Tag: rudy sarzo

‘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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Off The Rails – A Review

It was 1990 and I was in the middle of writing a term paper for my college English class. The theme was biography and I decided to do mine on one of my favorite guitarists of all time, Randy Rhoads, who died in a plane crash in 1982.

Randy was a genius on his instrument. Much like Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen were in their prime, these gentlemen all took the instrument to an entirely new level. Randy Rhoads’ unfortunate passing took away the opportunity for music lovers to see what would have happened if a gifted guitarist crossed heavy metal with classical music. From the music he left behind the possibilities were endless.

Needless to say, trying to compose a term paper on a heavy metal guitarist was not easy at that time. Especially when there were no books on the subject and no Internet readily available. I was forced to use guitar magazines which, let’s be honest, are not the best material to gain any real insight on the subject.

Most of those magazines are nothing more than hero-worship anyway and are more interested in teaching you how to play guitar solos rather than what kind of person Randy was like. Where was Rudy Sarzo’s book “Off The Rails” when I needed it?

For those of you who don’t know, Rudy Sarzo is a bassist who performed with Randy Rhoads during his heyday with Ozzy Osbourne. Ozzy, who had recently parted ways with his long time band Black Sabbath, had just put together a new band to support his solo career and albums Blizzard of Ozzand Diary of a Madman.

In his book, Rudy discusses every detail of his life from the moment he was asked to join Ozzy Osbourne’s band along side Randy, right up until the plane crash that killed one of the greatest guitar players ever on March 19, 1982. The book not only gives you an insight on what it was like to be in the band with Randy, but also some of the most funny, outrageous and at times, depressing stories about life on the road you’ll ever read.

I originally contemplated using the term “Mr. Sarzo” when addressing the author in this review of his book but decided against it. The use of “Mr” is too formal and much better suited for addressing music business executives and for ASCAP royalty statements. After reading this brilliant book and learning so much about him (and Randy for that matter), I’m much more comfortable referring to him simply as “Rudy”.

Those who know me can attest to the fact that I definitely am not a literary connoisseur. Far from it if you really must know, but I took this book with me on vacation to Ocean City, Maryland and could not put it down.

Reading about Rudy’s laid back lifestyle, the wild stories of Ozzy and his beloved wife Sharon (who can now be seen as a judge on the show America’s Got Talent) and how Randy was ready to give it all up to get back to his love of teaching classical guitar was the perfect complement to my own personal ME time. Rudy’s writing style made me feel like I was actually sitting on the tour bus with him bearing witness to all the debauchery myself.

I found myself cursing fate when I discovered that Rudy and Randy had performed within 10 miles of my home but I was a mere eleven years old at the time and wasn’t even aware of the greatness that had come to my town. Oh, why couldn’t my parents have been listening to Blizzard of Ozz instead of ABBA’s Dancing Queen? I could have been one to bear witness to music genius.

Rudy spares no punches at all in this great read. He discusses the stories of drugs and alcohol abuse, how he met the love of his life, posts in-depth reviews from many of the shows during the tour and is even at times very critical of his own playing.

Most rock star books and biographies usually follow the same format: I have nothing, I got famous, I got drunk, I got high, I got into a fight, I got cleaned up. Although some of that is also included in this work, there’s so much more here to set it apart from the pack. The stories of Rudy’s encounters with bands like Motorhead, Def Leppard, Night Ranger and countless other groups well before their initial success makes this a must read for any 80’s music fan.

Rudy has a very casual, humble way of story telling and I could really only find one fault with it. On page two of the book, referring to his initial passing of a chance to audition with Ozzy and then getting another opportunity, Rudy mentions how lightning is not supposed to be able to strike twice. But in my view, lightning has struck at least a half-dozen times for Rudy Sarzo.

You see, in addition to finding his beloved wife and being in one of the greatest arsenals ever put together in heavy metal history, Rudy has also been a part of the following in his career as a bass player:

  • Quiet Riot: Their debut album, Metal Health, became the first American heavy metal record  to reach #1 on the Billboard charts selling millions of copies. On a personal note, when I heard “Cum on Feel the Noize” for the very first time back in 1983, I knew at that very moment I wanted to be a musician and play that song.
  • Whitesnake: Rudy Sarzo joined the rhythm section of this band just as their 1987 album began to take hold. Although Rudy did not play on the record he was part of the band at its highest point including the infamous Jaquar video “Here I Go Again”.
  • Dio: Rudy was able to perform with one of the greatest heavy metal vocalists of all time, Ronnie James Dio. Ironically enough, until Ronnie’s untimely death in 2010, Rudy performed alongside the man who had replaced Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath.
  • Blue Oyster Cult: Rudy is currently part of the band whose hits include “Burnin’ For You”, “Godzilla” and “Don’t Fear The Reaper”.

Ok, I’m through ranting. If you are a fan of Randy Rhoads, Rudy or any of the bands mentioned in this review then this is a book you definitely need to own. I can not say enough good things about it. Kudos to you Rudy for one of the best rock biographies ever.

I only wish you would have written this book 20 years ago. I’m confident that if you had, the “B” I wound up getting on my term paper would have been an “A” instead.