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Rocker’s Name To Adorn West Mesa H.S.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Renowned rock drummer Randy Castillo, a member of the first graduating class from West Mesa High School, will have his name adorn the school’s performing arts center.

Castillo, who died in 2002 from cancer, played with Ozzy Osbourne and Mötley Crüe, among many others musicians.

And Tuesday at 4 p.m. in a public ceremony at the school, the Randy Castillo Performing Arts Center will be christened, capping a process that his younger sister, Christine Castillo, began about two years ago.

What: The Randy Castillo Performing Arts Center dedication
Where: West Mesa High School, 6701 Fortuna NW. The building is visible from the visitor’s parking area on Fortuna. The front of building faces southwest.
When: 4 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 18

“This is something I wanted to do,” she said.

The Albuquerque Public Schools board approved the move last summer.

“This speaks to his legacy,” Christine Castillo said. “This speaks to how well he did in music and how well people thought of him.”

His mother, Margaret Castillo, said the honor is somewhat bittersweet.

“I’m having mixed feelings,” she said. “It’s sad that he’s not here to enjoy his achievement. So it’s a sad occasion and a happy occasion.”

Randy Castillo, who was 51 when he died, began playing drums in elementary school, then switched to the trumpet, Christine Castillo said.

But he tired of the brass and wanted to go back to the drums, but his dad refused to buy him a kit, saying he would just get bored with that, too, Margaret Castillo said.

“He was always banging on something, table chairs,” she said. “I always wanted to support him so I talked with the music teacher at the school where I worked and he said he could order me a drum set. It was just a beginner set, but he was so happy.”

An APS employee who was pregnant with Christine Castillo at the time, Margaret Castillo used her final paycheck to buy the drums, she said.

And the drums finally arrived the same day that the family brought Christine Castillo home from the hospital, she said.

Randy began his meteoric professional rise after he joined his first professional band, The Wumblies, in the late 1960s.

In the early ‘70s, he moved to Los Angeles and played for groups such as The Mudd before he joined Lita Ford in 1984 for her album, “Dancin’ on the Edge,” Christine Castillo said.

Not long after, Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee introduced Randy Castillo to Ozzy Osbourne, who invited Randy to play during the band’s “Live and Loud Tour” in 1993.

Castillo played with Osbourne for 10 years, recording five albums with the band, including a double disc live album, “Live and Loud,” in 1993. He later played for Mötley Crüe.

Margaret Castillo remembered that just before getting the audition for Ozzy Osbourne, Randy Castillo had broken his leg in a skiing accident.

“He cut the cast off himself and flew to England to audition,” she said. “And he got the job.”

While attending West Mesa, he was in the marching band and even wrote a cadence that the school used as its anthem for a while, she said.

“He was really dedicated to his music,” Margaret Castillo said. “I wanted him to go to college, and he did for a year at the University of Albuquerque, but then he told me he wanted to pursue his dream of music. He told me he wanted to make it to the top and there was no way he could do that in Albuquerque.”
— This article appeared on page 15 of the Albuquerque Journal