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© John Livzey
Randy’s credo was simple: “I don’t want to be satisfied with myself. Once you are, where are you going to go?” That was an essential question and one he still couldn’t answer. Every show became an all-out marathon, running at top speed from the curtain’s rise through the encore. His performances were almost flawless, and he constantly pushed himself to execute an arpeggio just a little cleaner and articulate a riff during his solo segment with a bit more finesse. Operating at such a high level was taking its toll.
Every concert had an ebb and flow, a rhythm all its own, but Randy was jacking up the stakes every night to eliminate any lesser moments. He must have been compensating for something, trying to fill an emptiness and feeding some craving that wouldn’t be satisfied. He probably didn’t know exactly what that feeling was, or where it was coming from. A lot of people in Randy’s shoes would have turned to drugs or alcohol, but he wasn’t wired that way. He found solace in the simple things like the respite that his classical guitar provided. But he was still lost as this beast inside him was growing hungrier and growling louder, and it had to be confronted.
“It seemed like the farther Randy got away from home, the tougher it was for him,” Rudy Sarzo remembered. Being in unfamiliar territory was not what he wanted. He also didn’t want to go onstage every night and play the same set; he was more into being creative. Basically, he had to paint the same masterpiece every single night. The worst thing you can do is be as great today as you were yesterday. You’re always looking for that magic moment to come out of somewhere, and there’s only so many of those that you can have in a single night.”
Maybe that’s what it was—looking for the magic within the drone of the everyday. Randy had mastered the music and wanted more. He needed more. One evening, in thinking the answer resided at the bottom of a bottle, Randy got completely wasted. He never drank to excess and hated himself when he did. The next morning, feeling like his head was in an anvil, he wanted Rudy to document the moment. “Do me a favor?” he asked. “Take a picture so I can remind myself of how I look when I’m hung over.”
Jodi also recognized his unhappiness. Randy still wrote to her religiously and talked about doing something different. Somewhere along the way he had lost himself. When he tried to put himself back together, he came out as someone else, and he didn’t like that person. The audiences still cheered, and he continued to play brilliantly, but something was missing. The dream wasn’t what it seemed.
“Somewhere along the way he just stopped being himself,” Jodi explained. “He was not happy at all. He needed a break and he really wanted to be at home and play classical guitar exclusively. He mentioned going back to school and doing other things. He was starting to feel very unhappy playing with Ozzy and the band, and he became extremely uncomfortable. I know for a fact that he wanted to do something different with his life.”