|Randy O. (photo supplied by Randy O.)|
Recently the three Decline Of Western Civilization
films were released in a Blu-ray box set. One of the most memorable groups from the second film, The Decline Of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years
(1988), is Odin, fronted by lead singer Randy O. In this interview Randy offers his personal take on that film, and shares memories of that time, as well as thoughts on life nearly three decades later.
I read that you joined Odin after answering an ad for a singer. Do you remember what the ad said? Any recollections of the audition or first meeting with the other band members?
I don't really remember what the ad said, but I do remember seeing it and wanting to be in Odin very much. I worked at the Builder's Emporium in Montrose, California at the time and I had my coworker call Odin to see if they were still looking for a singer.
I think it was Jeff or Brad Parker that I was talking to about getting the gig. For a while I really didn't think I would get the gig and would get really bummed out, but after maybe a couple of weeks, I remember Brad Parker picking me up and bringing my PA to the studio down in Glendale so I could audition. I think at first they weren't really sure about my voice (I never thought I could sing anyway), but they loved my energy and craziness, a perfect attitude to be a front man, and after that, the rest was history.
How did Odin come to be featured in The Decline Of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years? Who approached you with regards to that project? And had you seen the first film at that point?
I don't remember exactly how that went down, but I do remember Penelope Spheeris interviewing us one day, and then not too long after, she asked if we wanted to do the movie, and of course we all said yes. I had seen bits of the first film and it seemed like a fun thing to do. They gave us some money and the next thing I knew I was drinking my ass off with a bunch of my friends, telling a camera about my dreams of becoming a mega rock star. I know people talk a lot of shit about us and that interview, but if your dream is to become a rock star, you have to think big, right?
I'm glad they finally released it on DVD. Maybe I'll get another little check out of it and I'll take my family out to dinner at BJ's. I love me some IPAs plus my son Patrick loves their clam chowder.
What were your expectations with regards to the film, specifically how it might affect the band’s career?
I didn't really go into it with any expectations other than being stoked that we were going to be in a movie with Aerosmith and Ozzy Osbourne. I always tell people, "Don't believe everything you see and only half of what you hear, and don't ever take yourself too seriously." I think a lot of people went into that movie thinking it would be a great opportunity for themselves or their band, but the end product seemed to try to make the whole scene look foolish. As far as how I thought it would affect the band, I guess just that we would be getting worldwide exposure, which we did, and we all had a blast doing it.
The interview with Odin featured in The Decline Of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years was conducted in a hot tub in Penelope Spheeris’ yard. How was that location chosen? And was there any sort of direction to act like it was your own place?
Yeah, the location was at Penelope's house, which was her idea. I think that she knew that we always had a lot of pretty women around us at all times, so she just figured, "Let's throw the boys in the hot tub with some girls and a couple cases of Budweiser and see what we get out of it." Some people loved it and others hated it. Bottom line, thirty years later I'm still getting a pay check and now doing an interview with you about it, so I got to love it.
What were your impressions of Penelope Spheeris and her directing style?
At the time, I really had no idea what was going on with her directing us. The hot tub seemed like a setup to get us drunk and see how many crazy comments she could get out of us. Everything I said was truly how I felt at the time though, but obviously everyone changes and you can't hold that against me. I think things got a little wacky in the editing room. A lot of the stuff that she actually put in the film seemed unnecessary to me.
What was the band’s relationship with Bill Gazzarri, and how did it come about? In the film he comes across as a big fan and supporter, leading the crowd in an “Odin, Odin, Odin” chant.
Wow, Bill! He was a great man and he loved the band a lot. I guess because we made him plenty of money, and he paid us well for playing at his club. We were always welcome to go there and have free drinks and sometimes he would take us to the Rainbow and buy us pizza. He had a huge heart, God rest his soul.
In the film, you are completely determined to make it as a rock star. But soon after that film was released, you left Odin for the Lostboys (along with guitarist Jeff Duncan). What led to that decision?
What happened is I actually was being managed by Vicky Hamilton (who also managed bands such as Guns N' Roses, Poison, Mötley Crüe and many others), and she thought it was in my best interest to leave Odin and do a solo project. Jeff Duncan was not the original guitar player for Lost Boys. Originally I took the bass player, Jimmy Tavis, and I had my brother Patrick as a rhythm guitarist. Jimmy knew of a drummer named Dorian (AKA Chad).
We then got our lead guitarist, Steve Mojica. Once we got into the studio, we found it wasn't working out with Steve, and at that time Jeff was living pretty close to the studio. I called him up and asked him if he wanted to come and lay some leads down. Jeff was down with it, so Jimmy and I just asked him to be in the band. RIP Jimmy Tavis, Patrick Gainor and Dorian Chad Matson. Jeff and I are the only living members left of Lost Boys, which is a total bummer.
In 2008, an EP titled Human Animal was released, and in 2009, a best of Odin CD was released. How did these come about? I’m especially curious about “Let The Show Begin,” a high-energy rock tune that looks back while also looking forward with that same sort of certainty the band had back in the 1980s.
Those songs are pretty much Aaron's deal (the bass player for Odin), and I had nothing to do with that. He wrote all three and Odin recorded the instrumentals. They just sent me a copy with how he wanted me to sing it, and I went into the studio and sang what Aaron had put together for me. Aaron produced it all and we never played any of those songs live. I think that little session made a few people bitter. In my opinion, they were good songs but not really Odin.
In the film, you said that all you want to do is music. These days you’re working in television. What’s happening in the music world for you now? Any projects, plans?
As you know, people change and I definitely have changed. When I was about twenty-five years old, I got married, and at that point all I wanted to do was just be with my wife and have a family. I didn't have a place in my heart for music anymore, and I've been blessed with a great job. I have worked on some of the biggest motion picture films in history. Twenty-five years later and I'm still married and love my wife and family more today than ever. I spend most of my time going to my son's football games and cheering him on. I have been asked several times to play gigs but I'm just not into it anymore. I will be going to a gig here in the next month though - I bought tickets for my daughter and I to see Van Halen at the Hollywood Bowl.
The film contains some great concert footage, in which you’re wearing some revealing pants. On the audio commentary track, Penelope Spheeris says that you’re the only guy around who could get away with the ass-less pants. I have to ask, where did those pants come from?
Funny that you asked that question. Those pants were actually my roommate's pants—a guy named Chris Holmes—and I needed something to wear. He told me, "Dude you got to wear my ass-less chaps! But the only way you can wear them, man, is you can't wear any pants underneath. Those will make you famous!" And that's a true story.
Have you re-watched the film lately? What are your thoughts on the film now?
No, I have not watched the movie recently, but my rock 'n' roll daughter, Hanah, got the VHS copy off of E-Bay a few years ago. She has watched it a few times and just loves it. I think she thinks it's pretty cool that her dad is in the same movie as Ozzy and Megadeth (some of her favorites). If I had to do it all over again, I'm sure I would change a lot of things, but no matter what any one says, I'm known all over the world and (believe it or not) I'm loved by many many people all over. I think that the movie definitely captured the essence of that time period and I hope it's able to live on in the generations to come.
The Decline Of Western Civilization Collection
is available on Blu-ray and DVD.