Bass legend Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake) recently guested on 80’s Metal Recycle Bin. In the clip below he describes what he calls ‘the metal movement’ as it came crashing into Hollywood from the late ’70s through the ’80s.
On Quiet Riot’s early years
Sarzo: “We were considered dinosaurs. People kept saying ‘That music is never going to come back. If you guys want to get a record deal you’ve gotta cut your hair, dress New Wave or Punk, or else you’re not gonna make it.’ Which is what Randy left Quiet Riot and joined Ozzy in the winter of 1979. It was a dead end street on the Strip. The landscape of the city (Los Angeles) really changed. What happened is, most of the bands that were around in the ’70s later made it at the very beginning of the ’80s as part of that Sunset Strip explosion that happemed right after Metal Health, all the labels started looking to see what was going on. The music was there, the bands were ready, all the muscians were ready to go, but it’s like it (the music) took a break.”
Sarzo recently spoke to Rolling Stone for an in-depth interview about his whole career and his beginnings as a musician.
The former Quiet Riot member was asked about the band’s 1984 album Condition Critical, which failed to meet the standards of ’83s iconic Metal Health record.
Sarzo explained why Condition Critical didn’t do better: “It’s very simple. We had climbed so many hills by that point. It was like, ‘OK, now we’re going to headline, so that’s another hill to climb because we are no headliners.’ By that time they literally dragged us off the road. The record company said, ‘Metal Health was released over a year ago. We need new product.’
“It was the music industry talking. ‘We need to release new product by the third quarter, so we can get those late-summer, Christmas sales.’ We had to cancel a tour and there was an opening band, the Headpins, they got really upset. They just joined the tour and committed whatever financial resources to that, but the record company told us we had to go in the studio. We had to cancel and they were not happy campers, but we had no control.
“They were like, ‘You guys are going in the studio next week to do pre-production. Oh, my God, what do we do now?’ The worst time you can be creative is when you’re in survival mode. We’re looking at this mammoth of a record, sales-wise.
“And Metal Health was one song from the Randy Rhoads era; two songs that Carlos Cavazo brought in from his own band, ‘Metal Health’ and ‘Don’t Wanna Let You Go’ were done before I even went in to play on ‘Thunderbird.’ And then ‘Cum On Feel the Noize’ was added on. There were five or six DuBrow songs and the rest was added in by Carlos Cavazo.
“Every single day when we were in a city, we’d go to a radio station to promote the album and the tour. Many of the DJs told us we should record [Slade’s] ‘Mama Weer All Crazee Now.’ It was something we put on the back burner. “Yeah, OK, sure.” When it came to make that record, we were pretty much under the gun. And so doing another Slade song wasn’t such a bad idea, at the time. [Laughs] And we thought the stations would play it because they told us to record it.
“We started working on songs and ‘Condition Critical’ was one of the first songs. There were two or three songs that were actually … It’s not that I would consider them ‘rejects’ from Metal Health, but they were songs that were around during Metal Health, but they weren’t picked for the album. Also, there’s a song called ‘Winners Take All’ that for some business reason beyond my control, Randy Rhoads wasn’t allowed to be credited on the album as the co-writer of the song. It was originally called ‘Teenage Anthem’ and Kevin re-wrote and updated it so it could be on Condition Critical.”