Houses Of The Unholy: Phil Demmel, Machine Head

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HOW DID YOUR RANDY RHOADS OBSESSION BEGIN?

“I saw him in my very first concert, back in 1981. It was Bill Graham’s Day On The Green, which was a festival up in the Bay Area. Ozzy was scheduled for 10 in the morning, so we were there at 5am so we could get up front! I saw this little guy onstage just owning it and playing with such passion and conviction, believing in every single note that he played. It’s what I had always wanted to do.”/o:p

WHEN DID YOU START COLLECTING RANDY MEMORABILIA?

“Back before the internet, I’d snatch up these cool little 3x5 pictures from this rock shop on Broadway – especially the ones from the Day On The Green show that I went to, because I could say, ‘Hey, I was there!’ If you look at some shots from behind the stage, I’m in that little cluster of people in front of stage left!”/o:p

THERE SURE ARE A LOT OF POLKA DOTS ON YOUR GEAR THERE…

“When I got endorsed by Jackson, I had the signature guitar done with the polka dots on there as a tribute. Also, the Buddy Guy Wah Pedal has the polka dots. [Musician and Rhoads fan] Brian Tichy put on the Randy Rhoads Remembered shows and we did a little tour, and to play with [former Ozzy and Quiet Riot bassist] Rudy Sarzo was such an unbelievable honour! Sharing a room with [Randy’s brother] Kelle Rhoads was unbelievably surreal. Fifteen-year-old Phil Demmel would be popping pimples in the mirror, going, ‘I can’t believe I’m in the same room as Kelle Rhoads!’ Ha ha!”/o:p

WHEN YOU NEED A RANDY FIX, WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO SELECTION?

“I’ve got the box set of the first two solo records that Ozzy did, which comes with a DVD of [mixing engineer] Kevin Churko and Ozzy playing the tracks and listening to Randy play. On the Tonight solo, you hear Randy completely rip. It brings tears to my eyes, because it’s like a lost track from the dead, and you’re hearing him talk to you. When you’ve heard that solo a million times before, but then you hear the rest of the conversation, it’s like hearing it for the first time.”

WHAT ELSE IS IN YOUR PILE OF GOODIES?

“Dunlop made me picks with the black on the white and the white on the black. I have a poster that Randy did for Marshall Amplification. It’s hard to see when I’m onstage, but I have the polka dots underneath the collar on my battle vest. Also, Randy’s sister Kathy gave me a bottle of the Randy Rhoads wine – and no, there’s no way I’m gonna drink it!”

WHAT’S THE MOST EXTREME THING YOU’VE DONE AS A RHOADS FANBOY?

“Get a tattoo of Randy on my leg. This guy in Warsaw, Poland, did it. His name is Marek, from Rock’N’Roll Tattoo. It’s a picture of Randy from behind, tuning his guitar with a cigarette dangling out of his mouth. In all of the pictures you usually see of him, he’s in full metal pose, with his mouth open, screaming and going nuts. I thought it was such a cool photo because this was a side of him that you don’t ever see.”

**IF MONEY WASN’T AN OBJECT, WHAT PIECE OF RANDY MEMORABILIA WOULD YOU HAVE? **

“His python skin guitar strap. I don’t know if it was real or not, but I always wanted one of those. Wait, money’s no object? OK, I’d go with his first Concorde V – with the strap!”

MACHINE HEAD’S BLOODSTONE & DIAMONDS IS OUT NOW ON NUCLEAR BLAST/o:p

THE ALBUM

OZZY OSBOURNE – TRIBUTE (EPIC)

One of the greatest live albums, capturing Randy at his best. Children Of The Grave’s solo will make you want to Spider-Man across cities.

THE GUITAR

USA SELECT RR1 (JACKSON)

This beaut of a guitar will set you back well over two grand, but is presented as the highest-end Randy Rhoads model on the market. Alternatively, the JS32 model is around £250.

THE BOOK

RANDY RHOADS (VELOCITY)

Filled with rare photos and an interesting insight, this is a solid way to educate yourself about Randy’s life. Be warned, though: his family’s estate weren’t happy about this book surfacing./o:p