‘Six Degrees of Sarzo’: Rudy Sarzo Talks New Radio Show, The Guess Who, Memorable Moments and More

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.

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Katie Daryl Previews New Season of AXS TV’s ‘The Top Ten Revealed’

Photo: Stewart-Volland AXS TV

AXS TV’s popular music countdown series, The Top Ten Revealedreturns for a second season with its premiere on Sunday, January 13 at 8:30pE/5:30pP with “Top Ten Roller Rink Tunes.” Hosted and executive produced by Katie Daryl, the eleven-episode winter season promises more laughs, surprises, and insightful anecdotes from a plethora of musical heavyweights.

Other episodes this season include a salute to some of music’s finest showmen in “Top Ten Crooners”; Double Studio albums and Drug Songs countdowns, as well as a tribute to the final year of the 1970s with “Epic Songs of 1979”.

Returning to join Daryl and lend their voice and rock expertise are icons Lita Ford, Dee Snider, Eddie Money and Steven Adler as well as legends like Mickey Thomas (Starship) Sebastian Bach, Steve Porcaro (Toto) and Kevin Cronin (REO Speedwagon).

In addition to the new season, Daryl is also hosting a FREE Reunion Party for The World’s Greatest Tribute Bands at the legendary Whisky A Go Go on Sunday, January 6th! Although this is not a televised event the evening promises to be a fun celebration of Daryl’s acclaimed show that aired for eight seasons on AXS TV.

I recently spoke with Katie Daryl about the new season of Top Ten Revealed and more in this exclusive new interview.

What can fans expect from the new season of “The Top Ten Revealed” in January?

I think fans are going to be pleasantly surprised at all of the new faces they’re going to see. Not only do we have returning favorites like Lita Ford, Dee Snider, Eddie Money, Steven Adler and Rikki Rockett, but we also have a lot of new faces as well, including artists like Sebastian Bach, Leif Garrett, John Five from Rob Zombie, Mickey Thomas from Starship and Steve Porcaro from Toto. It’s exciting to have this new insight and keep everyone interested not only in what the topic is about, but also in who’s going to talk about it.

Let’s discuss a few of the topics that will be covered this season. Where did the idea to compile a list of the Top Ten Crooners come from?

This is definitely one of my favorite episodes of the new season. I had overheard someone talking about Tom Jones at the office and I was like, “Tom Jones? Wait a minute. How fun would it be to do something that involves Tom Jones?” Then we started going down the list of crooners—Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Frankie Sinatra. I knew right away it was going to be fun, so we put the question out on social media. The funny thing is, as much as people love Frank Sinatra, he isn’t always someone’s go to favorite. There are a lot of lesser known, obscure, or one-step away from the Rat Pack guys as well. We focused on having a lot of singers talk about this episode because a lot of these guys have admitted to being influenced by these crooners. They have great stories about why they love them and how they influenced their careers.

Another interesting topic of conversation has to be Double Studio Albums.

That one became another big office debate. Originally, it going to be all double albums, but then someone mentioned Frampton Comes Alive and other live albums and it became too hard to narrow them all down. So, we decided to do studio double albums this time and maybe in an upcoming season we’ll do the live double albums.

What was the criteria for choosing a list of Top Ten Drug Songs?

We wanted to be very respectful of our viewers and make sure people didn’t think we were making an episode that celebrated drugs. It’s interesting conversation, not a celebration. The criteria was that the song had to either be about drugs and drug use, or interpreted by others as being a drug song. For instance, “Mr. Brownstone” is clearly a drug song, and we even have Steven Adler talking about how it was written and how terrible heroin was. But then there are other songs that are more debatable, like “Purple Haze.” Even though Jimi Hendrix himself had said it’s not about drugs but about a dream he had a lot of people still interpret it as Hendrix having the dream after being on drugs. It was looser criteria than some of the other lists, but it made sense in the long run.

What’s your favorite part of the process of creating an episode? 

My favorite part is booking the guests because at the end of the day I’m a rock star fan. When these people walk in the room, they’re musicians who’ve played on some of the best songs ever written and toured with some of my favorite bands. They always have interesting backstories and amazing personalities. I will say that my least favorite part is tallying the ranking. Because sometimes you just sit there and scratch your head and go “How is this possible? How is this #1?” [Laughs].

What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned about the musical tastes of AXS-TV viewers from doing these shows?

Our salt and pepper demographic really loves classic rock, but what’s also surprising is that they also tend to lean toward metal. The same person who says they love The Who and Rolling Stones is also voicing their opinion on a Megadeth song. It just goes to show that just because you like classic rock it doesn’t mean you’re old or not progressive with your musical tastes. It just means you have a core that you love but can still learn to appreciate other music as well.

Click here to watch the trailer for the new season of The Top Ten Revealed.

Although it won’t be televised you’re also having a reunion party for The World’s Greatest Tribute Bands at The Whisky a Go Go in January. What can you tell me about it?

This is going to be fun. The World’s Greatest Tribute Bands had eight fantastic seasons with so many bands to pay tribute to. In talking with the fans of the show I realized how much fun we had getting together every week at The Whiskey and doing the show. It was a fun, bonding experience and we missed each other. So, we decided to get the band back together and have a party. We’ll start by having an alumni/crew private VIP and then open the doors to the public. We’ve invited all past ticket holders to get a free ticket and we have K-Tel performing as our “house band.” They play a lot of the best and one-hit wonder songs of the 70s, so it will be easy to bring tribute guest stars like our Elton John and our Stevie Nicks up on stage with them. It’s a natural fit to have this backing band performing with some of the frontmen we’ve loved over the years with The World’s Greatest Tribute Bands.

The allure of tribute bands has never been stronger. To what do you credit to their success?

When I first started doing research for The World’s Greatest Tribute Bands I spoke to a very influential booking agent. He pointed out that the interest in booking these types of bands started shortly after the financial markets crashed in 2008. A lot of it was due in part to venues like casinos and the 2-3,000 seat venues who could no longer afford the expensive “real talent”.  People just weren’t spending their disposable income on a ticket. So, they turned to tribute bands to fill the void. It allowed people to not only save money but also see a high-quality performance. Of course, “The World’s Greatest Tribute Bands” and AXS TV helped knock it out of the park just as they were gaining their footing. It gave them a national platform to perform on.

Are there any other projects you’re currently working on?

We’ll actually be doing nineteen episode, split-season of The Top Ten Revealed in 2019. We have eleven episodes in January and then another batch of eight in the summer. The show has been so successful that Mark Cuban has specifically requested a spin off. Right now, I’m in the middle of pre-production on a new show launching in the spring that will complement this show very nicely on the network. If you like Top Ten Revealed you’re going to love this.

The new season of The Top Ten Revealed premieres Sunday, January 13 at 8:30 p.m. ET / 5:30 p.m. PT on AXS TV.

Interview: Brooke Josephson discusses working with DJ Rocky G on infectious Re-mix of ‘Mr. Fix It’

Following the release of her acclaimed pop-rock EP, Sexy N’ Domesticated, singer-songwriter Brooke Josephson teamed up with international house producer Rocky G for an infectious remix of her single, “Mr. Fix It.” The electro-house version, complete with a progressive beat and dreamy synths, taunts female domestication by encouraging women to find someone who can cater to her needs.

The accompanying music video for “Mr. Fix It” showcases psychedelic visuals of the artist intermingled with scenes of a Rocky G live performance as well as Josephson’s adorable nine-year-old daughter, Shira.

AXS recently spoke with Brooke Josephson about the remix of “Mr. Fix It” and much more in this exclusive new interview.

AXS: How did the idea to do a remake of “Mr. Fix It” come about?

Brooke Josephson: Over the summer I was reading stories about other women who were pursuing being independent artists (and other careers) while at the same time juggling being a full-time mom. I came across Rocky G’s video where she shared her story about being an international DJ and a mom of six. I thought that was amazing. So I reached out to thank her for her work and inspiration as well as to let her know what I had going on. She responded and the two of us started talking about collaborating. I sent her my music and we started dialoguing about the song and bouncing ideas for a video. She told me that she would be performing at an event in Amsterdam, so I flew over and that’s where we shot the video. We even incorporated some of the events into the video as well.

AXS: What was the process like for re-mixing your original song?

BJ: I sent Rocky G all the stems from the original recording. She laid down a beat, took the original vocals and then added filters and a few other effects to give it an electronic vibe. Then she added an original melody at the intro.

AXS: What was it like working with Rocky G?

BJ: It was so much fun. I quickly discovered that she’s the same version of me, only she was doing EDM music. Her normal routine includes doing shows from ten at night until five in the morning. Then she gets home and instead of going to bed, she stays up and gets the kids ready for school. Then she comes back home and naps and does her work until she has to pick them up again. The same juggle I do in L.A. is what she’s doing in Amsterdam. Even though our styles of music are different our lives are very similar and the drive for what we do is very much the same.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Brooke Josephson by Clicking Here!

Interview: Singer-songwriter Elizabeth Chan discusses her beautiful holiday album, ‘Best Gift Ever’

With a specialty in Christmas music, singer-songwriter Elizabeth Chan’s passion for the holiday has driven her to a career that’s unique from other recording artists. Case in point, her new album, Best Gift Ever, which is sure to become a soundtrack of the season.

Led by the infectiousness of the album’s title-track and Chan’s original renditions of such classics as “O Holy Night,” “The First Noelle” (aptly re-named in honor of her daughter), and the unearthed classic, “For Unto Us,” Best Gift Ever gives listeners a refreshing mix of tradition and universal acceptance.

In addition to the new album, Chan is also lending her voice to various charities and radio shows across the country. For her, it’s an honor to not only share her music with the world, but also to give back for the greater good.

AXS recently spoke with Elizabeth Chan about Best Gift Ever and more in this exclusive new interview.

AXS: What inspired you to take on a career as a Christmas songwriter and producer?

Elizabeth Chan: I’ve always wanted to write Christmas music from a very young age. When I was growing up, there was a radio station in New York City that went all Christmas every year, and I remember whenever the station would turn me and my sister would leave the radio on twenty-four hours a day. It wasn’t something I knew I could make a career out of until after I already had another career. I always knew I wanted to be a musician, but eventually chose a different path. Then about eight years ago, I had what I guess you’d call a quarter-life crisis. I thought, either I could keep working at the career I was at or do something that makes me happy. I think people are given one shot to do something with their life, and for me, it was music. I thought back to the one time in my life when I was truly happy, and that was when I listening to Christmas music and writing poems. I decided to give myself a shot, and here I am.

AXS: What’s your writing process like?

EC: I’m highly inspired by my family but also approach songwriting like a muscle you flex. I write Christmas music all year long. In the beginning, I’d force myself to write at least one Christmas song every day. Most of them were bad but I quickly amassed a vault of Christmas music. I now have my own sifting method where I’ll wait and see if I can recall a melody and lyrics of a song I wrote several years later. That’s how I know it has a classic, timelessness to it.

AXS: Let’s discuss a few original tracks from Best Gift Ever, starting with the title track. What’s the story behind it?

EC: My husband is the most-simple, happiest guy on the planet who never wants anything for his birthday, anniversary or Christmas. I’m always prodding him by asking, “What do you want? What do you want? What do you want” [laughs]. The bridge is always his answer: “Don’t worry about me. I have everything I want.” It’s also a universal theme with people. Every year, there’s always that sense of hey, what do you want this year? It was a good opportunity to write a song about the way everyone feels.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Elizabeth Chan by Clicking Here!

Interview: 98 Degrees’ Nick Lachey discusses group’s holiday tour, Christmas memories and career highlights

Photo: Elias Tahan

Last year, the group 98 Degrees (which features Nick Lachey, Jeff Timmons, Drew Lachey and Justin Jeffre) released their critically-acclaimed Christmas album, Let It Snow. It was followed by a seasonal tour that showcased the group’s signature R&B-laced, four-part harmony on Christmas songs both past and present.

This holiday season, the foursome is back on the road with a brand new holiday show that highlights songs from both Let Is Snow as well as seasonal favorites from their first Christmas album, This Christmas, and some of the biggest hits spanning their more than 20 year career.

AXS recently spoke with Nick Lachey about the new 98 Degrees tour, his favorite Christmas memories and more in this exclusive interview.

AXS: How has the new 98 Degrees tour been going?

Nick Lachey: It’s been great. We started in Canada and then went to the West Coast and are now making our way East. We did it last year and had such a great time that we thought why not take it out again. It was fun to put together a little bit of a different show than last year, and the crowds and their response have been great. We’ve been having a blast.

AXS: What can fans expect this time around?

NL: It’s a similar vibe to last year but a very different show. It’s a great blend of holiday songs, including songs from both of our Christmas records, all mixed with the classic 98 Degrees songs people have come to expect from us over the years. It’s a great balance of both. Since it’s the holidays, people are in a great mood and are getting into the spirit, so it makes for a fun evening.

AXS: In your opinion, what makes a great Christmas song?

NL: A great song is a combination of melody, lyrics message and performance. But when you write original Christmas songs it’s a little bit trickier. There are so many great Christmas songs that have set the bar to a certain level. You’re also a little pigeon-holed in what you can talk about, but that’s the challenge of it. For our song, “Season of Love,” we knew we wanted it to be about peace, love and the idea of why can’t we feel this way all year along. Why does it only have to be at Christmas?

AXS: What are some of your best memories of Christmas when you were growing up?

NL: As a kid, I remember how my family would always go to midnight Christmas Eve services at my church. I was always excited about staying out late and knowing that once you came out of the service, it was Christmas. I remember there was one particular night when we came out of the service and it was snowing. It couldn’t be any more perfect.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Nick Lachey by Clicking Here!

Interview: Author Mark Eglinton Discusses Working with Ken “K.K.” Downing on guitartist’s Autobiography, ‘Heavy Duty: Days and Nights in Judas Priest’

Mark Eglinton is a best-selling author and biographer with an uncanny ability to perfectly capture a subject’s voice on the written page. His musical accomplishments include co-writes with such artists as Pantera bassist Rex Brown, and his acclaimed 2017 biography on James Hetfield, “So Let It Be Written,” used exclusive, firsthand interviews to construct a definitive account of the life of the Metallica frontman.

Eglinton’s latest project teams him up with former Judas Priest guitarist, Ken “K.K.” Downing for Downing’s insightful new autobiography, “Heavy Duty: Days and Nights in Judas Priest.” In it, Downing takes readers on a journey from his impoverished childhood to some of the biggest stages in the world. Along the way, Downing gives an emotional recounting of his life and discusses all the highs and lows of his career, including a re-telling of events that led to his departure from the Priest following their epic 2008 double album, Nostradamus.

AXS recently spoke with Mark Eglinton about “Heavy Duty: Days And Nights In Judas Priest,” and more in this exclusive new interview.

AXS: When did the idea for doing a biography with K.K. Downing originate?

Mark Eglinton: The first contact was somewhere around 2015. I’d seen interviews with K.K. and always thought he was a soft-spoken, sensitive guy who had a good story to tell. At the time, K.K. was involved in his business, so getting time with him was difficult. We were limited to talking on weekends, where we got to know each other. The initial feedback was really good and from there the project was on.

AXS: As a music fan, tell me about your relationship with Judas Priest.

ME: Priest was one of the first bands I became aware of when I started listening to heavy music. I was at boarding school and was struggling with being homesick. Another guy who was a few years older than me gave me a tape with some music on it to keep me going. On that tape, among other things, was music from Lynyrd Skynyrd, Free, Boston, and a track from Sad Wings of Destiny called “Victim Of Changes.” It was something I’d never heard before. From that point on, I started digging into Priest. I’ve always been a fan of the band and K.K.’s part in it. He’s so down to earth and the same guy no matter how good or bad things are going.

AXS: What did you love most about their music when you listened to that tape?

ME: The darkness. I loved Boston’s “More Than A Feeling.” Those harmonies were a whole new world, and it was the same with the good-time feeling of Skynyrd. But Priest had something else. Sad Wings of Destiny had darkness and space. You could hear all of the instruments and it sounded so great. Those early Priest albums had the ability to conjure a world that really appealed to me at that point in my life.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Mark Eglinton by Clicking here!

Broken Hope Guitarist Jeremy Wagner Showcases His Impressive Collection of Jeff Hanneman Gear

Jeremy Wagner, noted horror author and main riffer for death metal band Broken Hope, has been busily completing a gallery he’s aptly dubbed “Wagner World.” The 4,000-square-foot, music-studio/horror-and-rock memorabilia museum is a tribute to his favorite guitarists and includes rare instruments from the late Jeff Hanneman (Slayer) and Paul Gray (Slipknot), as well as Metallica’s Kirk Hammett.

In this exclusive interview, Wagner offers Guitar World a peek at his latest acquisitions. He also discusses his admiration for Hanneman, his latest novel and much, much more.

What was it about Jeff Hanneman and Slayer that first appealed to you?

I still remember the moment I decided I wanted to be metal guitar player. It was when I heard Metallica’s Ride the Lightning. I was floored and couldn’t stop listening to it. I immediately went on a mission to find the heaviest music and that’s when I found Slayer’s Hell Awaits. But it wasn’t until Reign in Blood came out that I discovered Jeff Hanneman had written all my favorite songs and riffs and was an awesome lyricist. It was another turning point. The thing that drew me was the extreme nature of his writing. He had this incredible talent to take aggression and extreme guitar playing and mix it with the catchiest riffs you’ve ever heard. He was a big source of inspiration to me on all levels.

When did you start collecting Hanneman gear?

I’ve been collecting gear and different instrument for years, especially vintage Marshall heads and ESP guitars from the Eighties. During this time, I developed a close relationship with Matt Masciandaro, the president of ESP, and became aware of an auction Jeff’s widow, Kathryn, was going to have. I had the unique opportunity to buy direct from her.

Where do you keep your acquisitions?

I’ve got a renovated property near my house that sits on six acres of land. The first floor is where Broken Hope rehearses and where I have a bunch of memorabilia that I like to call the “Jeff Hanneman Museum.” It has a number of Jeff’s awards and prints of live shots of Jeff rehearsing. In that same room is a vault where I have many of Jeff’s original guitars and Eighties-era ESPs hanging on the racks. There’s also a “Paul Gray Museum.” Paul was a friend who always loved Broken Hope and the two of us would talk frequently. I’m also a fanatic about 1984-86 Metallica and have an impressive collection of horror memorabilia.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Jeremy Wagner and See Photos
of his impressive collection by Clicking Here!