‘Off the Rails: Aboard the Crazy Train in the Blizzard of Ozz’ by Rudy Sarzo – Book Review

I have been reading a lot lately and I was able to get this book on my Kindle for the super low price of nothing so I thought, what the hell. I really like Rudy Sarzo, I like Ozzy, I like Randy Rhoda’s so why not check this out. The book was written by former Quiet Riot and Ozzy Osbourne bassist, Rudy Sarzo and he chronicles his short time in Ozzy’s touring band the Blizzard of Ozz. This time period is that same time period as when Randy Rhoda’s was in the band and Rudy wanted to capture those moments and felt the story needed to be told. I have to say, I think he is right and I thoroughly enjoyed walking through in great detail, the tours he played on.

The book starts off the day Randy went up in the plane and would crash and end his short time on this planet. The story then immediately jumps back in time to right before Rudy was brought in to Ozzy’s band. Rudy had been in Quiet Riot for a short time with Randy and the band got famous in Japan, but not in the U.S. The group had stalled and Randy went and joined Ozzy’s band and Rudy joined a band called Private Army with his friend Frankie Banali. In the meantime, Ozzy’s debut solo album was released in 1980 and right before the band was to go on tour in 1981, Ozzy fired the drummer and bass player. Randy was still in the band. Tommy Aldridge was quickly brought in, but the band needed a bass player. Randy called Rudy and Rudy would go to Don Arden’s house (Sharon Osbourne’s day and Jet Records President) to meet Ozzy and Sharon and audition. Well, needless to say, things worked out or this book wouldn’t have been written.

Rudy chronicles the entire journey through the tour for Blizzard of Ozz and the Tour for Diary of a Madman. It feels like he kept a lot of notes about what happened at each show, but also, he had help. At the end of the Blizzard Tour, Sharon gave him a scrapbook of every show including newspaper clippings of the reviews of the shows. What is funny is the fact that a ton of these reviews would list the original band which was not Rudy or Tommy which goes to show the writers knew nothing about the band and didn’t even bother going to the show.

Rudy’s memory is crystal clear as he wasn’t much of a partier so his mind is still in good shape and we get great detail of conversations with Randy and with Ozzy and Sharon. Now, I will admit, when I read anything that had Ozzy or Sharon talking, I read it in their voice and it was fun to do especially Ozzy. The biggest thing I learned, which kind of already knew, is how dysfunctional the relationship was between Ozzy and Sharon. They were basically an old married couple fighting all the time even before Ozzy was divorced from his then wife, Thelma. And when I say fighting, I mean knock down, dragged out fighting. The two together are extremely toxic and the things they do to each other are quite amazing.

We learn a lot about Randy and the gentle soul he was…at least in Rudy’s eyes. Randy was very professional and wanted to be the best at what he does. While working with Ozzy in London, Randy took classical guitar classes and became a better guitar player and took both the classical world and rock world in to his playing making him that much better than everybody else. But the thing Randy seem to love the most was teaching as he was constantly trying to teach others, especially kids. Randy would also look up classical music teachers in every city they toured so he could take more and more lessons. The problem was he would end up teaching the teachers more. It was really cool reading about Randy and you came to find he was a super nice guy, a little of a loner, but seemed to be someone you would want to be friends with and you could tell that Rudy thought very highly of his friend. He respected him as a player and a person and it shows.

Then we get to the crash. The plane crash that killed Randy and changed everyone’s life in an instant. This is where Rudy became disillusioned with Ozzy and Sharon’s constant drug use, drinking and fighting and with touring with Ozzy without Randy. He made a go at it and we get to see some people come in and try and fill Randy’s shoes and the problems that caused. We see Bernie Torme and Brad Gillis (Night Ranger). In the end, Rudy would leave the band and then we see the friction and anger that caused with Sharon and Ozzy which is sad as they are both little children who are pissed they don’t get their way. Rudy would go on and rejoin Quiet Riot and would go on to massive success and fame with them and then with Whitesnake. I also learned from this that Rudy was a good friend and seemed to be an all around fantastic guy. And you know what, I truly believe he was. He seemed sincere and not putting on aires for the sake of writing his own story.

I found the book an easy read and quite entertaining as Rudy has jammed the book full of great road stories and some are completely off the wall and unbelievable. Apparently Ozzy likes to relieve himself anytime and anywhere and Tommy Aldridge has a black book of names of women in every city. It is those stories you will love and enjoy the most when reading. Yes, the Randy stories are great, but let’s be honest. Ozzy was an absolute mess at this time and the entertainment value is here in spades. Rudy does a fantastic job with this and I think it is a must read for any Randy and Ozzy fan…or even a Rudy fan which I am. I will give it a 4.5 out of 5.0 Stars as the only thing I have negative to say is Kindle version formatting was pretty shitty so get the book in paperback or hard back for better enjoyment.

13 thoughts on “‘Off the Rails: Aboard the Crazy Train in the Blizzard of Ozz’ by Rudy Sarzo – Book Review

  1. It was a great read as Rudy seems like a standup guy whose made a great career out of being a hired gun so to speak. When I reviewed this the only knock on was the spelling mistakes which I took with a grain of salt as isn’t that what you have an editor for? It’s like I wrote it.lol
    Good stuff sir.

    Liked by 1 person

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