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15 Years Ago: Ex-Ozzy Osbourne Drummer Randy Castillo Dies

The rock world lost a major talent on March 26, 2002, when Randy Castillo age 51, died after his battle with cancer. He was best known as Ozzy’s drummer during the mid-80s to the early 90s, and later as drummer for Mötley Crüe, from ’99 to his death. “I am heartbroken about the passing of one of my dearest friends,” Ozzy said. “I will see you on the other side, Randy. I love you.”

In ’84, Randy was hired to play drums for Lita Ford and was featured on her Dancin’ On The Edge album. Lita in turn introduced Randy to her boyfriend, Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx, and Nikki’s bandmate Tommy Lee. Shortly after the album tour, Tommy called Randy from a party he was at with Ozzy and told him how he was looking for a new drummer. Randy was hired a couple of months later and ended up staying with Ozzy’s band for about ten years, and recording five albums with him during that time: The Ultimate Sin (1986), No Rest for the Wicked (1988), the Just Say Ozzy live EP (1990), No More Tears (1991), and the double-disc live album, Live & Loud (1993).

He joined Mötley Crüe in 1999, replacing Tommy Lee, who had left to form Methods of Mayhem. He ended up drumming on the Crüe’s ’99 album, New Tattoo, and planned to tour with the band, but illness forced him to back out.

After falling ill while performing, doctors discovered an ulcer that had ruptured in Randy’s stomach and performed emergency surgery that saved his life. While taking time off to recover from that surgery, he discovered a small lump on his jaw and a month later, after it had grown to roughly the size of a golf ball, he sought treatment and was diagnosed with a common form of cancer that is not usually fatal if it is discovered early but can spread rapidly if left untreated. The cancer went into remission in mid-2001, but within a few months it returned, and a few days after returning to the doctors, Randy passed away.

During the final weeks of his life, he had been working with ex-Ozzy Osbourne and Alice in Chains bassist Mike Inez on a new band and was in the process of hiring a singer, and he was rumored to be rejoining Ozzy’s band for that summers Ozzfest tour.

“He always had a smile and positive things to say about everything and everybody,” Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx said. “He was a great drummer, a great caring person and a very spiritual soul.”

Tonight we Remember Randy in BLOW IT OUT YOUR OZ.

“Zombie Stomp” is a track off of No More Tears, Ozzy’s sixth studio album from ’91. It was the last Ozzy album to feature drummer Randy Castillo.

The live version of “Tattooed Dancer”, featuring Randy Castillo, that I played in tonight’s show is from the Just Say Ozzy live EP that was released on March 17, 1990. The original recording is off of the ’88 No Rest for the Wicked album.

Randy’s drum solo is from Live & Loud, the Ozzy double live album, released on June 28, 1993. It was recorded during the “No More Tours” tour and was to be Ozzy’s final album following what has supposed to be his final tour before retiring. It was in fact the final Ozzy album to feature Randy Castillo.

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