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Remembrances of Rrrrrrrandy

By Diana DeVille, Rock Goddess
Monday, May 6, 2002 @ 9:15 AM

Artists and family members pay

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The Randy Castillo Tribute show was held at the Key Club Monday night, April 29th, 2002 to raise money for charity. The event was organized by Randy’s sister Chris Castillo, Phil Soussan, former manager Todd Singerman and others, and featured performances by Buck N Roses (ex-Gunners Slash, Duff and Matt Sorum with Buckcherry’s Joshua Todd and Keith Nelson, who were joined onstage by Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler), Montrose, Slap, Latin monsters Ziroq (formerly Azul) and many others, ending with a drumming tribute to Randy, including a beautiful tribal song from some Native American friends of Randy’s from New Mexico and a film of the man himself in action.

As important as the performances themselves was the reason they were all brought together: the man himself, Randy Castillo. Randy was best known to the world for his work with Ozzy Osbourne, Lita Ford and more recently, Motley Crue. However, he was also a wonderful human being and a shining personality, whose personal testament is contained in the remembrances below by the artists and people who turned out to pay tribute to the fallen rocker.

"...for 22 years [Randy] was my best friend... I would usually be playing with him... He’s not here tonight, so I’m playing for him." -Phil Soussan
Show organizer Phil Soussan, remembered of Randy, “I have a lot of memories of Randy: for twenty-two years he was my best friend. I’ve got way way too many. Let’s put it this way: I organized this show. I put it together with the help of Tom Maher, Todd Singerman, Matt Sorum, Rhonda Saenz, Paul Blazek -- we came together to put this together. The only memory I can really think of which would be appropriate, is that every other benefit I’ve ever done, I’ve done with Randy. So I’m doing this benefit tonight and he’s not here, and I would usually be playing with him, and um… [gets emotional] right now that’s the one thing I’m remembering more than anything else. I mean, I could tell you funny stories about the benefits I’ve played, but the most important thing I can think of is that I would usually be playing with him. He’s not here tonight, so I’m playing for him.”

Chris Castillo offered up her favorite memory of her brother: “Probably the best memory I have is when I was 17 and I ran away from home. Randy was playing with the Offenders out in Chicago and he had to come out and rescue me in Wisconsin. Just the way he did it was so Randy: We sat together, and he said, ‘Look, you gotta come home. I know it’s a bitch; I know life’s a drag right now, but trust me, it’s all going to be okay. But you gotta come home with me.’ And that’s probably my favorite memory of Randy is him saving my ass in Wisconsin.”

Ratt’s Bobby Blotzer recalled, “I’ve known Randy since 1977, and Randy and I were really good buddies, and as everyone will attest, he was one of the kindest human beings you will ever have the pleasure of meeting. It’s truly a sad day to have our brother leave so early. He’s missed, and he was a great talent and a great human being…God I miss him, it’s horrifying.”

Marci Fitz, wife of Vince Neil drummer Brent Fitz and longtime friend of Randy commented, “I think it’s really great that all these people are here for Randy. Randy really cared about his friends; he cared about people, and he was always really nice to people, and I think he more than deserved all of us here to celebrate his life and to pay tribute to him.”

"[Randy] was a very special man, a very great musician, a very soulful human being...God bless him, and I’ll play good for him tonight." -Steve Lukather
Famed guitarist Steve Lukather remembered, “My fondest memory of Randy is about 1997, me, Phil Soussan, Randy, Gilby Clarke, and Ryan Roxie went down to Cabo San Lucas to play Cabo Wabo just for a [vacation], we did it for a lark, just playing covers and having a laugh. We were there for a week, and we just hung every night, and Randy and I had some really great moments, with everyone, and also just me and him. He was a very special man, a very great musician, a very soulful human being. It really just kinda sucks that he’s not here right now, but you know, assholes live forever, but the good ones die young. I don’t understand that. But God bless him, and I’ll play good for him tonight.”

Fellow drummer Pat Torpey (Mr. Big, Montrose) goes way back with Randy and recalled, “I hate to admit it because it sort of dates me a little bit, but I actually met Randy back in 1973. He was playing with a band called the Womblies. I saw him play, and he blew me away! I thought, oh my God, this is what I have to be doing! He really inspired me. I have a specific drum lick that I could show people that I took from Randy, and I still use it to this day. He really was ahead of his time. I saw him in Phoenix (he was originally from Albuquerque), and he just blew me away. He was the guy that everyone wanted to see, even on a local level, just playing the circuit…we played in New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Arizona, and all the drummers followed Randy around, because he was the show, he was the thing, and we are going to miss him a lot. I have known him almost thirty years.”

Steelheart’s Michael Matejevic commented, “When I lived with Ralph Rickeman from the Scorpions (we lived together in Studio Hills), there were a lot of crazy ridiculous parties, that’s all I can say, and that’s where I had the opportunity to meet Randy a few times. I didn’t know him extremely well, but I did meet him a few times at the house, and he was always a gentleman. The other thing is, my mother passed away from leukemia, and so did my brother, all in one year, so my deepest respects to Randy and his family.”

Montrose bassist Chuck Wright said, “ I just remember that every time I saw Randy he was a perfect gentleman at all times, and he was always happy to see me. We always talked about the fact that I’ve been fortunate in my career to play with some great drummers, and I never got to do a record with him. We always talked about doing one, and it’s unfortunate that’ll never happen now, but we’re here for the music.”

And they were indeed there for the music, and that night the music was in honor of Randy Castillo. Many of the artists were happy to reflect on what they hoped to contribute to the show and their thoughts on being involved in the event.

"[Randy's] Apache...he's THE drummer of the world... we're going to honor him with the original drum of our American Indian people." -RedHawk
Native American artist RedHawk provided a preview of her contribution to the program. “We are going to be doing tonight a very sacred song for Randy. It’s a Lakota song -- it’s the Thunderbeam song -- and the American Indian drum, you know, it’s the original drum, it’s the original music of this land, so we’re going to honor Randy. He’s Apache, and because he’s THE drummer of the world; there is no one like Randy Castillo, I mean there’s Elvis -- there’s no one like Elvis, there’s no one like Marilyn Monroe, there is NO one like Randy, and so we’re going to honor him with the original drum of our American Indian people.”

Lukather said of performing, “I was honored to be asked, really. There’s a lot of guys who probably should have been asked before me, but I think that this was put on by Randy’s really really closest friends, and Phil Soussan is like a soul brother to me, and that’s how I knew Randy. I met those guys when they were playing with Ozzy in 1985 in a bar in Japan, and we’ve been friends ever since. He was a great friend, but I didn’t get to see him that much. I love him, he’s a great man, and I’ll miss him.”

Torpey says of being a part of the show, “It’s in the spirit of Randy Castillo. Drummers are sort of this separate underground community. I know all the drummers; we all know each other. We stay away from the guitar and bass players, keyboards and singer [laughs]. There’s something about drummers that we’re just a little more regular guys. I really believe that, and Randy was like that. Never a bad word about anyone, always a kind word for everyone, and that’s why we are here, just for Randy. I’m thinking about him, I’ve been thinking about him all day, and I know that Randy actually wanted to be in Montrose at one time, so I really feel, I don’t know, like his spirit is touching me a little bit, so it’s going to be great.” Bandmate Wright agrees. “It’s great to see everybody come together, friends and family too, to create a fund to help out his family.”

Chris Castillo called the show an extreme success because, “Number one, his friends were here. His fans were here, and again, it just shows the outpouring of support, not to mention the stories that were told to me throughout the night were nothing but positive stuff. He wasn’t a hotheaded musician, he wasn’t some big guy who thought his shit didn’t stink, but he was a down to earth guy and it didn’t matter if you were a delivery guy for a car to his hotel or a friend of his; he treated everyone with respect. That’s how he wanted it to be. I think it was an awesome success, amazing - all the support... My mother is blown away. I mean, today she had a rough day because she knew this was coming, but she just can’t believe the outpouring and the lives that her son has touched that we didn’t even know about.”

"My mother is blown away...she just can't believe the outpouring and the lives her son [Randy] has touched..." -Chris Castillo
Blotzer commented on the turnout. “There’s a hell of a lot of great talent here tonight, so I’m really looking forward to that… I hate the fact that we are here because of a great friend passing away, but it’s great to see the outpouring and the amount of respect and the turnout of the talent and the friends, it’s mind-boggling. I tell you, when I go, I doubt I’ll have that many here [Laughs]. Who knows, but it’s great to see, and there’s a lot of love in the room… a lot of love.”

Jose Prieto of Ziroq noted that, “Randy played drums in Ziroq about two years ago. We had been playing, I think, for two or three years. Randy loved to play with the band. I didn’t play with him because I came in the band after he left, but I played with him about two months ago, an acoustic show at [the] Red Rock, I think that was the last time Randy played live -- I’m not sure, but I’m really comfortable to play here tonight.”

Soussan felt the benefit went over well and commented, “We could have done two nights. We sold out, and we could have sold out two nights easily. I’m really sorry we didn’t do two nights, but we’re going to do something every year for it. We’re setting up a memorial, there’s going to be a foundation set up. The family still has to decide on the basis of that foundation. It could be, for example, a scholarship foundation, or it could be something more close to his heart, like maybe something for musicians with terminal illnesses. I don’t know if you know, but musicians don’t have insurance or anything like that, and that’s a really worthwhile cause. We’d like to do something every year.”

One thing is for sure, the spirit of Randy was in the house at the Key Club that night, not to mention in people’s hearts and on their minds. Rock on in the great beyond, our friend. R.I.P.

For more information on the Randy Castillo Memorial Fund, go to www.randycastillo.com

Ratt’s Bobby Blotzer

Montrose’s Wright & Torpey

Steve Lukather



Ronnie Montrose

“Buck N Roses”

Duff McKagan

Buckcherry’s Josh Todd

Matt Sorum

Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler

Tyler & Slash

Steven Tyler

Drum Jam

Drum Jam

Photos by Diana DeVille/KNAC.COM

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