Rudy Sarzo first turned down Sharon Osbourne’s invitation to audition to play with Ozzy
Former Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake and Dio bassist Rudy Sarzo was recently interviewed by Chuck Shute for the Chuck Shute Podcast. Sarzo ended up joining Ozzy Osbourne‘s solo band when bassist Bob Daisley and drummer Lee Kerslake were fired after the recording of 1981’s Diary of A Madman. Sarzo ended up playing bass on Ozzy’s 1982 live album Speak of The Devil.
Sarzo was asked about turning down Sharon Osbourne‘s original invitation to audition to play with Ozzy back in 1981 given that he was playing with another band called Angel at the time. The bassist indicated (as transcribed by the Chuck Shute Podcast with slight edits): “I never walk out of a situation. I never leave people stranded. You know, even in a situation like you know, I was sleeping on the floor. I wasn’t making any money on the road with Angel, you know, it was just, I was just another starving musician in LA that happened to be in the band call Angel, who at the time did not have a record label and they were struggling to get signed to another label. You know, it was no real promising future. I was in the band, so I wasn’t about to like jump ship immediately. I had to, you know, I have to really think about and it was the situation. After I got a call from Sharon, I told her, no thanks.”
Sarzo continued: “And I hung up the phone and you have to put things in perspective. First of all, when we talk about Sharon Osbourne today, everybody knows Sharon. Forty something years later, especially with people that have never met her, they have a certain image about her — you know, a very powerful, successful woman, married and managing a, one of the most recognizable and successful individuals in the entertainment industry — Ozzy Osbourne. It wasn’t like that 40 years ago. Ozzy did not have the profile that he has today because nobody could really predict the future back in 1981 and Sharon, she was just Ozzy‘s manager or not even Ozzy‘s manager. She was the daughter or Ozzy‘s manager who happen to be taking care of his business for the company, Jett management. So, you know, it wasn’t like, ‘Oh my goodness, I got a call from Sharon Osbourne‘ and blah, blah, blah.’ No, it wasn’t like the person that called me on behalf of Ozzy because Randy recommended me and basically, ‘No, thank you.'”
In terms of whether Ozzy was already a big name as the former Black Sabbath lead vocalist, Sarzo stated: “Yes. Yes and no. Yes and no. Black Sabbath — all of a sudden before that happened, already had a singer named Ronnie James Dio. They were kicking butt without Ozzy. It wasn’t like, Oh yeah, Ozzy Osbourne, the guy who’s got, you know, ‘Blizzard of Ozz‘ and ‘Diary of A Madman.’ And I know those records, they there were not on the radio. I had never heard the record. I knew nothing about the music. All I knew was that my best reference was that Randy Rhoads was in the band.”
You can listen to the interview with Rudy Sarzo on the Chuck Shute Podcast via the Buzz Sprout website.