ANIMETAL USA's RUDY SARZO - "Is Speed Metal A Characteristic Of Me?"
by Martin Popoff
Crazier things have been proposed, but here we are, Rudy Sarzo, Chris Impellitteri, Mike Vescera and John Dette (replacing Priest's Scott Travis) transforming themselves into superheroes in face makeup and delving into the world of Japanese anime.
Superheroes or not in the animation world, Animetal USA is undoubtedly a heavy metal supergroup. Blast their show tunes and one quickly surmises that the music lives up to the bulging pedigree of the players pounding it. Animetal USA play an exhilarating form of vocal-swirled power metal, intriguingly juiced by those Japanese metal melodies that originally wrinkled noses through Bow Wow and Loudness and EZO.
"Well, not really," laughs a good natured Sarzo (Quiet Riot, Ozzy, Whitesnake, Dio, Blue Oyster Cult - whew!), when confronted with the idea that such pan-world power metal is a little outside his game. "I've played with a lot of different metal artists. You know, Ozzy and Dio, and at one point, Quiet Riot was considered a metal band, until metal got heavier, and then the category of metal got raised, and we became a hair band. And then with Tony Macalpine, we did a metal record with Project: Driver. So, you know, is speed metal a characteristic of me? No, but there's a lot of different styles I play, that people might not be aware of. I've been playing for a long time. I started playing in the early '70s, well, professionally anyway, in the clubs and so on, and in those days, you had to be able to play everything and anything in order to be in a band. In your set list you would have Kool & The Gang and Led Zeppelin, so it runs the gamut."
So here we are, Animetal USA semi-stars in the Land Of The Rising Sun, a happenstance that unsurprisingly involves Mega-shred transplant Marty Friedman. "Marty was responsible for all of the arrangements, I would say 90% of the arrangements on the first record," explains Sarzo. "We're on our second album. And as a matter of fact, the Century Media release, which is called Special Edition, is a compilation of songs off the first and the second record. So Marty was instrumental in making the arrangements on the first record, and most of the arranging on the second album was done by Chris Impellitteri."
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