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20 Questions With Rudy Sarzo, 7/31/01



Quiet Riot Bass Player Rudy Sarzo

Jim Bob Dwarf has done it again! This time we sent him after Quiet Riot’s Rudy Sarzo! Jim Bob ventured to Chicago once again and with the help of Intern Lori, was able to secure some quality time with Rudy. Here is Jim Bob’s report:
Rudy was totally cool and was very down with the questions. What can I say, the man is a legend and I was honored to meet him. We conducted the interview in Quiet Riot’s dressing room backstage at the Tweeter Center in Tinley Park, Illinois and I got to meet the whole band. Kevin, Carlos and Frankie are totally nice guys and all seem very down with Sludge. I’d met Frankie a bit earlier in the day, in fact, when I was looking for Lori and totally lost. He seemed to be the only one that knew his way around backstage. He had to lead me by the hand to the production office. Thanks Frankie!
For those of you young Sludgeaholics, Rudy also played with Ozzy and Whitesnake back in the day, so we asked him a little bit about that as well.

1. What are you currently up to? This is your only chance to plug your tours, websites, albums, endorsements, etc.
Is this like a shameless plug? New record, "Guilty Pleasures"; our website – Quiet Riot Online, which has the Bulletin Board, which is basically the only part that I visit (since I already know everything about the band); and we’re here on the Glam Slam Metal Jam tour. After that, we’re just going to keep doing what we’ve been doing all along, which is touring.
Jim-Bob: Rock on!
Non-stop. AND…. always logging onto Metal-Sludge, every single day!

2. What is the status of Sarzo Music and are you still producing other artists?
The reason why I started Sarzo Music was, basically, I’d given up playing bass. I am not a 90’s player, I’m a traditional 70’s player that uh, you know became successful in the 80’s. Most of the bands that became successful in the 80’s were 70’s. Ozzy was a 70’s artist. And Quiet Riot was really a band that I originally joined in ’78, so it’s really a 70’s band and Whitesnake was of definitely a 70’s band. I’m rooted in 70’s music. When the 90’s came in there was a lot of bands that I just couldn’t relate to except for a very few, such as Stone Temple Pilots, which to me the interplay of the rhythm section reminded me a lot of the 70’s attitude, you know, like between John Paul Jones and John Bonham type of musicians. So I basically stopped playing. Just because I didn’t……I didn’t wanna put together a 90’s band because that’s not what I do. So I started producing bands that play rock in Spanish, since I speak Spanish, and because I thought there was a lot of potential, which obviously….it exploded. And I went down to Argentina, I produced a band, opened up a label through Caroline music and it’s was 24/7. And then what happened was, I…..I……I started becoming a……"suit", which I’m not, I’m a musician, I’m a bass player. You know. I like to help out other bands and produce and things like that but to get to become a record person, I am not a record company person. I really didn’t enjoy that. So I started playing back with Quiet Riot in ’97, and uh, the rest is history. You know so I don’t really have time to do both. I’m a bass player. That is what I do. So I decided once again to make this a full time thing. Oh and another thing I’d like to mention. I saw you guys have banners for Sonic Foundry, and I had done the first bass loop library on SonicFoundry.com. It’s called Working Man’s bass, so you can go download the bass loops on their site. The program’s called Acid 3.

3. What hard rock/heavy metal band should give it up and call it a day?
Oh man, you know this is……I think that if you’re honest, with yourself, you should take a look at yourself and say, I……I’m enjoying what I’m doing. Or am I doing this for the money, or am I kicking a dead horse. Or whatever, you know. As soon as you get up there and you can’t do from your heart honest music, I think that you should carry on as long as you want to.

4. What time did you wake up today, and can you describe the first 3 hours of your day for us.
What time did I wake up today? I usually like to wake up about……..8 hours before showtime. I made, in the bus, a made a little Cuban coffee, yan espresso. And Frankie and I, we share that, because it’s good for pooping. Because you have to time your poops on the road, you know.
Jim Bob: I guess so.
And then I took my vitamins and did my crunches, we got these ab-rollers, ab-sliders, you know, which is also good for your poop. You know, it stimulates your bowel movements. And uh, you just time everything up till showtime.

5. Rate the following bass players on a scale of 1 to 10. One being a complete dud and 10 being the cat’s meow.
Bobby Dall = Ok, as far as bass players go, we’re doing Rock And Roll. This is not brain surgery; this isn’t Jazz. And uh, to be honest with you…….I personally think that whatever musicians could go up on stage and project rock and roll at his finest, to me – that’s a great bass player. Because this is what it’s all about. So I’m going to rate each bass player on their Rock Star quality, and in that sense I give Bobby Dall a 10.
Chip Z’Nuff = Uh, you know, he has some really interesting choices of notes. I don’t think that he goes out there and projects……the glamour of it all, the way Bobby Dall does with Poison, but I think he’s a really good songwriter and he writes some interesting parts for his bass. But right now we’re talking about that rock star bassist. Uh, I would definitely give him an 8 ?, because he’s got a cool image about him, and he’s a super-nice guy.
Jerry Dixon = Jerry Dixon. Uh, I think that he was definitely a 10 in the old days and now I think he’s getting back into that whole image, so I think a 10 way back and I think he’s about a 9 right now. He’s almost back to what he was then, in that rock star appeal.
Nikki Sixx = Oh definitely a 10.
Gene Simmons = 20! (laughs) Definitely a 10.
Dana Strum = Dana, you know I’ve known Dana for a long time. I used to see Dana in a band called Bad Axe, way back in the Starwood days, when Quiet Riot was starting out in the 70’s. And uh, I think he tries really hard, but I don’t think that he projects. Why? I don’t know. But if I was a chick I would never want to fuck him.
Jim-Bob: I wouldn’t either.
So I would give him maybe a 7 ?.
Juan Croucier = Definitely a 9 ?. Definitely. Really really good bass player. Uh, he moves really well on stage. Yeah, definitely, a 9 ?. I don’t think he was a glamorous as Nikki Sixx or Bobby Dall. But he definitely added to the band.
Bob Daisley = Awesome bass player. I had the time of my life playing his bass lines live, because of course he recorded "Blizzard Of Ozz" and "Diary Of A Madman". "Diary Of A Madman" was in the can before Tommy Aldridge and I joined the band, so we first joined the band tour in ’81 for Blizzard, we went out there, then we took a break, then we went to Europe and started the "Diary Of A Madman" tour. And let me tell you, his basslines are world-class. So as a recording artist I definitely give him a 10. As for rock star appeal, oooh. You know he comes from a whole different 70s tradition. More of that very grounded, you know, type of bass player. He’s not a "glam" bass player, you know, he’s not a rock star. He’s not an MTV-generation-type bass player. So in that case, I give him a 6.
Jeff Pilson = Jeff Pilson, uh, definitely a 9, sings great, plays great, he moves really really good on stage, but he’s not as pretty onstage as let’s say Nikki or Bobby Dall. He doesn’t go for the glam thing. It’s a whole different thing. But I don’t think Dokken’s really a glam band. You know what I mean?
Jim-Bob: Sort of, but not.
Yeah. You know.
Robbie Crane = You know I’m not very familiar with him. I am not. But I hear he’s a very very good bass player. I’ve never had the opportunity to see him perform live yet. So I cannot really judge somebody whom I haven’t seen.

6. Tell us your fondest memory of the late and great Randy Rhoads.
Oh, there were so many. I mean…..(pause) My God, where do I start here. The fondest memory is actually the fact that a if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here. He was completely, 100% responsible for me meeting Ozzy Osbourne. You know, the fact that he helped me through the early days. ‘Cause, I mean, Sharon and Ozzy are wonderful people. But they can be pretty wacky! (laughs) And I got thrown into that, that, world, you know. It was like going on the biggest roller coaster ride of your life, you know. I went from sleeping on the floor, on Kevin’s floor, in his apartment. We were sharing a, a….you know, I was living with him, at his place, and I didn’t even have a bed. So I had a sheet. So, I was sleeping on this sheet, and I got a call to audition for Ozzy, and Randy really helped me out a lot. He’s the one who told Ozzy, "this is the guy." So my fondest memory was that if it wasn’t for him I’d…..be playing conga drums in a salsa band in Miami. (laughs)

7. How much was your biggest music-related check for and what’d you do with it?
Well……Single check. Oh my God. (pause) The one I really remember was getting a, a, one from Metal Health for selling like 3 or 4 million records, it really wasn’t that much for what it was. And a, but it was for $200,000. So that isn’t the one for the most money, but that’s the one I actually got to see. Because the only check with Whitesnake they were proportioned. They were like quarterly checks, but this one was like one lump sum. And uh, I bought my first house with it, you know, I used it for my down payment.

8. What’s your thoughts on the renewed success of Latin-American artists in the USA?
What’s my thought? Oh this is something that I (pause) have been dreaming of all this time. You know, I’m Cuban, and I think uh that there’s a lot of great rock musicians in South and Central America. I got the opportunity to witness that firsthand when I went to Argentina. I went to Mexico, and I’ve been exposed to some incredible bands, you know. Man?s, in Argentina, you have all these great…..you have like Animal, I think they are from Brazil. Do you know those guys? Angra. There’s an incredible movement. I think that language, and idiom, is just a tool to express yourself. It’s the music, to me, that really matters, whether you sing in Japanese or whatever, you know, that’s a tool to communicate. I think that Rock and Roll is an international language. It could be sung in any language. If you listen to Death Metal, does it really matter what language it is?! (laughs) As a matter of fact, I was uh……when the Grammy’s introduced a new category for Rock en Espanol (the Anglo Grammy’s, not the L.A.R.A.S.), I got a call from the Miami chapter, and the guy asked me to put together a list of 100 artists that have albums, you know, record deals. Released artists. That’s the way they introduce a new category. They ask a person to make a list of 100. And so I put them all together, dat-dat-dat-dat-dat-dat-dat, and at the end of the year, boom! – they created the Rock in Espanol category. One of the reasons being was that artists such as Gloria Estefan and Jon Secada, which were the ones, at the time, they were getting competition for more of the pop artists like Manas, so there’s a conflict, that category was very narrow but became very wide just because it was in Spanish. So there has to be some way to divide that category.

9. Have you talked to Bret Michaels at all during this tour?
Oh yeah.
Jim-Bob: Is he cool?
Very cool. All the guys here are cool. You have to remember I’ve already toured with all these guys. In 1990, when I was with Whitesnake, we did the Monsters of Rock. Poison, Aerosmith, we were all on the same bill. And we shared, in that time, the same management too.
Jim-Bob: So you’re all already familiar with each other then.
Yeah! As a matter of fact, yeah.

10. Which do you prefer and why:
Diary Of A Madman or Bark At The Moon = Oh, Diary. Diary. And why? Just listen to the record!
Jim-Bob: They’re completely different. And it’s got Randy on it!
It’s got Randy on it. And uh, I mean those songs that were composed during that period, to me, they’re all classics. When we did the Diary Of The Madman production rehearsals in England, Ozzy was, uh, uh…..well I’ll leave that to Ozzy to talk about. But we had a lot of time on our hands, Tommy Aldridge, Randy Rhoads, Don Airey and myself. And uh, we learned the whole album. What a GREAT record that is. It’s one thing to listen to the record; it’s another thing to dissect the parts and go, "Wow. This is really well written."
Leather Pants or Spandex = Spandex is easier to wash.
Jim Bob: Really?
Leather you can’t really wash, I think that’s why more people gravitate more towards spandex. Leather is way cooler looking, of course.
Jim-Bob: It’s gotta be hot! Especially on days like this out there.
Yeah it is hot.
Pablo Picasso or Salvador Dali = Oooh, that’s an excellent question. I probably lean more towards Dali.
Flashpots or Lasers = Flashpots or lasers. I go for flashpots.
Jim Bob: They’re louder.
They’re louder and have more of that fireworks/4th of July feel to them. Lasers can be a little goofy after awhile.
Penthouse or Hustler = Oooh, Penthouse.
Ricky Ricardo or Ricky Martin = As far as what? (laughs) What do I prefer? I met Ricky Martin, he’s a very nice kid. Never met Ricky Ricardo but I love "I Love Lucy." So I would go with Ricky Ricardo.
Taco Bell or Burger King = Oooh…..Burger King. B.K.! They have a great chicken sandwich.
Vegetarians or Hunters = Oh, vegetarians. Hunters? I don’t get it.
Wigs or Hair Extensions = Hair extensions.
Condition Critical or Guilty Pleasures = Oh, Guilty Pleasures. Yeah.

11. Which rock star deserves a smack in the mouth and why?
I would think that any rock star that in the 90s who turned their back on what they originally became successful at doing. The ones that tried to capitalize on the new trends.
Jim-Bob: Any names you want to drop?
I’d rather not. (laughs) They know who they are.

12. Have you ever charged anybody for your autograph

and what do you think about guitar players who wear sandwich signs asking fans for money to meet them?
Sandwich signs? No. Tell me about it.
Jim-Bob: There’s a certain guitar player on this tour who’s been doing that at the after-shows. I shouldn’t name names but he’s in the headlining act.
Jim-Bob: He goes around with a sandwich sign advertising autographs, photos, handshakes with him for $2 each or $5 for all 3.
You know what, CC is such a wild guy that he might be doing that as a goof. Cause you know CC doesn’t need the money. Believe me. He’s really a wild and crazy individual. He’s one of the funniest guys I’ve ever known. I first met him a long time ago. We actually got to play on a record together. "Wild Thing" from Sam Kinison. And Phil Collen was the other guitar player, from Def Leppard. But he didn’t get the credit because of politics and stuff. But I was very impressed with CC. He just went in there and he did a really great solo. He’s a really really good guitar player. I think Poison is a way better band today than they were 10 years ago. Everybody’s healthy, everybody’s sober, and they put on a great show out there.

13. If somebody offered you $1,000,000 to run onstage during Poison’s set and knock off Bret Michaels’ bandanna, would you do it?
Oh, no no no no no. Why? You know? Why bother.

14. What Quiet Riot song could do into a vault called "Songs That Fucking Suck?"
Uh, wow.
Jim-Bob: Every band’s got one.
Yeah. (pause) I know which one Kevin is gonna say. (laughs) There is going to be, and I haven’t heard this but probably Kevin will answer this, there’s going to be a reissue of, a remaster of Metal Health and what they did was went through the vaults and got out stuff that wasn’t finished yet, or stuff that wasn’t approved by the band. And there’s a version of a song called Danger Zone. And as soon as Kevin found out it was included…..
Jim-Bob: I’ll bet he was pissed.
He was very pissed, so I would say that. Danger Zone. That one should’ve stayed back in the vault.

(Intern Lori checks to make sure Jim Bob is going to come back after the show.)

15. Speaking of guilty pleasures, has Rudy Sarzo ever done any of the following (yes or no answers please):
Hit an animal in a car = Hit an animal….oh my God yeah, in Canada. It was late at night and we were going, we had just left the gig and were going towards the airport. I believe it was going from Edmonton to Calgary. We were going down to….yeah from Edmonton to Calgary, something like that, right. So I’m in the van and I see these 2 ducks or geese, whatever, in the middle of road. And they’re flying. And I go, "oh no." And one of them just goes, the butt hits the windshield and the head snaps back. CRACK. Big mess. You know, blood, feathers, crap, shit everywhere. Yes, I went duck hunting one time….in a van.
Jacked off in traffic = Nope! (laughs)
Slept with a prostitute = Slept? Nope. Not that I know of. Never paid for it, let’s put it that way.
Slept with an underaged girl = Not that I know of. Is this like, in all my life?
Jim-Bob: Well, you know. Like when I was 15 I was dating a 15 year old. You know, there’s that.
There you go.
Jim-Bob: So knowingly, in your adulthood, have you ever slept with an underaged girl?
No, nope.
Touched a penis other than your own = No. Not even by accident.
Had sexual thoughts about Tawny Kitaen = No.. I mean, no…you know I’ve been married for 17 years. Tawny? You know she was David’s lady.
Jim-Bob: One of those hands-off band things.
Yeah. You know.
Had sexual thoughts about Sharon Osbourne = No. No. No.
Sang along with a Backstreet Boys or N’Sync song = Yes.
Jim-Bob: Really? Which one?
No actually Britney Spears.
Jim Bob: Britney, I can handle that then. There’s nobody around, in the car.
Yeah. In the care, Britney. Yeah, sure. Most of those guys hits, they’re like the ballads. I’m not really into ballads. And I think Britney is very sexy.
Jim-Bob: And she’s legal now!
Yes. Legal. Yep, definitely Britney. Christina, (Rudy scowls) ahhh, I don’t like. She annoys me.
Seen Frankie Banali eat a Twinkie in the last week = He doesn’t eat Twinkies. We don’t have Twinkies backstage. Tasted semen = No. But I would like to know what it tastes like. So if somebody out there reads this……
Jim-Bob: Somebody’s gotta know. I could get you some phone numbers if you want. (laughs)

16. You played with Sam Kinison on his CD. Give us a good Sam story.
(pause) God, there’s so many. Holy shit. Good Sam Kinison story. (pause) Oh God, I gotta think about this one. I might say something that might incriminate someone else. Oh yeah! This is pretty good, ok. When we were making the "Wild Thing" video, there’s that Jessica Hahn segment where he’s wrestling with her, on kind of a wrestling mat, and was surrounded by all these musicians, all these celebrities, you know. And Slash was really fucked up. Really, really fucked up. So every time Marty Cohen would say shoot, OK, you know, action, to start that section. Slash would jump in. It was like, "Cut! Cut!" you know. He didn’t get it that he wasn’t supposed to be in there! We were just supposed to stand around, you know!
Jim-Bob: I’m surprised those tapes haven’t resurfaced.
Oh man! They gotta be around. They’re fucking hilarious. You know that part at the end where Slash is smashing the guitar and jumps in the can. Well what happened was he was (Rudy imitates smashing a guitar) for like about 10 minutes. And he was so fucked up, that he just couldn’t break it. So finally he just goes, "fuck it". Jumps in the can. It was hilarious! Really, it was hilarious.

17. Tell us what you remember about the following years:
1979 = Uh, left Quiet Riot
1983 = Joined Quiet Riot. (laughs) Metal Health! Metal Health went to #1.
1986 = (long pause) Nothing really happened to me in 1986 to me. I was playing, I, I believe that was the year that I did the, uh, um, Project M.A.R.S. Tony McAlpine and Tommy Aldridge. That’s what I did that year. Oh, and Rob Rock too.
1988 = Oh, 1988, it was a great year. I was on tour with Whitesnake headlining. Yeah. Awesome.
1990 = Again, touring with Whitesnake and doing the Monsters of Rock. Steve Vai in the band. Ah, yeah. Really good. Great year.
1993 = I moved to Florida. Trying to escape L.A. Riots and the fires and all that crap.
Jim-Bob: Did you go down south?
I spent it in South Beach. Was trying to break into the Latin music industry down there.
Jim-Bob: Well that’s the place to do it.
Yeah, if you’re in a Salsa musician. Going back there reminded me of why I left.

1997 = Rejoining Quiet Riot. Doing the show with a…..at the Marilyn Manson after-show party. We did two songs actually.
Jim Bob: Which songs did you do?
Come On Feel The Noize and Bang Your Head.
1999 = I believe we did a tour with……that was the Rock Never Stops with Ted Nugent. And I think that’s when we recorded Alive And Well.

18. Which singer on the Glam Slam Metal Jam has the worst hair challenges?
A. Bret
B. Jani
C. Kevin
D. Donnie
I’m not a hairdresser. (laughs) You’re asking the wrong guy.

19. How long do you think it’ll be before Jani Lane gets burnt out and up-and-leaves this tour?
I hope during this tour that it doesn’t happen, because everything is going really really good. And the audience is really enjoying the show. So, no, I hope that it doesn’t happen. He’s a very talented singer.
Jim-Bob: Dude, he looks great. (NOTE TO JIM BOB: Jani Lane does not look great. Brad Pitt looks great. Please make a note of that.) I saw him in December and I swear he’s lost like 40 pounds since then.
Oh yeah. He’s trying so very hard. I think that everybody’s trying really hard on this tour.
Jim-Bob: It all seems very professional.
It’s up to a website such as Metal-Sludge. Well, I think it’s Metal-Sludge being the only one to really keep everybody in check. ‘Cause if Metal-Sludge would have been around in the 80s, a lot of the shit that went down in the 80s would not have happened. It would’ve been a reality check. Instead of having magazines that were too complacent.
Jim-Bob: Right, like Circus and the RIPs and those magazines.
Exactly. No matter what happened, you know. With Metal-Sludge, nobody gives a shit if they hurt the audience’s feelings trying to expose the truth. So I think that’s why a lot of people are really keeping things in check out there nowadays. Just because there is a Metal-Sludge.

20. Have you patented the stage move of licking your bass? What’s up with that?
I stopped licking the bass. The only time I ever licked the bass was with Whitesnake. With Whitesnake it was a lick-a-thong. But then again, it’s that type of music. It’s very sexual. With Quiet Riot, there’s very little sexuality, if any. It’s all aggressions. It’s very…..teenage-angst type of music. Even with the ballads, like the one we played out there. On "Guilty Pleasures", there’s a couple of songs that are sung to females. You know, ballads. Even "Thunderbird", the one we did live today, is basically dedicated to Randy Rhodes. It’s not a boy-meets-girl type of lyric. With Whitesnake, it was like 75% females out there.
Jim-Bob: Especially in like ’88 to ’90.
Oh my god yeah! It was girl’s night out. It was a very sexual atmosphere.
Jim-Bob: Damn and I was like 14 or 15 years old then and missed the whole thing.
Oh, damn, you did. It was wonderful.

21. Time for Metal-Sludge’s Word Association. I’ll mention a name and you give me your thoughts.
Alice Cooper = Oh! Legend.
Sam Kinison = The funniest guy I’ve ever met.
Rikki Rockett = (long pause) I think…..trying to find the right word because (long pause)…..it’s very…..the way that expresses himself. You know, like the way he writes his diaries. They’re very interesting. And I think that he should write a book. I think that he’s an author in the making.
Steve Vai = The most focused human being I’ve ever met. This guy can do 100 things at the same time. If he decided to become a brain surgeon, he would do it.
Sharon Osbourne = (long pause) Single handedly, I would say, Ozzy’s savior. And, I would say, mine too.
David Coverdale = I miss the sound of his voice.
Jim-Bob: Have you heard his solo record that just came out? I haven’t heard it yet.
Yeah, I think he should…. put it this way, I think he should, I think somebody should tell David that he is Whitesnake and he should stop running away from it. That’s what I think of when I think of David. I think of somebody running away from himself. And like I said, I’m a huge fan of his.
Blackie Lawless = I don’t know him very well. I only know about him through Frankie, and Frankie has nothing but the best things to say about him.
Fred Durst = Oooh, you know, I know very little about him, but boy he’s got a band who has accomplished a lot in a very short amount of time. Big time.
Dana Strum = Dana Strum, uh, I have nothing to say about him. Um, what comes to mind about the guy is he’s the guy who introduced Randy Rhodes to Ozzy.
Spencer Proffer = (laughs) Oh boy. I don’t wanna get sued. Uh….what can you say somebody who did not pay me money. Until the point that he sold the label, or he folded it, or whatever happened to it, there was a period of 5 years that he stopped paying me. So he robbed me for 5 years I believe.
Kevin DuBrow = One of my oldest friends and a very underrated singer/performer.

I thought they were gonna be more vicious! You guys were very kind.
Jim-Bob: Well wait till next time.
Oh, any time, and it was actually a pleasure!

What Rudy said about us has to be one of our favorite quotes anybody has said. Let us go over what Rudy said one more time:
It’s up to a website such as Metal-Sludge. Well, I think it’s Metal-Sludge being the only one to really keep everybody in check. ‘Cause if Metal-Sludge would have been around in the 80s, a lot of the shit that went down in the 80s would not have happened. It would’ve been a reality check. Instead of having magazines that were too complacent.

Jim-Bob: Right, like Circus and the RIPs and those magazines.

Exactly. No matter what happened, you know. With Metal-Sludge, nobody gives a shit if they hurt the audience’s feelings trying to expose the truth. So I think that’s why a lot of people are really keeping things in check out there nowadays. Just because there is a Metal-Sludge.
Thank you very much! It’s good to see some people get it!

Thanks to Jim Bob for coming through once again!

For more info on Quiet Riot you can go to www.quietriotonline.com.

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