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 Post subject: Ultimate Rhoads Interviews Bernie Torme
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:42 pm 
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Ultimate Rhoads Interviews Bernie Torme

This interview with the members here was lost before the time out period. Anyway for your pleasure I am proud to reintroduce an exclusive interview with Bernie Torme!

Some of the names of the members I have lost; so please if you identify the question you have asked, and there is name, do not hesitate to contact me so I can credit the question to you.

I hope you enjoy reading. Matthew


Welcome and thank you for participating here.

The boots I have heard of your performances on the DOAM tour are nothing short of amazing given the unimaginable circumstances surrounding the dates you took part in.

I speak for many of us when I say that we admire and respect your artistry as well as how you have handled the many questions about this short period of your career. Lesser artists would have become frustrated and exasperated with the incessant Rhoads questions. It is important that you know that your contributions are appreciated by many of us.


Thank you for the kind words, it is always an honour to be asked about randy, it was a huge honour to be asked to try and fill his shoes at the time, I'm always very conscious of that.

When you were asked to join the DOAM tour, and during your participation:

Were you made aware of any live footage (other than the famous "After Hours") of Randy that was offered as assistance to you to help you
transition into the existing show?

I wasn't even aware of any footage of randy at the time, I've only recently seen footage of him for the first time on youtube(what a great thing that is!), and I was really blown away, apart from being a great guitarist he was a cool performer. so the answer is no: all I had at the time was a live audio cassette that had been run off the desk during a show. But that was excellent! by the way I don't still have it, it got returned to Sharon and Ozzy.

Were any formal recordings made of your performances on the DOAM tour?

No, not so far as I am aware.

Were you made aware of any work-in-process of songs for the upcoming Ozzy studio album(s)? If so, what were the details?


No, I guess that wasn't the priority at the time, we did play an unrecorded instrumental, I don't know if it had a name or whether it was ever subsequently used or not. I think Randy had written it.

You have stated that you started the dates by using some of Randy's
gear because yours had yet to arrive. As insensitive as it may appear now,were you offered use of his guitars, as well? Also, were you offered any of Randy's stage clothes for performances? If so, were they returned to the Rhoads family or do you still have the items?

No I was definitively not offered the use of any of Randy's guitars, I would not have used them in any case and I don't think anyone would have offered. I did see them, they were taken out of the truck at allentown, first time the truck had been unpacked since the accident. I understood they took them out to return them to Randy's family in California. Very sad.

Yes Sharon and Ozzy did want me to wear Randy's stage clothes, the show being very much of a staged production thing, but at 6 foot I was a much taller and bigger guy than Randy, so I ended up wearing Rudy Sarzo's spare stage clothes, Rudy being closer to my build. To be honest I wasn't very happy doing that anyway, it's the only rock band I've ever played with where I was told what to wear! But I understand why they felt it was important at the time.

I'm afraid I have no idea what happened Randy's stage clothes

Finally, was there any discussion of you becoming a permanent
guitarist for Ozzy. Were there any discussions about writing new material
for the upcoming studio albums? Was anything actually written/recorded by you/the band for such a project?


Oddly enough, yes, I was asked , but in a vague Ozzy-ish sort of way! this surprised me at the time because I thoought I had made it clear to all and sundry initially that I had other obligations, and could only stand in temporarily, but of course i had never spoken directly to Ozzy or Sharon until I got to LA, and they did not seem to know about my other obligations! Ozzy asked me how I was about writing riffs and writing generally, but it never came to anything, I guess I may have put them off a bit because I said "yes but i have to go back and do a tour....", obviously small scale stuff, but, my own stuff and an album and tour: so it was very important to me to do that and not let people down. seems maybe a bit silly now!

There was no opportunity to write or record while I was there anyway.
Again, thanks for your time.

Thanks for the questions Tim.

I would like to ask Bernie (I forgot when I had the chance) how much the
blues influenced/influences him like his hero Jimi Hendrix.

1. Does your style have a direct influence from blues like Jimi Hendrix'
playing or is your influence of blues via people like Jimi?


Thanks for the question Matt, yes that is the case. I came to Jimi after being influenced by the blues.
I was brought up on the british blues and rhythm and blues boom, people like the Stones , Clapton, Peter Green and Jeff Beck, though Jeff was never really just a blues guitarist. Through those I got into bb king, albert king, Freddie king, Muddy waters, John lee hooker, Skip James, Robert Johnson, lots of others, I was aware of all of that before hearing Hendrix in 1967.

The British blues movement was very purist, and that extended to Ireland where I am from. the thing for me that really was different about hendrix was that he tore up that whole rule book, he did not play purist blues, it was a blend af anything and everything, but the british purist blues movement could not criticise him for it because he was both american and black, whereas their bluesmen (and most of them) came from henley on thames or somewhere similar! So he broadened the palette enormously in a very short space of time by combining that real connection with the blues with lots of other thaings. But he could still do a red house or hear my train a-coming and blow the purists out of the water.

All great questions above, can't think of any more really. OK here's one,
Has Bernie bumped into Ozzy in recent years and if so, does Ozzy actually
recall their time together, bearing in mind Ozzy's inability to remember
much from back in the day?


Thanks for the question! well I haven't seen Ozzy for many years, last time was probably 15 years ago, or more! i have bumped into sharon more recently, and she still remembers me!
I'm not so sure I remember all that much about it all these days either! hey we all have our senior moments!

Similar to stress2stress's Q: In Off The Rails, Rudy mentions that you had to use some of Randy's pedals. You mentioned yo Rudy it had "A Mind of its own". Did it keep doing it on the other concerts?

Thanks for the questions: yes they did appear to have a life of their own the only time I used them, which was at the first gig I did, allentown pennsylvania I think. They definitely turned off and on of their own accord, which totally freaked me at the time, bearing in mind the circumstances.

Randy was probably looking down on me pissing himself laughing! Danny Thomas at marshalls who is responsible for the Randy signature amp told me that apparently randy always had problems with them too, but no-one said that to me at the time, they all just thought i was crazy!

My own pedals arrived just after the first show so i never used Randy's again. I really didn't want to use them in the first place, but a strat, which I play, sounds like an amplified banjo going through marshall superleads with no pedals.

How much did you know about Randy when he was still alive?

Mike 541

I'm very sorry to say just about nothing: I had been in Ian Gillan's" Gillan" band and we were very big in europe and japan from 79 to 81 when I left, we worked incessantly, and you really end up in a sort of bubble. It was also much harder in those days to hear stuff, no cable or satellite music tv, no internet. Ozzy and Randy had done very little in europe, they had mostly concentrated on the states so our paths never crossed at festivals or such. I remember hearing a bit of Mr Crowley on a rock show and thinking "wow thats good", but until I was asked to stand in i really knew nothing other than that. I was totally blown away when I heard the albums, which was the day before I flew out, it was an "oh my gawd how am going to do this" moment! I'd have loved to have seen him live and to have met him. I'd have really loved to have jammed with him!

Hi Bernie cheers for having the time to do this Q & A interview.Just a few
questions for you...
Your time in Ozzy's band was very short lived but it has been such a big
major talking point in your carreer.What part of your carreer have you
enjoyed the most and why ? and you cannot say GMT OK...LOL!!


you mean apart from GeeEm?!! Oooops! I'm programmed to say it, because in terms of the people dynamic in any band I've been in John and Robin are special people, as well as being the rhythm section from hell, it is always a buzz. Truth is I have to pay them a tenner each if I don't mention them!
I've enjoyed most of everything, there are always high points, lots of them: Gillan at the beginning, the marquee club gigs and the first tour, we totally slaughtered! Afterwards it got more grown up and paced, and ultimately a bit of a yawn i think.
Playing Madison Square Gardens with Ozzy was really wild, and it was a huge buzz for me to play with Tommy Aldridge, I really rated Tommy, still do.
Gigs in the 80's with Torme with Phil Lewis were really a high, pity was we never seemed to make it out of the Marquee Club!
Working with Dee Snider was always a buzz, fantastic experience. and it was really special having him up with that band I can't mention at the Hard Rock Hell festival last year to do Emaheevull.
Really i get a huge buzz out of every good gig, its difficult to say what was the best one, I suppose for me its the next one, thats why I play!

Your legendary stutter has been mentioned in previous past interviews how come it doesn't effect your singing and has this ever been a problem on stage..I hope you don't mind me asking about this...

ha ha, good question! well its a well known fact that people don't stutter when they sing, it is as far as I know a speech only thing, I don't really know why that is, different breathing? different brain process? different conditioning? don't really know. Interesting point is that quite a few actors stutter too, for example Rowan Atkinson, Blackadder himself, so I suppose the fact you take on a persona sort of changes it. I think thats true on stage too, its never a problem or an entertainment there, but I'm not that convinced about radio interviews......there I am me again and sometimes I do! its never that bad, quite funny really, the panic in the eyes of the person who is doing the interview is definitely worth a giggle! Oh shit we are going to be here all night!

I've heard a rumour that 'Gillan' are having a reunion. If you and 'Monseur' McCoy are approached to be in the line up would you take on this project.
Bearing in mind that this would probably be a temporary project with you
being involved with John McCoy in GMT and Ian Gillan with Deep Purple..


I think its fair to say at this point in time that I do not think it will happen. never say never, but its not likely. There were two separate approaches from different sources that I was aware of for Gillan to play festivals this summer:

1/ was from some guy from which the classic rock rumour sprang I think, he spoke to john and then really went off on his own without checking whether everyone else would do it and asked Ian who I am told said no. I was a bit pissed off to be included without being asked in the first place, but then again they may well have been planning to use janick.

2/ i was approached by a big biker fest for a glory road era Gillan to headline, i checked with everyone, Colin after much deliberation said no because he has a long standing publishing dispute with Ian that remains unresolved, Ian never responded at all, though to be honest by the time i got hold of him it was falling apart anyway.
Everyone else would have been happy to do it, not because we want to stand in the same room and talk about old times, we'd probably come to blows, but because it would be nice for the fans who were so good to us, and it would be nice to blast through those tracks again, it was agood live band.

I would personally only do it if Colin and all the original members were invoved, for me it wouldn't be Gillan without Colin, I don't think that is on the cards, but I guess it may happen with Janick or Steve Byrd and some other lineup. Or it may never happen at all. The ball is really entirely in Ian's court

Do you have any plans for a possible UK tour ?

We are doing some low level dates to clear the cobwebs before the rock and blues in july, hopefully some more at the end of the year after the new album is out.

the july ones FYI and as a bit of a plug are as follows:
Fri 4 Jul 2008 Riffs, Blackpool ,Lancashire

Sat 5 Jul 2008 HARK to TOWLER, Bury, Gtr Manchester

Sun 6 Jul 2008 Riga, Southend, Essex

Thurs 17 Jul 2008 Queens Hall, Nuneaton, Warwickshire, Midlands

Fri 18 Jul 2008 Yardbirds Rock Club Grimsby Lincolnshire

Fri 25 Jul 2008 Rock and Blues Custom Show 2008 Pentrich Derbyshire

and another plug! we also have a download only three track EP released in july, GMT's Punko Rocco EP with three tracks Punko Rocco, Wheel of Fortune and the old Torme classic Wild West (recorded live at the Rock n Blues 2007) i ts available 14 July on Itunes, Napster, Zune etc. I've got to plug that!

Bernie you have a great love for the Fender Strat have you ever played any other guitars.How many strats do you have at the moment...

I've played Les Pauls in a recording context, and that chord sound is indeed unbeatable, but I don't find them reactive in the way a strat is, how you voice the note on a strat really leaps out, I like that. I used to have a les paul, but I sold it about a year ago, never really played it. I've also played telecasters recording, honky but beautiful. I currently am using vintage icons at the moment, fantastic guitars for the price, fantastic guitars at any price. But they are basically strats, though the pickups are different and tend towards more of a fatter sound.
i'm really not a collector, I have 3 strats and a couple of vintage icons at the moment all of which I use.

Mr. Torme, thank you so much for your time. I just wanted to say I've always had a lot of respect for you for stepping into what must have been an extremely tough situation all around.
My questions would be, how was the fans reaction to you during your short stint with Ozzy, and if you had it all to do over again, would you still
make the same decision to step in? Good luck and God bless!

Madman 56

the fans were really good to me. At the beginning I was really winging it, I didn't know the songs well or the arrangements, it was very difficult to take so much in in a short space, especially since I was pretty jetlagged and tired too. But they were great, they had no idea who I was though, that was fair enough too, the main point was that the tour rolled on, not who was standing in for Randy.

I was very glad to stand in and help Ozzy and the band and everyone involved, and very honoured to have been asked, but no, I did not really understand the implications of doing it at the time, I didn't even know until I got there that Ozzy was so big in the US, he really was not that big in the UK or Europe at that point.

So actually I think I would not make that same choice again: I've had a huge amount of attention over the years for doing it, bad as well as good, mostly bad at the time, much better over recent years, but honestly I feel its all pretty unjustified, it was just a few weeks, I happened to be available, and to be ready, sort of willing, and just about able, but I was standing on other peoples shoulders, they, particularly Randy deserved the attention, not me.

I felt like a bit of a fraud in the context, I'd always been in bands where I had been involved in writing and creating the music and the sound, and I did not feel I did that great a job as faux Randy, it was just about adequate I think, I got through it and learned lots, but I would have been much better if I had played it as Bernie, but in the circumstances that isn't what they were after, understandably so, it would have been wrong. So thats a no, I think. Good question.

of course I would have loved to have played with that band in happier circumstances, they, and the material were killer, but not in those circumstances.

Dear Bernie.

First of all I would like to thank you for your autograph you had kindly
wrote for me last year

My question would be, that I have heard in a guitar magazine that you had a spooky encounter with Randy's pedals, I am curious to what was actually going on, and how did it effect your performance? (if it did)


sort of answered this above, but to recap on the first gig my pedals had not arrived airfreight from england, so the only choice was Randy's pedals, which I really did not want to use, it seemed disrespectful, but there was no other choice.

During the gig I noticed that things were changing sound wise on guitar, and at one point I watched the lights on one of the pedals turn off and turn on while I was about 5 feet away. It totally freaked me out. My guitar tech saw them change too, it happened repeatedly. I have to say they never changed in a bad way, so if it was Randy he was helping!

i guess it did not exactly help with the performance, which was bitty to say the least on the first gig, i got lost a couple of times, but I managed to recover so there was nothing too disastrous. It was the iceing on the freaked out Bernie cake!

Bernie your stage clothes have been very varied over the years.I especially liked your image during your Gillan days with your 'eye patch' and ZAP ' make up.You've went from wearing the Hendrix style military jackets to tarten bondage trousers.Where do you get your clothes and ideas for your image...

I'm not sure really, initially i nicked the military jacket idea from Derwood Andrews who was the guitar player in Billy Idol's Generation X with whom my band toured in 78. A few months afterwards a theatrical shop closed near where I lived and sold off its stock , I bought loads, i really liked them, I still have some of them. that sort of became a trade mark! i do like that mix of old and new things. the bondage trousers are quite funny I think, bit hot though!

Hello Bernie,

Through these years I've always wondered about your strats when you did the Ozzy gig. I haven't seen any pictures that clearly defined the pickgaurds well enough to see if you had them loaded with a humbucker in th bridge or if they were stock single coil. If they were stock, did you have to beef up your signal in anyway for the heavier 5th chord rythyms that Randy played?


PS I heard some of your more recent material over at a friends house andthought it was killer! Great tone

Single coils on all, just standard fender early sixties wiring. closest thing nowadays is the fender 62 strat pickups. I've always used superleads at 9 or 10, and bass mid treble at 10, presence around 6, you get a fair amount of grind and valve compression out of that, but it is very loud. Also i used an old electro harmonix big muff to beef it up, before anyone runs out to get one just like to say i had 3, one was cool and grinding, one was ok, and one was total shite, bee in a box. And even though they were all early ones, a year or so apart, the internal circuitboards and components were all completely different. but the good one is still good, i had it rewired and put in a pete cornish pedalboard. it didn't sound like a les paul or any of randy's guitars, but it did sound pretty thick.

Recently I've been converted from superleads to marshall vintage moderns, which I love, i sort of migrate between the two now. I never got on with jcm800's, they don't sound good with strats to my ears. Of course randy used superleads too.

thanks for that Mike! and thanks to you all for the questions, good to be asked some different ones, hope I've answered everything ok.


Having a break from online activity for a while to concentrate on music. Please email if you need to get in touch. Matt

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 12:10 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 12, 2006 4:03 pm
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Location: Gotham City
Some great info there. Thnx! 8)

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