News Segment


April 13, 2005

NEW YORK (Billboard) – Rudy Sarzo’s name has long been familiar to fans of ’80s-era hard rock and heavy metal. After all, he was a member of Quiet Riot and Whitesnake and currently holds the bass position in Dio.

But it was his stint with Ozzy Osbourne from 1981 through 1982 that fans ask him about most, because the late guitarist Randy Rhoads was his bandmate.

Wanting to set the record straight about this period of his career, Sarzo has penned the book “Off the Rails — My Adventures in the Land of Ozz,” which will be released in September via Cherry Lane.

“I kept a diary, like a journal,” Sarzo tells, “And I have the details of all those dates, mainly because my accountant at the time requested that I did.

“I would keep records of my travels for tax purposes. There’s so much misinformation about that period on the Internet. … At the time, there were a lot of cancellations and rescheduling, especially after the accident.”

Said accident remains one of the most tragic in rock history.

On March 19, 1982, Rhoads, then only 25 years old and being heralded as rock’s next guitar hero, boarded a small plane piloted by the band’s bus driver (while the rest of the band slept on the bus), in Leesburg, Fla. In flight, the plane clipped the bus and crashed into a nearby house, killing Rhoads and two others.

Recounting the accident for the book was a painful exercise, but one Sarzo hopes will help put the ordeal to rest.

“Having to go back in my head and walk down those corridors … it still is hard to talk about it,” he says. “Every time I tell the account of what happened that day, I have to relive it. And it’s so hard. That’s one of the reasons why I wrote it, so I don’t have to talk about it anymore.”

But the book does not focus solely on the tragedy, as Sarzo was on the road with Osbourne and Rhoads for a year beforehand.

“There was so much joy — as a matter of fact, it was basically a very joyful journey up until the crash,” he says. “And this book is not only written for Randy but it’s also written for the fans. This book is for every single fan that has ever come up to me and asked, ‘What was Randy Rhoads really like?’ or ‘What was it like playing with Ozzy?’ I just cannot put it into a couple of sentences. I had to put it into many, many chapters.”

The book will also include numerous candid, previously unseen photos of the band. And while Rhoads only played on a pair of Osbourne studio albums (1980’s “Blizzard of Oz” and 1981’s “Diary of a Madman”), fans have long wondered if there are any unreleased Rhoads-era gems or demos gathering dust in a vault somewhere.

Sarzo sets the record straight: “No, nothing. Nowadays, everybody carries some kind of recording equipment with them on tour. In those days, we were limited to those little micro-cassettes. Walkmans did not record then, at least the ones that we had — we’re talking 1981, early ’82.”

Courtesy of