Interviewed by Brian Rademacher
Date: December 2010
Brian Rademacher: Hey Rudy, itís Brian from RockEyez.
Rudy Sarzo: Hey, how you doing?
Brian Rademacher: Good, howís everything going today?
Rudy Sarzo: Everythingís going terrific. How was your Thanksgiving?
Brian Rademacher: Pretty good. How was yours?
Rudy Sarzo: I had a magical one myself.
Brian Rademacher: Thatís great. So I see "Off The Rails" is a smash hit book, you must be very proud?
Rudy Sarzo: Yes I am and the biggest reward I got is to tell the story of Randy Rhoads coming from someone who worked with him in QUIET RIOT and in Ozzy. I got to see the growth that Randy had. Itís like a metamorphosis as a musician without losing the original humanity that Randy had as a teacher and a friend from the QUIET RIOT days. A lot of people ask me what I remember the most about Randy and my answer was he was a teacher. I learned a lot from him and really he was a teacher. He taught at his Momís school, Musonia, and I got to watch him because I was a bass teacher at the school. Even if you watch video of Randy with Ozzy and the way he is holding the guitar he was like giving the first twenty rows a guitar lesson right there on the spot. Randy always shared knowledge and information. The book also gave me closure because I was carrying that story with me for twenty-five years; I had a chance to tell the story about the crash and everything else. I felt I had to write about Randyís death and how it effected everyone and how it changed our life. I have never been the same after that.
Brian Rademacher: There is no one out there that has that impact right now that Randy had.
Rudy Sarzo: Oh No, itís amazing because he had that impact before MTV and the mass media or mass exposure that others have at this time. He did it on a daily basis going from town to town. We would schedule the tour by regions and he would be on the spot every time, he would paint that same masterpiece every time and at his worst Randy was great at his best he was Randy Rhoads.
Brian Rademacher: Do you plan another book at some point?
Rudy Sarzo: No, because there was only one motivation to write the book (and it was) to tell the story of Randy. I am really not motivated right now but I might write a book on a whole different subject. If I wrote another book it would be more of an advice book. Kinda of the same advice I give at the rock and roll fantasy camp.
Brian Rademacher: Coming from Cuba do ever go back to visit and how much has it changed since you can remember?
Rudy Sarzo: I havenít been back. But the whole world has changed and I hope it has changed after fifty years later. I mean I drive down the Sunset Strip and itís not the same from twenty years ago.
Brian Rademacher: Working with so many high profile artists who would you say had the best attitude?
Rudy Sarzo: They all did in their own way. Even the ones that were hard and demanding of me were always harder on themselves. It inspirers me and especially guys who have been doing it so long and still find a way to take it to the next level. Iíve been around about twenty five years, first starting with Ozzy and QUIET RIOT than WHITESNAKE and back with QUIET RIOT. I even got to play with Yngwie Malmsteen before I got to play with Ronnie James Dio and when I thought I experienced everything playing with Ronnie was taking it to another level. Seeing someone from RAINBOW to BLACK SABBATH to Dio he kept pushing it and looking for that next level. From his story telling to his performances, the band everything, when I thought I learned everything Ronnie taught me a very important lesson.
Brian Rademacher: Did you get to talk to him before his passing
Rudy Sarzo: We visited him at the hospital, we were with him the day before he passed away but he was sedated because of the pain. I talked to him four or five days before he passed away and he took a turn for the worse suddenly. One day he got the green light that he was clear and five days later he was on his death bed. It was very shocking, I got a call to come by the hospital because heís wasnít going to make it. It was all of our hopes and prayers that Ronnie was going to beat it and then everything was shattered in an instant. I was devastated! A year ago we were suppose to go off on tour Nov 16th 2009 was the last rehearsal we had when we heard the news but there was hope because he was original diagnosed with stomach ulcers and it was not a definite it was cancer but future testing proved to be cancer. It was two days before the tour that we were going to leave for the tour and a year later it still hasnít sunk in that Ronnie is not with us. He was working on Magica, Magica II and III and actually we would be working on those records at this time and Ronnie had huge plans.
Brian Rademacher: When did you take interest in digital animation?
Rudy Sarzo: Put it this way, I donít drink, Iím not a drinker so if I wasnít doing the animation I would be drinking with the guys at the airport drinking being very bored. I was a film major in college and today you have tools available to you. I take my laptop on the road with me that I use to record audio and I can use the same CG software to edit film or to create animation. I love 3D; itís like you are in it. You always have to have a visual representation.
Brian Rademacher: Were you asked to take part in the new WHITESNAKE or did you even have interest in that?
Rudy Sarzo: I havenít played with WHITESNAKE since 1994; I donít think about it until someone like you brings it up. Itís not like Iím sitting around waiting for a phone call. Life goes on with David and I go on with other bands. I love WHITESNAKE and have incredible memories and rewarding memories being in that band. Itís like people throw parties and you donít get invited. Hey, you just go to another party!
Brian Rademacher: VH1's Rock Ďn Roll Fantasy Camp? Tell us all about it.
Rudy Sarzo: I have been doing it for a couple years and the biggest highlight is to take complete strangers and put them in a room and create one single entity in a matter of hours. We get together on Fridays and Saturday, we perform two covers and learn an original song with a special guest who will be performing with the band and Sunday we perform three songs live. Thatís a lot to accomplish for a group of strangers with different skill levels. That is rewarding and challenging and makes it a special event. We get doctors and lawyers and military personal plus moms and we get a new generation of musicians. Recently I just had a young musician from Canada that was seventeen years old his name was Shaun and he wanted to do JAMES GANGís "Funk 29". I was seventeen when that song first came out. The guy had magic in his fingers; it was awesome. We built the band around that kidís talent. It was great. The camp is about bringing out the personal best in each individual. Music belongs to everybody. I have multi-platinum records hanging on my walls from every band I was in but before that I was a musician. I never knew if I was going to make it. Before that my first job was a busboy in Miami. I bought my first Gibson and gear back in the late sixties. I started playing bars with QUIET RIOT on the weekends and I worked during the week at a place called MacNaturals. I cooked veggie burgers and healthy stuff but I was always a musician it was a block and a half from the Whiskey and the QUIET RIOT fans would come and I would serve them smoothies and healthy stuff. I would close the place, mop up the floors and then get my guitar and walk the block and a half and turn into Rudy the bass player for QUIET RIOT (both laughing). Even though I was flipping burgers I was always Rudy the bass player for QUIET RIOT that was my identity.
Brian Rademacher: Have you added any new basses to your collection?
Rudy Sarzo: Basically the only time I add a new bass guitar is when itís a prototype for a new model that I am working on. There are a couple of basses I would like to acquire for my collection. I use the word collection loosely because I donít keep them in their cases I play them all. I donít believe they should be collected. I tell all my friends, and I hate to be called a hippie or anything, but just imagine the DNA that goes through a Jimmy Page guitar, do you think that should be put in a case for a collection. Just say you picked up Jeff Becks guitar thereís so much love and so much magic thatís been put through it that it would feel different. I tell my friends no matter how many instruments you have to play them all as much as you can. They were made to be played and not be hanging on the wall for a collector. Itís like a beautiful women should be made love to and not locked up in a room!
Brian Rademacher: So after a tour what do you do with your basses?
Rudy Sarzo: Only in certain cases that I see someone who needs an instrument that I can make a difference in their life I would give them one with the approval from the manufacturer.
Brian Rademacher: So do you collect anything?
Rudy Sarzo: No, Iím not much of a collector. I think things should be shared and not kept but my wife she collects "I Love Lucy" dolls.
Brian Rademacher: What are your thoughts on Frankie Banali reforming QUIET RIOT?
Rudy Sarzo: I think itís great that he is keeping the legacy alive. Itís the same line-up before Kevin passed away. I think itís wonderful that Frankie is continuing. I know a lot of people want to hear those songs and it all comes down to that.
Brian Rademacher: Was there ever talk about putting a "classic" Ozzy line-up back together (Ozzy w/ Aldridge, Jake E. Lee or Zakk Wylde and yourself?)
Rudy Sarzo: No I have no idea I havenít been a member of that band for thirty years.
Brian Rademacher: What do you have coming up right now in your busy schedule?
Rudy Sarzo: I just finished a big long tour with B.O.C.. I have a lot of Rock Ní Roll fantasy camps. The first one is in 2011 with Roger Daltry as a special guest is in New York, than the Bahamas with Ace Frehley, Lita Ford and Tommy Lee and there will be more camps after that. I will be back with B.O.C and other projects Iím working on
Brian Rademacher: If someone asked you to name something that people might not know about you what would it be?
Rudy Sarzo: Even though Iím Cuban and Cubans are known for dancing, I canít dance. People ask me do I salsa. I canít dance!
Brian Rademacher: Rudy I appreciate you talking to me once again and itís always great talking with you
Rudy Sarzo: Itís my pleasure Brian have a great holiday season. Bye.