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  CHRIS DALE'S METAL MELTDOWN
HOW NOT TO JOIN THE OZZY OSBOURNE BAND

1st February 2012


chris dale

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Years ago, we'd just finished recording the Bruce Dickinson album 'Skunkworks' and I had a night off so I went to see Ozzy Osbourne playing at Nottingham Rock City.

It was a great gig. The band was Joe Holmes on guitar, Geezer Butler on bass and the late Randy Castillo on drums. After the show I went backstage and the promoter and all round top guy, Andy Copping, introduced me to Joe Holmes.

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Joe was sweet. Instantly we hit it off. I said I loved the show but wished there was more from the 'Diary Of A Madman' album in the set. He agreed and said it was his favourite Ozzy album and that he used to take lessons off Randy Rhoads when he was a kid.

He said he was writing stuff for Ozzy now. He was trying to keep the old vibe in new songs but also update the Ozzy sound, I said we were doing a similar thing with Bruce on our new stuff.

ozy osbourne joe holmes
Joe Holmes and Ozzy Osbourne

He went and got his guitar and sat in front of me playing some new riffs he'd been writing for Ozzy. They were awesome.

I asked what Geezer was playing on bass to the these riffs? There was one riff that I said if I were doing it, I'd chug an A through that first part then follow his little descending lick at the end.

Joe turned to me and asked "Are you looking for a gig?" I was stumped.

"Errrr... no" I said. I wasn't really sure what he meant. 'Gig' in British-English usually means concert. 'Gig' in American-English usually means job. We were at a concert and I wasn't looking for a job. What was he saying?

He said: "Why don't you come to the London show?" I said I wasn't planning to but I might come along.

He said: "Come on down to soundcheck too." I said I didn't want to get in the way if they were busy.

He said: "It won't be a problem, come on down."

That night I went home and thought about it all. Had I just been asked if wanted to join the Ozzy band? No, that was just too crazy.

Then I realised I didn't ask what time they usually soundchecked. Some bands like to soundcheck nice and early, get it out of the way, then go and eat. Other bands like to eat first and soundcheck just before the doors open.

I didn't know anyone on the Ozzy crew to ask, so I rang Geezer Butler's press guy at the time, Robert Adams, to ask him. He's a good friend of mine and plays guitar in Sack Trick sometimes.

geezer butler
Geezer Butler

He said: "I don't know, Geezer never goes to soundcheck. And besides, Geezer's leaving the band at the end of this stretch of the tour to concentrate on his GZR album."

The Sherlock Holmes in me has picked up a scent... Joe asked if I wanted a gig, Geezer's leaving the band, Joe's invited me to soundcheck and Geezer never soundchecks.

I might be a bit slow here, but he's basically asking me if I want to audition for the Ozzy Osbourne band in soundcheck at Brixton Academy, isn't he?

Now, here's the real dilemma. All my life I've dreamed of being in the Ozzy band. I guess most heavy rock musicians have had that dream, following in the footsteps of Randy and Jake, Bob and Rudy...

But I was already in the Bruce Dickinson band, also a dream come true. And with the 'Skunkworks' record we'd just been making, we had a record we were really proud of and an upcoming world tour.

bruce dickinson

Guitarist Alex Dickson and drummer Alex Elena in Bruce's band were great players and best mates. Not to mention the fact that we also had another good mate, Bruce Dickinson, in the band, who incidentally is an incredible singer. I already had my dream band.

It was a tough choice. Do I go down there or not? Maybe I'd pop along just out of curiosity. What would you do?

Then Bruce's manager Merc Mercuriadis rang me. He's a funny guy. I never knew how to take him. One minute he'd be nice as pie, the next he'd be pouring abuse at me.

This was one of those pouring abuse days. For reasons best known to himself, he choose this day to tell me that I "looked like a piece of shit". Then he asked out of the blue: "What CD are you listening to most these days?"

"'Diary Of A Madman'" I said, and put the phone down. I went and put the CD on and started learning songs.

So the next day, I went down to Brixton Academy early in the afternoon and met up with Joe again. He was very cool. He said he'd been playing guitar all day the day before and had hurt his hand playing so much. But he still played more.

Then Geezer Butler turned up. It was the first gig of the whole tour that he'd decided to soundcheck!

I was kind of relieved really. No life decisions to make today. Phew!

I watched the soundcheck, then the gig again and afterwards said a quick goodbye to Joe, must keep in touch and that kind of thing.

A couple of months later it was announced in the press that Robert Trujillo was the new bass player in the Ozzy band. The rest is rock history.

robert trujillo

So that was it, I'd nearly played for the Ozzy band (at least at a soundcheck and maybe more if that had gone well). If it had gone very differently I'd have played 'Bark At The Moon' at Donington 96, just before Kiss played their first European show with Ace and Peter in make-up in decades. It was nice to have been asked anyway.

At the time I didn't really take it all in. We were straight into Bruce's rehearsals and kicking off a European tour sandwiched on the bill between Helloween and Skin... but that's another story entirely. You don't want to see those photos...

01.02.12


MORE CHRIS DALE'S METAL MELTDOWN COLUMNS HERE...

April 2015: Undiscovered Kisstory: The Kiss Drummer Auditions Of 1980
March 2015: Matthew Trippe RIP - The strange case of the man who would be Nikki Sixx
November 2014: Kiss: 'Love Gun' Deluxe Edition
October 2014: Mr. Big – Live Review at Koko, London
September 2014: Mr. Big: 'The Stories We Could Tell' album review
September 2013: Intensive Bass Course with Billy Sheehan
August 2013: Booking Agents vs Promoters
July 2013: Rock and Metal Pub Quiz
June 2013: Communication Tips For European Festivals, Or How To Learn A Language In An Evening
May 2013: Storm Thorgerson (1944-2013) RIP
April 2013: Daily Mail Columnist Richard Littlejohn Sinks To New Low With Anti-Heavy Metal Article
April 2013: The Future Of Classic Bands
March 2013: Smashing Pumpkins Video Shoot
Febuary 2013: Ten Years On Total Rock
January 2013: Kiss Follow Up To Monster 2013
December 2012: Kiss Reformation Magick
November 2012: Exclusive Interview With Geoff Tate
November 2012: Morally Worrying Session
October 2012: Kiss 'Monster' Review
October 2012: The Best Invention Of All Time
September 2012: A Conversation With Rudy Sarzo
August 2012: Scream For Me Sarajevo Part 3
July 2012: Scream For Me Sarajevo Part 2
June 2012: Scream For Me Sarajevo Part 1
May 2012: Managers v Producers
April 2012: Kiss 'Monster' Album Preview
March 2012: London Venue's Nazi Past?
February 2012: How Not to Join the Ozzy Osbourne Band
January 2012: Metal Evilution
December 2011: Take Your Pick Competition
November 2011: The Pandora's Box Of Pop
October 2011: Tank Tour Diary 2011
September 2011: Festival Stage Collapses
August 2011: Bruce Air, The Early Days
July 2011: European Festival Round-Up
June 2011: Bernie Torme Proud To Be Part Of MT Ozzy Article
June 2011: Who's Your Favourite Ozzy Guitarist?
May 2011: Japanese Tsunami Disaster
April 2011: 10,000 Tank Albums!
March 2011: Death Metal Session!
6th February 2011: Gary Moore (4th April 1952 - 6th February 2011)
February 2011: Recording Bass at Steve Harris'
January 2011: A Column About Columns



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The iconic band have won the Outstanding Contribution To UK Music category...

the darkness THE DARKNESS REVEAL FIRST SINGLE 'OPEN FIRE'
The single and the forthcoming album 'Last Of Our Kind' promise an explosion of rock following the band's break ...

thunder THUNDER APPEAR ON WEEKEND WOGAN BBC RADIO SHOW
Thunder's new album 'Wonder Days' went straight into the Top Ten of the UK album charts and they have just completed a highly successful UK tour...

aj pero BANDMATES AND STARS PAY TRIBUTE TO TWISTED SISTER AND ADRENALINE MOB DRUMMER AJ PERO
Pero was on tour with Adrenaline Mob when members of that band were unable to rouse him on their bus on Friday morning...

red dragon cartel RED DRAGON CARTEL NAME MICHAEL THOMAS BECK IN LEAD VOCALIST CHANGE UP
Darren James Smith is out, and a new era begins. The saga continues...

walls of jericho WALLS OF JERICHO ARE ENTERING THE STUDIO
The band will start work shortly on their first full length album since 2008...

beyond forgotton shores DORMANT INFERNO & DIONYSUS ANNOUNCE SPLIT RELEASE 'BEYOND FORGOTTEN SHORES'
India's Transcending Obscurity label produces a Doom Metal double...

icon I.C.O.N SIGN TO METALBOX RECORDINGS
With a follow up album to 'New Born Lie' on the way and an extensive touring schedule, 2015 sees I.C.O.N in full flow...

soldierfield SOLDIERFIELD RELEASE OFFICIAL VIDEO FOR 'THE ONLY WAR'
The video is from the latest acclaimed release 'Catharsis'...

serpentine SERPENTINE ANNOUNCE THE RELEASE OF THEIR ALBUM 'CIRCLE OF KNIVES'
The new studio album contains ten brand new songs from the melodic rock quintet...

rival sons RIVAL SONS HAVE RECORDED EXCLUSIVE RECORD STORE DAY TRACKS
The limited edition 7" contains two previously unreleased songs...

styx STYX RELEASE 'LIVE AT THE ORLEANS ARENA LAS VEGAS'
The definitive live show is available on DVD, CD, Blu-ray and digital formats...

electric wizard ELECTRIC WIZARD CONFIRM FULL SUPPORTING CAST FOR HEADLINE SHOW AT THE ROUNDHOUSE IN LONDON
The Cosmic Dead, Purson and Moss are added to the May 15th bill...

mike porcaro MIKE PORCARO OF TOTO DEAD AT 59
The rock world was shook again on Sunday morning, March 15th 2015...

sick of it all SICK OF IT ALL LAUNCH NEW VIDEO FOR 'GET BRONX'
"This video serves to show people across the world that as gritty and unpretentious as hardcore music is, it still translates to the big stage and doesn't need a tiny, intimate atmosphere to work..."

steve hackett STEVE HACKETT LAUNCHES 'THE WHEEL'S TURNING' LYRIC VIDEO
"In contrast to the primal and gothic nature of much of the album, 'The Wheel's Turning' has a fun and nostalgic vibe..."

corbitt WARBEAST'S BRUCE CORBITT ISSUES UPDATE FOLLOWING HIS HEART SCARE
Bruce has been undergoing tests and has an important message to share...

enter shikari ENTER SHIKARI ANNOUNCE INTIMATE DOWNLOAD FESTIVAL WARM-UP SHOW
Catch the band at Bristol in June before their slot headlining Download's second stage...

tony iommi TONY IOMMI, NAPALM DEATH AND LAMB OF GOD APPEAL TO INDONESIAN PRESIDENT FOR BALI NINE DUO CLEMENCY
All artists are hopeful that their words will be persuasive and encourage President Widodo to grant clemency...

serpentyne MEDIEVAL FOLK ROCKERS SERPENTYNE UNLEASH NEW VIDEO FOR 'VALKYRIES'
Over the last few years their live show has become quite the spectacle...

tank TANK REVEAL ALBUM ARTWORK FOR 'VALLEY OF TEARS'
"He's injected so much new energy and inspiration into the band since joining us in 2013..."

mike portnoy MIKE PORTNOY IN MEGA "DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM" MOMENT AFTER HAVING TO WAIT AT HOSPITAL
However well intended, the post comes across as though he is expecting to jump the queue due to his "status"...

armored saint ARMORED SAINT TO RELEASE NEW ALBUM THIS SUMMER
"There's everything from classic Armored Saint rocker songs to epic songs and we all dug deep deliver something special..."

david gilmour DAVID GILMOUR ANNOUNCES 2015 SHOWS
The dates will coincide with the release of his as yet untitled fourth solo studio album...


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