Musonia – Music School and Historic Museum.
When one crosses the threshold to Ozzy Osbourne’s rock-god guitarist Randy Rhoads’ former music school Musonia, it is like walking through a time warp where everything looks like it has since it opened in 1948.
Even Rhoads’ room where he taught music to his students is set up as if time has stood still and Rhoads will soon return to teach another class.
“What this place is and what people feel is a link to another era when music was held sacred to people. When you enter here you get a reprieve from all the modern day world that we have to live in. You get to experience a time that is completely predicated to leaning how to enjoy, appreciate and study the fine art of music,” explains Randy Rhoads’ brother Kelle Rhoads.
Indeed, as one enters this fabled school where Randy Rhoads learned his chops beginning at age six and taught it, there are worn grooves into the bricks that make up the stairs down to the large recital hall where the majority of Randy Rhoads’ memorabilia is loosely set up on display. There are rows of cabinets crammed with memories of Randy mostly in photos that tell one that this guy really enjoyed what he did…playing music. When you look at the photos, there is a recurring theme in that Randy always seems to have an expression of euphoria. There are awards as well as a collage assembled by a fan which took five years to complete. My favorite photo is the one of Ozzy Osbourne lifting up Randy while he’s playing the guitar.
According to Kelle, Randy had about 60 students when he left to play with Osbourne in the Fall of 1979. “They were walking on air because he made them feel so good…inspired. He would invite them to a show with a decent guitar and he would use their guitar for a back-up if he broke a string,” Kelle explained. Everyone you meet that worked with Randy or who had met him will tell you how nice Randy was and this story pretty much sums it up.
According to Kelle, Randy was a musician first and foremost and really didn’t like the moniker of “Rock Star.” “He was humble and very accessible and also very kind,” she said.
For those who are wondering what were Kelle’s top faves of Randy’s music they are: “Flying High Again,” “Mr. Crowley” and “Little Dolls.” “These things epitomized Randy’s deep, profound love of his instruments and give a small glimpse into his soul,” Kelle adds. I think it’s brilliant. Kelle has just come off of a Kickstarter fundraiser to fix up the aging music school which netted around $18,000 by 120 various donors. It is the Rhoads’ family desire to create an official Randy Rhoads Museum.
No, the Osbourne’s did not donate any money nor did any other musicians. Mostly fans of Randy’s donated money to the fundraiser. According to Kelle, he never expected any musicians to donate money. It is anticipated that it will take around a year for the renovation to finish and the project on the top of the list are the building’s dormers which are in desperate need of repair.
The recital hall where Kelle has loosely assembled a museum dedicated to Randy which includes some equipment from Quiet Riot but not Ozzy Osbourne guitars and amps as that equipment is in storage at an undisclosed place. The hall is also where Randy and Kelle would stage shows at Musonia when they were in their teens. At the back of the school is a room where Randy would rehearse. Down the hall from the big recital hall is a room set up where Randy would teach his students which is set up as it was and even contains sheet music on a stand donated by a former student. In this room is a box full of items left by those that have crossed the threshold to Randy’s and Kelle’s past. Kelle teases that a person that leaves a donation in the box will have good luck. I left my purple stone and Buddha bracelet.
Also off of this hall is a room which has a large piano that Kelle likes to practice and compose on. Kelle allows that he is currently pursuing classical music and is into composing his own music. There are a few smaller rehearsal rooms that are closed off for now, but might be renovated to use as rehearsal studios for local musicians that need a space to practice/compose their music in private. Behind the large recital hall is another large room filled with items that not only belong to Randy but also to their mother Deloris Rhoads who was also an accomplished musician in her own right and performed in professional orchestras. Kelle has spent months sorting through mounds of papers and other assorted memorabilia that were stored there and has had to let go of some items as they just weren’t noteworthy enough to keep.
Sadly, none of Randy’s nine more well-known guitars are or will be on exhibit at Musonia. Of the nine guitars, it’s the custom Les Paul 1974 white Gibson guitar that was Randy’s favorite according to Kelle.
Kelle has devoted a large portion of his life to keeping Musonia running and maintaining Randy’s, aka “Randy Rhoazart” by fans, memory alive and thriving just as Osbourne had said he wanted to keep Randy’s memory alive as Jimi Hendrix’s has been.
Kelle composes classical piano pieces at Musonia and has recorded his work. Most notable works are: “Magnificent Obsession,” “Titanic Overture,” “Portraits of Oblivion,” “Pride” and “Profanity.” He has a newer work set for a 2019 release titled “Architects of Destruction” which is principally for the piano forte.
Kelly wasn’t always a classical composer and musician; his rock star was rising on the Strip around the time that Randy perished in a plane crash. His band at the time was “Rhoads” and they were set to tour Europe, but due to management difficulties and the demise of Kelle’s band the star faded out. There are videos on Youtube that show an appearance on a French television show as well as other live appearances. Kelle also does an occasional acoustic show at the NoHo Bar-B-Que Bar in NoHo Arts District at 10863 W. Magnolia Blvd.
As for the future of Randy Rhoads’ legacy, Kelle is looking to find someone to put together a “rockumentary” film about Randy’s career. There were plans at one time to put together a film, but due to an unfortunate union the film was terminated in mid-project and cost the Rhoads family money. The Rhoads family is still interested in seeing a proper documentary done. The entity that holds title to the film that was shot is willing to allow another filmmaker to use footage that includes “a fine testimony about Randy” by Deloris and is needed as she was such an integral part of Randy’s career that he wrote a song about her titled “Dee” which appears on “Blizzard of Ozz.” “It has to be done by someone that knows what they are doing on film,” Kelle adds. The idea of a film about Randy is so popular that there is even a Facebook page dedicated to it.
On December 2, 2018 Randy’s sister Kathy Rhoads- D’Argenzio and Kelle plan on staging a tribute concert to honor Randy at the D’ Argenzio Winery Burbank Tasting Room at 1204 W. Burbank Blvd. While you are there how about picking up the winery’s special “Randy Rhoads 2015 special Cabernet Sauvignon” priced at $50.00. For more info call 818-846-8466 or go to www.dargenziowine.com. Randy’s actual birthday is December 6. A portion of all proceeds is donated to the Randy Rhoads Charitable Trust.
Restoration will soon begin on Musonia and the legacy of Randy “Rhozart” will continue in style thanks to the adoring fans of Randy and Kelle’s unwavering devotion to the school and his famous brother.
There are many fans that would like to see Musonia made into an historical landmark that would be protected.
Musonia is open for tours and lessons, please telephone them at 818-761-0521. The school is located on 12111 Tiara Street in what is now Valley Village and is open Tuesday through Friday 3pm to 8pm. It is important to note that this is not a residence, only a school.