zakk stuff along with Sabbath tunes that RR never played on. I didnt see anyone portraying Rhoads exclusively. I thought I`d give it a shot. March 19th 2007 came and I got on the phone and booked the 1st show and FLYIN’ HIGH AGAIN – A Live Tribute To Randy Rhoads was born. I didnt have the band yet, and no RR gear, but the seed was planted. At our first couple of shows I played a black V with polka dot stickers placed on it..lol. My tone guru was kind enough to hook me up with an MXR Dist + along with a MXR 10 band EQ and a couple of 1×12 cabs loaded with Altec 417`s. I used my Engl 35×35 stereo power amp for a head.
I didn`t have the means of buying the VERY expensive RR gear needed but by our 3rd show I had met a Randy Rhoads aficionado through a mutual friend of Karl Sandoval who was in the process of replicating RR`s entire rig. This is the first person that I knew of to have replicated RR`s guitars and amps nearly to a tee. It was his amp seen in pictures at the Rhoads cemetery site in 2007 and later on nostly his amps that were used at Randy Rhoads Remembered in Jan 2014. I was blessed to have partnered up with him for this one of a kind tribute. He had replicas of the 3 main RR guitars along with all the pedals that Rhoads used..
This video was from early on in the tribute. We were not very well known yet other than by our close friends along w/ the ardcore Rhoadies on the RR forums Their was only about 40-50 people at this show but a year later we filled The Whisky a Go Go..
I started off w/ a Rhoads tribute band called Flyin`High Again. The tribute was to last only a year but it was just getting bigger and bigger and by years end we couldn`t walk away from it. I later joined RHOADS TO OZZ and was in both bands for awhile before doing RTO exclusively. RTO was headed in the same direction as me before I got with them Back then a guy named Doug Walker was with them and while they played mostly songs from Blizzard and Diary they also played songs outside of the Rhoads era. He did heavily lean on the Rhoads vibe and did a respectable job. Look him up..
This particular video shows a combination of both bands…RTO drums and bass with FHA vocals and guitar. This was the first of memorial shows that later became known as Rhoadsfest which was initiated by RTO bassist Jeff Brent.
The tribute made waves directly to the Rhoads family. I met with Randy`s mom and she gave her approval of our tribute to her son. This was a huge relief as I was reluctantly prepared to move on it if she had any bad feelings about it. Many cool things happened during this time such as getting to demonstrate Randy Rhoads` actual practice amp/pedalboard (w/ RR`s guitar picks!) which was on the tour bus. I had previously played through Randy`s Laney amp that he bought not long before he died. I`ve known of this amp since the 80`s and Laney recently acknowledged the amp on their website. Other highlights include jamming onstage w/ Kelle Rhoads, Kelly Garni, ex Ozzy drum legend Carmine Appice, and Michael Angelo Batio, and getting to play the RR spotlight solo on a rock show on the Inland Empire radio station home of the Los Angeles Lakers before they moved to ESPN radio..
As of Dec 2013 I`m back in RTO and we just had our first show in nearly 2 years. As of 2015 RTO is inactive but haven’t broke up.
The tribute has gained the praise of not only the Rhoads Family.. but, also Doug Aldrich, Michael Anthony, Joe Holmes (ex Ozzy Guitarist), Mike Varney (Guitar Player Magazine), Avenge Sevenfold. and Jack Black.