A bassist who played in Ozzy Osbourne’s band right at the start of his solo career recently talked about the impact the Osbournes had on his career and life.
Rudy Sarzo joined the rock star from 1981-1982 as a bassist. Before then, the guitar player worked with the heavy metal band Quiet Riot. Earlier this week, Sarzo sat down with an interviewer from the music website Ultimate Guitar to talk about how his time with Quiet Riot led to him living and working with the Osbournes.
It all started with a recommendation from Quiet Riot guitarist Randy Rhoads. Apparently, that was the only thing on Sarzo’s “resume” that he needed to play with Ozzy Osbourne.
“The only resume I had was that I played with Randy in Quiet Riot,” Sarzo said. “They knew nothing about me. I got that gig because they trusted Randy. So they allowed me into their home and I was living with them.”
Sarzo talked about how he “went from sleeping on the floor in Kevin’s [DuBrow, Quiet Riot singer] apartment to living at Don Arden’s [Sharon’s father and Ozzy’s manager] mansion. I had my own bungalow.”
The same night the Osbournes hired Sarzo on as a bassist, they let him stay at Don Arden’s house. “That’s how much they trusted Randy, to bring this guy who had no resume.”
Sarzo eventually grew closer with Ozzy Osbourne and his wife, Sharon, while living together. Because, as Sarzo said, “When you live with someone, you really know them. We only had one tour bus with everybody on it – so I lived with them on the road too.”
It was during a time on the road — or in this case, overseas — that Sarzo really learned how much the Osbournes cared about him.
Ozzy Osbourne and Wife Sharon Resolve International Issue for Bassist
Sarzo opened up about a time Ozzy Osbourne and the band traveled to Europe for a show. At the time, the bassist didn’t have a passport and wasn’t even an American citizen, having moved to the States from Cuba 20 years earlier.
“I’m Cuban, and I was even more Cuban 40 years ago,” Sarzo said. “I had to tell [Sharon] I didn’t have a passport because I wasn’t a citizen. She said, ‘Don’t worry about it.'”
Sharon got Sarzo a re-entry permit, which was essentially a slip of paper claiming he could return to the United States because of his green card. But when the plane landed in Germany and Sarzo tried to get through customs, the officials freaked out about his lack of a passport.
“He starts looking at it and throwing it around the desk and before I knew it, there were guys with machine guns pointing at me,” Sarzo said. “I thought they were going to send me back to Cuba. I was freaking out. Finally, the promoter shows up and pays the guys and gives me my visa, and gets me into the country.”
When he got back to the United States, Sarzo immediately got his citizenship and passport. The “point,” he said, in telling this story, was to reaffirm that Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne are good people who treated him well.
“They were fantastic with me. I owe them my career. I really do,” Sarzo concluded.