In late 2012 Randy Rhoads mother, Delores Rhoads, siblings Kathryn Rhoads D’Argenzio and Kelle Rhoads, learned that a coffee table book titled Randy Rhoads had been released, co-authored by Andrew Klein and rock writer Steven Rosen with the assistance of Peter Margolis and Denny Anderson. The family obtained a copy of the book. They were both astonished and horrified to see that Klein and Margolis are holding themselves out as “experts” on the life of Randy Rhoads, implying that they had the approval and cooperation of the Rhoads family, which they did not.
On April 1st, 2007, Margolis entered into an agreement with the Rhoads family to produce a single documentary film on the life of Randy Rhoads. Margolis assured the family that the film would be completed within three years. From that point on, however, Margolis himself did not own any of the ideas and materials obtained or created in the production of the documentary, or any of the photos, videos or sound recordings collected for use in it, having assigned all of that to Dakota Films, the company financing and producing the documentary. Over the next several years, Margolis, Klein and others, working for Dakota Films, went forward with the project. Although Margolis reportedly claimed, as of early 2012, that the documentary was completed – “in the can”—it has never been released. Individuals who saw portions of it during production have reported that it was “edited poorly and unprofessionally,” and that the quality of the film was “abysmal.” The Rhoads family was frustrated by what they considered the mediocre quality of Margolis’s film, and by the fact that the “official documentary” they had so long hoped for had never come to fruition. This has been especially painful for Randy’s mother, Delores Rhoads, who is now in her nineties, and has spent the last three decades carefully preserving and advancing the legacy of her son.
The family contends that Margolis and Klein have stolen the materials; they have no rights or ownership of, from the failed documentary. They used them in the book, in order to try to exploit Randy and the family for their own profit, while trying to establish themselves as “authorities” on Randy Rhoads. They have falsely implied that they have the Rhoads family’s support and cooperation for the unauthorized book. The family emphasizes that in no way did they authorize or participate in publication of the book, nor have they had anything more to do with either Margolis or Klein since the production of the unreleased documentary ended.
Moreover, according to the family’s complaint, the book contained more than fifty instances in which Klein and Margolis had used without permission photos, excerpts from interviews and other personal information that had been provided to them by the Rhoads family solely and exclusively for use in the authorized documentary film and for no other purpose.
The Randy Rhoads Estate and family have filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against the filmmakers and now authors Peter Margolis and Andrew Klein, the publishing company Velocity Publishing Group, Inc., and co-author Steven Rosen. The suit arises out of a failed documentary film project on the life of Randy Rhoads, and the defendants’ recent publication of a book arising out of their involvement in that film project. The defendants are alleged to having made extensive and, unauthorized use of personal information and photos from that documentary project, and are accused of fraud, breach of contract, invasion of privacy, and misappropriation of rights of publicity.
Randy Rhoads had a relatively short career as a rock guitarist and songwriter, but like James Dean had in the movies, Rhoads blazed like a comet across the music world, particularly in his short time as lead guitarist, first with Quiet Riot and then, most famously, with Ozzy Osbourne in the early Eighties. Rhoads’s guitar work and songwriting are featured on such legendary songs as Crazy Train and Mr. Crowley. While he was alive Rhoads was voted Best New Talent and Best Heavy Metal Guitarist by various music magazines. In March 1982, Rhoads tragically died in a plane crash, at the age of 25, while on tour with Osbourne. Noted for the influence of his classical musical training on his high-speed, heavy metal guitar style, Rhoads reputation and influence has grown exponentially in the years since his death. Rolling Stone and Guitar World list Rhoads high on their lists of Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists of all time. Crazy Train, which he co-wrote, place Number 51 on Rolling Stone’s list of the Greatest Songs of All Time. Ozzy Osbourne has been quoted as having said ““He was a saint. . . .He was an angel, and too good for this world. His death’s always on my mind. Every year at the anniversary of his birth and death, fans from all over the world gather at his grave site to honor his passing. We will never forget him. His musical legacy lives on in the minds and music of his many fans.”