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Rick Bozzo: Living Legend of Rock and Roll History

Rick Bozzo has lived the rock and roll circus, seen it all, and has worked with some of the most influential musicians in the world. He holds fascinating history his years with Meatloaf and he also played bass in one of my favorite 80’s hair bands Giuffria from 1985-1986.

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Interviewed by:
Lisa Sunshine Svelnys
Print & Video Rock Journalist,
Hollywood Rock Underground, Dead Sea TV and IndiePulse Music
Rick Bozzo has lived the rock and roll circus, seen it all, and has worked with some of the most influential musicians in the world. He holds fascinating history his years with Meatloaf and he also played bass in one of my favorite 80’s hair bands Giuffria from 1985-1986.
Rick lives just outside of LA and enjoys making public appearances with local bands… I dug up this clip of him playing with a Rod Stewart cover band… always fun and filled with positive vibes, he will always be one of my most favorite people.
Lisa: Rick, What about being in the music industry breathes energy and life into your soul? (What was your first record you bought as a kid?, How old were you the first time you played in public, what about that experience drove you)
Rick Bozzo: I’d have to say its the feeling most musicians get just being on stage. I just an ego trip for most.  But the reality of it all for me,  is the fan’s , whom without them we mean nothing they are my energy, life force they give me the will to carry on… The 1st record I ever  bought was  Meet The Beatles.I was 13 years old. I started playing bass guitar when I was 14.I wasn’t very popular in school until I started playing.  And what drove me to do it,  well it was a to get a girl friend. Suddenly I was popular.
meatloaf-bozzo3
Lisa: Tell us about the day Meatloaf came into your life, what energy about him made you know working with him would be fulfilling?
Rick Bozzo: I met Meatloaf at a jam session in the parking lot of a psychedelic head shop called the Peace of Mind in Encino, CA just twenty minutes from, Well you know, downtown Hollywood and Vine. There’s actually three things about meatloaf that impressed me.  That  he was  Loud, Positive and were ever he was. was the place to be.
I realize that it easy for me to say after talking to him for only twenty minutes I knew he was going do something big in the entertainment business Now that he has sold over 65 million albums and been in 59 movies but I did. Truthfully I thought he was going to be a bigger movie star and make Christmas albums like Jim Nabors aka Gomer Pyle or Loren Green from the TV shows Bonanza,and all tho Meatloaf can appear to be a very scary guy.
The fact is that his a very kind, generous and sweet hearted person.
bozzo-meat2012
 
Lisa: What was it like the first time you heard a song on the radio you played on? What was that feeling like? Take us there…
Rick Bozzo: The first time I heard a song I played on. I remember getting really excited and thinking I was finally on my way to stardom. I had an amazing few years doing recording sessions. I could go into like Tower record’s and see my name on albums in the R&B Disco , Rock etc sections.that was really something at the time. Those were glorious times.
 
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Lisa: What is the best advice ever given to you by a fellow musician?
Rick Bozzo: The best advice for musicians is to remember when ever your out in public, that its  like being on stage.  So don’t be on you best behavior and be kind to everyone you meet. Cuz your not always going to be on top no matter at what level you might make it to. Your going to see a lot of the same people on your way down. And by all means don’t go out or try talking to everyone if you happen to be getting Stoned. ~Gene Simmons
Lisa: Who are you listening to now, if I were to go into your car and push eject on your CD player, who would I find?
Rick Bozzo: I try to listen to every kind of music whether I like or not. There’s always something new to learn from just about every one. You Must keep up with the times.  For the times well there are always changing. Faster than we might think. Currently I’ve been listening to an independent act called Hoosier. Take me to Church.the song is about Racism and gays rights. People should get over all that.  I also like Adele.  Rolling in the Deep and The Foo Fighters, but I’ll always be a fan of classic rock. If you took the cd that’s in my car today.  Well you would find demos of song’s that I wrote years ago.
Lisa: How important do you think it is that music is kept alive in public school systems?
Rick Bozzo: It’s very important to keep music in the schools.  It’s the universal language. They have taken Religion out of school. That’s BAD enough. The world is heading for a calamity the likes that’s never been seen in our times anyhow.
Lisa: What are the most important traits does it take to be a successful musician?
Rick Bozzo: First off you must have some talent. Be willing to work for it. You don’t need to be Good looking  but it always helps. Mostly don’t be an A-hole. You must be likeable. Or your going get Fired no matter how great you might be or good think you are. A musicians job is to please his or her fans.
bozzorocks

Some History about Rick Bozzo: A Legendary Performer:

 

Highly influenced by the mania of the first British invasion, Rick Bozzo began his musical career in the San Fernando Valley of California as bass guitar player and vocalist with the hard-rockin’ blues group “The Winding Roads”. Some of their first gigs included the The Balboa Community Center, “love-ins” at Griffith Park, L.A. Battle of the Bands at Pacific Ocean Park, high school dances, outdoor concerts, and The Teenage Fair which was held annually at the Hollywood Palladium. Rick and his band was opening act for such groups as Steppenwolf, Iron Butterfly, The Grass Roots, Arther Lee and Love, Canned Heat, Blue Cheer, Paul Revere and the Raiders (with Mark Linsey), and the Electric Prunes.
Rick met Marvin Lee Aday, now know to the world as Meatloaf. After several months of playing gigs in Southern California as “Meatloaf Soul“, members Rick, Pete, Sue, Frank And ML went to Michigan for two years where they toured the Midwest and recorded their very first record on the Majenda label as Popcorn Blizzard, playing with rock and roll rebels such as The Who, Iggy Pop and the Stooges, Wayne Kramer and The MC5, as well as Motown acts such as Rare Earth. In addition, before they achieved fame, Rush with Geddy Lee was an opening act for Popcorn Blizzard. After the breakup in 1970, Meatloaf and Shaun Murphy aka “Stoney” joined the Detroit cast of Hair at the Vest Pocket Theatre.
After arriving in Michigan, the very first thing we did was to stop off at a local radio station in Saginaw. Our drummer Pete who was with Dick Wagner and Mark Farner of the Bossman went inside and announced the arrival and plans for the new band Popcorn Blizzard. This is the first time I heard my name on the radio! After settling into our band house we got right to work. One of our first gigs was on a flat-bed truck at a shopping mall in Midland, where we were seen by Jill LaFore who would become Meatloaf’s all the way up to the Rocky Horror Picture Show era and well as Betty Gerstacker who’s mom later became our financial backer. Shown on the right is Meatloaf and Rick at the band house in Freeland Michigan in the winter of 1969.

Rick then became the new bassist with Dick Wagner and The Frost on Vanguard Records. Originally based in Saginaw, Michigan, they later moved to Detroit. The Frost shared bills with Johnny and Edgar Winter, Alice Cooper, Lou Reed, Bob Seger, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Ted Nugent, James Gang, Grand Funk Railroad, Brownsville Station, Mitch Rider and the Detroit Wheels, and other mega stars of that era. Rick says,“Dick Wagner was one of the first recording artists in Michigan to retain complete create control over his own music”One of Rick’s first gigs with The Frost was at the Eastown Theater in Detroit opening for S. ly and the Family Stone. Another gig was at the Goose Lake Pop Festival performing for 150,000 people. After the departure of Dick Wagner, Rick played with remaining members,Don Hartman and Bob Rigg as a trio before adding keyboardist Robyn Robbins in Detroit.

meatloaf-soul68

After The Frost break-up, Rick returned to Los Angeles where Meatloaf was performing in Richard O’Brian’s “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at the Roxy Theatre on the Sunset Strip. A mutual friend of ours named Jill was working the ticket booth. Needless to say, I was a regular in the audience.

Shortly thereafter Rick found himself playing on a worldwide USO Tour with show-band Greenflow. When Rick returned to California, he formed a band with his friend, Stan Keiser called Brass Knuckles. Rick convinced Meatloaf to come and sing over some pre-recorded tracks. Shortly after that Rick heard that M.L. had gone to New York to do a Broadway play, where he met Jim Steinman. So in 1976, Rick joined the rock band Sabu. This band was also involved in doing recording session work for various artists, also performing at the San Diego Sports Arena, the Swing Auditorium, the Ice Palace in Pasadena and the famous Whiskey A Go-Go and theStarwood in Hollywood.

In 1977 Rick received a telegram from Meatloaf. Rick then traveled to New York where he met and rehearsed for the Bat Out Of Hell tour with Jim SteinmanEllen Foley (who sang on the “Bat Out of Hell” album) and Rory Dodd along with Meatloaf. David Sonnenberg and road manager Sam Elliswere also there. Then came calls from Sabu’s management company saying a deal was clinched with Polydor UK and that a Sabu album was to be recorded at Manta Sound in Toronto Canada. Rick says, “This turned out to be the biggest decision of my musical career, which was also influenced by Ellen’s departure from the tour to do a solo album”. On my way to David Sonnenberg’s office to sign the contract for the “Bat Out of Hell” tour, I told him I had another commitment and was going back to L.A.”.

Later that year (1978), Rick returned to Los Angeles and the Sabu band. They then took part in what was purported to be the first commercially available digital recording, “The Bee Gee’s Music”-Orinda Records , by theGlendale Symphony Orchestraconducted by Carmen Dragon, and produced by Harry Balk (who originally signed Stoney and Meatloaf). This was accompanied by a live concert atThe Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles. Shortly thereafter they recorded an album for Ocean/Ariola Records just called Sabu, which included the hit Loose Lucy. Subsequent tours of Mexico led to several appearances on The Siempre En Domingo Show andNoche Nochehosted byVeronica Castro, viewed by over 50 million people in Mexico, as well as North, Central, South America, Italy and Spain, and Baby’os in Alcupolco. In addition the Sabu band recorded an album for Danielle Romo.

 

Soon after the release of their second album, SABU II” (MCA), Sabu toured Canada and the U.S. where he appeared on the Midnight Special, Mike Douglas, Dinah Shore and Merv Griffin T.V. shows, as well as the Billboard Disco Convention in Studio One in Los Angeles and Monte Carlo, along with superstar Ann Margret. SABU II included the hits Rock Me Slowly (MCA-1217), and Wet and Wild, which later appeared on aKiss collecter’s tape. Around this same time, Rick also appeared on The “Ann Margret” album (MCA-3226), which sold over one million copies worldwide. In addition, Rick played on most of the records by disco star, Debbie Jacobs (MCA-3156), including the number one single, Undercover Lover.

Early in 1982, Rick completed an LP for Alpha Records/Japan with recording artist and former Playboy Centerfold, Cyndi Wood. In addition to frequent live performances with SABU, he recorded songs used in the cult classic movies “Hard Rock Zombies”,”Vice Squad”, “Skin Tight”, “Women in Rock and Roll; the TV show Mike Hammerstarring Stacey Keach and co-staring Emma Samms, and Vanity as well as the TV pilot Friends, and “The Ann-Margret Special” on CBS television. See photo of the ‘Ann Margret album” in thecredits section.

Jimmy McNichol and the Secret Service Band received rave reviews when they opened for James Brown at Los Angeles Universal Amphitheatre. “It was frightening to open for that audience, but the fact that we pulled it off, and won the audience over, made it all the better”‘ he comments. After James and the Secret Service Band opened for Brown, he went on to work for the United States Secret Service as an advisor for entertainment and actually performed for Pope John Paul’s 1987 World Tour.

Rick with Gene Simmons

Rick Bozzo and Kiss founder Gene Simmons
at the NAMM Show in 1992

Angel

Greg Giuffria and Angel

Rick joined the band Angel which later became Guiffria and began working on a the album that would become known as Guiffria. This was the last line-up for Angel because 3 of the original Angel members protested using the name “Angel” and its Logo, therefore the band changed its name. This album was a top 40 album and produced the top 20 hitCall to the Heart. The album was recorded at Cherokee Studio and produced by Andy Johns and Greg Guiffria and landed the band a 3 album record deal on Camel/MCA. Lee Di Carlo produced some tracks for them at A&M Studios. After Rick worked with Angel/Guiffria, he re-united with Paul Sabu to record the album Heart Break. Rick also recorded hundreds of publishing demos for Unichappell Music, Gold Hill Music and Screen Gems in addition to numerous demos for songwriters asR. Dean Taylor, Freddie Parrin, Kim Fouley, Steve andNat Kipner, Geoff Leib, Mark C. Anthony, John Townsend, Paul Sabu, Malcolm Jones, Chris Hillman, and Tom Seufert.

The Glendale Symphony Orchestra

After a short stint with Meatloaf (1978), Rick returned to Los Angeles and to the Sabu rhythm section, featuring Dan Holmes on drums, Steffen Presley on keyboards, John J. Mandel on percussion (percussionist for Gino Vanelli), and Rick Bozzo on Fender Bass. They took part in what was purported to be the first commercially available digital recording,The Bee Gee’s Music-recorded at Burbank Studios on Orinda Records, byThe Glendale Symphony Orchestra conducted by Maestro Carmen Dragon and produced by Harry Balk (who signed and co-produced Stoney and Meatloaf on Rare Earth/Motown Records).

This was accompanied by a live concert at The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles. Shortly thereafter they recorded an album for Ocean/Ariola Records just called Sabu, which included the hit Loose Lucy. Subsequent tours of Mexico led to several appearances on The Siempre En Domingo Show and Noche Noche hosted by Veronica Castro and viewed by over 50 million people in Mexico, North America and South America, Italy, Spain, and Baby’os in Alcupolco. In addition the Sabu band recorded an album for Danielle Romo also on Ariola Records.

1985/86 Rick recorded the “Heartbreak” album on Heavy Metal America, ID#HMA36, a subsidiarity of EMI with SABU. This album was voted one the best albums of 1985 by readers of Metal Force magazine. This was followed by a video for a show called USA Underground, hosted by Carmine Appice, which featured King Cobra, Precious Metal, and Sabu. This show has aired throughout Europe and Japan as well as on VH-1 and MTV in the states. The “Heartbreack” has recently released by Long Island records, IP#LIRC00109, in Germany. Rick also met and became friends with Larry Graham who’s legendary slap and pop bass style was a big influence on Rick.

I started working on Sabu’s next project, Only Child before I got a call from actor/singer Jimmy McNichol (brother of Christy McNichol), formerly the “All American” heartthrob of General Hospital, a very popular television soap opera. In 1988 Rick performed with James McNichol and the Secret Service band for the 1988 Presidential Primary Convention for the real Secret Service, in San Clemente.

In the late 1980s Rick joined forces with CBS recording artist Susan Lynch, Who had just had a hit single in Canada and Europe that was produced by Terry Melcher. After a quick change in the name of the band to Renegade Featuring Susan Lynch, the band toured the West Coast of California, and was eventually was signed by Grand Slam Records. At this point the band recorded an album and produced a supporting music video which sustained favorable reviews. But, as luck would have it the company went bankrupt, which lead to the break-up of the band.

As the 80s came to an end, Rick was playing at Disneyland, Magic Mountain, Knotts Berry Farm, and The Ambassador Hotel with Playmate Centerfold Cyndi Wood. In addition to these appearances Rick played bass on a session recorded at the same studio The Beatles recorded in for Capitol Records, Studio-B with Paul Sabu and Rusty Garner for Limahl (lead singer for Kajagugu), Only for Love which was featured in a major motion picture.

In the 90’s, Rick replaced bassist, Joe Reed in Bobby Hayden’s band and at the time Lita Ford’s drummer Randy Casstillio had just come off tour and agreed to performing a number of shows and record the No Stranger to the City EP at United Western Studios in Hollywood. This was followed by an independent video recorded for MTV, (Living Free on Daddy’s Money). The video led to performances at the Whiskey A-Go-Go, and Palimenos as well as two Midwest and Indiana, Bobby’s home state.

In 2010 Rick once again returned to the Indianapolis area to work with Bobby again on his Broadway Project with producer Orlando Jones. During this time several appearances with Carson Dresing culminating in performances at the Indiana State Fairgrounds for The American Diabeates Association, The Cincinatti Blues Fest, The Pepsi Stage at The Indy 500, and the 2012 Super Bowl XLVI.

 

 

 

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