Web Extra Rudy Sarzo

October 21, 2009

 Rudy Sarzo gave GP great info on the late Randy Rhoads in the December '09 issue. Here he talks about some other guitarists he's worked with.

You’re playing with Blue Oyster Cult these days. How deep into the BOC catalog do you guys go? Do you still play “E.T.I.”?
“E.T.I.” is one of my favorite songs but we don’t get to play it enough because I guess before I joined they played it to death. I can thank Eric because he writes the sets and it’s not one of the “big four,” which are “Burning for You,” “Godzilla,” “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” and “Cities on Flame.” We do a lot of “Buck’s Boogie.” We’ve been doing “Mirrors”—a very poppy song. What I like best about BOC is how eclectic the music is. It’s like a ’60s band—they basically started in the ’60s and early ’70s. Back then, the Beatles or the Stones or the Who would do whatever song they wanted regardless of genre. The palette of styles for BOC—we do “The Red and the Black” and then “Before the Kiss,” which has like a hoedown feel in the middle. But it works.
We do “Buck’s Boogie” frequently and I learned it from the original. I could hear the influence that Buck had on modern shredders, not just in the note choice but also the tone he was getting back then. He’s from the old Mel Bay School. I play with a lot of guys who play power chords, but Buck plays full chords across all the strings. He gets a sound that lets him get away with those voicings. Buck is very much a rhythm player, which is kind of a lost art.

You had to finish the Diary of a Madman tour after Randy died. First Bernie Torme had the gig, but I saw you guys with Brad Gillis. As a Randy fan, I didn’t want to like him, but he was incredible and doesn’t get nearly enough credit in the discuaaion of post-Randy guitarists in Ozzy’s band.
Brad did an amazing job. He came in at the toughest time. He’s an amazing player and he has his own style but he could really play Randy’s parts. He did justice to Randy’s legacy and he let us finish the tour with dignity. It was incredibly difficult for everyone involved. In many ways we’ll never completely get over it. It connects us all. We flew back home after the crash out of Orlando and from that day on, every time I fly I look at the passengers in a whole different light. Here we were having just experienced the most devastating moment of our lives, and we were surrounded by children returning from Disney World. I looked at the kids and I said, “God willing, they’ll never have to experience what we’re going through.” I think about Randy a lot. I used to teach with him and he never stopped being a teacher. People ask me what he was like, and he never stopped being a teacher.

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