Bob Daisley, who played bass on Ozzy Osbourne‘s early solo albums, has responded to Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne‘s claim that the quality of Bob‘s rehearsal tapes of the original “Blizzard Of Ozz” band with late Ozzy solo band guitarist Randy Rhoads was too “dreadful” to be released to the public.
In the latest instalment of “The Osbournes Podcast”, Ozzy and his family discussed Daisley‘s legendary “Holy Grail” demos, which reportedly contain around eight hours of recording sessions with Rhoads.
When Ozzy and Sharon‘s son Jack suggested that it should be up to Randy‘s family to decide whether those recordings should see the light of day, Sharon said: “Exactly.” But Ozzy offered a more practical reason for why those tapes have not been made available to the public. “The quality sucks,” he said. “The quality is fucking dreadful.” Sharon concurred, saying: “[It was recorded] on a little cassette machine — on a tiny little cassette machine. And yeah, it’s not for us to do anything with.”
The 73-year-old Daisley, who has sued the Osbournes several times over unpaid royalties, addressed Sharon and Ozzy‘s latest comments in a new interview with Artists On Record Starring ADIKA Live! Regarding Ozzy‘s claim that the quality of the unreleased recordings is “dreadful”, Bob said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “Well, I don’t know if Ozzy‘s actually heard it. There are snippets of what I have on my web site … And the quality is not bad at all. And it’s not a little cassette player. It was done on my boombox that I used to record all our rehearsals on. I used to record the rehearsals really just for us to have a reference of what we were doing as we were writing because the famous last words, ‘Oh, we’ll remember that tomorrow,’ and I’d never, ever wanted to take that chance. So, I used to record everything. That was the only reason I recorded everything, was so I’d have a reference the next day and we wouldn’t forget anything. But it’s pretty good quality, actually, for [having been] recorded on a cassette player — a big cassette player, one of those boomboxes; in those days, they were called ghetto blasters. [Laughs] People don’t call them that anymore. But if anybody wants to hear the quality for themselves, they can judge. It’s on my web site. I put snippets there. I put a snippet for the anniversary of Randy‘s death. I put a snippet there for the when [former Ozzy drummer] Lee [Kerslake] passed away. There’s, I think, three or four snippets of about 30 or 40 seconds long. You can play 40 seconds of something legally without having to get permission.”
Bob went on to say that his management approached the Osbournes prior to the 2011 release of the 30th-anniversary editions of Ozzy‘s first two albums, 1980’s “Blizzard Of Ozz” and 1981’s “Diary Of A Madman”, about including the rehearsal demos. “But they wanted to buy it from me and then just let me hand it over, sort of thing, which I wouldn’t do,” he explained. “But if it was such shitty quality, why would they want to buy it? And they did wanna buy it, so… My manager and I took it to their representative in London. We played [it for him]. I didn’t leave it with him; I wouldn’t leave it with anyone. I played him some stuff, and he relayed to them, and then they said they wanted to buy it from me. So if it was so shitty, why would they wanna buy it? But I wouldn’t sell it anyway, because it would just turn into another Randy-and-Ozzy show sort of thing, and it’d be edited and made to look like, ‘Oh, here we are. Randy and Ozzy did everything.’ So I wouldn’t sell it.”
Illustrating the fact that the quality of the unreleased recordings is not as bad as has been suggested, Bob said: “I remember there was a couple of guys that came here, [Andrew] Klein and [Peter M.] Margolis, to do a film on Randy many years ago — it must be 10 or 12 years ago or something. And I played Andrew Klein some of what I had. And as soon as I started playing it, he said, ‘Oh.’ He said, ‘Man, people would just shit.’ That’s what his words were. I’m just repeating exactly what he said, ’cause I remember it word for word. He said, ‘People would just shit if they could hear this.’ It’s rehearsal studio quality. It’s not bad. It’s not recording studio quality, mastered like a finished product. Although, having said that, in this day and age, with modern technology, we can clean things up, separate things, do all sorts of things to improve it. I have about eight hours worth of this stuff, of us writing songs. I mean, there’s repetitions of songs. There might be six different versions of ‘Crazy Train’ several different versions of ‘[Mr.] Crowley’ or whatever else. And there’s us with ideas that didn’t get used and us clowning about and us jamming. It’s all good stuff, though.”
Circling back to the possibility of making the unreleased Rhoads recordings available to the public, Daisley said: “I get asked that question often: ‘When are you going to release it?’ People started calling it the ‘Holy Grail’, because it is the Holy Grail of that music, of us writing that stuff together. It’s the original version. Some got changed. There are bits and pieces that didn’t get used. And to people that are big fans, that is the Holy Grail of the origination of that music. So people have been terming it the Holy Grail, and it seems a fairly appropriate kind of term for that. And I get asked all the time — often, people coming to the web site, Facebook, whatever — ‘When are you gonna release [it]? Isn’t there a way around getting that stuff released? I would love to release it. I’d release it tomorrow.”
Back in March 2014, coinciding with the 32nd anniversary of Rhoads‘s death, Daisley first posted some excerpts online of the hours of audio he recorded during the writing, rehearsing and recording sessions for Ozzy‘s first two classic solo albums, 1980’s “Blizzard Of Ozz” and 1981’s “Diary Of A Madman”.
Daisley told Rock Cellar in a 2012 interview that the 30th-anniversary reissues of both albums could have featured the material as bonus content. He explained, “I offered to supply tapes of our rehearsals and writing sessions, to go as proper bonus material. And I just said that I wanted a royalty out of it, because it’s my stuff. But they wouldn’t do it because they didn’t want to give me a royalty — they just wanted to buy it.”
Rhoads and two others were killed on March 19, 1982 when the small plane they were flying in at Flying Baron Estates in Leesburg, Florida struck Ozzy‘s tour bus then crashed into a mansion. Rhoads was 25 years old.
Daisley said that he had “hours and hours of tapes” from the recording sessions, adding, “You can hear the songs changing, the different parts taking shape, and all this stuff would have been perfect bonus material for the box set. Sadly, the Osbournes are just too greedy and self-absorbed.”
In a 2014 interview with Greg Prato of Songfacts, Bob stated about what it was like collaborating with Ozzy: “Good. It was easy. It flowed well. When the band was first together, it really was just Ozzy and Randy and me, because we were writing the stuff and auditioning drummers at the same time — we didn’t have Lee [Kerslake]. That went on for a few months and we auditioned about 14 drummers until we found Lee. And we found Lee right before we had to go in to record the first album. Ozzy was fairly easy to work with. He was a bit down at first, because he’d just been fired from BLACK SABBATH and he was depressed and he was unsure of himself. It really damaged his confidence, being fired from BLACK SABBATH. But Randy and I used to encourage him and try to bring him up out of the doldrums. Writing with Ozzy was fairly easy because we had a little songwriting machine going. Randy and I would work on music together just sitting on chairs opposite each other, and then we’d put parts together and then we’d knock it off and Ozzy would sing a melody over it. His melodies were always good. Ozzy‘s good for melodies. Usually the music came first, Ozzy would sing a melody, and then I would take a tape away into my room and write lyrics by myself to Ozzy‘s phrasing and melodies that would fit with what he was comfortable with. He wasn’t a lyricist and neither was Randy, so I had to wear the lyricist hat. But I enjoyed it. I like writing the lyrics. That’s how we wrote together.”
Regarding the writing process for “Crazy Train”, Bob said: “Well, Randy had the basic riff, the signature riff. Then we worked on music together. He needed something to solo on so I came up with a chord pattern and the section for him to solo over. Before it was called ‘Crazy Train’, before we even had a title, Randy and I were working on the music. He had his effects pedals, and coming through his amp was a weird kind of chugging sound. It was a phase-y kind of psychedelic effect, this chugging sound that was coming through his amp from his effects pedal. Randy was into trains — he used to collect model trains and so did I. I’ve always been a train buff and so was Randy. So I said, ‘Randy, that sounds like a train. But it sounds nuts.’ And I said, ‘A crazy train.’ Well, that’s when the title first was born. And then Ozzy was singing melodies and he was phrasing exactly how it ended up. And I started writing lyrics to it. When we demoed that song in the demo studio in Birmingham, before we’d done the album, before we had Lee Kerslake, we had another drummer with us named Dixie Lee. Dixie Lee was on the demos. We demoed four songs for the record company, Jet Records, so that they could hear what we were doing and what material we were going to be writing. The demo was ‘Crazy Train’, ‘I Don’t Know’, ‘You Looking at Me, Looking at You’ and ‘Goodbye To Romance’. We didn’t have the last verse in ‘Crazy Train’ written at that stage, so Ozzy just sang whatever it was he sang, so that demo version has a different last verse. But I wrote the last verse for ‘Crazy Train’ when we were at Ridge Farm recording. So that’s how all that came about. I’ve still got the lyrics sheet that I wrote the lyrics on.”
When Prato expressed his surprise at the fact that those demos were never issued as part of a boxed set or something, Bob said: “Well, a couple of years ago when they planned to release the boxed set for the 30th anniversary, I went to Sharon‘s accountant who handles all her affairs and handles the publishing company and all that. I said, ‘Well, I’ve got these demos and I’ve got tapes of this recording, outtakes, I’ve got rehearsal takes, I’ve got us just chatting, clowning about, songwriting tapes.’ I said, ‘I’ve got loads of stuff, I’ve got hours of it. Why don’t you include that on the boxed set?’ And I said, ‘Well, I’m not just giving it away, I’m the only one that’s got this stuff. So I want a royalty on it.’ She wouldn’t do it. She just wanted to buy it off me for a pittance and I said no. I’m not doing that again. I’ve been screwed enough.”
After Prato told Daisley that he didn’t blame him, Bob said: “The fans suffered. Everybody wants to hear that stuff and I was willing to put it out there. But I said, I’m not just giving it to her. Because also what I have to be careful of is if they control it, they can edit it to make it sound like that same old fairytale that they come up with about how Ozzy and Randy wrote everything, which is total bollocks.”
Daisley‘s and Kerslake‘s parts were removed from earlier reissues of “Blizzard Of Ozz” and “Diary Of A Madman” and replaced by new recordings played by METALLICA‘s Robert Trujillo and FAITH NO MORE‘s Mike Bordin after a dispute with Sharon Osbourne over royalties. They were restored for the 30th-anniversary editions.
Ozzy told The Pulse of Radio he was against the idea of replacing the original tracks when he found out about it. “Believe me, it wasn’t my doing,” he said. “I mean, I didn’t know that was being done, ’cause Sharon was fighting all the legal things that were going down at the time. I said, ‘What did you do that for?’ And she said, ‘The only way I could stop everything was if it went to that level.’ And I said, ‘You know what, whatever the circumstances were, I want the original thing back.’ I mean, I wouldn’t have done that.”
Daisley has previously said that he and Kerslake were fired because of disagreements with Sharon over a number of things, including refusing to do two shows in one day out of worry that Ozzy would blow out his voice.