Friday, February 27, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Now Spin wasn't completely useless. I remember every now and then it having something cool enough to read. I remember Slayer being in there a few times, the first being back in 88 or so. But this issue??
Back in 1996 the magazine came out with this...
The other? A fascinating look into the years after the murders and church burnings, the paranoia and the selling of a scene not meant to be sold. Many of the top dogs of the era are interviewed here and what can I say? Made for some decent reading back then.
If you've read 'Lords of Chaos' like a lot of us nerds did, consider this an abridged version of the Black Metal tome.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Usurper 9:00 am October 2000, LaGuardia Airport NYC.
Seeing that it might be the end of an era, I figured I'd share my big Metal Maniacs 'interview' story with you. Back in October 2000 I was managing Usurper and the band was invited to play a show in New York at [the legendary] CBGB's. At that time the band's publicist was a guy named Jon Paris. Jon was killer, he had fuck all to work with and I'm sure every check he ever received while employed at Necropolis Records bounced. But like I said he was killer and did as much as he could for the band. [last time I heard his name he was working at SPV]
So Jon's based out of New York so he met us at the hotel and then it's off to do an interview with Metal Maniacs! I was on cloud 9 totally happy for the band to get the big-time exposure in the mag. The interview was going to take place at some restaurant with writer Vinny Cecolini, because as Jon Paris told us beforehand "Vinny likes his food!"
So we get to the place and sit down, Vinnie and Rick did most of the talking, Jon Necromancer and I were opposite them. All I could remember was the worst fucking experience as Vinny would ask a question and then just shovel food down like a madman while pausing to ask another question and then back to the gorging. This went on for 30/40 minutes, I sat there blown away by the vulgar display of face stuffing.
Vinny might be a great writer or whatever and perhaps a helluva guy, but nine years later and I'm still a little disappointed. The article was OK, nothing to brag about and definitely not worth what the lunch cost.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
There are a lot of Randy fans across the globe, myself included, but what did we really know about him? There’s of course the basics, the beyond gifted musical soul who helped form Quiet Riot with Kevin DuBrow in the late 70’s. A masterful, classically trained guitarist who taught at his Mother’s California music school. His plucking from relative obscurity (outside of Los Angeles and Japan of course) to join Ozzy’s Blizzard of Ozz. His two records with Ozzy that sound as vital and innovative today as when they first hit record store shelves almost 30 years ago. And unfortunately, his untimely death.
‘Off The Rails’ is a tribute to Randy written by bassist Rudy Sarzo. Rudy of course is world known for his work with Quiet Riot, Whitesnake, Blue Oyster Cult and Dio, but he too was plucked from obscurity to join Ozzy’s first post Sabbath touring band. Actually it was Randy who recommended Sarzo for the job thus changing the Cuban’s life forever.
I’ve read a lot of rock books in my time. I’m from the school that each and every book tends to do one of several things to the reader. Some might go straight for the throat (‘The Dirt’) some might expose the core of the “media creation” (‘Heavier Than Heaven’) and some deliver a great subject, but their own opinion tends to muddy things up a bit (‘And Justice For All: The Truth About Metallica’) I had yet to read a book so respectful and yet so brutally honest about the subject and it’s main cast of characters. ‘Off The Rails’ is that book.
The main characters here are an authors wet dream. Ozzy Osbourne (we’re talking the real Ozzy not the stepping in dog shit, mumble jumble, shaky jake TV Ozzy), Sharon Arden (Osbourne), Don Arden, Tommy Aldridge, Randy, Don Airey and more.
Throughout the years we’ve all been inundated with countless Ozzy stories, the dove, the bat, the Alamo, psych wards etc. However to be “there” at the very beginning when every day was a make or break situation for the fledgling group is about as exciting as it gets.
The real meat and potatoes however is Randy Rhoads, the person. Sarzo’s acute memory of the relationship between the two band mates truly opens the vault. The reader gets to see a side of Rhoads you may have never known to exist. The guitar player everyone in the crowd wanted to be was a quiet, introspective and often a second guessing type of person. Dealing with all the big rock and roll circus stuff seemed to take its toll on Randy and his decision on his future with Ozzy as well as Rock/Metal Guitar.
There are so many things I’d like to be able to mention here, but feel it would lessen the experience of reading this book. I do have to mention how warming it was to read of Randy’s interactions with his fans. From his giving guitar lessons in the street to after hour hangouts with those who respected his playing, Rudy’s words help bring Rhoads to life. Sarzo it seems was as in awe of Randy as his followers. One has to be reminded though, that at the time of his death Randy and the band was still for the most part a struggling one. Some day’s they’d draw 12,000 people and then the next night 1,200.
In building an audience, something they obviously did beyond their wildest dreams, another included “bonus” is the inclusion of critic’s show reviews. Not sure whether to laugh or cry at these. The old saying the more things change, the more they stay the same? Well rock writers even back then were rather clueless. While the majority singled out and praised Randy’s prowess of his instrument, most also had a field day attacking Ozzy. From his stage presence to wardrobe to everything in between they were rather ruthless. However reading these reviews 25 years + after the fact, it’s safe to say Ozzy has had the last laugh.
Sarzo’s recollection of the dynamics between the Blizzard band, crew, support acts (including Motorhead, Def Leppard, Girl, Waysted etc.) and managers/record label suits puts the reader in a “fly on the wall” position. There are several moments in the book where I was beside myself just blown away at the situations the band found themselves in. Of course Ozzy and Sharon’s exploits across the World are now legendary, but amazingly enough back in 81/82 times were so, so different. Could you imagine walking into a hotel room when Ozzy and Sharon are literally beating the shit out of each other?
What I’m trying to say is ‘Off The Rails’ is about the closest thing to an honest Randy Rhoads/Ozzy Osbourne biography we’ll ever read. It chronicles the most essential period of Ozzy’s post Sab career. Ozzy can’t remember a thing from these days, and Sharon will try to block you from remembering and no one, not even me is waiting for the Don Airey book. I’m very thankful to Rudy for opening his heart and mind for writing this and answering the eternal question…
“So, what was Randy Rhoads like?”