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Rudy Sarzo Reflects On His Experiences With Kevin Dubrow and the Legacy of Quiet Riot

By Debby Rao, Boston Contributor
Thursday, November 29, 2007 @ 10:31 PM

"Nobody's trying to re-write h

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KNAC.COM: Rudy, Thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule in this tragic time to Honor and remember Quiet Riot frontman Kevin DuBrow. Tell me your thoughts, when you heard about Kevin's passing. How did you find out the news?

SARZO: A friend of mine Peter Margolis, who is doing the documentary on Randy Rhoads, got a call from Kathy Rhoads, Randy's sister with the terrible news. So Peter called me up to let me know. Pretty much right after I hung up with him, basically I shut down. I didn't answer phone calls or emails nothing. I just wanted to really just reflect on the moment on the sad news. It wasn't until the following day that I went on the computer and found there was a message from Frankie to call him as soon as possible. But I knew what it was about right then. So I called Frankie, he is devastated. He is very sad. I hadn't been working with Kevin for a few years. Frankie, of course has been working with Kevin until recently. Frankie is taking it very hard.

KNAC.COM: Kevin and Frankie were just like brothers. Last time I saw them was on my Birthday at the Woodstock Fair. I have been reflecting on seeing Quiet Riot perform recently and the whole new generation of fans that came to see the show that night and now just hear this news is just devastating.

SARZO: It is very sad. It is comforting to see so many fans responding when this happened. For any bands of our genre, who were not as current as let's say U2. To see the outpouring of support of all the fans from all over the world has been very comforting that they remember Kevin and that they respect him very much.

KNAC.COM: It goes to show you how strong the legacy of Quiet Riot really has.

SARZO: I think each generation has something like that. I think what we had was very unique in itself.

KNAC.COM: Rudy, how does it feel to be part of the legacy of Quiet Riot?

SARZO: I am very proud. Not only the legacy of Quiet Riot that the world got to know, but the Randy Rhoads version that was more of a Los Angeles legacy of that era. Of course, Randy had his own legacy with Ozzy Osbourne. Kevin and I shared that too. We both got to play with Randy in the first version of Quiet Riot. I am very proud. I've always considered myself to be one of the guys who is only as good as the people that I played with. I have been very blessed to have played with some of the best. Anything that can be said about me is pretty much due to the company that I have kept. I was very proud of every night getting up on the stage and being in the company with Kevin and course Frankie and Carlos and also the other version of Quiet Riot with Randy and Drew.

KNAC.COM: What was your favorite memory of performing with Kevin?

SARZO: There were so many, numerous moments of playing with Kevin. The early Quiet Riot shows were a little bit more bittersweet. We were very happy as a band but very sad because we were not getting the attention from the industry and we were struggling. We used to perform two sets a night at the Starwood regularly. The first set was considered the showcase for the record labels. The Starwood was a big club with a very high ceiling and to the left side of the stage was the balcony that was the V.I.P. section. We would reserve the tables for all these record companies to come down. Around that time, 1978-1979, the record companies were more interested in new wave bands. We would start the show with the hopes that somebody would come out and hear the new songs and new presentations and halfway through the set thou you were enjoying performing the show I couldn't help the feeling disappointed that VIP section was empty. Thou you were enjoying what you were doing musically you still had the feeling that you were going nowhere at the same time. It was very bittersweet.

The week that "Metal Health" was released we performed our very first show at the Roxy on the Sunset Strip. That was in March of 1983 and that show was recorded for Westwood One, "Live At The Roxy". We did four sold out shows in two nights at The Roxy and it was phenomenal.

Shortly after, we drove up to the San Francisco area to do 3 shows with Vandenberg in Berkley, Palo Alto and San Francisco. Basically, we were a bunch of guys just driving ourselves around in a station wagon.

Then from the Station Wagon, we graduated to an RV. We drove a van up to Duluth, from Van Nuys, California to start the tour with The Scorpions. We did about a couple of week’s worth of shows leading up to the US Festival. During our performance in Denver the promoter for the show, Barry Fey who also happened to be the promoter for the US festival, offered us the opening spot on the US Festival Metal Day. Of course we jumped at the once in a lifetime opportunity.

Shortly after we got on the ZZ Top Tour followed by a tour with Loverboy. By then we had a tour bus. Subsequently, we went our own headlining tour before joining the Iron Maiden tour. That November while we were tour supporting Black Sabbath, Metal Health reached number 1 in the Billboard charts. It was an incredible climb to the top and were all a part of that, we were living it and going through it all together. That was incredible because can you imagine? We had to sell a million records that week to get to Number One. While we toured with Iron Maiden, we got to perform at The Garden. That was spectacular. To walk as an opening act onto the Madison Square Garden stage and see that every single seat was filled was amazing and unforgettable. It was an amazing adventure. We experienced that all together…Kevin, Frankie, Carlos and me.

KNAC.COM: Frankie told me once in an interview, some people think success happened overnight. But it was a gradual climb to the top for Quiet Riot.

SARZO: Prior to Quiet Riot, I had experienced being at the top with Ozzy, and I knew we could do it, too. I never imagined that we would get to the level that we did. All we wanted was to make a living and be a working band. We wanted to rock and we wanted to go on tour and make records and stuff like that. We believed we could do that. Everything that came along with it was a complete shock and surprise. There was no master plan. It was go out there and make the best record that you can. We wanted to be an honest band, go out there and work your ass off every single night and put on the best show physically possible. That was it. That was our goal. The whole thing about success and selling millions of records that was a blessing and not part of a master plan.

KNAC.COM: Kevin DuBrow had an unmistakable voice. How would you describe Kevin DuBrow as a performer? What made Kevin so dynamic?

SARZO: Absolutely. Kevin had a very, unique style and a very unique sound to his voice. Well the personality, you can sing with the personality but the personality you can't really put on a record because you can't really see that. Of course, it is part of his delivery and a part of his sound but you can't really record that. His larger than life persona became evident during the live performance and interviews. He projected a lot. He was bigger than life. Bottom line is, Kevin had a great rock and roll voice. I would definitely say one of the best to come out of the 80's.

KNAC.COM: I definitely agree with you. When you meet fans today, do they still come up to you and say how Quiet Riot inspired them to become musicians?

SARZO: Absolutely. Not only fans. I was at an event last night and I ran into a lot of successful musicians that told me, "Metal Health" was the first record I bought in High School. It puts a smile on my face. So many people were connected to it. It is the fans that keep the legacy alive; the people that were inspired by it; that is what makes up a legacy. There was something obviously valuable in what we did especially in the making of the album "Metal Health" that people can connect with, even new generations.

KNAC.COM: Yes, and I just witnessed that over at the Woodstock Fair in September. Did you ever run into Kevin, or talk to him on the phone after the band disbanded in the fall of 2003?

SARZO: Not really. Nobody's trying to re-write history here. We had a tumultuous relationship. But it was never anything that not could have been fixed with a phone call.

KNAC.COM: Rudy, We want to thank you so much for your insight on Kevin and Quiet Riot. I have the utmost respect for each member of the band. I feel so sorry about the whole situation. It was an honor to know Kevin and all of you. The staff at KNAC.COM extends their deepest sympathy at this time. Rudy, any closing thoughts?

SARZO: It's difficult to put the way I feel into a few words. It's impossible to (tell) people in my shows so they can see how I feel. It's a great a loss. Not only a loss as a friend, but once you experience what you experience as a band mate, it is a family loss.

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