Sweden's Metalshrine recently conducted an interview with legendary bassist Rudy Sarzo (BLUE ÖYSTER CULT, DIO, ex-OZZY OSBOURNE, QUIET RIOT) about his book "Off the Rails: Aboard the Crazy Train in the Blizzard of Ozz" book, a first-hand account of Sarzo's friendship on and off the road with Randy Rhoads and Ozzy Osbourne. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.Metalshrine: There's a lot of conversation between you and Randy Rhoads and others in the book. How much of it is really accurate? Sarzo: You know, even if I was gonna write in prose, it would still be memoirs. Written from memories, whether it's prose or written dialogue. One of the things that I really wanted to do is to put the reader in the story. Not telling the story more as to live the story. This is the way people talk. You have to remember, in 1981 the '80s were not invented yet. You're talking about Randy, who's still living at home and society was very different from what it is today. There was not as much violence, not as much slang. Let me put it like this, we were more "Happy Days" than we were "Boyz N The Hood". It was a whole different society and especially if you were living in California. You know those early VAN HALEN records about partying and going to the beach and checking out chicks, that's what it was like. More BEACH BOYS than death metal! (laughs) So when you put a guy who was living at home in his early twenties and you stick him with a bunch of rock and roll pirates. Ozzy had been around the world with BLACK SABBATH and you throw him in that element, there's still a certain element of innocence that Randy held on to, just so he could keep his own identity and there was a certain element of "I've got to be a little bit more like these guys in order to survive!" But even if you look at the lifestyle, the craziest lifestyle of any rock band had in the '70s, you can not compare it to the guys who nowadays carry guns. I'm talking more about the hip hop, the heavier, brutal world that we live in. It's harder now, so another thing that I really wanted to put a cross is, if I'm gonna tell a realistic story of what it was like... things were pretty innocent compared to what they are today. So somebody might read it now and say, "Wow, this is pretty soft," and I say, "No, it's exactly how it was!" As a matter of fact, very few people use the word "dude" in 1981. (laughs) So that was one of the things I really wanted to keep in perspective. You're reading about 1981, you're not reading about today." Metalshrine: Have you had any reactions from the Osbournes? Sarzo: I did prior to the book being released. Sharon was not happy with it at all. Originally, it was gonna come out on another publishing company and they actually do business with the Osbournes. She heard about it and pressured them that they were gonna drop their business if the book got released. The publisher really tried hard to please them and come up with some kind of compromise and she refused. They were willing to send her the book and like, "Hey, this is what's in the book," but she would not sign the agreement so eventually the book got dropped and for about a year it was sitting on the shelf. Then I decided to self-publish it. I said, "If you want to read it, go to Amazon.com and order it and that's it!" I just wanted the story to be told. That's it! Then Too Smart came into the picture and they became the publisher and they re-released it, or actually released it for the first time. The order of events was, it was released as a print for order on Amazon.com, then it was released in Japanese through Burrn! That was actually the first real publication of the book. Beautiful artwork and pictures, so that became my measuring stick of what the book should be like, so when I got together with Too Smart, I went, "Listen, this is what Japan did!" I'm very pleased with the way the book came out. Metalshrine: What's going on with DIO? Sarzo: Well, you know, Ronnie's [James Dio] working with HEAVEN AND HELL and their new record, so while Ronnie does that, I go out and work with BLUE ÖYSTER CULT. He's all pretty much with HEAVEN AND HELL now and he wants to make the best HEAVEN AND HELL record. Last year we did some shows in Scandinavia and that was about it. It was basically for the fans. They wanted to see DIO again. Right now I think he's pretty much gonna be concentrating on HEAVEN AND HELL. One band at a time. Metalshrine: A band like BLUE ÖYSTER CULT, how long does it take learn the songs you perform live? Sarzo: They had me learn at least about forty songs and I've been playing with them for almost a year and a half now. As we go on we keep adding songs to the list and I ask them for certain songs. I'm a fan of the band, a fan of the work and once in a while we try a song here and there and if it sticks we keep it in our repertoire and if it doesn't we just move on to something else. Read the entire interview from Metalshrine.
Sarzo on KTLA-TV's "Morning Show" on February 19, 2007: