Rudy Sarzo said he “quickly” lost the joy of performing as a member of Ozzy Osbourne’s band after the death of Randy Rhoads in 1982, and said he had to leave because he knew it would never be the same.
The bassist and guitarist worked together in Quiet Riot before Rhoads was hired by Osbourne, and later brought Sarzo into the group. But when a plane joyride went wrong during a U.S. tour, resulting in Rhoads’ death, Sarzo felt the need to quit very soon afterwards.
“I have wonderful memories of every show I did with them,” Sarzo told Rolling Stone in a recent interview. “It was such a blessing. The only reason I left the band was, let’s face it, Randy wasn’t there anymore.” He recalled that “nobody had time to mourn or get closure” because the tour recommenced 10 days later. “We were actually attending service… and then going back to audition and practice with whoever was being considered for the guitar spot,” he recalled.
“I just couldn’t see myself staying past the end of the tour we had already scheduled… How could we continue without Randy? To me, he’s the other part of the component. I saw Randy and Ozzy as being Ozzy… What was carrying Ozzy was Randy and Ozzy. Once Randy wasn’t with us anymore – and this is in addition to the horrible fact of his tragic death – you could carry on, but it was never going to be the same.”
He continued: “My joy of playing music live in front of an audience eroded, quickly. By the time we played Madison Square Garden, which was about a week after we resumed touring, I just cried the whole show. I look[ed] out at the audience; it was a wake for Randy. There were posters like, ‘Randy We Miss You. God Bless You.’ I’d look at Ozzy and think, ‘What an incredible courage to be able to sing through all of this.’ I know he was suffering and feeling his own pain.… But the only way I knew how to deal with it at that time was to run away from it. I didn’t have the tools that I have now to deal with grief. The only way I could deal was to move on.”
Sarzo recalled how he’d realized that Rhoads was “overqualified” to be a member of Quiet Riot. “I started teaching at his mom’s school,” he said. “He was in the room teaching next to me, and I’d hear him playing things he’d never play at rehearsal. Our rehearsal was just Quiet Riot music, that was it. He wouldn’t come in and play classical music. I didn’t know he could play classical music until I heard him at his mom’s school.
“That’s basically what he brought to Ozzy… When he played with the Blizzard of Ozz band, I couldn’t believe it was the same guy. It was so non-Quiet Riot. To me, that’s how you create something brand new. You don’t bring your past into your future. You create a vision of what you want your future to be like and you move that forward.”