Artist: Wynn Ponder
Title: The Life, Blood And Rhythm of Randy Castillo (DVD)
Long time readers of Metal-Rules.com may know that we are slowly trying to review every Hard Rock / Metal DVD ever released. When I was thinking about what DVD’s in the massive backlog I wanted to watch and review this month, it just sort of fell in place. Sometimes when I’m writing reviews, I just follow a little thread of inspiration, maybe a whim, and see where it goes. In this case it led me to do a double DVD feature on two deceased drummers. No rhyme, no rhythm, no reason, it just happened.
I realized that there were some parallels between Eric Carr and Randy Castillo. Both were born in 1950, a few months apart. Both were American. Both were drummers for arguably some of the biggest bands of all time, Kiss and Ozzy respectively. Both were relatively unknown and both made their name playing for about a decade in huge 80’s bands. Both were reportedly super nice people and last of all but not least, both died of cancer at an early age. Both careers derailed. And, both of them have DVD documentaries made about their lives and this month, I’m going to review each one in tribute to these gentlemen. Please feel free to enjoy both reviews in this mini-feature.
THE LIFE, BLOOD AND RHYTHM OF RANDY CASTILLO is a nice and compact 87-minute feature on the legendary drummer. It is largely in the ‘talking heads’ style of documentary with people sharing thoughts and memories, largely interspersed with old footage and pictures and so on. The doc is well shot, good sound quality and easy to watch. It was pretty wild to see some of those old glam-era costumes he used to wear in the 80’s with Ozzy! Like most life-stories it follows along in chronological order and traces his roots to his final days in hospital. The whole thing is narrated by Lita Ford which was nice of her.
Lots and lots of people pay tribute to him, tons of musicians, the Motley guys, Lita Ford, Lemmy and others, industry people, personal friends, and perhaps most touching his ex-finance and family members. One particularly heart-wrenching scene is when Randy’s mother admitted that she had lost her religious faith because she had prayed to God to save her son and it didn’t work. She died before the completion of the film. It is a tragic story, a talented person, dying quite young; it happens every day, but when it is a person of celebrity status the impact seems to be a bit more widespread. Despite the unhappy ending, this does come across as a tribute and celebration.
Over time I had forgotten that Randy played with Motley Crue on that one album. What also struck me was that how few albums he actually played on. I mean no disrespect at all but in all those years and all those bands he really only appeared on about half a dozen albums. And yet somehow his stature in the industry and respect from fellow performers was phenomenal.
By all accounts Randy was one of the good guys, humble, modest and kind and generally well liked and that comes across in the film very nicely. I suspect these types of independent films that pay tribute to a deceased artist are cathartic to the family and help with the healing. Whether you are the world’s biggest Randy fan or just vaguely aware of his legacy, this movie is well worth your time.