By Jeb Wright
Brian Tichy is one of the most in-demand hard rock drummers on the planet, and for good reason. He has shared the studio and stage with some great bands. Tichy has performed with Whitesnake, Billy Idol, Foreigner, George Lynch and Ozzy Osbourne… just to name a few.
In addition to his professional repertoire (and this is the cool part), Tichy is a HUGE and I mean H-U-G-E fan of rock ‘n’ roll. Not only does this dude play with passion, it is the same passion he has when he simply listens to music. While he is mostly known as an excellent drummer, the lad can play some mean-ass guitar as well. Just a block or so down the street from this year’s NAMM show in Anaheim, California, he is paying (and playing) his respects in a BIG way to some of his biggest hero: Rush, Led Zeppelin and Randy Rhoads. He is calling it ‘Bonzo Bash’ and he has invited just a few of his rocking buddies to come along for the ride as well.
Just look at this line up:
BONZO BASH, RANDY RHOADS REMEMBERED, HURRY: (A Celebration of Rush Music) come together as "BASHFEST" at Winter NAMM. Jan. 21, 22, & 23, 2016.
“BASHFEST" will be at M3 Live Anaheim Event Center at 2232 S. Harbor Blvd, Anaheim, CA 92802. Phone: (714) 663-2100. “BASHFEST” is only 1.5 blocks south of the NAMM show on Harbor Blvd.! Concert goers can now walk from their hotel or the Anaheim Convention Center to “BASHFEST” with zero worry about driving, parking, cab fare, or lengthy travel time! Never before have these events been this close to NAMM!
When asked about BASHFEST 2016, Brian Tichy said, “I’m psyched to bring our celebration events as close to NAMM as you can get them! NAMM attendees will now be able to come to Bonzo Bash, Randy Rhoads Remembered and our new show HURRY: A Celebration of Rush Music, without worrying about extra travel! These 3 days of music and madness should not be missed, as the world’s top musicians come together to throw down in all their glory! We’ve been doing this a long time and this year is sure to pack the biggest punch yet, so get your tickets now!”
The order of events are as follows:
Thursday Jan. 21: “HURRY: A Celebration of Rush Music”
With: Brian Tichy (Foreigner / Ozzy Osbourne) / Brent Woods (Sebastian Bach / Vince Neil) / James LoMenzo (John Fogerty / Megadeth) and Stephen LeBlanc (Jason Bonham’s Led Zep Exp.)
SPECIAL GUESTS include:
Rob Affuso (Skid Row/ Four By Fate)
Jason Bittner (Shadows Fall/ Flotsam & Jetsam)
Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
Rudy Sarzo (Ozzy Osbourne/ Quiet Riot/Whitesnake)
Ray Luzier (Korn)
Dizzy Reed (Guns N’ Roses / Hookers & Blow)
Michael Devin (Whitesnake)
Friday Jan. 22: BONZO BASH (A Celebration for John Bonham of Led Zeppelin)
Rob Affuso (Skid Row / Four By Fate) / Carmine Appice (Cactus, Vanilla Fudge, Rod Stewart, Drum Legend) / Bill Burr (Bonzo Bash Host) / Will Calhoun (Living Colour) / Jimmy DeGrasso (Black Star Riders / Suicidal Tendencies / Megadeth) / John Hummel (Matt O’Ree Band / NJ Badass) / Brandon Kachel (Barbarian Overlords) /Johnny Kelly (Type O Negative / Danzig / Kill Devil Hill) / Joe LaMonde (NAMM CEO) / Dave Lombardo (Dead Cross / Slayer) / Ray Luzier (Korn) / Khurt Maier (Salty Dog) Dave “Chilli” Moreno (Puddle of Mudd) / Stephen Perkins (Janes Addiction) /Gregg Potter (Buddy Rich Band) /Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers) / Glen Sobel (Alice Cooper) /Mike Terrana (Tony MacAlpine / Yngwie Malmsteen) /Brian Tichy (Bonzo Bash Founder) / Joe Travers (Zappa Plays Zappa / Duran Duran) /Franklin Vanderbilt (Lenny Kravitz / Chaka Khan) / Brad Whitford (Aerosmith / Whitford / St. Holmes) /Simon Wright (Operation Mindcrime, AC/DC, DIO) / Derek St. Holmes (Ted Nugent / Whitford / St. Holmes)
Saturday Jan. 23: RANDY RHOADS REMEMBERED (In Memory of Delores Rhoads)
Featuring: Doug Aldrich (Formerly Whitesnake/ Dio) /Michael Angelo Batio /Chris Broderick (Act of Defiance) /Courtney Cox (Iron Maidens) /Phil Demmel (Machine Head) / Joel Hoekstra (Whitesnake) / Kiko Loureiro (Megadeath/ Angra) / Marzi Montazeri (Heavy as Texas/ Formerly of Philip Anselmo & The Illegals) / Mike Orlando (Adrenaline Mob/ A Beautiful Disaster) / Janet Robin (Student of Randy Rhoads/Lindsey Buckingham) / Robert Sarzo (Geoff Tate’s Operation Mindcrime/ Hurricane) / Nita Strauss (Alice Cooper) / Akira Takasaki (Loudness) / Brian Tichy (S.U.N./ Operation Mindcrime) / Jeff Watson (Night Ranger) / Brent Woods (Sebastian Bach/Vince Neil) / Phil X (Bon Jovi/ The Drills) / Roy Z (Halford/ Bruce Dickinson/ Tribe of Gypsies) / Mark Zavon (Kill Devil Hill)
Jeb: Let’s begin… You’re doing a hell of a show at the NAMM trade show. Tribute to Bonham, Rush and Randy Rhoads…
Brian: I am just a big fan of the scene.
Jeb: The names you have joining you are amazing. Who do you not know?
Brian: I’ve been doing this a long time. Twenty something years… you hope that you’ve done a decent job and proved yourself, somewhat. You just move forward and keep doing better and achieve your goals.
Jeb: Before I even delve into these celebrations that are going on around the NAMM show, let me just state for the record that you have a lot of stuff going on all at once…
Brian: It is really just a matter of… if I was Brian Tichy from Rush, or Van Halen or Zeppelin then that would be my ‘one band’ and that is what I would do. I always wanted to be a drummer in a band but that has not worked out. I want to have hit singles and platinum records, but I’ve bounced around a bit. There is a lot of us that have done just that. Some of my idols have been in many different situations. Tommy Aldridge and Carmine Appice are that way. The list goes on and on.
Right now the main thing going on next year as far as drums is the Dead Daisies. We have plans to write and record a brand new record. We will get that out in the spring and then we will tour in the summer and the fall. That will take up half of this year and half of next year. Outside of that… I think we are talking how it would be really fun to do this Hurry band, our celebration of Rush music with Sebastian Bach in front, it will be fun. It is not a tribute show, so much. It is just a lot of fun to play the Rush stuff. It is challenging and it is fun. It is fresh. We all get together on the same page and we can get playing outside of just playing clubs here and there and we can get a touring thing that would be fun and interesting. Outside of the Dead Daisies things and a little bit of Hurry, I want to get some solo EP’s out where I am doing everything. I am just going to do a Metal solo EP and an acoustic EP and then a Prog EP. They will be five songs EP’s of me playing everything. It has been too long since I’ve done my own music, so I feel like getting that together in my free time this year.
Jeb: That’s a great idea.
Brian: I had a band a long time ago that had a deal in Japan, but it didn’t happen in the States, so I want to play my own music. The Metal one will be first. I will call it ‘Tichy’. It’s my name and I don’t have to think about it. The first single is called “Psyched to be Psycho.” It is going to take over the metal airwaves in a big way, baby. I have got to go in March when I have a break and record it. By this summer I will get it out.
Jeb: I was like, “Why is this band called Hurry?”, then I was like, “duh… Rush… Hurry… I get it.”
Brian: See, it sneaks up on you! We love doing this. Bach got married at The Rock Bar in San Jose and the Moby Dicks, my Zeppelin band that we do, the Bonzo Bash house band… they wanted us to come up and play at Sebastian’s bachelor party. I was like, “Okay.” He loves Rush, and our guitar player Brent is in Sebastian’s band, so we thought he could pick a few songs and we could do a small Rush set. James Lorenzo and Brent and I had the name from when we were goofing around a few years ago. We were talking about the perfect name for a Rush tribute. I said we should call it Hurry and we just cracked up. Brent made the Starman logo for us… but it’s the Running Man. We did this like two years ago and this was a really good excuse to try to this out. We booked a Vegas gig and we played a couple of months ago and then we played Vegas last weekend again. Bach gets up there for about half the show. He knows his Rush. It is cool because there is nowhere else you can go see Sebastian getting up and doing something like this. His voice works great in Rush. It is a nice blend. It is not going to see him doing his solo stuff or his Skid Row stuff. This is a unique thing that he’s never done. We are all buds and it works out good. It is fun. Why not, man? We think we will do more of it and we will see what happens.
Jeb: This is day one of what you will be calling Bash Fest at the NAMM show in Anaheim.
Brian: There was no real rhyme or reason. James plays with John Fogerty and he had a gig in Vegas so we had to put Hurry first so that he can get back to play with Fogerty. Hurry is Thursday and Bonzo Bash is Friday and Randy is Saturday. We are two blocks from NAMM because it is really cool.
Jeb: You have one day to go from Rush to Zep.
Brian: It is weird, because when you finish the show you think Hurry is done and now I have to get ready for Bonzo Bash. I actually never leave that world. I wake up and I have never left the John Bonham world. It is part of how I think.
Jeb: Was there a definitive Zeppelin moment that hit you growing up?
Brian: It was a combination of all of the above. You have a snare tone, you have a groove… It was probably the groove first. The tasty fills and the tasty things that he throws in there are underneath, or right beside or on top, depending how you look at it, of my favorite music in the world. Zep lucked-out and Bonham lucked-out because they found each other. Bonham could have been in some weird band that never took off. Jimmy Page could have had someone else and maybe it would not have worked out. The stars aligned, and Page and Bonham and Plant and Jones have a sound. It is a combination of his grooves. Forget it dude… it is just perfect. Every time he comes in, it is perfect. It is all the best. It is his groove and his tuning—it is all of it. It is how he plays… I can go on and on. He is the king of the right foot. Don’t get behind a Bonham kit if you can’t play his triplets—seriously.
Jeb: I am an early Rush guy. What era of Rush is this?
Brian: With the age we are, this is what we grew up on. At this point, we haven’t learned any songs past Signals. Sebastian was saying at the last gig… he starts singing the last song on Hold Your Fire. I didn’t even know it. He is hardcore and he knows his Rush. You never know. They had a really epic song on their last record, I can’t remember the name of it. It is a really cool song. I would not mind throwing that in there eventually.
We’ve done minimal prep for these gigs. We make sure we know the arrangements and Bach knows his stuff. We just do it. We’ve rehearsed as a band a lot, but we are all busy. It is not like we wake up and we live for the Rush tribute band. We just try to get a couple of days before a show to tighten up and do our homework. That said, if we develop this, then we will expand. We are not sure how far we want to take things. Right now it is fun and it is really cool.
Jeb: I love those early albums. My favorite, at times, is even Fly By Night. All of them are great.
Brain: You know what? That is one of the ones that I know the least. I know Caress of Steel better than that. I have no problem with all Rush. I did the first record as it is cool, but I really love the Peart version on All the Worlds a Stage better than the studio. John Rutsy is cool, but he is really simple and basic. When you put Neil in there and then something happens that has never happened before. Geddy is a freak. Alex is freak. Peart is a freak on drums. I love Neil’s playing.
My three inspirations are John Bonham, Neil Peart and Alex Van Halen. I can’t live without these three guys. They are the big picture for me. When I started learning those songs by Neil I just got to go back and relive that stuff I learned through the years. You pick up nooks and crannies of drum things he did that I missed when I was a kid. He is really focused. He puts his personality into the music.
Jeb: Let’s move on to the next band. Was there a defining moment where little fifteen years old Tichy heard Zeppelin?
Brian: I was probably eight years old. They were all over the radio. I think we were at a friend of my parents’ house and they had Zeppelin II and I asked if I could listen to this. They had the first one, too. My dad said I could listen to one of them. I listened to II and it was overwhelming.
I was a Kiss freak first, and Zeppelin came right after. I can’t tell you the one moment… It all just started happening. My parents got me a stereo for Christmas with an 8-Track player. I went to the record store and I got Zeppelin III because I liked the cover. I liked all Zeppelin equally, but I really liked that cover. I can go on forever about that. I was young.
Jeb: With Bonzo Bash… you’ve been doing this a few years. Are you more surprised how much everyone gets into doing this?
Brian: It is a simple concept that made sense to me. You are getting a lot of good stuff happening at once with Bonzo Bash. You’re getting a drummer show with the drums front and center. That is already a little different than anything. You’re getting the best music in the world. You’re getting a bunch of notable drummers who are taking time out of their lives to prepare a song and play on a foreign kit that you don’t see them on. You’re getting to see Chad Smith and all of these guys on a Bonzo replica kit. We try and tune them close to Bonham’s style. For drum fans to see their drum heroes on a unique kit is really cool. You have a really cool ass kicking house band made up of great musicians who love Zep.
There is a gap between each song where we get ready for the next drummer, so that gives it a different pace than a rock show. It is not like an award show, either. We are not stuffy. We take chances and we improvise and we goof around. Silly things happen and no one cares because we are all there to have a great time. All that matters is when you count your sticks off and everyone throws down. I love a bit of chaos within structure. I dig throwing some chaos around as life is short. I am not talking someone running on stage and attacking someone. I mean we take chances, and if someone messes up it is not the end of the world. Things happen—who cares? You know what I mean? I like that. We have structure and we are respectful. No one has any more privilege than anybody else. We are there for the same reason and the hang is awesome. It is a bunch of drummers, man.
Jeb: The third day is the tribute to Randy Rhoads. This guy is one of my heroes. The first two Ozzy albums were life changing.
Brian: I agree. It was the same way with me.
Jeb: Are you playing drums on this, or are you playing guitar?
Brian: I am the house drummer for the entire show with the exception for one song, where I play guitar. Ray Lazier from Korn comes up when I play guitar. He is one of my best friends. He is one of the most bad-ass drummers out there. He is also one of the most reliable and punctual guys around. This is why Ray is at the top of his game and pretty much always will be. He is tireless. I can’t say enough bad-ass stuff about Ray.
When Ray comes up I play guitar, but the rest of the time I am drums. Rudy Sarzo is on bass. Dave Ellefson comes up for a tune. We have a ton of great guys playing. We have a few different singers. Obviously, we have a bunch of great guitar players. We play every song from Diary of a Madman and we play every song from Blizzard of Ozz. We do a couple of Quiet Riot songs and a couple from Sabbath.
The whole goal is that each guitar player picks a song and we cover all of it. We play every song on the first two albums.
Jeb: Even “No Bone Movies”?
Brian: That is the song that I used to play guitar on every year. Nobody ever picked that song, but I always loved it. That riff was, to me, Randy’s cool Seventies rock riff. I loved it. I knew that no guitar players were going to choose it. The solo on it has a little more of a slide feel. I would just jam that one. I’ve done it a couple of years, so I wanted to change it up this time. I asked someone else to do that and I told them they could jam out the ending and go into their own world of shred.
Jeb: You have this performance dedicated to Randy’s mom, Delores, who passed away recently in November.
Brian: That was the least we can do. We put that on the poster. Kelle and Kathy Rhoads are always at these shows. I was on the road when that happened… and her funeral. The least we can do is pay tribute to her out of respect. We always close every Randy Rhoads Remembered with everyone who wants to, coming on stage, with an unplugged acoustic and we play “Dee” together. When you get fourteen guitar players across the stage with no mics, then it is amazing. It is hard to hear, so the audience has to get down to a pin drop, but it’s a heavy-duty way to end the show. There is a lot of emotion going on, considering why we are there, which is for Randy. We lost Randy at a young age when he had so much going for him. He died so tragically. His mom just passed away. It all ties in perfectly.
Jeb: Do you jam a lot with different players on each song?
Brian: Each guitar player has one song. We have doubled and tripled up. The best was once when we had three guys on “Over the Mountain.” That song is locked in and worked out. To have three guys triple that up… Randy would double and triple track his guitar parts so that was really cool to hear that happen.
This year we will have two guitar players on a song. It is cool. I like each guitar player playing a song themselves, but I try to figure out cool ways to incorporate some more people.
Jeb: Which Randy riff is the one that every guitar player should know?
Brian: There is the one you should know and then there is the coolest one. The one you should know, for me personally, it is “I Don’t Know.” You’ve got to understand when Blizzard came out, Ozzy was doing an interview on the radio. He was like, “I’ve got this new guitar player named Randy Rhoads.” They said, “Let’s play the first song on the album.” They were not even playing “Crazy Train” on the radio yet. Randy comes in on “I Don’t Know” and he just takes over. It is an awesome power riff. I am going to say, although I love other stuff just as much or more on those two records… I would say that “I Don’t Know” is what Randy came out swinging with. It is the opening track of the first album. If you were a kid outside of Los Angeles, then you didn’t know Quiet Riot in 1980. So this was the first time kids across the country heard Randy was “I Don’t Know.” Forget it man. You’ve got to know that song. You should really learn all of his little fills and licks. You’ve got a great solo on that song, too. That is the top. That’s the first thing to me. Of course you’ve got to learn “Crazy Train,” but “I Don’t Know” was the first one.
When that record came out, that is when I got really into playing guitar. I was a drummer who played guitar all of the time. It took this show we do to remember how important Randy was to me. He was probably the top reason I got into playing guitar. Those two albums paved the way for me on the guitar.
Jeb: Lee Kerslake drums well on those albums.
Brian: Come on, those are classic sounding records. I can go on and on about Kerslake. I love that there are no click tracks on those records. It is floating time, meaning that it is solid and tight. Bob Daisley kept all of the groove between Randy’s guitar and Kerslake drums. I love that it pushes and pulls.
Jeb: I can’t believe they re-recorded Bob and Lee’s parts.
Brian: I can’t believe they replaced those tracks. Do we need to really get to that ever? Seriously. I guarantee there are alternate solutions to stop the insults to all of the Metal fans who loved those records. If some kid goes in to buy that record then they don’t get the experience of the mix of Kerslake and Daisley with Rhoads and Ozzy. It was such a bummer. I know they have changed it back, but still.
I don’t know of any other time that was done. I can’t think of any instance where something like that happened. They should have figured out a way to not let it get to that level. If Randy had been alive, and he and Ozzy did a few more records and other members came and went in the band, then that is different. If he were alive, would you really have done that to those records? I don’t think so.
Those songs really lit fire under Ozzy’s ass. I give Ozzy tons of credit. I love his voice. He has a great knack for melody. His choruses rule. I can sing all of the lyrics to all of those songs, but the phrasing and the pacing and the melody are amazing. Ozzy just has the talent to deliver the goods.
Jeb: You are more known for liking hard rock stuff. Do you dig other drummers like the guys in progressive rock?
Brian: I love Carl Palmer and Bill Bruford. I love Phil Collins and Terry Bozzio and Allen White… all of them. We are talking about some great guys. The top of the top for me is John Bonham and Neal Peart. Did I get into ELP as much as Yes? No I didn’t. Did I get into Yes as much as Rush? No I didn’t. Do I love Yes? Yes I do… I just bought Relayer off of iTunes and a couple of years ago I bought Drama. I love it. I just turned my daughter on to Roundabout. She loves Queen and she loves Rush. She loves Kansas. I was like, “Put your headset on and hit play on my phone and sit on the couch and listen to this.” I put on Roundabout.
When I put the time I need to put into these types of shows, I have to do stuff that I don’t have to think about. Zeppelin and Rush are ingrained into my head and I don’t even have to think about what I’m doing. The same goes for Randy.
Jeb: You’re very talented as these shows prove. Is there anything you can’t do?
Brian: I love singers. I wish I could sing. Singing is the most powerful thing. If Mick Jagger or Elvis walks in a room… or even Bing Crosby walks in… the President could be there, but people want to talk to the singer. Everyone wants to be the singer. Getting on a stage and singing… you just trip people out. Look at Nat King Cole or Elvis… singing is the thing that people relate to the quickest. They give it up for the singer quicker than anything else.
Jeb: Will you keep doing these shows and make it a little cottage industry out of it?
Brian: Honestly, behind the scenes stuff can get really overwhelming. It is just so much organization. Because my name is on it, I take the extra time to make it as smooth as possible for everybody. I am utilizing, and getting and being given, the right to use all of these people’s names. I respect that immensely. I don’t want to do anything that would mess with that. I take it really seriously. There is a lot of time and prep. It is a good thing as the shows are cool and people like them. It puts my name out there. People say, “He is a drummer, but he is also the guy who put this all together.” That is great. It shows I can do more than just sit behind the drums.
On the other side, it is a lot to put all of these people together. It is hard for me to even work and do sessions at this time of year. It is really hard to fit that in. I have some other ideas I would like to move forward with. After this NAMM show, I am not really going to pursue any more Bonzo’s or Randy’s. The Hurry thing is a band, so we can go play wherever we want. It is a different sort of thing.
I’ve done this for five years, but there is a lot of other stuff I want to do. I can’t write and record these EPS and do these shows at the same time. I need to move on to some other ideas. I have other ideas that are tied into this a little bit. They are not just celebration shows for one artist. They are a little wider in scope. I am going to take a break and not think about another Bash for a year.
Jeb: Last question: There are two great recorded live drum solos, one by Zeppelin and one by Rush. One is “Moby Dick” and the other is “Working Man.” You can only listen to one. Which is it?
Brian: I would go with “Moby Dick.” It is Bonham. That’s it, he’s the guy. He is the guy I would never stop listening to... He was the idea for Bonzo Bash. I never went through a Bonzo period. It started and it never stopped. That’s an easy one.
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