Bassist Recalls How Ozzy Osbourne Treated Randy Rhoads in His Band, Reveals What Randy Was Really Like

There’ll never be anyone else like Randy Rhoads. After playing in Quiet Riot, the semi-famous guitar player at the time managed to score with Ozzy Osbourne. Needless to say, the singer’s two albums with Randy changed the game for generations of guitar players, pushing the instrument and metal music forward into new territories.

One of the musicians who had the privilege to play with Randy before his tragic death was bassist Rudy Sarzo. Recently chatting with Nick Bowcott of Guitar World, Sarzo recalled hearing Randy for the first time. The guitarist was playing with Quiet Riot at the time and Rudy offered:

“The first time I saw Quiet Riot was in August 1977 at the Starwood in West Hollywood. I’d just moved to L.A. and was networking. I saw the band perform and went, ‘Wow, these guys are doing an arena performance in a club. They’ve really got it together.'”

“I was also super impressed by Randy. There were a bunch of guys in front of him checking out his playing, and also a lot of girls wearing the same polka-dotted bow tie he was [wearing]! He had the perfect balance, the perfect appeal: guys wanted to be like Randy, and girls wanted to be with Randy.”

QUIET RIOT - Featuring Randy Rhoads - September 22, 1979 (FULL SET)

“I thought to myself, ‘That’s a rock star in the making right there.’ I ran into Kevin [DuBrow, Quiet Riot’s vocalist] afterwards, introduced myself, and said, ‘Keep doing what you’re doing — you’re going to make it.’ And that was it.”

Not long after, Rudy also joined Quiet Riot, replacing original bassist Kelly Garni. However, the two once again crossed paths in the former Black Sabbath singer’s solo band. Recalling those times, Rudy said:

“By the time I played with him in Ozzy, he’d already been honing that ‘Randy-ness.’ I wasn’t playing with the guy in Quiet Riot anymore — I was playing with Randy Rhoads, the Hall of Fame guitar player! He was great in Quiet Riot, of course, but we were just a local band in L.A. trying to please the local record labels and get a deal.

OZZY OSBOURNE - "I Don't Know" 1981 (Live Video)

“He obviously didn’t need to do that with Ozzy because he was playing with a recording artist. He asked Ozzy, ‘What do you want me to write?’ And Ozzy’s reply was, ‘Just be yourself.’ Ozzy gave Randy his freedom, and that’s what came out.

He also adds:

“There was a major metamorphosis that happened in England, and it would have never happened in L.A. because of the musical atmosphere there at that time – or lack thereof, as far as rock ‘n’ roll and metal goes.”

“It’s funny; Hendrix had to leave the States to go to England to become Jimi Hendrix, and so did Randy – he had to leave Los Angeles, go to England and free himself musically and truly become Randy Rhoads. And just like Hendrix, Randy became a leader.

“He helped lead the metal invasion that came from England after he joined Ozzy. And you were a part of that [writer/guitarist Nick Bowcott was a founding member of Grim Reaper], so you know exactly what I’m talking about! He led the pack. There were a lot of great bands but only one Randy Rhoads.”

Photo: Toglenn (Rudy Sarzo 2009), Rick (Randy Rhoads21314), Ted Van Pelt (Ozzy Osbourne 1982)