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  CHRIS DALE'S METAL MELTDOWN
A CONVERSATION WITH RUDY SARZO
September 2012


chris dale



Rudy Sarzo: "I must keep playing until I play in a free Cuba!"

I'm very lucky in that I get to interview quite a few heroes on my TotalRock radio show (www.totalrock.com Thursdays 3-6pm UK time). I've grown quite accustomed to it but a couple of weeks back even I got a little starstruck when I was told I was going to talk to one of my all time bass heroes, Rudy Sarzo.


For those of you that don't know Rudy played in Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne's Blizzard of Oz, then Quiet Riot again, then Whitesnake, then Project Driver, then Quiet Riot again, then Yngwie J Malmsteen's Rising Force, then Dio, then Blue Oyster Cult and now he's in Animetal USA and just today he has been announced as a member of the Queensryche version fronted by Geoff Tate. That's a pretty good resume. You might understand why I was a little daunted.

I thought I'd play it cool and open with a snappy: "Hi Rudy, how you doing?"

"Hey Chris, I'm doing terrific, thanks"

All was fine so far. "Let's start by telling us about your new project, Animetal". This is easy, I thought.

"Yes, Animetal USA."

Not such a good start, I'd got the name of his band wrong. But only slightly wrong.

"Are you familiar with the Japanese animation art form, anime?"

I found myself saying "yes" but meaning "no". I was on the back foot now.

"Our theme is doing speed Metal versions of anime theme songs."

"It sounds like a brand new concept?" I ventured.

"Actually there was a another Japanese Anime-metal band about 20 years ago."

Ooops, wrong again... don't tell him!

"The whole concept was resurrected by our singer Mike Vescera. He got together with our record company, Sony Music in Japan, and brought up the idea of resurrecting it. So basically all the members in the band were either anime fans or like in my case, I'm also a 3D animator so I get a lot of inspiration from the graphics and visuals and all the storylines."

I asked him more about his computer animation work; surely this band was the perfect crossover for his music and his computer work?

"Absolutely, absolutely! I started back in 2005 when I joined Dio and were getting ready to do the 'Holy Diver Live' tour and Ronnie came up with the idea of having him on the screen talking to the audience that was only going to be for a few seconds so we were going to be carrying this massive rig to deal with that so I just said how about if I just create some original footage, some animation.

"At the time when I opened my mouth I didn't know how to do it! Haha ha! But within a few weeks I'd created this animation that we added onto Ronnie talking, so that's when the whole thing started and I just fell in love with the whole process."

Oh good he was laughing! Actually I was getting the idea that he was a really nice guy. I relaxed a bit and asked about how he got to play with all those great bands?

"As a bass player I've been very, very blessed and I've played with some of the greatest musicians. I mean that not only as a musician but as a fan."

Ozzy Osbourne - Over the Mountains (Live)



"You know, I've always been a fan of Ozzy back in Black Sabbath and I got to play with him in the band 30 years ago. I got to play with Coverdale in Whitesnake. I'm a huge fan of Deep Purple and his contributions to them and the band Whitesnake itself.

"And then with Ronnie, because I was a member of the band from 2004 until his passing, so to be able to be onstage with him while he's singing songs from Rainbow, Black Sabbath and Dio- I tell you, those were some of the most significant moments of my life."

Dio - Tarot Woman (Live)



He was being very cool and humble about it all. So those are the singers, next I asked him to name his favourite three guitarists he'd worked with? I think we knew who his favourite was going to be.

"OK I'm scanning through my brain from band to band to band... I would like to say Randy (Rhoads) because of the whole package. Not only was he an incredible musician, he was also an incredible composer and human being. I learned so much from him and what a great performer. He ran the gamut and that's why he is the legend that he is today

"I'd like to say the next one would definitely would be Steve Vai. He's very, very unique. I learned a lot from Steve also. He comes from the school of Zappa. I guess Frank Zappa shared with him so much knowledge and when I played with Steve on the 'Slip Of The Tongue' record I learned so much from him because he's always one of those guys who's willing to share information. Not only about music but also about multi-tasking and just life, even food and eating habits.

"He's a very healthy human being. I believe he's vegan today. At the time he was vegetarian."

Whitesnake - Slide It In (Live)



"The other one I'd have to say is Tony MacAlpine. I got to play with him in Project Driver. What an exceptional musician he is! He's a classically trained concert pianist and he then he took all that musical knowledge from the piano and applied it to his guitar playing. I've got to say he's a genius.

"That's the top three guitar players and then there's so many others like Adrian Vandenberg - what a great guitar player to play with - and Chris Impelliteri from Animetal USA. He's an incredible, outstanding musician. I'm also playing with a band called Tred where we have Mike Orlando who's the guitar player in Adrenaline Mob. That's another outstanding guitar player.

"So you know I'm so blessed to have played all these great musicians!"

He certainly is, and to think that Yngwie J Malmsteen hasn't even come into the list yet...

"Oh Yngwie, yes of course! You know with Yngwie I was only there for about three months so it was kind of like I got a taste of playing with Yngwie. I had a wonderful experience but it wasn't like a long period.

"It wasn't like, let's say, with Tony MacAlpine. We got to make a record. We spent a lot of time together - he used to live at my house. I had a whole different experience with Tony. You know, I can't say enough great things about Tony."

Project Driver - I Can See It In Your Eyes (Audio)



"Of course with Randy, the touring and I was also playing with him in Quiet Riot so that was a different experience again. With Steve not only did we make the record at the time but we did a whole tour for that that. With Yngwie it was only about three months but definitely a very rewarding and significant time.'

Then we had an email in from Sasquatch Bob from the Ozzbest tribute band, asking Rudy about the crazy stage outfits he must have worn in different bands over the years.

"Actually the craziest one is the one I wear is with Animetal USA now because all the members in the band are anime-centric. We're an actual part of the anime world now. We are superheroes, ha ha ha!

"So I've got this crazy outfit with this crazy make up on. It's Japanese kabuki make up. I'd say that would be the craziest stage persona I've ever had.

"If anybody's interested there's plenty of pictures of us on the internet or you can go to my Facebook and just catch a glimpse of what Animetal USA is all about."

Animetal USA - Live



I told him that I'd had a look and thought it looked great. "I was always a big Kiss fan and also a Quiet Riot fan so for me seeing Animetal USA it's like the guy from Quiet Riot in Kiss make-up. Could it possibly get better?"

"Ha ha ha, Quiet Riot with Kiss make up? I don't know about that!!!! Hah ha..."

He sounded like he might choke laughing on that idea, so we came back to his book 'Off the Rails'. For me it was a great book, being an honest and sober account of the 'Blizzard of Oz' and 'Diary of a Madman' tours with Ozzy Osbourne. I asked if he had anything planned to write about his years with Quiet Riot or Whitesnake for example?

"No, because my only motivation to write 'Off The Rails' was to answer the number one question that I get asked as I travel around the world which is 'What was it like to play with Randy Rhoads?'.

"And every time I'd spent five or ten minutes with somebody sharing some stories, I'd always walk away feeling that I hadn't said enough. I'd walk away thinking, oh my God, I should have mentioned this or that, all the stories, you know.

"So I just figured, let me just put it in a book. That way its all there. That way I just have to say if you really want to know what it was like to play with Randy Rhoads, here's the book, check it out. And that was the only reason.

"I'd like to write a book about other subjects, more motivational books.

"To be honest with you, I really don't believe I am done. You usually take a look back on your life when you're done. When you think this is it, I've got nothing else to contribute, to music or anything else. But I'm just getting started to be honest with you!"

"So what keeps you inspired?" I asked.

'Right now what keeps me inspired, that's a great question, right now really if I'm able to bring up one reason why I'm able to keep going is because of technology. The thing with technology is you can say the glass is half empty or half full. Its the same thing with technology and music.

"Some musicians will look at it and say, 'oh man why should I make a record now because people are going to steal it or download it illegally or whatever?' And I look at it and say, 'you know what, I'm gonna make records because now I have the technology available so I can really make the true statement of what musically I want to communicate.

"Right now I'm making the type of records that are really close to me, not because of commercial reasons. If they are successful, for example if Animetal USA goes number one in Japan, great. Hopefully it will soon be around the world but that is not the reason why we are making Animetal records.

"We want to give back to the Japanese fans who have been supporting our music for decades. Even when it wasn't trendy in other parts of the world the Japanese will still embrace your music if you deliver quality music to them.

"That is one of the main reasons we do Animetal USA and we always try to maintain the highest calibre of musicianship in it. Why we are able to do so is because we each have our own studio facilities which we can record on.

"Right now the budgets are not as high as they used to be. You have to deliver a high quality recording under a certain budget.

"So with the exception of the drums, the drums are recorded in an old fashioned recording studio with all the mikes and preamps as well as the mixes, but as far as recording our own individual tracks we just take them to out own home studios and it doesn't cost anything apart from electricity basically.

"So we're able to really put in 1000% effort into each track and deliver the highest quality of musicianship on those records. And that keeps me going, that really keeps me going because it's not about you've got three or four days to do your bass and that's it. No, you can really put in the most effort to every single track that you do."

Then my six-year-old son and radio co-host, Archie, asked him: "When did you start rock and roll?"

"I started rocking even before Chuck Berry, ha ha ha ha! That is a great question and usually out of the mouths of babes you get the best questions. It's interesting because I was actually born in Cuba which today is a communist country.

"But I was born before it became communist so I left Cuba when I was eleven-years-old and I went to the United States. I left Cuba because it became communist country, and communism takes freedom away from its people.

"When my family moved to the United States, the first music that I was exposed to was rock and roll. Rock and roll actually became banned in Cuba. Anything that was from America, including jazz, including the saxophone was banned in Cuba at the time of the revolution.

"So to me rock and roll symbolises freedom which is something that my family left our country for. That's what it means to me.

"So I started rocking once I became free once again."

Quiet Riot - 'Bang Your Head' ('Metal Health') (LIVE)



It seemed he took rock and roll a bit more seriously than some of us. I asked more about Cuba: "Would you go back there if they changed their government system?"

"Yes, I'd be the first in the line up. As soon as communism and the present regime ends and it becomes a democracy I'll be the first guy. I'll even swim back!

"It was always my dream to play with Ronnie, with Dio in a free Cuba but now Ronnie's no longer with us, maybe it would be Animetal USA or some other band but definitely. That's another reason I keep going, I haven't done that yet.

"I must keep playing until I play in a free Cuba!"

I thanked Rudy for his time, he thanked me and Archie for the questions and bid us "God Bless". What a top chap he was!

In my experience it can go either way with these high level guys, but Rudy's definitely on the winning team in my books. A legend among bass players, very positively focussed and a good laugh too. Check out more at http://www.animetalusa.com/ and http://www.rudysarzo.com/

Thanks also to Malcolm Dome and Tony Wilson at www.TotalRock.com for setting up and recording the interview respectively.




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The Telegraph said: "I have been going to gigs for a very long time and that was one of the best I have ever seen."

hawklords HAWKLORDS UK TOUR DATES ARE HERE: GIRLSCHOOL'S KIM McAULIFFE GUESTS ON NEW ALBUM
"Exploring the themes of sex, death, art, time and identity. It's above and beyond a normal rock album!"

amon amarth AMON AMARTH PREMIERE 'RAISE YOUR HORNS' VIDEO FEATURING MANY SPECIAL GUESTS
Special guests include Biff and Paul from Saxon, Behemoth's Nergal, Rob Flynn of Machine Head, Doro, Jessie Leach, Zakk Wylde and many more...

thunder THUNDER MARCH 2017 UK TOUR DATES ARE HERE
"If we’re not playing the city/town where you live that's because we tried, but it wasn't available in the time frame. We did not do it on purpose."

pythia PYTHIA BASS PLAYER MARK HARRINGTON REPLACED BY ASH PORTER
"No drama, no problems, no fall outs etc, just simply a case that over time people's circumstances and situations can change...

the shockwaves EXCLUSIVE: NYC ROCKERS THE SHOCKWAVES DEBUT NEW SINGLE 'LIES' ON MetalTalk
The Shockwaves spent the summer in the studio hammering out new songs which will be released as a series of singles over the next few months...

skarlett riot SKARLETT RIOT FORCED TO CANCEL LONDON GIG
""Is this good business? Is this how we and the other bands on the bill should be treated and how our fans should be treated?"

def con one DEF CON ONE RELEASE FREE DOWNLOAD OF SEX PISTOLS 'ANARCHY IN THE UK'
"The crowds went absolutely crazy for it and quite a few people have suggested we should record it and release it..."

nightwish NIGHTWISH SINGER FLOOR JANSEN IS FOUR MONTHS PREGNANT
Additionally, today Ghost have released a Deluxe Version of 'Meliora', their acclaimed 2015 Grammy® Award-winning album...

eluveitie WAS BREAKING NEWS: ELUVEITIE CONFIRM NEW ALBUM DETAILS AND NEW ACOUSTIC SHOWS
"We're looking forward to 'Evocation II'! The concept of the album sticks in our head already for years and it has matured a lot..."

ghost GHOST ANNOUNCE SURPRISE NEW EP AND NEW VIDEO, AVAILABLE HERE NOW
Additionally, today Ghost have released a Deluxe Version of 'Meliora', their acclaimed 2015 Grammy® Award-winning album...

status quo BREAKING NEWS: RICK PARFITT DIED FOR SEVERAL MINUTES AND MAY HAVE PERFORMED HIS LAST QUO GIG
"He is far from being fit enough to undertake the rigours of Quo's touring schedule..."

black sabbath BLACK SABBATH TO RELEASE 'THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION': RE-MASTERED SET AVAILABLE NEXT MONTH WITH CRUCIFOLD VINYL TO FOLLOW
Curated in conjunction with the band, the 31-track offering features many classic songs..

the answer THE ANSWER REVEAL NEW SINGLE AND TITLE TRACK FROM FORTHCOMING ALBUM
The album is a hugely varied body of work encompassing elements of their Celtic background as well as their renowned trademark guitar attack...

sonic syndicate SONIC SYNDICATE ARE REBORN: NEW ALBUM 'CONFESSIONS' ON THE WAY
Aware that the band's 'new start' may cause a lot of listeners to raise their eyebrows the band do not fear the changes nor the future...

john otway OTWAY GOES WHERE NO BAND HAS BEEN IN OVER QUARTER OF A CENTURY
He's the first artist to record on the Caribbean island since The Rolling Stones made 'Steel Wheels' there in 1989...

out came the wolves OUT CAME THE WOLVES REVEAL DETAILS OF DEBUT ALBUM 'STRANGE FATE'
"This album is the culmination of our endless hard work and we couldn't be more excited to finally reach this turning point..."

kiss EXCLUSIVE KISS 'GODS OF THUNDER' DOCUMENTARY SET FOR 2017 RELEASE
As well as unseen footage of the band, the documentary was said to feature new interviews...

korn KORN AND LIMP BIZKIT ANNOUNCE UK TOUR FOR DECEMBER
Korn are return to the UK in December for an arena tour in support of their hotly anticipated, twelfth studio album...

santana SANTANA IV: 'LIVE AT THE HOUSE OF BLUES, LAS VEGAS' ON THE WAY
This release captures the long anticipated reunion of the classic and much-heralded line-up of Santana...

second relation EXCLUSIVE SECOND RELATION DEBUT VIDEO FOR 'COUNTLESS DAMAGES' ON MetalTalk
"The motion picture for the second single ‘Countless Damages’ is a schematic translation of the lyrics..."

queen UK EXCLUSIVE QUEEN + ADAM LAMBERT BRING A KIND OF MAGIC TO ISRAEL
Brian May and Roger Taylor each sang a song in Freddie's memory, and concert clips featuring the legendary frontman were prominent throughout...

phil campbell PHIL CAMPBELL AND THE BASTARD SONS TO RELEASE DEBUT EP ON MOTÖRHEAD MUSIC
Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons are about to fly a mighty Welsh rock'n'roll flag in your direction...

veil of delusions VEIL OF DELUSIONS ANNOUNCE UK DATES
The band have played numerous shows across Europe, including appearances at the Amsterdam Metalfest 2016 and the FemMe Battle...

leonard haze LEONARD HAZE, FORMER Y&T DRUMMER, PASSES AWAY
"Kelly said that although his health had recently declined, they felt he had a few years left, so this is unexpected..."

scorpions SCORPIONS APPOINT MOTÖRHEAD DRUMMER MIKKEY DEE AS PERMANENT MEMBER
"The Scorpions fans have been most welcoming and its been great to meet all the crazy wonderful Motörheadbangers along the way..."

avenged sevenfold AVENGED SEVENFOLD ADD A SECOND NIGHT AT LONDON’S O2 ARENA
Tickets for all dates of what will be the band's first UK tour for three years are on sale here...

vixen VIXEN ANNOUNCED FOR HARD ROCK HELL AND BERNIE MARSDEN IS READY AND WILLING TOO
"Vixen will be a class addition - they are on fire at the moment, so it's a nice wee exclusive to add to the line-up..."

deep purple RITCHIE BLACKMORE: IAN GILLAN IS SICK AND DEEP PURPLE SHOULD GIVE IT A REST
"I'm deteriorating very fast, as we all are. All my friends are passing away. Some of my enemies are passing away too..."

europe EUROPE ANNOUNCE TAX THE HEAT, DARE AND THE ELECTRIC BOYS AS THE FINAL COUNTDOWN 30th ANNIVERSARY TOUR SUPPORT
"They are one of the young new bands out there that are keeping the rock business exciting and vibrant..."

napalm death NAPALM DEATH ANNOUNCE 2017 IRISH DATES
Napalm Death’s acclaimed fifteenth album release 'Apex Predator - Easy Meat' managed to enter the sales charts in several countries across the world upon release...

neal morse band THE NEAL MORSE BAND NEW ALBUM OUT 11th NOVEMBER: WORLDWIDE TOUR DATES ARE HERE
"Someone had suggested to me that I do a concept album based on this book, but I kind of forgot about it. Then when I began writing new songs last December..."

glenn hughes GLENN HUGHES NEW STUDIO ALBUM IS ABOUT TO 'RESONATE': UK AND EUROPEAN TOUR DATES ARE HERE
Now, finally, his first solo album in over eight years will see the light of day...

judas priest EXCLUSIVE JUDAS PRIEST HELL BENT FOR BLOODSTOCK 2017?
When this will be officially announced is anyone's guess but what we do know is that festival organisers are working hard right now to secure next year's headliners...

the skids THE SKIDS HEAD BACK INTO THE VALLEY WITH 2017 40th ANNIVERSARY TOUR
One of the gigs on the 40th anniversary tour will be a hometown performance at Dunfermline's Glen Pavilion...

possessed POSSESSED ANNOUNCE GLASGOW/LONDON DATES
The current line-up have been working together since 2013 and despite playing festival shows in Europe in 2014, this tour includes their first ever Scottish live date...

slayer SLAYER: AND THEN THERE WERE THREE...
"Slayer is notorious for letting the artist be the artist, the producer be the producer, and the director be the director, etc..."

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