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Former Ozzy Osbourne Bassist Rudy Sarzo Talks Randy Rhoads, New DVD + More

Rudy Sarzo
Timothy Norris, Getty Images

Former Ozzy Osbourne, Quiet Riot, Dio bassist Rudy Sarzo is going to be the guest on Loudwire Radio this weekend. Sarzo is currently promoting the upcoming Ozzy Osbourne 30th anniversary ‘Speak of the Devil’ DVD documenting a live 1982 Ozzy Osbourne concert at Irvine Meadows in California. Check out a preview of Rudy Sarzo’s chat with Loudwire Radio host Sandman below:

Let’s get to the heart of the subject, which is the 30th anniversary of ‘Speak of the Devil’ the Live DVD of that concert filmed at Irvine Meadows in California in 1982 right after the death of Randy Rhoads and you were part of the band that night. The DVD is out and you were in Quiet Riot, you were in Ozzy’s band, and then you went back to Quiet Riot for the ‘Metal Health’ years. The question that I have for you is how difficult was it—I know Randy Rhoads and you were very good friends—how difficult was it for you to perform that material with Ozzy and not have Randy there?

Well, you know, mentally, for myself and for everybody involved, from the band, management, Sharon, the crew, everybody, we were all devastated. But we knew, we knew, that the worst thing we could do was actually cancel the tour because Ozzy saw himself in a terrible state, emotionally, spiritually, right after the crash. So I decided basically, we decided to continue touring just to keep him occupied. Basically keep him alive. Because he would have just drank himself to death otherwise.

So, taking that into consideration, we still had to deal with getting up onstage. Can you imagine, the first thing you hear every night when we were on that Diary of a Madman tour after Randy passed away, was Randy playing the opening to our show which was ‘Diary of a Madman’ on the classical guitar. If that doesn’t put you in a state I don’t know what is going to, you know?

So, you find yourself on stage listening to that, wearing the same clothes, going up and you look to your left once you enter the stage and somebody else is playing guitar, you know? We had to learn how to survive those shows. Personally—and I believe that everyone will share the same—it became a celebration. A celebration of Randy’s music, or his collaboration with Ozzy, or his friendship with all of us. And also, you know, the show became really a triumph of the human spirit, that’s the best way that I can put it. To be able to dig deep every single night and just find, deep down in our soul, find the strength to be able to do those shows.

You know, that is something that, when you watch the DVD, that’s what you’re going to be seeing. That’s what really separates that DVD from any other DVD of a concert performance that you have ever seen in your life. Because most of the DVD’s that you watch is actually a band performing and that’s it, there’s nothing else beyond that, there’s nothing else emotionally. That has to take place for us to be able to perform those shows after Randy. There’s really a… I mean, watching it again 30 years later, I couldn’t believe the energy, the power, the passion, the love, the celebration that I was actually watching once again.

It’s amazing too that after all that time you don’t look any different.

[Laughs] Eh, you know, vitamins, I’ve been married for 28 years, and rock ‘n’ roll. That’s all I can say. You know, rock ‘n’ roll has got to keep us young.

Absolutely, absolutely. The lineup that night besides Ozzy and yourself was Don Airey, who had previously been in Rainbow on keyboards, and Tommy Aldridge, who was an amazing drummer with Black Sabbath, and Pat Travers, who you also played with in Whitesnake, I believe as well.

Yes, absolutely, and a couple of other bands, Manic Eden, and the M.A.R.S. project with Tony MacAlpine. But you know what? This is something I often think about…Brad Gillis came in and really, really gave us an opportunity to finish the tour with dignity and doing justice to Randy’s music and his memory. He did a fantastic job. That has to be the toughest challenge he’s ever had in his whole career, just coming in all of a sudden and taking the roll of Ozzy’s guitar player after Randy passed away and he did an incredible job. Not only on that specific DVD but also with ‘Speak of the Devil’, um, haha, there’s two performances named ‘Speak of the Devil.’

One of them is the real recording of the Black Sabbath song on a CD that came out a long time ago, and then also the DVD that is now called ‘Speak of the Devil’ which was actually, the first time that it was broadcast, actually I believe it was the only time it was ever broadcast was on Halloween 1982 on MTV, Halloween night and that was called ‘Speak of the Devil’ and then after that it was shelved, it was never released before, officially, really. So, yeah, it can be a little bit confusing. Actually, the ‘Speak of the Devil’ DVD that is coming out, that is us performing the ‘Diary of a Madman’ Tour, with Brad Gillis. Then there is the ‘Speak of the Devil’ CD which is the re-recording of us doing…it’s the same band minus Don Airey…doing Black Sabbath/Ozzy era re-recordings.

Fans that know should definitely have both. Especially the new DVD ‘Speak of the Devil’, which I have got to believe has been digitally remastered and things like that before re-release.

Yeah. 5.1 Surround sound on the whole thing.

If I may just divert off the path just a little bit, I want to ask you about a couple things you’ve got going.

Yeah, I happen to be in a few things, the one I’m in right now our album came out today, it’s a band called Animetal USA. We’ve had a couple of albums out already on Sony Music Japan. And it’s an Anime-centric band, which again, it’s all about animation, but it’s the Japanese art form for animation which is called ‘anime.’ And our album is out [now] on Century Media worldwide. It’s a great band, it’s got Chris Impellitteri on guitar, Mike Vescera on vocals, and John Dette on drums, and myself. And we happen to be…it’s anime-centric so, of course, we are superheroes. And, haha, we wear outfits and kabuki make-up and all that stuff. It’s a lot of fun. I love it. It’s something I’ve never done before.

You also have something else called Tred, is that right?

That’s right, with AJ Pero, Mike Orlando on guitar and Stan Nelson on vocals, and it’s what I like to call a ‘tribal funk metal.’ To me rock and roll is very tribal. To me, what we do in a rock band, it goes back to when men first got together in a circle and started communicating with God, you know, beating on drums and things like that. To me, that is the ultimate music experience. And the band reminds me a lot of that and it reminds me of the circle of musicians, you’re connecting spiritually. So, it gives me an opportunity to get back into my Afro-Cuban roots. [Laughs] I was born in Cuba; I left there when I was 11 years old. So that spiritual, African beats and rhythms, they’ll always be with me. I’m not saying that we’re Santana but we’re definitely tribal. More tribal than any band I’ve been in. It’s just heavy and different and wonderful. So we’re just about finished with our record and it sounds amazing.

And fans can keep up with you on your website RudySarzo.com.

Yeah, and I have a Facebook. Rudy Sarzo on Facebook and Twitter. Those are some of the best ways to get a hold of me.

The ‘Speak of the Devil’ DVD is available for pre-order at Amazon.com in advance of its July 17 release.

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