NIGHT RANGER guitarist Brad Gillis, who took on the pressure-packed job back in 1982 of replacing Randy Rhoads after OZZY OSBOURNE's virtuoso guitarist died in a plane crash, was recently interviewed by director Peter Margolis of Dakota Pictures for Peter's much-anticipated Randy Rhoads documentary film. "Brad was very animated and a great story-teller," says Margolis.
In a 2004 interview with the Contra Costa Times, Gillis spoke about how he landed the OZZY OSBOURNE gig.
While a member of an early version of NIGHT RANGER, Gillis was also playing with a club band by the name of ALAMEDA ALL STARS. After a Friday-night gig early in 1982, at which the band covered two Osbourne songs, Gillis was approached by friend Preston Thrall, the brother of guitarist Pat Thrall, who'd turned down the chance to replace Rhoads. Preston offered to get an audition for Gillis, who said OK, but didn't think much of it.
Sunday morning he was on the phone with Ozzy, who simply gave him a list of songs to learn. Tuesday he was in New York, with a one-way plane ticket and $150. The promised room at the downtown hotel wasn't there, so Gillis ponied up $135 and went upstairs and waited. He finally got the call at midnight to come to Ozzy's suite, where a party was happening.
"Ozzy says, 'Go get your guitar,'" Gillis said. "You remember those E.F. Hutton commercials? Everyone just stopped. He says, 'Play 'Flying High Again'. ' By the time I get to the solo, he stands up, puts his arms around me, and says, 'Bradley, pull me through this (ordeal).' He takes me out and says, 'I've got a new guitar player.'"
Peter Margolis recently told Knoxville's Metro Pulse that he is "about 80 percent done shooting" the Randy Rhoads documentary. "But the first 80 percent took as long as it's going to take for the last 20 percent," Margolis explained. "It's the same as if you've ever built a house. Pouring the concrete and putting up the walls is easy. It's the finishing touches, the final stuff, that takes forever....I work, too. I'm doing the film because it's something I want to do, but I can't ignore my career. I'm doing it around my schedule, so at times it's slow going. Realistically, it'll be summertime before I finish all the interviews, then trimming it, adding pictures and music.”
Margolis and his crew started filming on March 19, 2007, when hundreds of fans gathered at Rhoads' grave in San Bernardino, Calif., to commemorate the 25th anniversary of his death. Since then, Margolis has filmed almost 80 interviews, with Rhoads' family and friends and people who worked with him. The list of names includes Kelli Garni, the original bassist in QUIET RIOT; Carlos Cavazo, the guitarist in the "Metal Health" line-up of QUIET RIOT; Sarzo and his brother Robert, who was considered as a replacement for Rhoads in Ozzy's band; Jodi Raskin, Rhoads' girlfriend at the time of his death; Grover Jackson, whose company made Rhoads' signature guitars; Randy's brother Kelle, who's wearing the silver "RR" ring Rhoads had on when he died; and MOUNTAIN guitarist and '70s legend Leslie West, one of Rhoads' idols.
Margolis says he has a distribution deal lined up, but he also plans to shop the as-yet-untitled documentary at film festivals when it's done.
Read the entire article at Metro Pulse.
OZZY OSBOURNE (with Brad Gillis) performing "Crazy Train":