Ah...what was and is no more.
Randy Rhoads...local boy done good, back in the day. You see, back in Glendale/Burbank in the late 70s, there were a few guitar players who were really something. They had their chops down cold and were inventive as well. The rest of us could only improve on what was, but these guys were the ones that charted new ground we all were following.
There was Eddie from Pasadena. Randy in Burbank. Sam and Mike in Glendale. And so on.
These guys could be found at the parks around Brand and Stowe, and playing the occasional backyard party. I know, because we all would bring OUR guitars, sit at their feet and LEARN. They would finish playing some esoteric piece; the joints would be lit and handed over and everyone started playing frisbee.
That's how it was. You could assemble at the parks and be a happy family of friends. Anywhere you went from Pasadena to Burbank. Sometimes, we would all pile into our cars and head to county line for some overnight camping at the beach and surfing. Of course, the guitars came too.
Randy gave guitar lessons, played any where and every where he could; Killeens music, Musonia, Stowe Park, Freeloader Falls, Brand Park, the Whiskey, the Starwood, et al. We all remember the skinny little kid with the big guitar, the long blond hair, and the easy smile.
As the mid 70s became the late 70s, the world took notice, too. Especially Hollywood.
We were thrilled when frist Eddie and then Randy both got signed and released the sounds we had for free for years. We were all so proud...and it inspired us. They did it; we can too. Kind of thing. We followed everything closely and had the inside track, long before anyone else did.
Eddie became Van Halen; Randy became Blizzard of Ozz; Sam and Mike became dopers and did Greg and some of us. The rest of us got jobs, wives, and lives.
Then that sad day in March of '82...Randy was DEAD. No way dude. At first, we all thought the whole band had died; some kind of airliner crash, killing everyone. Not so. It was Randy in a small plane. That bothered me for years. So much so that on my 36th birthday, I chartered a small plane to fly me over the ocean, just to get over all that. It worked.
That's how it was. Real freedom. You can't do any of that today. The police machine will pounce on you with both feet and laugh about it. Especially if you are innocent, young, and have your own light. It was a great time to be alive and in LA.
Anyhow, every few years I go out and pay my respects and remember: the laughter, the joy, the smiles, the creativity, and mourn more than just a lost homeboy, but a lost time. The last days of freedom in the USA. Never to be again.
But we were there. The universe lined up at the right time and put us there. We saw it free, open, and creative. We also saw it die quickly with Reagen and Bush. Fascism took over and has remained that way till this day.