FIB MUSIC: Is it just pure coincidence that Rudy plays with Frankie, later in Quiet Riot?
Robert: No, no. Rudy stayed in touch with Frankie and then he
was doing some touring with some top 40 band and they needed a drummer, so they called Frankie and Frankie
joined them on the road somewhere. You know, doing like a club circuit. I didn't want to do that. I wanted
to stay in the city and see what I could do there with session work and recording because it was just
thriving at that time, with all the record companies.......and it worked....I got in there. I was at the
Record Plant recording in 1979 and the album was released in 1980. After that, the whole scene started to
crumble in New York and that's when I decided to sell my house that I had in New Jersey and move to
L.A. ................Actually, what happened was.......Randy Rhoads died....that's right......sorry, it was
a long time ago. (laughs) When Randy Rhoads died, I got a call from Ozzy. Rudy had given them my number. I had
already met Ozzy when they played the Capitol Theatre in New Jersey. They knew that I played guitar and they
asked if I wanted to audition. They flew me from New York to Los Angeles. I was there rehearsing and auditioning. I didn't really
care if I got the gig. I really wanted to be there with my brother; he and Randy were very close. So I auditioned and
I got the gig. I supposed to start the tour, but at the time, I had met a bunch of people here......I had met Kevin Dubrow,
Gregg Giuffria and that's how I met Tony Cavazo. Interesting how the cycle works. I never sit down and think about this stuff. Anyways,
then Sharon's father Don Arden had already hired Bernie Tormé.....so even though I had the gig and was rehearsing with
Ozzy, then they apologized and said they had a problem and that they had already hired someone else. No hard feelings. Like
I said, I really just wanted to be there for my brother, but after that I wanted to sell my house in New Jersey and move
to L.A. and I have been here ever since. I liked L.A., I had never been here before.
FIB MUSIC: Well, that's a little bit of Ozzy trivia I didn't know.
Robert: Yeah I know. I learned all the songs, I auditioned and then I kept seeing people
continue to come in and audition. They told me to be there at a certain time and that's what I did. I just learn
the songs, that's what I do. Just try my best and I knew if I had to go out there and if they needed to, I could
learn stuff just like Randy Rhoads. I have always been a metal player, I played fusion, jazz rock, all kinds of stuff. I just
would lock myself up and think what would Randy feel like. Interesting enough, I was staying at the Sunset Marquis and on a couple
of occasions, I felt Randy's presence. I felt he came and visited me. I had the last recording, that I had taped from his
last radio interview. He definitely came and talked to me.
FIB MUSIC: What do you mean?
Robert: He was not buried yet. I didn't see him, but his energy was so
intense. In my youth, I was exposed to stuff like that. Experimenting. He was definitely there. Sometimes, I
still stop by his mom's school and.....I talk to his brother, I can still feel his presence come and go.
FIB MUSIC: Didn't Randy ask Rudy to go on the plane with him?
Robert: Yes. He said, "hey, let's go on the plane" and Rudy said, "no, I going to
get a little more sleep". Next thing, he woke up to the bang on the bus and the plane had crashed into the bus.
FIB MUSIC: So you make the move to Los Angeles in 1982?
Robert: Yeah, I went back, put the house on the market and sell it.
FIB MUSIC: Kind of different to hear a musician, who hadn't even been signed yet, say he's selling
Robert: I had to grow up very quick. I have a wonderful son, 29 years old. I grew up
fast. I still workout and go to the gym. I am in really good shape, I snowboard, always learning new things. I never fell into
the trap from the 80's, of doing drugs and drinking all the time.
FIB MUSIC: No drinking at all?
Robert: I occasionally drink. Occasionally, I like my red wine, or Jack Daniel's. I
balance it out.
FIB MUSIC: Yeah, Hurricane never seemed to be a big party band.
Robert: Actually, we would bring baseball gloves and tennis rackets. I grew up
playing tennis because of my mom. We were playing tennis at the hotels. We would get up in the morning and go play
tennis (laughs). I drank Jack and Coke on stage. I partied with the audience, but I was cool with it. You didn't want to
wake up with a hangover the next day. I like drinking once in awhile, but not enough to end up in the hospital, or burned out.
FIB MUSIC: No drug use in the band?
Robert: No. We just weren't into that.
FIB MUSIC: What did you do from '82 to '84, before Hurricane?
Robert: I was putting the band together. Oh yeah, it took me a hundred singers
to find Kelly. I'm not exaggerating. By this time, I already had several drummers and I even had a second guitar
player, Michael Guy. I had a lot of different Hurricanes. I formed Hurricane.......I have always formed bands.
FIB MUSIC: All the versions were called Hurricane? You named the band also?
Robert: Yes. Being from Miami, it was what I wanted to call it.
FIB MUSIC: Was Tony Cavazo with you the whole time?
Robert: No. I had different bass players, everybody was different. Then finally I
met up with Tony again, I guess through Carlos (Cavazo) because my brother was playing with Carlos in Quiet Riot. I had this
place in Santa Monica. This girl named Bambi, she was helping me out. Her father owned a building on Santa Monica Blvd and
she would let me rehearse there at night. Then I brought Tony in there and we co-wrote the first song, "Hurricane". That was
our first song, Kelly or Jay weren't in the band yet.
FIB MUSIC: Do you still talk to Tony?
FIB MUSIC: How did you find vocalist Kelly Hansen?
Robert: I found him through drummer John Shearer. He was playing in
the Top 40 circuit here and we had him come down and we thought, wow, this guy has got the voice. He sang the
song Hurricane and then we started jamming and we just kept on working together.
FIB MUSIC: Did any of the temporary singers go on to play in another band?
Robert: Yeah. I got calls from them later on and they were
actors....they're doing quite well. Some of them, I don't remember. So much has happened.
READ PART II with Robert Sarzo
If you found this interview first, make sure to read the second part of our
interview with Hurricane guitarist Robert Sarzo.
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