It’s been another incredible year for multi-talented artist, Rudy Sarzo. Not only was The Guess Who bassist involved in the band’s first album of new material in more than two decades, The Future Is What it Used To Be, but Sarzo also contributed his musical prowess to friend (and fellow former Dio bandmate), Craig Goldy’s Dream Child project, Until Death Do We Meet Again.
You may be surprised to learn that Sarzo, whose lengthy musical career as an artist includes work with Ozzy, Quiet Riot and Whitesnake, was also once a mass communication major in college. An experience that serves him well is his newly launched radio show, “Six Degrees of Sarzo.” A three-hour, nine-segment show on Monsters of Rock Radio that airs Sundays from 4 – 7 p.m. PST (7 – 10 p.m. EST). The show is an eclectic mix of music and interviews and is part of the 80+ original station line-up on Dash Radio, available commercial and subscription free.
I recently spoke with Rudy Sarzo about “Six Degrees of Sarzo”, his work with The Guess Who, Dream Child, and the 35thanniversary of Quiet Riot’s monster Metal Health album in this exclusive new interview.
Where did the idea to do a podcast originate?
Recently, I’ve been attending a lot of memorials for musicians and friends of mine who’ve passed away. I heard so many nice things being said about them that I started thinking wouldn’t it be nice if they could be here to hear all of these things being said about them? It inspired me to create the Dash Podcast, with the “dash” being that line between the birth and death date on a headstone. The idea was for me to bring in people I admire from all walks of life and talk about their journey.
One day, I was contacted by Harlan Hendrickson, who owns the Monsters of Rock brand. He has a station on Dash Radio (ironically enough) called Monsters of Rock Radio and asked me about doing a show. I now have a program on Sundays from 4 -7 p.m. PT called “Six Degrees of Sarzo.” It’s a nine segment, three-hour show that has a bit of essence of the original podcast where I interview musicians, talk about their journey and mix it up with music.
What are your plans for “Six Degrees of Sarzo”?
I recently interviewed my friend Frankie Banali from Quiet Riot and dUg Pinnick from King’s X and also have the NAMM show coming up in January where I’ll be doing short interviews with people there. I also want to use the show as a tool for what’s happening now and to get more exposure to the new bands like The Struts, Greta Van Fleet and Rival Sons. They’re all great musicians, songwriters and performers. There’s a bright future for the next generation.
Let’s discuss a few other projects you’ve worked on this year, starting with The Guess Who. The band released a new album in 2018, The Future Is What it Used To Be. How has the reaction been?
There was emphasis on keeping the spirit and legacy of the band and what the sound is all about with the new album, and the response has been phenomenal. We play a few of the new songs every night and have three videos for the songs “Playin on the Radio,” “Haunted,” and our new one, “In America.”
What was the writing process like?
I’ve only been in the band for a years but the process started even before I was on the radar. There are two producers / songwriters in the band—Derek Sharp and Will Evankovich. Will is also the co-writer and co-producer, along with Tommy Shaw, on the latest Styx record, The Mission. They had been working on material to submit to other artists and one day they said, wait a minute. Why should we give these songs away? Let’s make a new Guess Who record!
What can you tell me about your involvement with Craig Goldy in the Dream Child project?
What was interesting about that album was that there was a clear vision: Craig was going to produce and write. Goldy already knew Wayne Findlay and Diego Valdez and the label asked him about getting Simon Wright and myself, who played with Goldy in Dio. I did recording and engineering in my home studio and Wayne and Diego did their parts in their studios. Simon went into a studio to record and engineer the drums with Goldy. It’s record I was very proud to be a part of.
This year marked the 35th anniversary of Quiet Riot’s Metal Health album. When you look back on that whole era now, what thoughts come to mind?
I recently talked about this with Frankie Banali on my radio show. I was on the same circuit as Kevin [Dubrow] and Frankie in the Randy Rhoads version of Quiet Riot before I joined Ozzy. After Randy passed, I wasn’t mature enough to know how to deal with loss and needed to get away. I had gotten a call from Kevin to come in and play on one song, “Thunderbird.” It was a song Kevin wrote when Randy left Quiet Riot to join Ozzy, but after Randy passed, it took on a whole different meaning. I went into the studio to do that one song and by the time I left the session I’d recorded almost half of the record. When I officially left Ozzy a few weeks later, I came back and finished the songs. I played on everything except “Metal Health” and “Don’t Wanna Let You Go,” which was recorded by Chuck Wright. I found emotional refuge playing with my friends again and re-discovered the joy of playing. That’s what that record means to me. It was a place where I felt comfortable.
Did the band have any idea of how special that album was going to be?
We actually felt it might do the complete opposite. I remember at the time, no one wanted to manage the band. We had to beg the original Randy Rhoads-era manager to come out of retirement, and even he was skeptical. I was aware of the new wave of metal and the possibility of how the band might be accepted outside of L.A. because I’d been touring with Ozzy for a few years and we had Motörhead, Def Leppard, UFO and Starfighters open for us. I thought we might sell 50,000 albums, which was the watermark for a young band to make a new record. Then MTV happened and they started playing “Cum On Feel The Noize” every half hour. That made an incredible difference.
Of all the highlights of your career, is there one thing that stands out to you as most memorable?
Every single one has its own special memory. I can’t say that one was more memorable than another. Whether it was with Ozzy, Quiet Riot, Whitesnake or Dio, each one had a very beautiful arc –a beginning, a middle and an end. It’s more about the journey than anything else.