To tell the truth, when I knew of the opportunity to interview a legendary personality like Bob Daisley I actually trembled on my knees. It doesn’t happen everyday to find oneself face to face with one of the musicians that contributed to making the history of hard rock music (Ozzy, Rainbow, Malmsteen, Gary Moore, Black Sabbath and many more). Maybe my apprehension was due to the fact that I couldn’t imagine what kind of guy I would meet. I have to say that it took just a few seconds to feel perfectly comfortable with Bob, who turned out to be an exquisite, polite, down to earth and very talkative person!! There’s no point in indulging any longer on this preface, therefore enjoy this interview carried out together with my colleague Jacopo Matteucci of the magazine “Tempi Duri”.
RRM: Thank you very much for the time you dedicate to us
BD: you’re welcome
RRM: What do you think about Italy? Do you enjoy being here?
BD: I love Italy, people here are wonderful, I love the country, very nice wine, a very nice experience, it’s been very enjoyable. I’ve been to Italy many times, and this time is no different from the other times, all have been nice.
RRM: can you tell us about your Black Beauty signature bass?
BD: Patrizia Grossi, she got in touch with me from my website’s email, two or three years ago and suggested to do a signature bass, although other people over the years had mentioned or suggested that I should do a signature bass, but I never ever thought seriously about it. Until a couple of years ago when I started writing my book, my autobiography, and Patrizia sent me some more emails “let’s do a signature bass” and I thought “that’s probably a good idea” for many reasons, because the fans have asked me to do a signature bass and it’s all good for posterity and it’s something of my taste, and to have it made in Italy, not a big production like China, Taiwan, but made with quality in Italy, with good materials, I said “yes, that’s the time to do it”.
RRM: beside your signature bass you’re also presenting your new book, would you like to tell us something about it?
BD: I’ll tell you everything about it!! That’s something else that for many years people have asked me to do, because in interviews like this, or friends, or people in the business… I sometimes tell them stories, about special people, maybe Randy Rhoads, maybe Ritchie Blackmore, maybe Gary Moore, recording, funny road stories, tragedy, sadness….many people said to me “we must put this in a book, people should know about this”. So a couple of years ago I got to the point of making the decision “yes, I will do it”. Cause I’ve been thinking about it for probably 10-15 years and I’ve been thinking “one day I’ll do it”, and I got to the point “That’s it. Now I have to do it”.
So I started the book over two years ago, and the story of the book goes from my childhood, into high school, my personal experiences, my introduction to music, my influences, everybody that I worked with, stories of recording, song writing, touring, legal battles, law suits, everything is in there, nothing is left out.
RRM: what are your main musical influences?
BD: I would say the main influence is the Beatles, always the Beatles, I thought it was the best thing that happened to popular music. But also anything blues, I love blues and the original blues artists: Otis Rush, Freddy King, BB King and Albert King, Buddy Guy, but the blues-influenced rock artists like Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, all those, and bass players for me have been Paul McCartney, Jack Bruce, Ronnie Wood with the Jeff Beck group, James Jamison, from Motown’s stuff, and another black bass player called Willie Weeks, who played with Donny Hathaway. That’s my main influence.
RRM: Is there any artist you would have liked to play with but you hadn’t the opportunity?
BD: (laughs) yes, I played with most of the ones that I admire, I’ve been very fortunate, I played with a lot of great people that I admire and respect, but one person that I haven’t played with is Jeff Beck, and I’ve always loved Jeff Beck, but now he’s far removed from some of the things that I would want to do, because I prefer Jeff Beck in the earlier days, when he was more blues-influenced, but now he’s a bit more sort of fusion, kind of jazz-orientated, that sort of things, although I’ve always loved Jeff Beck.
RRM: Do you follow the new international rock scene? Is there any band that you appreciate in particular?
BD: no band in particular, but I like to see it kept alive, I love the idea of young bands coming up and being influenced by the classic bands, like Cream and Led Zeppelin and Hendrix and doing their version of it, and it’s always great to see young bands doing that. Because really most of the heavy rock stuff is blues-influenced and that keeps the blues alive. I think that if you’re influenced by the blues it never really dies, it doesn’t get old. If you put on the first Led Zeppelin album now, it still sounds great and fresh. And it’s like…how many years ago?? 40 or whatever! and it still sounds great cause it’s blues-influenced. Blues doesn’t get old.
RRM: what would you advice to a young guy who would like to start playing an instrument?
BD: My advice would be: if you want to get good at what you do and be successful, not big success but successful in yourself, you have to dedicate yourself to practicing every day. Listen to lots of different music and be prepared to make sacrifices. You might have to leave your country, You might have to leave your family, You might have to do things you don’t want to do, but if you want to get on and come into blossom, into full bloom of your musical potential, be prepared to make sacrifices, be prepared to give it your own everything.
RRM: Are you working in some new projects?
BD: The project I’ve been giving everything to is my autobiography, I’ve been writing my autobiography for just over two years, and it’s just about finished. So as soon as that is published I will go back into doing more music, but that has taken priority over the last couple of years. Maybe the next thing I’ll do will be another Hootchie Cootchie Men album with Jon Lord, I really liked the blues orientated stuff with Jon Lord, he liked it, we did that well together, so that’s probably what I will do next musically.
RRM: I have some more questions…
BD: sure, fire away!
RRM: What is the most important album of your career?
BD: Well, I suppose for recognition the two Ozzy’s albums Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman have had the biggest acceptance, have created the largest interest, and they were very very satisfying to do at the time, and since they came out the became iconic, and that was one of my ambitions realised. Before those albums I was a young musician, one of my ambitions was to do something that would mean a lot to a lot of people, to be a part of something that was created from nothing. Not joining the band, but creating the band and create music that meant a lot to a lot of people. Not for money, not for fame, not for anything other than the satisfaction of the music that meant a lot to a lot of people. Those albums were the realisation of those ambitions for me.
RRM: Could you tell us something about your cooperation with bands like Rainbow…or Takara?
BD: Takara?? (laughs)
RRM: yes, I’m a huge Jeff Scott Soto fan, so I asked that on purpose!
BD: Well, the guitarist is a friend of mine and he asked me to play a couple of tracks. So that was just a little friend favour. But that’s a good album, good music, Jeff Scott Soto is a great singer.
But the Rainbow thing was for me a big step in being accepted into a situation that was more professional, more serious, more credible. I came from Widow Maker in 1977 into Rainbow and for me that was a great experience to learn and a great experience to get into the big time, Ritchie Blackmore was a guitar God at that time. Ronnie in those days wasn’t that big name, it was Ritchie’s band, also Cozy Powell was a very well known drummer.
Ritchie Blackmore was a big part of the Deep Purple sound, so to play with Ritchie way back then was a big deal for me. It meant a lot and I learnt a lot and for me it was enjoyable. Not everybody got on very well with Ritchie Blackmore but I did! Because I accepted the situation “okay, I understand, this is Ritchie’s band” and I got on fine with Ritchie, and from that it was a stepping stone into forming the new band with Ozzy when he came out of Black Sabbath. Being in Rainbow gave me credibility, Ozzy said “you just came out of Rainbow, let’s form a band” and that’s how it was.
RRM: What’s the difference between Ritchie Blackmore and Tony Iommi?
BD: Both great players. Ritchie’s more classical influenced, they’re both blues influenced to a point, Ritchie is very influenced by Jimi Hendrix, he loves Jimi Hendrix. Tony Iommi has been developing his own style but he’s been influenced I suppose by people like Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton and that sort of thing…Tony is a great Riff Meister…he’s been coming up with several great riffs and they’re all good, all valid. Ritchie was such a serious musician, I’d say that Ritchie is more serious than Tony. Tony is a little bit more relaxed. But for me they were both great experiences.
RRM: can you tell us something about your cooperation with Gary Moore?
BD: I always respected Gary Moore, even when I was playing with Randy Rhoads in the Blizzard of Ozz album, Randy respected Gary, Gary was very respected even though by that time he hadn’t became a big name, but he was very well respected. When I first had to play with Gary for me it was like a personal achievement, because in 83-84 when I first worked with Gary he wasn’t a huge name, but he was very well respected within the music industry. Everybody knew how great he was, and eventually he proved that. For me it was more of a musical satisfaction, Gary and I became very good friends and so when Gary passed away earlier this year it was very very sad, it was such a big shock, because he didn’t smoke, he didn’t eat rubbish, he exercised, he was like 58.
You have to be philosophical about it: when your time is up, your time is up…nobody knows when their time is up. Fortunately he didn’t suffer, he went to sleep and he didn’t wake up.
RRM: what do you think about the return of classic rock in media (radio/tv) and new releases of bands like Journey, Whitesnake…
BD: I think that there can’t be enough of it! Classic Rock is classic rock, it’s called classic because it’s classic and it will never die. That original material is what influenced (impolite interruption by club’s owner)…excuse him!
Let’s return to the question about classic rock: I think that when young bands want to recreate that it’s the best thing they can do and grow from that. Classic Rock will became a different classic rock, there will always be the original classic rock, but as young people come up and grow and learn, make experience, a new classic rock will develop. As long as classic rock stays alive somehow, that’s the most important thing.
RRM: can you tell us something, if you want, about Ozzy?
BD: He’s weak. You know Sharon? (mimics a puppeteer). He’s got no backbone, no spine and no guts!
RRM: Thank you Bob, you’ve been great! we won’t tell anyone, it’s just for us.
BD: you can tell everybody, I don’t care!