Legendary bassist Rudy Sarzo (ex-QUIET RIOT, OZZY OSBOURNE, WHITESNAKE) spoke to Rolling Stone about what it was like to tour with Geoff Tate‘s version of QUEENSRŸCHE while the singer was embroiled in a legal battle with other original members of the band over the rights to the QUEENSRŸCHE name. “It was interesting,” Rudy said. “I got a call from Geoff‘s label. This is at the moment that the QUEENSRŸCHE brand was up for grabs. This person said to me, ‘Listen, Geoff wants to know if you want to do this tour with him. They need to establish the fact that he’s the songwriter, main contributor, and voice of QUEENSRŸCHE.’ Somehow or someway, there was going to be a trial and a negotiation. A judge was going to define the outcome. I said, ‘Yeah, sure.’
“At the moment, I wasn’t doing anything,” he continued. “And it gave me the opportunity to go out for the very first time with my brother playing guitar. I thought, ‘Wow, this is great. This is really cool. It’s something I’ve never done before.’
“We went out also as QUEENSRŸCHE. Now, if you ask me if I played in QUEENSRŸCHE, no. I didn’t; the other guys have the name. And they opened up for QUIET RIOT in 1983 when they just did the ‘Queen Of The Reich’ EP. I’ve known them ever since. I have respect for them. They accomplished a lot and worked very hard for it. I’d never take credit for having played in QUEENSRŸCHE. It wasn’t really Geoff Tate solo. He was trying to create a new QUEENSRŸCHE for legal purposes.
“Once it came to an end and it was defined that there was another QUEENSRŸCHE and Geoff had certain other rights to certain things that were none of my business and I didn’t really know the details, that was really the end of my playing with Geoff.”
Back in 2015, Sarzo told “The Shoe With Miles Schuman” that he was no longer playing with Tate because “it was clearly time for me to move on. You have to take into consideration, when you’re working with such a strong visionary as Geoff Tate, you’re basically providing a service,” he explained. “And after doing that for about a year and a half, I felt like it was time to move on and actually do something that was a collective vision.”
Asked if Tate‘s QUEENSRŸCHE was more of a “hired-gun” situation for him as opposed to real-band setup, Sarzo said: “There’s a difference in the term ‘hired gun,’ because, yes, I was a hired gun, but you can be in situations where you’re an equal member of the group and still not be part of the creative process. You know what I mean? So I wanted to avoid both of those; I wanted to be in a situation where I could be part of the creative process and also be part of the band.”
In 2006, Rudy released the book “Off The Rails: Aboard The Crazy Train In The Blizzard Of Ozz”, a first-hand account of his friendship on and off the road with Randy Rhoads and Ozzy Osbourne.
A collector’s edition of “Off The Rails”, was made available in August 2008 via TooSmart! Publishing.
The book was originally due in 2005 but was delayed after Sharon allegedly applied pressure to have it pulled.
Sarzo — who began playing bass for Osbourne in 1981 (the same year he toured with MOTÖRHEAD) — joined THE GUESS WHO in 2016. His first album with the group, “The Future IS What It Used To Be”, was released in September 2018 via Cleopatra Records.
Image courtesy of Sweetwater
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