Rudy Sarzo has played bass for a who’s who of hard rock and heavy metal names including Ozzy Osbourne,Yngwie Malmsteen, Quiet Riot, Whitesnake, Blue Öyster Cult, Dio and many others. While he is no longer playing with many of these acts, Rudy has continued to stay musically active and is a go-to name in bass guitar. In recent years, Rudy has played alongside guitar maestro Michael Angelo Battio, Bassinvaders – the side project of Helloween’s Markus Grosskopf, and many others.
Across a career spanning more than 30 years, Rudy’s recordings with these artists and others have sold more than thirty million copies. Many of the albums Rudy has played on have gone on to make all-time greatest album lists of the decade and of the genre.
While reaching out to him for the How I Play segment of Smart Bass, Rudy was gearing up for a festival run in South Korea with Impellitteri, the solo project of guitarist Chris Impellitteri.
Get to know what Rudy is reading in his free time, his latest gear and more in this edition of How I Play.
Where Are You Currently Located?
I’m in Los Angeles, California.
What is Your Current Gig or Project?
I’m a member of various projects including the Russian Ballet/American Rock Band production “Heart of the Storm”.
What is One Word That Describes Your Playing?
Describe Your Current Setup and What is Your Favorite Piece of Gear?
I mainly use Spector and Ovation acoustic basses. I have a Spector and Ovation signature models that will be announced soon. I also have various Fender, Gibson, Peavey, Godin and D’Angelico basses.
I also have a TC Electronics BH 800 bass head and K Cabs also by TC Electronics. I use D’Addario strings, Monster Cables, and a Line 6 G50 wireless guitar system. I also use a Galaxy Audio AS 1800 Wireless Personal Monitor and Ultimate Ears UE 11 Pro for monitoring. Lastly, I use an assortment of BOSS, Digitech and MXR pedals.
What is One Thing You Could Not Live Without?
My family. They are my support system.
What is Your Practice Space Like?
My practice/learning space is where ever I happen to be at any time. It could be in a hotel room, a tour bus, or even at home on the couch watching TV with my family. Even if I don’t have a bass in my hands, I take the opportunity to expand my knowledge from YouTube videos in places such as the gym while on the treadmill.
What Album Are You Currently Listening To?
I’m doing a festival show in South Korea with Impellitteri at the end of August, so I’m listening and learning the whole set.
What Book Are You Currently Reading?
My book, Off the Rails, has been released on Kindle. I have it in my iPad and I’m enjoying walking down memory lane. Best way to know where you’re going is to remember where you’ve been.
I’d Love To See _____ Answer These Questions.
My friend and master bassist, Stu Hamm.
What’s the Best Piece of Advice You Ever Received?
Lately, I received this advice from Paul Stanley. He said find that band that you’re willing to live and fight for. I think that pretty much encapsulates KISS’s success.
Watch Rudy break down his signature Peavey Cirrus bass:
- How to Set up a Pedal Board for Bassists - June 16, 2021
- The Best Bass Guitar Effects Pedals Guide You’ll Ever See [INFOGRAPHIC] - April 24, 2020
- The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Everything About Bass Guitar Strings - March 20, 2020