“We weren’t side men, we weren’t sort of hired to do somebody’s solo album. We were writing everything and putting everything together.”
Classic Ozzy Osbourne bassist Bob Daisley talked about the turbulent relationship between Ozzy and the original members of his solo band – Bob, Randy Rhoads, and Lee Kerslake – explaining to Jimmy Kay that Blizzard of Ozz was supposed to be the name of the band, and not the name of an album released by Ozzy Osbourne
“The Blizzard of Ozz was supposed to be in big writing. And we said, ‘We don’t mind if you want to put something on the album cover that says ‘Featuring the voice of Black Sabbath’ or ‘Featuring Ozzy Osbourne’ or whatever.’
“But instead they put Ozzy Osbourne in big writing and ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ in small writing, which made it look like an Ozzy Osbourne album called ‘Blizzard of Ozz.’ But it wasn’t.
“Randy and I had meeting with Jet Records a few times about the band name, because they were talking about just calling it Ozzy Osbourne, or just Ozzy.
“And we said no. Because we were doing way too much. We weren’t side men, we weren’t sort of hired to do somebody’s solo album. We were writing everything and putting everything together.
“We were part of the band and we said, ‘No, it’s gotta be a band name.’ Randy and I were adamant about that. And when Lee joined he was as well. So when that first album came out it was a bit of a double-cross, really.”
Was it the same contribution that Ozzy had on the first album and the second album? Or was he just drunk passed out somewhere?
“He did get quite drunk and stoned and… And a lot of the time when we were writing [Ozzy’s second album, 1981’s] ‘Diary of a Madman,’ the stuff for that album, he wasn’t even there! It was just Lee and Randy and me.
“Ozzy did have a contribution a lot of the times. But on ‘Diary of a Madman’ – nothing! On the song ‘Diary of a Madman’ – nothing!
“Randy was learning this classical piece, or practicing a classical piece, that was based on another piece of music. So Randy and I started working up music and then Lee started singing an idea for where the vocal would form. There were weird timings. It was not straight 4/4 or 2/4 or even 6/8.
“Ozzy had been away for a couple of days and he came into rehearsal one day and we said, ‘We’ve got a new idea.’ I came up with the title of the album months earlier and Ozzy loved the title. But we didn’t have a song for a title song.
“So when Randy had these ideas of this weird-timing stuff. And because it’s weird it would probably lend itself of being the title track. So Lee had already sung a few bits. See, Lee was good at vocal melodies too. If Ozzy wasn’t there he’d get a mic, sit on his kit, played drums, and sing sort of vocal ideas. It was him that came up with the vocal melody for ‘Flying High Again.’
“But with ‘Diary of a Madman,’ when Ozzy came back and we just played him the backing track, Ozzy couldn’t get it. He couldn’t quite understand because it was weird timings.
“His words were – and I still remember like it was yesterday – ‘Who the fuck do you think I am, Frank Zappa?!’ That’s what he said. And once we showed him where the vocal melody would fall, where it would sit in between these weird bits of music and timing, it was alright. Then I wrote lyrics to it.”
During the rest of the chat, Bob talked about how he met Ozzy in the first place, saying:
“I was out of a band then. I did a few sessions in London for a while and one night I went up to a club in London called The Music Machine – it was in Camden. And I met some of the people from Jet Records there. One of them said to me, ‘Do you know Ozzy? He’s here tonight.’ I said, ‘I kind of know him, but not really well.’
“Anyway, I got into a chat with Ozzy and he said he was putting a band together and he asked me if I’d like to be part of it. So David Arden, [Ozzy’s future wife] Sharon Arden’s brother and Don Arden’s son, he was handling Ozzy’s day-to-day situation in England because Ozzy had just been fired from Black Sabbath for beink sort of drunk and unproductive and unreliable and all the rest of it. So they just got Ronnie Dio.”
Weren’t you supposed to go with Dio at first?
“Yeah. While I was on the road in America [with Rainbow], Ronnie pulled me aside one day and said, ‘If this version of Rainbow doesn’t keep going…’ I think he knew something that I didn’t. He said, ‘Would you be into getting the band together with me.’ And I said, ‘Yes, sure!’ I liked working with Ronnie, I thought if I’m not gonna be in Rainbow then sure. I love Ronnie’s voice and I liked him as a guy. We got on great together.
“So when I got back to London, Ronnie was phoning me from America and saying, ‘Hey I’m looking at keyboard players and guitarists. We’ll organize a get together and when it’s all put together we’ll fly you over.’ So I didn’t really look too hard because I thought that sounds good, to form a band with Ronnie.
“One day I walked up the shop at Nothing Hill Gate and got a music paper and on the front page was, ‘Ronnie James Dio joined Black Sabbath.’ [Laughs] Thanks for telling me Ron. [Laughs]
“So Ronnie was in Sabbath, Ozzy was looking to form a band. Sharon Arden had already phoned me from LA and said, ‘Ozzy’s out of Sabbath, he’s looking to put a band together. Do you know any good guitarists?’ I said, ‘Not offhand but I’ll ask around and let you know if I hear of something.’
“So this night at Camden I met Ozzy and we got chatting and he said, ‘I want to put a band together, would you be interested?’ I said, ‘Yes, sure, let’s give it a try.’ So David Arden phoned me from Jet Records in London and he said, ‘I’ve got your train ticket, will you go up to Ozzy and meet him and see if it’s gonna work?’
“So I went up on the train to Stafford. Ozzy was there to pick me up. I got to his house and he had a couple of other guys there – a drummer and a guitarist. And I don’t know who they were, I can’t remember their names – they were nice blokes, decent enough players, but I wasn’t knocked out. There was no real spark there, it was just okay – no real chemistry.
“So I went out to the kitchen and I said, ‘Ozzy, if you want to get serious about this I’d like to form a band with you but I don’t think these two other guys are sort of world class.’ He said, ‘Okay, hang on a minute.’ So he went in there where these guys were and said, ‘Pack up fellows, it’s not working out, you can go home.’ And that was it, they were gone. [Laughs]”