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The Life, Blood and Rhythm of Randy Castillo

World premiere of The Life, Blood and Rhythm of Randy Castillo

Article by Lorraine Chambers


The long awaited one hour independent filmmakers documentary on drummer Randy Castillo is set to premiere as the opening night star studded event of the Red Nation Film Festival at the Laemmle Music Hall Theatre in Beverly Hills at 7:30 pm  on Tuesday November 4th.

The project started in 2002 by filmmaker/drummer Michael Bell of Wichita,  Kansas. It has been an expensive labor of love which he has expressed that it is worth every penny. Wynn Ponder is the producer who has finalized the footage into its finished product.

The premiere has an incredible array of family and friends who will be there in the sold out 254 seat Theatre including former band member Lita Ford who narrates the movie and Lita played background guitar on several segments of the movie. Randy is a musical inspiration for his Indian and New Mexico culture and for musicians. I knew another side of Randy. I knew the working musician keeping it real who worked hard on his craft.

Back in 2004 I was contacted by Michael to be interviewed as somehow on the Internet he saw a mention by me about my longtime friendship with Randy as he was instrumental in getting my then bassist husband an audition and the gig in the Lita Ford band in 1984. I drove to a house in Pasadena to be filmed reading an email ftom Randy. I think of Randy often and his spirit is very alive around me. I saw Sharon Osbourne at an NBC Summer press  preview day and I mentioned Randy and she smiled.

Randy was the entertainer on and off stage. He loved people and being with friends. His laugh was contagious.  He was open to ideas and creativity.  He could write with both hands. He liked telling jokes. He loved going to the Rainbow on Sunset to be with the music tribe. He loved thd brotherhood of the music industry.  He was supportive of local drummers from his hometown like Jay Schellen who lived in the Valley.  Randy used to play on Monday nights on Sunset at the Whiskey when Lita wasn’t on tour. It was the Lita Ford band without Lita and they called themselves The Throbbing Erectones.

I remember Randy bringing Ozzy to Filthy McNastys on Lankershiem in No. Hollywood for him to see my ex on stage as the possible new bassist for Ozzy’s band yet Brit Phil Soussan got the gig. 

I know Randy was no saint. I am sure he might have had his own issues.  He was only human.  A former friend of mine said ‘Randy loved to be loved and in love. He loved love.’ He used to share a house in No. Hollywood with a quiet slim pretty make up artist. When they parted ways she was bittersweet yet not bitter about it when I helped her move to a small older apartment on the eastside of Sunset. She was glad for the time with him.

I had lost touch with Randy due to my ex leaving the music business for his education at UC Irvine.  I remember when Ozzy played the Pacific Amphitheater in Costa Mesa.  I was married with two young kids and I drove with the kids in our green station wagon during soundcheck to leave off an envelope with a note and a magazine on the artist Vargas for Randy as he loved his artistic depictions of women.  I left it with the backstage security and I always wondered if he got it.  Years later via the Internet,  Randy and I reconnected. I was invited to see him with a mariachi band he was drumming with in salsa jazz type club on Sunset. I got there late yet we met up at the Rainbow. It was the night before he left on the Motley Crue tour. Then there was his cancer journey. He emailed me about it. He described himself as ‘Ghandi with tattoos’ as he was thin and baldy due to the treatment. Rock looks were important. Music was everything to Randy. He was guarded about his age which is common in the entertainment industry. He did not look his age.

It was very sad when I heard Randy died. I heard he made it to the annual NAMM show in January earlier that year. He was sad to no longer be in Ozzy’s band yet he stayed positive and moved on as the music industry like life has no guarantees.  His memorial at the Gig which was once Gazzarri’s was brilliant. Phil Soussan put on a great sendoff for his bandmate. I met singer Robbie Williams there. So many rock musicians and stars in attendance. It was surreal. It was the first time onstage of Stone Temple Pilots. Run DMC played ‘Walk This Way’ with Stephen Tyler. Afterwards at the Rainbow I chatted with Phil about the incredible night and how we missed Randy. A beautiful full figured female waitress/bartender had a personalized tight tshirt which read Drummer Boy. I bet Randy’s spirit was smiling.

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