Chuck Wright wonders what would have been like if Randy Rhoads had left Ozzy like he had been planning
Quiet Riot‘s long-time bassist Chuck Wright was recently interviewed by Thomas Amoriello Jr. for Boston Rock Radio.
Amoriello noted that September marked the tenth year anniversary of the revamped Quiet Riot line-up consisting of Wright, the drummer Frankie Banali (who passed away on August 20, 2020) and guitarist Alex Grossi along with a variety of different singers.
Wright replied (with slight edits): “If you mean revamped by us continuing on after Kevin DuBrow’s passing in 2007, indeed it has been 10 years. Kevin, Frankie, Alex, and I started the band back up in 2004. Kevin had Alex out with him on some solo gigs. He was a young lad coming into the fold back then. He has become like my little brother. We have been through so much together, not only with Quiet Riot but others like Adler’s Appetite, Love/Hate, Jani Lane, and Dizzy Reed as their band members.
As you might know, I’ve been a part of Quiet Riot’s history off and on since 1981. I did all the demos, played the clubs, got the band signed, and played bass on “Bang Your Head” and “Don’t Wanna Let You Go” and did all the background vocals with them on Metal Health before Rudy Sarzo rejoined just after Randy Rhoads’ passing. That was to be Randy’s last tour with Ozzy. As Kevin told it, Randy called him and said he had had it with the Osbourne’s, that after fulfilling his contract he was leaving. I often wonder how different my life would have been had Randy not been killed in that plane accident. I’m sure the band would not have been called Quiet Riot as that name only happened when Rudy rejoined. The record company president/ producer gave us two name choices, Standing Hampton or Wild Oscar. Upon hearing that name I said “Yeah, right, so everyone’s going to think Kevin is Oscar like which one’s Pink in Pink Floyd.”
As far as the last 10 years, colorful is an understatement. I mean, we went through six lead singers. Yes, Kevin had some big shoes to fill vocally and as a personality. I have always felt that Jizzy Pearl, who is now back with us, was the best fit. He was suggested in the very beginning but Frankie didn’t want a singer with so much baggage having been in Ratt, L.A. Guns, and Love/Hate. He wanted a fresh face. Frankie called all the shots in the band when we regrouped. He was my friend of 39 years but also my boss. I suggested a singer I saw in a Sammy [Hagar] era Van Halen cover band. This guy had a great voice but really needed some input being a front man. We figured we had three months for him to get in shape, learn the songs, lyrics, and we could help with styling his wardrobe, so all should be great. Well, at our first rehearsal, after those three months, he showed up heavier, way out of shape and still didn’t have the songs learned. We forged on giving him every chance to rise to the occasion but he fell flat on his face, which is well documented in the movie. Our other singers, Scott Vokoun and James Durbin left on their own accord.”
You can read the rest of the interview with Chuck Wright by Thomas Amoriello Jr. at Boston Rock Radio‘s website.
Wikipedia states the following about Rhoads‘ plans prior to his untimely death on March 19, 1982 (with slight edits):
“At the time of his death, Rhoads had already made the decision to part ways with Osbourne once his contractual obligations had been fulfilled. Though he had a good relationship with Osbourne, the vocalist’s constant drug and alcohol abuse made day-to-day life on tour difficult for the members of his band. As the Diary of A Madman US tour progressed, Osbourne would often refuse to perform due to the lingering after-effects of the previous night’s excesses, and only Sharon could talk him into taking the stage. Many shows were simply canceled, and Rhoads grew tired of the unpredictability.
The final straw came when a plan was announced in February 1982 by Osbourne‘s management and record label to record a live album of Black Sabbath songs at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens later that year. Rhoads and bandmate Tommy Aldridge felt that they had established themselves as recording artists, and they regarded an album of cover songs to be a step backwards artistically and professionally. Thus, they refused to participate in the planned live recording. Osbourne viewed this decision as a betrayal, and the relationship between him and Rhoads became quite strained. Already drinking heavily, Osbourne‘s drinking increased and began to tear the band apart. At one point, he drunkenly fired the entire band, including Rhoads, though he later had no memory of doing so. He began taunting Rhoads with claims that the likes of Frank Zappa and Gary Moore were willing to replace him on the proposed live album.
Osbourne‘s unstable and confrontational behavior soon convinced Rhoads to leave the band. He grudgingly agreed to perform on the live album with the stipulation that he would depart after fulfilling his contractual obligations to Jet Records, which consisted of one more studio album and subsequent tour. The proposed live album was scrapped upon the guitarist’s sudden death weeks later, though the plan was quickly resurrected with the release of Speak of The Devil in November of that year.”