In the spring, “EW” did their first corporate event, playing in the parking lot at a local McDonald’s grand opening. The band received “Big Macs” as compensation. It was the era of “showcasing.”
Then suddenly, things started to pick up, and Stephens was landing paying gigs for the group at various clubs on the Sunset Strip, including Gazzarri’s. But just as the band started to get busy, bassist Dave Mednick took off to college and was quickly replaced by Dan Hand.
On one occasion, Stephens & local promoter Craig Sackheim rented out a Canoga Park movie theater for a weekend show with Electric Warrior headlining. In a ploy to save money, Sackheim informed Stephens that he had been unable to secure an opening act. Stephens suggested that EW open the show incognito, wearing masks and costumes. He billed the sham group “The New York Bombers.” The “Bombers” performed recently discarded EW material. At the same time, four females on roller skates came on stage and distracted the audience while performing lewd acts on the singer. Most of the crowd bought it, except for a few who questioned why both bands had extremely short guitar players. Future band members guitarist Don Mogill and bassist Bob Farrell attended this show and were impressed by the headline act. At soundcheck, guitarist Michael Stoekli gathered the group members and informed them this would be his last show as he had found God. Seemingly overnight, he went from a bong to a bible. The band carried forward as four while they searched for a replacement guitarist.
In August, the shorthanded EW opened for Quiet Riot at Star Baby in a show presented by Raw Power when guitarist Randy Rhoads was still part of the group. It was the most critical show yet for EW, as there was a “buzz” surrounding the still unsigned Quiet Riot, and record company AR reps frequented their shows.
Two years earlier, Stephens and Robert Olshever had interviewed singer Kevin Dubrow for a 1977 Raw Power Magazine cover story. With Raw Power, Stephens interviewed the likes of David Lee Roth, Iggy Pop, Ace Frehley, Dee Dee Ramone, Angus Young, Rick Neilson, and Ozzy Osbourne. That fabled interview with Ozzy happened in May of 79’ when Stephens (and two associates) proposed that the former Sabbath frontman might consider auditioning a local guitar player named Randy Rhoads. Ozzy was interested, and Dana Strum (who later found fame with Slaughter) was tasked with arranging the audition. After the Ozzy interview, the legendary Sabbath vocalist asked if anyone knew where he might score some weed. Electric Warrior had a rehearsal scheduled that evening in Woodland Hills and knew drummer Steve Sklar always had available “stash.” Sklar, the most respected musician in the group, also rolled the tightest spliffs. His day job was working at Lion’s Lair, a renowned smokeshop, and he had plenty of connections. Ozzy was up for a trip to the valley and even willing to bust into the EW rehearsal. Despite a chance to hang with a rock god, the Raw Power team decided it would involve too much time shuffling Ozzy back and forth from Hollywood to Woodland Hills, so they declined the offer—a regrettable decision.
Back in the Star Baby dressing room, Vangerov sat with his guitar idol Rhoads as the two played each other’s Les Paul guitars. Neither Randy nor Kevin Dubrow knew this would be one of Randy’s last shows with the group. A month later, Rhoads auditioned for Ozzy and was hired on the spot.
Blizzard of Ozz was released in September 1980, just a year after the Star Baby show. Dubrow was so angry about losing his guitarist that he threatened to thrash Stephens and his Raw Power associates if he ever ran into them. Three years later and without Randy, Quiet Riot found success with their mega-hit LP, “Metal Health.”
Timeline Recap: The Electric Warrior, Quiet Riot, Raw Power Connection
- June 1977 – Raw Power features Quiet Riot on the cover of their 2nd issue.
- May 1979 – Raw Power interviews Ozzy and suggests he audition Randy Rhoads. They ask Dana Strum to contact Ozzy and make the arrangements.
- August 1979 – Electric Warrior opens for Quiet Riot in a show presented by Raw Power at Star Baby. Neither Dubrow nor Rhoades is aware of the arrangements being made for the audition.
- September 1979 – Randy Rhoads auditions for Ozzy and is hired on the spot.
- September 1980 – Blizzard of Ozz released.
EW bassist Dan Hand hung around long enough to do the Quiet Riot show but then bolted the group, never to be heard from again. This opened the door for Mogill and Farrell to join the group just in time for a packed headline appearance at Devonshire Downs. They had only one week to learn the material.
The performance was rough around the edges but netted a bootleg taken direct from the mixing board. It’s the only live recording of Electric Warrior that survives today.
During their three years of existence, Stephens, Vangerov, and Mogill wrote more than enough material for a debut album. Still, without a record deal and short on cash, they never went into a recording studio.