If you're going to cover one of the catchiest, hugest metal songs ever put to tape, you better not screw around. And coming at it as all-star tag-team doesn't hurt, either, as System of a Down singer Serj Tankian and guitar hero Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave) proved today with their cover of the 1980 Ozzy Osbourne face-melter "Crazy Train."
The cover comes from the forthcoming Immortal Randy Rhoads: The Ultimate Tribute. "Randy Rhoads is my favorite guitar player of all time," Tom Morello tells Rolling Stone. "It was his poster on my wall when I was practicing eight hours a day, and I named my firstborn son, Rhoads, after him. Serj, Rudy, Vinny and I rocked 'Crazy Train' as a sonic tribute to one of rock's greatest fallen heroes. Crank it." Rudy is Rudy Sarzo, a bassist who played with Rhoads in Ozzy's band as well as Quiet Riot (which Rhoads cofounded); Vinny is Vinny Appice, a drummer with three Sabbath albums and a ton of Dio records under his belt.
You might not peg Morello's experimental axemanship as a match for Rhoads' virtuoso lightning fretwork, but Morello nails the riffs, adds some of his own buzzy sauce, and serves up his own dizzying solo at the 2:40 mark. (And don't miss the finale noodling, either.) Meanwhile, Serj's giant croon is certainly a unique spin on Ozzy's trademark shriek.
Randy Rhoads died in a 1982 plane accident at the age of 25. He was the guitarist for Ozzy's solo debut, Blizzard of Ozz, as well as the sophomore LP Diary of a Madman.