Michael Angelo Batio: Me And Randy Rhoads 'Had Similar Backgrounds'

Having recorded two stellar albums with Ozzy Osbourne before an airplane accident claimed his life, to this day Rhoads' influence is apparent.

Michael Angelo Batio: Me And Randy Rhoads 'Had Similar Backgrounds'
18
Passing away at the tender age of twenty-five, without doubt Randy Rhoads left this world too early. Having recorded two stellar albums with Ozzy Osbourne before an airplane accident claimed his life, to this day Rhoads' influence is apparent. Rhoadsfest II, set to take place December 4th at Paladino's in Tarzana, California, will pay tribute to Rhoads. Appearing? Influential hard rock instrumental guitarist Michael Angelo Batio, a Randy Rhoads fan like many. "I'm a big Randy Rhoads fan" confirms Michael. "I got to meet him before he died; I met him backstage at a concert in Chicago, my hometown. I was asked to do Rhoadsfest I last year, and prior to that in 2007, I was asked to be in a Randy Rhoads movie that hasn't come out yet. I met the Rhoads family then in 2007; I really liked his mom and his sister. and Kelle I had met before. Last year it was so great, and this year it should be even better. I just love him as a guitarist. I really like what he did for rock guitar, and there's a history there; me meeting him and participating in the movie, and plus, I think one of the reasons how I got involved too was they saw me play in Los Angeles in Hollywood at M.I. with Uli Jon Roth in 2007. It was his Sky Academy show; Paul Gilbert was there, I was there, Chris Poland. I played my "Tribute To Randy", and I did a very unique rendition of his soloing. Where the melodic contour sounds are played, people recognise them as Randy Rhoads' solos, but I play them completely different than Randy and they really liked that, that I was able to take something that he did and really make it my version. "Tribute To Randy" - my version of two of his songs - is the most requested song that I play, so it's cool." Michael's Chicago encounter with Randy Rhoads would be several years prior to the 1987 formation of Nitro, arguably at a time when he was trying to establish himself as a guitarist. "The memory that I have is that I was starstruck" remembers Michael. "Even then, I was much taller than he was. What impressed me was how angelic he looked onstage, and how different he looked offstage. A few years later when I met Angus Young from AC/DC, it was the same thing - they're completely different people onstage and offstage. I think even I'm like that; people look at me and they see this mean, mental looking guy, and then offstage I'm completely mellow and friendly. That concert that Randy Rhoads played at was photographed by a very famous rock photographer who's a friend of mine, and a photo of Randy on Ozzy's shoulders is from that concert that I was at. My memories of Randy Rhoads really are that he played great and that he looked angelic onstage. He really looked like an angel onstage, and then meeting him backstage, he was just so different. He was tiny, and he didn't look angelic. He looked cool don't get me wrong, but he just looked different - just like a normal person. It was great, and I really enjoyed it." Naturally, Michael feels a kinship with Randy given their shared flair and passion for classical music. "I have a degree in music, so in some ways, even though he was famous before me in an iconic band we had similar backgrounds" explains Michael. "I love orchestral music, and not just Bach; I really listen to Renaissance composers. What I like about Randy was that he was really a great writer underneath Ozzy. E chord over A we just to refer to as slash chords; E over A is a very simple one-five-four progression, and it's not really a metal progression at all - it sounds so different than metal riffs. I've said this before, that only Ozzy could sing over that and make it sound the way it did. You can't play that on guitar and make it cool, because it's impossible. The melody just sounds too happy, but he was able to do it and that was the magic of what they were able to do together - Ozzy's melodies over Randy's chord progressions and riffs. It was great." Of course, Michael Angelo Batio would later go on to forge himself a longtime career, issuing two albums in 1989 and 1992 as a part of Nitro and so on. With six solo full-lengths under his belt since 1995, Michael shows no signs of slowing down. "I have enough material for two CDs right now, but I have been so busy" Michael states. "It's been incredible this year; I've been on the road constantly, and since September I've just travelled over several thousand miles by aeroplane from India to Europe and so on. In fact, they want me to play in the Middle East next year in Syria. I have plans to record, but in this musical environment I can't even get my CDs out before they're leaked. It's really terrible. There are Russian websites where they've got everything; all my DVDs, and all my CDs. We have people enquiring on my forum how to get my music. We licensed my CDs in China, and we didn't even have to send them a CD master because they just took it off the internet off one of those free websites via filesharing. I have the artistic want to record a new CD but as far as business goes, it doesn't affect my touring at all if I don't release a new CD. I'm in a very unique position regarding that, so to answer your question, I have plans to release a new CD in 2011 but I've been touring so much that I haven't been able to start it. Hopefully, I'll take the time to do that." Michael Angelo Batio will perform at Rhoadsfest II on December 4th at Paladino's in Tarzana, California. October 2005's "Hands Without Shadows" features "Tribute To Randy", an instrumental which contains elements of "Crazy Train" and "Mr. Crowley" (from September 1980's 'Blizzard Of Ozz), whereas its September 2009 successor "Hands Without Shadows 2 Voices" features "Tribute To Randy 2: You Can't Kill Rock and Roll" (the track "You Can't Kill Rock and Roll" being from November 1981's "Diary Of A Madman"). By Robert Gray

70 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    RWFAWCETT
    Rhoads is the king of Melodic Metal! Why isn't MAB playing for Ozzy? There's only one person who can do justice to Rhoad's music with Ozzy and we know who that is....he's no longer with the band.
    Metalxorxdie
    If you dont appreciate MAB's shredding guitar solos than you do NOT know what REAL shred solos are... listen to more than just one song and try not to be jealous when you watch him perform his songs....that's the only reason I can find as to why anyone would say MAB sucks, because they are jealous idiots that obviously know nothing about music or shredding (come on, random picked notes?! I hope you are joking!)....this guy is super talented and wicked nice to talk to and he knows his stuff...see his double neck guitar solo video on youtube (ya he's really boring =P haha)....then if he comes around your area, go see him live and see that he is FLAWLESS!!! Seriously, if you think this guy still sucks after you watch his videos, than you are a idiot and should show us how much "better" you are MAB RULES!!! \m/
    Shun1010
    King_Of_Swing wrote: Batio is rediculous on cd. Not so much in concert lol. I got hisautograph, and off stage and on, hes cool and helpful, just live his music doesnt sound as fast nor as good.
    I saw him live at a clinic and he was perfect. Could have just been the show you saaw 'cause he was awesome when I saw him.
    Robert Gray
    jannick wrote: Robert Gray wrote: Meanwhile, can everyone have the facts at hand for a ****ing change instead of commenting as if they know this, that and the other? If certain individuals on this site know so much, rather than spend time on here **** off and record a platinum selling album and leave the people on planet Earth alone. sorry robert... you can have your rabbit back now.
    Why are you apologizing? I was referring to the person responding to you.
    Danne777
    "but in this musical environment I can't even get my CDs out before they're leaked." Im getting tired of this digital world we live in...
    ahiddenmexican
    Internal_Decay wrote: Batio Rules your face! none can match his awesomeness, haha people talking shit cause he plays fast? sorry its not more commercial and lame like other bands who think soloing isnt cool, the fact is people are jealous because they themselves suck at guitar and will never even be close to batios speed. suck it bitches, practice your guitar and quit baggin on someone that could rape you even in his worst days
    its still boring and lame cause its too technical for anyone to listen to. i'd rather hear a simple solo that goes along with the song than a 4 minute long tangent of ripping up and down different scales.
    jannick
    Robert Gray wrote: Why are you apologizing? I was referring to the person responding to you.
    well you seemed a bit pisst. and i don't really think an apoligy would've come from him... quess im in a good mood too day.
    Anjohl
    Awesome, love the interview, love "Tribute to Randy", and love Batio's other tribute compositions as well. Michael comes off as such a genuinely nice guy.
    Shreddy Teddy
    Got to meet Batio this year at a Dean workshop. He did an awesome free set, and signed everything in sight afterward. Definitely a class act, and an amazing guitarist. He's left-handed, but plays a right-handed guitar. Guess that's good as far as finger strength on the fretboard. I can't imagine picking with my non-dominant hand though.
    aCloudConnected
    Not the biggest fan of MAB, but as far as shred guitarists go, I definitely think he's one of the best up with Gilbert. I also love how he doesn't have a huge ego, and seems like a real person and doesn't give off a demi-god persona.
    magikguitar
    I have seen MAB live several times over the last few years. He is as close to perfect live as a musician can be - the kind of perfection that is scary. I think people confuse feeling with his precision. He is just more accurate than Vai or Gilbert or Petrucci or Yngwie. The thing that has always amazed me is that he always uses different guitars and amps at clinics and always has his sound. He never seems to get credit for that either. Or how great he really is. It is there in your face and most of you are too stupid to see it. He plays every note with conviction, is perfect live and always has "his" tone, no matter what. For the haters, your loss. You try getting his YouTube viewing numbers - millions and millions. MAB RULES!
    jmacamckinnon
    Good_Lord : You've got to hate his haircut ... seriously WTF ? What's wrong with his hair? No reason to hate... Just a personal choice.
    hanselrocks1
    alexanderjames7 wrote: this guy looks ridiculous
    thats what you get when a hair metal era guitarist ages xD
    Zenyth
    MAB sounds like a really cool ****ing guy. Amazing guitarist, shame people lump him in with the 'mindless shredder' category, he is much more than that.
    TsarBomba
    If you're the kind of person who thinks talent is a prerequisite for an opinion, I hope when you're dining out you eat whatever's placed in front of you, and with a smile. God forbid you should criticize the chef without being a 5 star one yourself. Did your doctor give you a set of tits instead of taking out your appendix? Fuck it, he's the one that went to med school.
    nameless_08
    Michael Angelo Batio is a pretty cool guy. my band opened at Paladions, and we were setting up while he was doing his sound check. hes amazing in person. his cabinet was lagging to get to the venue so he used mine. hes very humble. and ****ing shreds!!!!! XD
    StevieRayHalen
    yeah, he can play the guitar, but his look - oh my god - he's like 57 years old - he's second only to Axl for being one of Rock's "biggest tool's..."
    theczar
    I respect this guy's talent, but lol at the silly looking guitars he plays.
    iheartgun
    im voting for a ban on baowei32 anyone? ^ anywho.....i dont really listen to MAB alot but he sounds like a cool dude. his hair on the other hand is god awful though
    Robert Gray
    BlueFuzion101 wrote: The whole 'E over A' part was about the verse section of Crazy Train right??
    Not sure - Michael didn't say.
    venom1stas
    mab is one of my favourite virtuosos. I find his stuff really unique and original which already puts him on top of other g12 or whatever vai guitarists who although with their much technical skill chose to play stuff which says ' look at me im an awesome composer'. If i wanted composing i wouldnt listen to shred which is about speed and technique. Anyway mab brings something new and unlike most other guitarists of his class who slowed down and simplified or as some of you may put it 'made it more melodic' he stuck to his guns and does what you expect him to do. Whilst other virtuosos are too far up their arse thinking they are kings of composing and they dont need any technicality they can play pop cough marty or sing.. Paul... and what we get is a few good metal shredding albums from major talents and the rest is their fairy tale land where they are britney spears.
    ippystratman
    vidieowiz4 wrote: Michael ANgelo Batio is just a dude who shreds real fast, not a big fan, but at least hes a cool guy and not big headed like a certain Mr Malmsteem Love Randy though, I never got to see him, as he died before I was born
    you clearly havent seen many videos of him. he is a pretty ****ing good guitarist though
    Sdooper_Man
    Danne777 wrote: "but in this musical environment I can't even get my CDs out before they're leaked." Im getting tired of this digital world we live in...
    agreed i prefer the feel of a CD or vinyl copy over a digital. if I dont have the money i just listen for stuff on the radio
    AA00P
    Is it just me, or does anyone think he kinda looks like Sam the Eagle?
    Good_Lord
    Good_Lord : You've got to hate his haircut ... seriously WTF ? What's wrong with his hair? No reason to hate... Just a personal choice.
    The guy still sounds like a nice , and I'll give him the point : he's not emo haha
    katz_ug
    Great guitarist, great musician. Won't say everything he did was awesome but that doesn't mean he sucks. I clearly don't see why people are complaining cause "some" of his works are too technical. At least it's not like Dream Theater, not just technical but freaking long. Heard Petrucci started playing a solo at night, fell asleep and when i woke up in the morning, the solo was still going [this doesn't mean I hate Dream Theather, just specifying cause some people here tends to see through a lot -_-] PLaying fast after a certain limit always results in the loss of feeling. It's only natural. The texturing of notes, legatos and vibratos make a soulful solo. And at such high speed of playing you can only do so much.. And I'm sure people would have even complained over the fact that Batio went slow a tad bit and he's doing it over and over. It's just like Mikael Akerfeldt said "There are some cats you can't please even after feeding them a lot so, **** them ya know." Haters will always be there. No matter what you do. Some people just doesn't know what to appreciate and what not. And all I can say to them is "Get a life" Anyways, a good read from the article. Wish I wasn't in a part of the world where I can enjoy nothing...
    adj209
    Wish i could take Batio seriously but his haircut is still ****ing ridiculous
    CodeMonk
    Saw the Rhoadsfest show tonight. Very good show, met MAB. Nice guy. I'm not a huge fan of shred, I'm more into blues, but I thoroughly enjoyed the show.
    Hirvikala
    The MAB music is very fast paced, so its very good for driving games, like any other shred music. It's actually really cool if you listen to MAB while playing games such as Test Drive Unlimited , while cruising with that McLaren F1 or other fast car at high speeds. Othen than those occasions, I don't listen to it very often.
    Robert Gray
    Sdooper_Man wrote: jannick wrote: upbeat_x_tech wrote: I hate MAB, find him a boring guitarist, but I'm gonna have to say you're full of shit. You mean to tell me that in order for a song to be good, I'd have to slow down and play something simple, when I find playing fast and technical suits the song? no sould=no good. at least dragonforce puts their heart into it. just to name some with lots of speed and technique you must be confused, dragonforce just plays sped up scales and uses a shit ton of effects. whats soulful about that. I met MAB at a signing/demo in my hometown a few years back, and he is a complete douche hence why he plays solo. good for you, randy is an inspiration for you, everybody is inspired by somebody else, big whoop
    I approached Michael Angelo Batio about doing an interview regarding his appearance at Rhoadsfest II - he didn't approach me or UG. I'm responsible for what was spoken about. So if you wish to have a go at someone about this article, have a go at me and I'll be more than happy to set the record ****ing straight. Meanwhile, can everyone have the facts at hand for a ****ing change instead of commenting as if they know this, that and the other? If certain individuals on this site know so much, rather than spend time on here **** off and record a platinum selling album and leave the people on planet Earth alone.
    vidieowiz4
    Michael ANgelo Batio is just a dude who shreds real fast, not a big fan, but at least hes a cool guy and not big headed like a certain Mr Malmsteem Love Randy though, I never got to see him, as he died before I was born
    ZWH
    I've never really liked this guy because of he's shredding too much, but I found it's cool that Randy is an inspiration for him. He also seems like a nice guy.
    shreducator
    Met MAB a couple years ago at a clinic. The guy is extremely nice, real fun to talk to. He talked to me and my buddy for about 20 minutes after everyone else had left, and told us about his equipment, music, and touring plans. I hope he comes back again soon. Great article.
    jannick
    erhh... Slash liked Aerosmith when he startet playing guitar. SO DID I! now i quess all i need is a tophat!
    Hybarger
    I had no idea Batio was a Randy Rhoads fan, makes me want to hear his "Tribute to Randy." R.I.P. Randy
    blommen
    seems like a nice guy even though his playing does absolutely nothing for me any more.
    de-fexxx666
    On the topic of playing random notes, I can assure you MAB does not. Saw him do a clinic/performance 2 weeks ago, and he knows his stuff. Before every song, he'd explain the theory behind passages in the song, and why he did what he did. He has a degree in music theory, it's ridiculous for anyone to claim he just plays random notes. Also, an extremely cool guy to talk to, very approachable and genuinely appreciates his fans.
    FuruiShin
    Somehow Mr. MAB is still not famous as he should be ;/. He did really great job too for guitar music in general, but becouse of people who cares only about his looks he is distriminated ''a bit''. Ofcourse there are better players(shreders included) but im sure that seeing him live would change those look-carrying people toughts. I like how he talks about Mr. Rhandy too, cool to see more of it.
    polishedbullet
    MAB says this at every clinic he does. I was just at one in my hometown 3 weeks ago. He's a great guy and seemed to be really nice whenever I talked to him. And to contradict KingOfSwing, he definitely lives up to his CDs live.
    JacksonRhoads
    12656-31982. and rhoads fest? this is the first ive heard of this.....we should make it like download fest. except without the shitty bands haha.
    mfergel
    I've met him at a clinic and he is a really nice guy. Probably one of the most approachable guys I've met. Don't listen to his music but as a teacher the guy is great. If you ever have the chance to attend a clinic, do so. By the way, at the clinics he does way more than shreds.
    King_Of_Swing
    Batio is rediculous on cd. Not so much in concert lol. I got hisautograph, and off stage and on, hes cool and helpful, just live his music doesnt sound as fast nor as good.