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 Post subject: Article - Randy Rhoads remembered, remastered.
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2007 11:12 pm 
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Location: D/FW Texas
Randy Rhoads remembered, remastered. (Quiet Riot’s Kevin DuBrow gets his wish)
Source: Guitar for the practicing musician, December 1993 by John Stix

John Stix: Randy once said he didn’t like the original versions of QUIET RIOT 1 and 2. He told me they were pop albums and you weren’t in a pop band. On this new release "It’s not so funny", "Look in any window" and "Last call for rock and roll" with a different title ["Mama’s little Angels"] are from the first album. They weren’t so poppy.

Kevin DuBrow: You should hear the original versions. I read those articles and what Randy said about [them]. I can’t disagree with him, especially when I put the tapes up for the first time. The singing was embarrassing. The lyrics were juvenile, too. That’s why on songs like "Last call for rock and roll" I rewrote the lyrics. The original was so goofy but that’s where we were at the time. We had these managers instructing us to go in this goofy direction. You’ll do anything for a record deal when you are at a certain age.

JS: He said there was no guitar, but there is. I was surprised.

KD: It had a lot to do with what I did over the last 16 months. The tapes were in shitty shape - not just the music but the tapes themselves were in terrible shape. Joe Gastwirt at Sonic Solutions worked with the tapes. Originally we couldn’t play them on the machine. The oxide was starting to shift and the machine would stop; it wouldn’t play just from the age of the tapes. When we did get a couple of them to play, all this music was literally falling on the floor. So what we did was use a convection oven. They baked the tapes for eight hours and then did a transfer from tape to tape. This recording is off the copies.

JS: Do you know why Randy didn’t like the two albums? Are they that different from what we hear here?

KD: First of all, we didn’t have real producers. They were produced by people who didn’t really know about guitar and they weren’t produced to feature his guitar playing. They were recorded poorly, and I know he didn’t like the guitar sound. We fixed that. And we were a live band and we were different live on stage than we were on those records. So when it came time to do this, keeping that in mind and keeping Randy’s true guitar playing in mind, I went after it from that point of view. You’ll notice that only six of the songs are from the Japanese records. The other four are unreleased material. One reel from the first Japanese album is lost; we never found it.

JS: How did you improve the sound?

KD: I used every recording trick I ever learned on this record. We approached each song differently. For example the song "Last Call for Rock and Roll" had only one track of rhythm guitar and Randy is well known for doubling his rhythm and sometimes tripling his leads. What I did with that small sounding guitar was take the rhythm guitar track and put it through [QR guitarist] Carlos Cavazo’s amps and record them again. We used the Ozzy live Tribute album to listen to his tone. I know he liked that tone a lot. Randy and had driven around in my car listening to that tape and he always liked that tone. Using Tribute as a reference, we put the track from the master tape through Carlos' amps and an Aphex Exciter and BBE Sonic Enhancer and tuned it in to be as close to the Ozzy sound as we could and then put that on another track. That was a little distant-sounding so we also used a Rockman to give it a little presence. As for the vocals, the song was real short and didn't have any meat so I made a loop of the verses. The song was only three minutes long; now it's five. I gave myself a broader canvas to work over. On a song like "Look in Any Window" Randy always meant to play that lead guitar through a wahwah. We couldn't afford a wah so I took his lead track and stuck it through a wah and played it with my foot.

JS: Randy didn't use Marshall amps in Quiet Riot.

KD: He did with Ozzy. On this stuff he didn't. He used an Ampeg 4xl2 with Altec speakers, a Peavey Standard head with an NM Distortion Plus.

JS: How did you approach "Trouble" and "Killer Girls?"

KD: I did very little with "Trouble." I didn't reprocess the guitars at all. On "Trouble" the drums are not sampled either. We used drum samples on everything else that we could. Randy had a clean rhythm guitar there and I put a chorus On the guitar, which happens only on the song's chorus. At the end of the song he played a harmony lead. On the original record you couldn't hear it so I stopped singing to let it breathe. I sped the song up a lot. I VSO’ed way up because the original was too slow and sluggish. It was originally in E; it's obviously a higher key now. "Killer Girls" I sped up a little bit. On that particular song Randy played the lead solo through an old Strat, which is not really his tone. There were five different guitar solos on the tape for that and no guitar fills throughout the song. Randy was the greatest at playing guitar fills, especially the ones that doubled and didn't match the sound. What I did was pick out one real cool solo and re-Marshall it to give it more distortion. It was a little too clean, it wasn't like his real tone. Then we took some of the other solos that he played that were really good and put them in a sampler and flew them in as fills. That long fill after the first chorus - he never played that there. It fit in key-wise and we flew it in. The guys that produced the records didn't know from guitars. They wouldn't let him play fills. I did what I thought would make it more exciting if Randy had been here and for his fans to listen to. I don't think it's blasphemy, I think it just makes it better.

JS: As a fan listening for the first time, I blindly just enjoyed it. I don't feel upset like when I learned that on Hendrix's Crash Landing they kept the vocal and guitar and redid the rest of it.

KD: I didn't do that except on one song where I kind of did that. The most interesting experiment I did as far as everything I ever learned was with "Laughing Gas"- the first half of Randy's solo guitar piece is from 1977; the second half is from 1979. I had these tapes recorded on a Teac in 1977 at the Starwood. Each instrument was on a different track. We isolated Randy's guitar, and in '77 his guitar playing was excellent but it wasn't like it was in '79 right before he joined up with Ozzy. I have this videotape from '79 that we are going to be releasing. The latter part of the solo, after the Echoplex part stops, is from '79. That's where he quotes "Dee" and "Goodbye to Romance." I took it right off the one audio track of the 3/4" videotape. We were working on a song that day and I remembered how great that solo was. We brought it over to a studio to listen to it. Watching it, you see Randy was such a great performer. Listening I said, "We've got to figure out a way to use this." Listen and you'll notice the second half of the solo from '79 has all the audience on there, it was distantmiked. We tried every gimmick they had in the studio to bring some presence out of it. We did a cross-fade between the '77 and '79 solo and then back into the '77 solo after the "Crazy Train" section.

JS: Is it the whole ‘79 solo?

KD: It's just part of the '79 solo. The first part of the solo had drums on it. The whole audio was on one track. We cross-fade after the stop chords from "Crazy Train" into the Who-type chords. You can hear the sound change a little bit. We brought some Randy fans into the studio to see if it was weird. Even I questioned if it was weird to do or not. Everybody hear how great the solo was. They said, "It doesn't make a difference, it's great guitar playing. Everybody is going to dig it." That's the one that got Mrs. Rhoads going.

JS: Is "Afterglow" the one where you pulled everybody off?

KD: Yes, we pulled all the instruments out. I hadn't listened to that track in a long time. You know how I love Steve Marriott [Small Faces/Humble Pie vocalist]. We put the tapes up, going song by song. There's a whole bunch of stuff left for Volume II. We did a version of the Bob Dylan song "Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)" with Randy. It's pretty neat because he sounds like Eric Clapton on that one. The solo has the same tone as on "Let It Rain." When I listened to "Afterglow" there were two tracks of 12-string on there. It's real pretty sounding. I thought of all the "Unplugged" things going on now and the track on this song was not as good as some of the other stuff but I really liked the vibe when you just heard the acoustic guitars. So I did a new vocal over just the acoustic guitars and anytime where the drums were bleeding through Randy's headphones I put a little triangle overdub with my drum machine. I played the kick drum and tambourine by hand. I stripped it down to its bare bones and left the electric guitar solo on there.

JS: Why didn't you use "Mighty Quinn"?

KD: There was only so much time and they wanted a 10 song album. They wanted to save it for Volume 2.

JS: Are those the demos that got you signed in Japan?

KD: No, we got signed to Japan [based] on our live shows. The first Quiet Riot album was done for an American label. They brought it over to Japan and signed us off a finished album pretty much. These demos were later on.

JS: After both Quiet Riot records were done?

KD: Except for the song "Force of Habit." Did you recognize the "Suicide Solution" riff? That was done in 1976, before we recorded the first Japanese album. That's an unusual track. I wish I could have found the master tape of that and resung it. That one is totally exactly as it was; it's not remixed. Drew Forsyth, our drummer, had a 7 1/2 copy of it on a small reel.

JS: The other unreleased tracks were recorded just before Ozzy picked him up?

KD: "Breaking Up is a Heartache" and "Picking Up the Pieces" were done right before Ozzy picked him up. They were recorded in two days and produced by me, but I wasn't really a producer back then. They needed some repairs: drum samples, revocalizing and we put new background vocals on. On "Picking Up the Pieces" we reprocessed Randy's guitars through Carlos' amps.

JS: Did you do new vocals for everything?

KD: Everything except for "Force of Habit" because I couldn't. "Breaking Up is a Heartache" is obviously a totally Randy written song. You can hear ingredients to some other- things. The solo is right out of the Ozzy B side "Looking at You Looking at Me." I resampled the drums, added some real quiet keyboard pads in the verses.

JS: Did you do much to "It's Not So Funny"?

KD: That is pretty much as it was on the original record, just revocalized, and the guitar is re-Marshalled. I had tried to put this Randy Rhoads Years together a number of years ago and that song and "Killer Girls" I had worked on a while ago. That vocal is from '87 and I didn't need to redo it again. We added some background vocals that weren't on the original; some ahhhs. Also, on the original album it faded out and it ends on this version.

JS: I notice "Look in Any Window" was written entirely by Randy.

KD: I really like that song. It's unfortunate they did that final mix when I was on tour, That's a song where Randy was really influenced by Alice Cooper. The chord pattern is very similar to "Eighteen" in the verse and the "Hey Joe" tiff in the chorus. Randy liked that song a lot so I tried to mix it with a lot of guitar. It was a hard song to work on the way the frequencies fell. We did a little editing on it, butting pieces together so it went from lead to lead. When I first played with him, this and "Force of Habit" were among the first songs he ever played me.

JS: So they were indicative of his style when you first met him.

KD: Absolutely, and on "Look in Any Window" he doubled the lead which is what he went on to do later. We were all real knocked out. A song me and Randy were real into was an old David Bowie song, "The Width of the Circle," on The Man who Sold the World. Randy was very much influenced by that real stretching, winding lead. Mick Ronson used to have an Echoplex that wouldn't double it but you would get that thing where one would pass over the other. Randy did it by doubling it. When we did "It's Not So Funny," the dissonant lick in there that sounds like a car horn came right out of "The Width of the Circle." It's on "Slick Black Cadillac," too.

JS: How did "Slick Black Cadillac" get on a Rhino compilation a few years back?

KD: That was before I was even signed to Pasha. Harold Bronson [one of the founders of Rhino Records] and I have known each other for years and they were putting this thing together. In the interim period Randy had done the first album and came back and played with us one time in L.A. while he was still with Ozzy. Harold asked me if I wanted to contribute a song and I did. That was a different remix. There's been six different mixes of that song.

JS: Playing devil's advocate, you messed with this - it's not really Randy or the way he would want it because he's not here to tell you.

KD: It's all Randy playing guitar in there. If you don't like it, don't buy it. I can't please everybody in this world. Life is too short.

JS: Still, some will call it a sacrilege.

KD: If they heard the original record they wouldn't say sacrilege. Randy would be more happy with it now, I know it. No one else played guitar on the album, it's all Randy. Randy's guitar playing on it is terrific. It's not exactly like it was with Ozzy, but you can tell it's Randy Rhoads, especially the live track. I think his fans are going to flip.

JS: How did it feel to revisit these songs?

KD: There were two weird things about doing this. One was putting Randy’s guitars through Carlos' amps in that big room. It was cranked up loud as hell. Hearing Randy play leads without being there was spooky as hell. The other weird thing about it you'll know because you're a musician. You know how it is to work on current material? You like it, but when you go back and work on old songs it's hard to go back. Working these songs a second time took a lot to get as creative possible because [I] want to write a new song, get Randy and record it.

JS: Listening to this you realize that Randy didn't just pop out of the blue. He was developed when he did this. He wasn’t fumbling or searching.

KD: Randy had a unique style the first time I heard him play. It was real unusual. The first time I heard him I knew what it was all about. I was a fan more than singer. When I heard him I went, "Man, I've got to latch onto this guy because he is incredible." That was in 1975. I don’t think he even knew how good he was.

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