No One Can Copy Randy Rhoads, Jimi Hendrix, and Eddie Van Halen, Says Mick Mars

Former Mötley Crüe guitarist Mick Mars pointed out that it’s impossible to really replicate guitar players like Randy Rhoads, Jimi Hendrix, and Eddie Van Halen. “You can hit the notes,” as he explained, but you won’t ever be able to do the same thing that those guys did.

“Randy and I didn’t know each other,” Mars said during his appearance on “Rock of Nations” (transcript via Blabbermouth). “But I went to see him a few times at Starwood when he was with Quiet Riot — right before Ozzy [Osbourne] stole Rudy [Sarzo] and Randy.”

Before joining Ozzy’s solo band, Rhoads was a member of Quiet Riot from its formation in 1975 and 1979. Sarzo was initially in the band between 1978 and 1979 and then on and off over the years, only to be back in the lineup in 2021.

Quiet Riot with Randy Rhoads - L. A. Valley College, 04-11-1975

“I wasn’t surprised that he got there with Ozzy”

Reflecting on seeing Randy live, Mars said that he was far from surprised to hear about Osbourne hiring him:

“I saw him a couple of times, and I went, ‘That kid’s really, really a good player.’ So I went to see him a couple of times. And I wasn’t surprised that he got there with Ozzy, but it was cool to see that.”

Obviously, Eddie Van Halen also emerged around that time. And both he and Randy are responsible for changing the genre. So it was only obvious that Mick would also bring up Eddie during the chat.

“But Eddie Van Halen was running around at that time, too,” Mars continued. “And Ed and I go way, way back, when he was, like, 19 years old. Ed and I were, like, not close pals or anything, but we knew each other.”

Van Halen - Pasadena 1975

“We’d goof around and tell jokes, and that kind of stuff, and that was a blast. So, yeah, [they were] a few of the guys that I fully respect during that time.”

“It doesn’t work”

Not that long ago, Sammy Hagar recruited Joe Satriani, along with Michael Anthony and Jason Bonham, to do a tour of mostly Van Halen material. Dubbed “Best of All Worlds,” the tour will feature both prominent eras of the old band (while ignoring Gary Cherone stuff). When asked about this, Mars pointed out how no one can ever really replicate Eddie’s style.

“No one can ever duplicate [Eddie]. No one,” Mars replied. In fact, he even compared it to attempting to copy Jimi Hendrix:

“I mean, look how many people are trying to imitate Jimi [Hendrix] after all these years. It doesn’t work. You can hit the notes, but you know what? The hands, your feel, the way that you connect with your guitar, or whatever instrument that it is you’re playing, is different.”

Van Halen 09 22 1978 Fresno

Even Joe Satriani would agree. And he did after being very transparent about “screwing up” some parts recently at “The Howard Stern Show” when this new band performed. Reflecting on this, Mars added:

“When you get somebody as good as Satriani that goes, like, ‘I can’t play this lick,’ an Eddie lick…”

“He’s Eddie Van Halen. Or he’s Randy Rhoads, dude. You’ll never copy it. You can mimic it but not copy it. So that’s the way I feel. If you can stand behind a curtain, you can certainly tell who’s who.”

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Going All the Way Back

In another interview from earlier this year, Mars also reflected on Van Halen, and particularly Eddie’s work. Although Mötley Crüe was, obviously, another one of the bands that changed the game during the 1980s, he praised Van Halen and what they were doing from their pre-fame era, the mid-1970s.

“When they came out in 1975, I had a massive smile on my face,” Mars offered. “He was such a great person. It was incredible to watch him develop.”

“Mötley Crüe didn’t come around until 1981, so we were separated a little bit by time, but we’d run into each other once in a while at places like Donington and other European festivals. We’d always hang out a bit and have fun.”

As of this moment, Mick Mars is promoting his upcoming solo record. Titled “The Other Side of Mars,” it’s slated for a February 24 release. There’s been two songs out so far — “Loyal to the Lie” and a recently launched “Right Side of Wrong.”

Mick Mars - Right Side of Wrong

As for the whole Mötley Crüe mess, there seems to be no news on that front. The legal battle between Mars and his old band is currently not talked about publicly.

Photos: De-fexxx666 (Mick Mars – Erie, PA), Carl Lender (Eddie Van Halen at the New Haven Coliseum 2)

Author

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.