Live 4 Metal Interview

This interview with Bob Daisley is a follow-up to one conducted by Scott Alisoglu last year. In October 2003, the court case of Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake versus their former employer Ozzy Osbourne over royalties due from the two classic albums Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman was dismissed. We wanted to know what happened, so we went right to the source. Bob was very happy to share his thoughts with us, and as you will read, he is not a man to hold anything back. Bob has seen it all in his life, playing with legends such as Ozzy, Gary Moore, Rainbow, and Uriah Heep to name a few, and it was nice to talk with him about not only the bad, but the unbelievably good also. They say good things happen to good people, and Bob Daisley is proof of that.

For those who have not been following your legal battle with Ozzy Osbourne, can you give a quick recap of what it's about?

Lee Kerslake and I (and Randy Rhoads) were to get performance royalties on the albums Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman and haven't been paid (we got some of the writing royalties). We sued Jet Records/Don Arden in 1986 in London and won. We thought the royalties would be forthcoming and that the credits on Diary would be amended but neither happened. Much later we found out that the Osbournes had bought the catalogue from Jet and that they were receiving our royalties so we had to sue them. That lawsuit started in 1997 and has been ongoing since.

In your opinion, why has the case been dismissed?

In my opinion, there are rats to smell - we know how powerful, rich and connected the O$bournes are.

Judge Snyder stated that in her opinion you failed to explain why you believed that you had not been properly credited on the first two Ozzy CDs. What reasons did you give her and what could you have done differently to make it clearer?

Judge Snyder judged the summary judgments totally in our favour for the first three years (three judgments) and then out of the blue, said that we didn't have a case. We presented all the record sleeves showing that we had not been credited on Diary for our performances or production credits.

You've been fighting this case in court for six years now, and in some aspects almost 20 years. Will you continue to pursue legal action, or accept the dismissal and move on?

We're waiting on advice from our lawyers who also think this is a crock of….

Sharon seems to be very involved in every aspect of Ozzy's life, both business and personal. Do you think she had a part to play in all of this, or is she just standing behind her husband?

She is the main reason we didn't get paid and have had to fight for so long.

As a fan, I was very disappointed when the re-masters of Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman came out with new drum and bass tracks. Was that the ultimate slap in the face?

It didn't surprise me/us that they would stoop to such low levels to piss us off, but to insult the memory of Randy and the record buying public is another matter. It just goes to show how important the music is to them - zilch!

You've had a brilliant career. Have the legal problems taken anything away from it, or at least changed how you approach projects now?

No not really, not everyone I work with are money-grabbing, greedy, rip-off assholes.

Rudy Sarzo has come out recently saying that Ozzy and Sharon treated Randy very bad, and he wanted to quit the band towards the end of his life. Did you ever see any of that when you were involved?

I didn't see it first-hand but Tommy Aldridge told me that Ozzy punched Randy in the face when he found out Randy wanted to leave. I also heard from a very good source that Sharon went into the office soon after (hours or days) Randy was killed and changed his contract. Mrs. Rhoads had to sue the Osbournes for years for her son's royalties there after. Nice little camp, eh?

Now on to better things! First of all, I understand you are back touring with Gary Moore. You have quite a history with him, having appeared on several of his albums and tours. How did you two happen to hook up this time?

Gary wanted to do another blues album but this time with a harder edge, more along the lines of Cream/Mountain sort of thing and he knew I'd always been into that as well. We'd stayed in contact over the years and we both knew that we'd work well together.

Besides, Moore, you've played with a number of the greats, such as Ritchie Blackmore, Ozzy, and Yngwie Malmsteen. Did that happen more from "right place at the right time" or did you actively seek out the gigs?

More "right place…" But I guess I got a reputation as being reliable and professional as well. Plus of course the right style and approach to the music.

Along with the impressive array of artists you've worked with, you've also never been know for any one style. You've done hard rock with Ozzy, blues with Gary Moore, and progressive rock with Uriah Heep. Which fits the "real" Bob Daisley?

I always loved blues, even the rock stuff I liked was more blues influenced like the Yardbirds in the early days and Cream and Zeppelin later. I suppose blues with a hard rock edge is the real me but the latest Living Loud album I've just done with Steve Morse, Lee Kerslake, Jimmy Barnes and Don Airey is aggressive rock and I love it. It's the most satisfying thing I've done in years..

Has it been a plus or minus to have worked for artists that are known for ever-changing line-ups? Would it have been more satisfying for you to have been in a single band throughout your career?

Yes and no - I mean, to stay in a stable situation would have been very satisfying but I wouldn't change anything if it meant missing out on some of the great experiences I've had working with some of the people I've worked with.

Tell me about Living Loud. How did that come about?

I'd worked with Jon Lord (Deep Purple) here in Australia with my blues band the Hoochie Coochie Men and a friend of ours, Jimmy Barnes got up for a sing at the basement gig. Drew Thompson, the promoter, asked me if I'd be interested in doing a project with Jimmy - an album. I said yeah sure, and Drew began to make inquiries as to Steve Morse getting involved. I asked Lee Kerslake and he said count me in and then to complete the picture, Don Airey agreed. Jon Lord was to originally play on it as well but then wasn't available. It really did sound like a band (and not a project) and worked very well.

Was it a hard decision to include many of the songs you did with Ozzy, or was that going to be done from the start?

Many years ago I spoke to Lee Kerslake about doing a tribute to Randy by doing some of our songs with people guesting on an album - like Ronnie Dio, Gary Moore, Steve Vai etc. etc., and when this opportunity came up we jumped at it. I must emphasize here that us doing those songs had nothing to do with the Osbournes bastardising the originals, this was not retaliation.

Is this a one-time thing, or will there be more Living Loud releases?

Everybody that was involved loves the album and we worked so well together, so I'm sure this won't be the last.

Are there any spots in bands you've turned down that you wish you'd taken, or offers you would have liked to come your way?

I'd love to work with Jeff Beck; he's always been one of my favourites.

I saved the hardest question for last. You have three albums to leave as your legacy. Which ones do you choose?

Living Loud, Wide Open by Kahvas Jute and the Blizzard of Ozz.

Thanks for giving us your time, Bob, and good luck with all your future projects.

All the best.

Interview by John Waldo for Live 4 Metal • 26th March 2004