TonyMacalpine640 As previouslyreported, guitar greats Steve Vai, Zakk Wylde and John 5, along with drummer Mike Portnoy, bassist Billy Sheehan and keyboardist Derek Sherinian, are joining forces to play a benefit concert for guitar and keyboard virtuoso Tony MacAlpine, who was diagnosed with colon cancer earlier this year.

James Wood of Guitar World spoke with guitarist Steve Vai about the show and other topics. Excerpts of of the interview appear below.

Guitar World: Tell me about your relationship with Tony MacAlpine and how you guys met.

Steve Vai: Back in the Eighties when there was this emergence of virtuoso-style guitar players, there was this handful of guys that had extraordinary chops and were always raising the bar. Tony was a part of that movement in a big way. He made some excellent records that really showcased his tremendous guitar finesse and virtuosity.

So I had always known of him, but it wasn’t until years later that we actually met. I was putting a band together and needed a guitar player who could also play keyboards, and I had heard that Tony could play some keyboards. I also knew having someone like Tony in the band would bring everything to a whole different level. It worked out great and we had so much fun. Tony’s a lovely guy and it was such a pleasure to tour with him. Some people are just naturally gifted, and Tony’s one of them.

So when Mike Mesker [Tony’s manager] called me about the benefit, I was completely on board. It’s since snowballed into what’s going to be an absolutely incredible event to raise money to help Tony. There’s a tragedy in it, but there’s also the divine shining through from all the love and support he’s getting from everyone he’s worked with and who’s supported him.

Guitar World: Thirty years ago, you, Billy Sheehan and Gregg Bissonette got together to form the nucleus of David Lee Roth’s band after he acrimoniously left Van Halen. How did that come about?

Steve Vai: As a teenager, I was really into Frank Zappa and composition, but I had also always fantasized about being on the big rock stage and jumping around like crazy and playing to thousands of people. At the time, that was the most coveted gig for a guitar player. I had opportunities to audition for other big rock bands but none of them really felt right. But then I got call from Billy Sheehan, who said, “Dave Roth is looking for a guitar player and I hipped him to you.” I don’t know what it was but as soon as Billy said those words I was like, “Yep. That’s going to be my gig!” I can’t explain it. There was just never any doubt. As soon as Billy said it, that was the pull and it took me about one second to think about it and say yes.

Guitar World: What was it that attracted you to the gig?

Steve Vai: The reason it was alluring was because I loved Van Halen. Dave was the quintessential rock star and I loved the idea of being on the side. It was an amazing situation to be in at the time, and we played our asses off. Everything was about playing as good, hard and crazy as you possibly could while still being a showman. Looking back at the Eighties, I was so lucky to be a part of that.

Guitar World: In terms of the concert for Tony, what are you most looking forward to?

Steve Vai: On one level, it’s an opportunity to get together with a bunch of friends and great players—for another friend. But the thing I’m looking forward to goes well beyond that. Whenever you’re with a group of people doing something like this for someone you care for, there’s this purveying atmosphere of charity, and everybody acts differently. It’s a whole different atmosphere than a regular concert or a jam in a club. The audience, the venue, the musicians, the way the music performs and the way that it comes off your fingers; everything is affected by this beautiful, collective consciousness of charity. That’s what I’m really looking forward to because that’s about as delicious as it gets.

Read more at Guitar World.

The Benefit for Tony MacAlpine will take place at the Wiltern Theater on December 12th, 2015, at 7:00pm and will be hosted by our own Eddie Trunk. For more information about this event and how to purchase tickets, please click here.




eiffeltower640 In light of the tragic events that unfolded in France last night, many musicians have posted messages of support online.

Some of the worst carnage was at an Eagles of Death Metal concert at the Bataclan theater. CNN reports that at least 112 people were killed at the event. Those in attendance were innocent fans trying to enjoy the show.

We here would like to send our hearts and prayers out to the people of Paris. Please read the messages from other musicians below.

Billy Sheehan: “And tonight we drink French wine. Vive La France!! We stand with France and the French People!”

Pantera: “This one’s for the kids murdered senselessly at Le Bataclan. All they wanted was to see the Rock N’ Roll show. RIP.”

Myles Kennedy: “My heart aches for the victims of tonight’s attack and the good people of Paris. Sending love to all of you.” Instagram

KISS: “To the people of France: We are saddened by today’s horrific events. We are praying for you in this time of tragedy.”

Chris Cornell: “Unbelievable and unconscionable !My heart goes out to victims and their loved ones.” and “I can’t imagine a reason to end so many innocent lives or believing that there is a God who would condone it.”

Accept: “Together we stand with the people and fans in France against the ugly face of terror.”

Tom Keifer: “Our love & prayers go out to all the victims & families affected by these horrific attacks in Paris. Just heartbroken & sickened by this.” @TomKeiferMusic

AC/DC: “We mourn this tragic loss of life and stand with the world to salute your joie de vivre. Paix.”

Slash: “Mortified by the horrific events in Paris. Our thoughts & prayers go out to all the innocent victims of this unspeakable tragedy. #paris” Instagram

Scott Ian: “Kiss your kids, hug your partner and hope somebody somewhere has a plan.” @Scott_Ian

Dave Navarro: “The world has changed forever… Again.” @DaveNavarro

Chris Jericho: Our hearts go out to everyone in #Paris who was murdered and injured tonight. We are supposed to play in #Vaureal next Friday and I promise you, if we are allowed to play, we will do our show for any of you who still want to come. We will not let these bastards put a stop to our freedom or our joy of rock n roll. We will play for the over 100 people who died at a rock show tonight and we will play for all of you who refuse to be scared!! Maybe together we can try to get a sense of clarity and maybe forget for just a few minutes the horrors bestowed upon your great city and country tonight… J’aime la #France!!! @fozzyrock #FozzyVaureal #prayforparis” Instagram

Joe Bonamassa: “Many of us touring artist have played the Bataclan in Paris. Tonight reminds us all how close terrorism can strike to home. A very sad day.” @JBONAMASSA

Mike Portnoy: “Absolutely sick over this news…recorded DT’s Once in A Livetime at Bataclan…my prayers are w everybody in Paris.”

Duff McKagan: “Peace to Paris. Love to the people there. Peace. Peace.” @DuffMcKagan

Guns N’ Roses: “To everyone, everywhere, who have been affected: our deepest sympathies… #Paris” @gunsnroses

David Coverdale: “With Great Love & Respect We Dedicate Tonight’s Show To The Memory Of All Those Lost In The Paris Tragedy…”

Richie Kotzen: “Sending Prayers and Love Tonight to those in Paris.”


GunsNRosesOriginal Art Tavana of L.A. Weekly reports:

Former Guns N’ Roses manager Vicky Hamilton, who’s in the process of publishing her memoir, was texting with Slash last night. Here’s what she had to say in a Facebook post about all those GNR reunion rumors you’ve been hearing: “OK … was texting with Slash who is on tour [in India] … he says the GN’R tour isn’t happening … so that’s all I know … your guess is as good as mine …” Hamilton confirmed the text from Slash directly to the L.A. Weekly as well, “He said it isn’t happening.”

L.A. Weekly reports that they talked to five different real sources (not “friends” or sycophants at the Rainbow Room), and here’s what they report they know:

Axl Rose, Duff McKagan and Slash, either through lawyers or managers, have been discussing the possibility of a GN’R reunion tour. We’ve been told that Steven Adler and Izzy Stradlin are not involved. Sources have told us that promoters like AEG and Goldenvoice have been courting the big kickoff show. But nothing is confirmed yet, and whatever talks may or may not be happening regarding a possible reunion could fall apart at any moment. Or, based on Slash’s text to Hamilton, maybe they already have.

Not a single original member or legal representative has confirmed or denied the rumors, which has resulted in mass hysteria among fans, bloggers and half the music industry in general. When we asked a former NIN tour manager what he thought about the reunion, his reaction was to freak out and walk away from us, quickly — as if we’d asked him for missile launch codes. The tour manager, who’s a close friend of bassist Duff McKagan, could have denied the rumors calmly; instead, his abrupt reaction sent a signal that something is happening. But it’s unclear what that something is…

…To be clear: Vicky Hamilton isn’t a direct source, either. She is no longer working for or directly associated with GN’R in any formal capacity. She’s a reliable source and very connected — a way more reliable source on this subject than, say, Scott Weiland. But for all we know, Slash could be trying to dispel rumors as details of an actual reunion are being hashed out.

From everyone we’ve talked to, the consensus is that Del James, a former GN’R road manager and close friend of Axl Rose (who once interviewed Axl for Rolling Stone), is the one person outside of Axl, Slash, Duff and their lawyers who might actually know what’s going on. But he’s not talking, and why would he? Would you? Axl could pull the plug on this at any time, because Axl is Axl, and nobody close to him wants to start a war with the man once nicknamed “Ayatollah” by his bandmates.

So everybody just calm down. There’s no Guns N’ Roses reunion. Unless there is. But there isn’t. Probably.

“But you never know,” says Hamilton.

Read more at the L.A. Weekly.



defleppard640 Jonathan Dick of Spin magazine spoke with Def Leppard vocalist Joe Elliott. Excerpts from the interview appear below.

Spin: It’s been seven years since Songs from the Sparkle Lounge, making this the longest Def Leppard has gone between albums. Was that wait a deliberate decision?

Joe Elliott: Not really. The length of time was just what it was because we weren’t really planning on making a record at all. It could have gone on a lot longer had things not been the way they were. When we finished and released Songs from the Sparkle Lounge, it was the last album that we were contractually obligated to deliver to Universal Records. We were well aware of that when we were making it, so it was kind of like an end of an era… It’s a good album, I think. It has some good songs on it, but we just did it because we had to, and it’s what you do. You tour, you make an album, you tour, you make an album. We were in that hamster wheel, if you like.

When it came to doing this album, we didn’t have a record deal. We were watching, reading, hearing the world tell us that the album [format] is dead. We weren’t happy with what we were hearing. We didn’t necessarily agree with it, but we were listening because that’s what you do in the digital age, and we were thinking: Well, okay, some of these bands we’re aware of have been releasing maybe one or two songs on the Internet instead of doing albums, maybe we’ll try that and see if it works. We did three new songs on the end of the live album back in 2011… so we thought we can still do this. Let’s just do these three songs and see what we get.

We all got together in my studio in February of last year and started playing things and recording it on our phones. All of a sudden we had 12 songs up for ideas…. then the thing just evolved. It was like, well, why do we have to pick three? Why can’t we just put them all out? All of a sudden, then we had an album… It’s the most natural, artistic thing that we’ve ever done, because we weren’t tied down to some label or an executive from said label hovering over your shoulder looking for the hit, looking for the delivery date, keeping it on budget, and all that nonsense that comes with what is essentially a juvenile line of work. We did a bit of work for the new record in hotel rooms and dressing rooms during the tour last summer, because these days you can do that. You don’t need to be in Abbey Road to make Abbey Road. We chiseled away at it in our own good time.

Spin: One of the most distinctive things about Def Leppard has always been the band’s ability to appeal just as much to pop fans as you do hard rock and even metal fans. It’s even more noticeable now, with many of today’s hugely successful pop stars either explicitly citing you guys as an influence, or doing so implicitly with their music. Is that something you’ve seen more recently as well?

Joe Elliott: I notice when it’s pointed out to me, because I honestly don’t listen to much pop radio. But when I am made aware of it or just happen to be listening to whatever radio station my friend is tuned to in their car, it’s like, “Whoa, that sounds a bit like we could’ve done it.” I started becoming aware of our influence in pop music about 15 years ago when Pink did a radio show with us, and she was standing on the side of the stage singing every word. I was like, well okay, she’s a fan. [Laughs.] We have people like Jewel or John Mayer or the guys in Maroon 5, all of whom are huge fans. It wasn’t just RATT and Poison we were a part of…. [now] all of a sudden you’ve got Lady Gaga coming out and saying, “I f**king love Def Leppard,” and we had Taylor Swift wanting to work with us six or seven years ago when she was first kicking off. You are aware of it, and it’s flattering, but I think it’s down to the fact that we’ve always been more pop than metal, much to the annoyance of the metal press and metal fans. We were never Dio or Anthrax or Judas Priest… We’ve always been about [blending] that kind of quirkiness that Queen had with the power of AC/DC. It’s something we’ve always felt was kind of our blueprint. So, I absolutely hear it in pop because that’s essentially who we were. Def Leppard became popular not through being a rock band like Zeppelin or Sabbath. We became popular because our singles were on American Bandstand between Kool & the Gang and Michael Jackson. We were the white rock band from the U.K. that people were like, “What? How did they infiltrate the top ten?” And it was because we had these infectious melodies. We weren’t afraid of singing about relationships or love, which is something that metal would never do. We were never Dungeons & Dragons. We never will be.

Spin: Which would naturally explain why the band has been so successful, because it’s difficult to compartmentalize you guys into any one genre or sound, even with the early associations with the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, for example. It’s risky, but it’s obviously proven to be well worth it for Def Leppard.

Joe Elliott: We didn’t ask to be included in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. We were just told we were in it by a journalist. We were happy to take the press, but the fact that it kept coming with this NWOBHM typecast, it became more of a “What the hell is this?” thing. We just kept having to say, “Well, it’s because of all these bands like Iron Maiden and Saxon and whoever else are coming out of England at the same time.” So, it was really more of a time-zone reference. Well, you might as well throw in Duran Duran and U2, because they came out at the same time as well, because I think musically we’ve got more in common with those two bands than we do with Iron Maiden. I’m not criticizing Iron Maiden, either, and I never have when I’ve used that comparison. It’s not a criticism where we think we’re better than them. We just think we’re different… We’re a hardcore, hard pop band. They’re not…If metal is based on the length of your hair, then what are Led Zeppelin? Are they a hair-metal band? Is Iggy Pop metal because his hair’s down to his arse? It’s the dumbest, most idiotic, lazy journalistic reference ever thought of, and it’s just rubbish….

Read more at Spin.

Def Leppard’s newest self titled album is out now and available for purchase. Pick your vendor and click on the highlighted titles to buy.

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DaveMustaine400 Dave Mustaine says he wanted “nothing to do with” recent attempts to reunite Megadeth’s Rust In Peace era lineup.

After Chris Broderick and Shawn Drover quit the band last year, there were calls for frontman Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson to to bring back guitarist Marty Friedman and drummer Nick Menza.

The four got together to discuss the possibility, but it didn’t work out and eventually Kiko Loureiro and Chris Adler were brought in to work on 15th album Dystopia, due out on January 22nd.

Ellefson later cleared Mustaine of any blame over the failed reunion attempts.

Mustaine tells Overdrive “There was a lot of upheaval in our camp over the last couple of years, with management changes, bad touring decisions made by our management, and the loss of my mother-in-law and the whole Rust In Peace reunion.

David Ellefson was a total gentleman and stood up and said, ‘Look, this wasn’t his idea to do this reunion. It was my idea.’ Because my take on it was that I really didn’t want anything to do with it. As far as I was concerned, it’s done and let’s just leave it where it’s at.

Dave really wanted to do the Rust In Peace thing and I love Dave, he’s my partner, so I figured, ‘We’ll see what happens.’ When it didn’t happen, of course, everybody blamed me and I was just politely saying, ‘Go f–k yourself.'”

Mustaine reiterated previous comments that Adler and Loureiro have had a positive impact on the band.

He says, “When Kiko and Chris came into the picture, it was a breath of fresh air, because they are, without a doubt, two of the most talented musicians that I have ever played with. To have musicians of that caliber playing at the same time is a formidable force. Any of the previous lineups always had at least one member that was not up to standard. For example, say the guitarist is great and the drummer is okay, or the drummer is great and the guitarist is okay, but to have totally changed and to have both positions filled with excellent musicians really helped to raise not only the morale of the band but also the professionalism and the ability for us all as musicians.”

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vivcampbell'slastinlinelarge Dio offshoot band Last In Line have split with keyboardist Claude Schnell.

The move comes ahead of the release of their debut song Devil In Me, which arrives next week, and the release of their album Heavy Crown in February.

Schnell was a member of the original Dio lineup alongside guitarist Vivian Campbell, bassist Jimmy Bain and drummer Vinny Appice. They reunited under the Last In Line name in 2013, and recruited vocalist Andrew Freeman to front the band.

Campell, also a member of Def Leppard, says, “The initial idea was to reunite the original Dio band to play the songs we wrote and recorded with Ronnie in the early 1980s. It was a limited ambition, but one that brought us great joy in reconnecting to this great music, to each other, and to our collective history.

Our ambition at that time didn’t extend to writing and recording any new music, but when we were offered the opportunity to do so by the Frontiers record label, we took that step forward.”

Campbell adds that the band decided to mimic the procedure they undertook with 1983 Dio debut Holy Diver, which was written without keyboards in mind. He continues, “After Holy Diver was recorded we brought in Claude to embellish certain songs in a way that the guitar just couldn’t do. From that time forward Claude became an essential part of the band’s live shows.

In retracing our footsteps, we again started to write as a four-piece, keeping the emphasis on guitar-driven songs. In the course of doing so we have decided to continue on that path, and remain a four-piece band.

We wish Claude every success and he remains a very close friend and confidant to all concerned.”

Last In Line will take part in Def Leppard’s Hysteria On The High Seas cruise in January.

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Jon Blistein of Rolling Stone reports:

Great White frontman Jack Russell is filming a documentary about the infamous fire that killed 100 people during a 2003 performance at a club in Rhode Island, The Associated Press reports.

“It’s a story of my life intertwined with the story of the fire,” Russell said of the film during an interview on Portland radio station 105.9 the Brew. “It’s really hard, you know, but it’s going to give me a chance to apologize and say how I feel about it. I never had the chance to say, ‘I’m sorry.'”

The fire at the Station club in West Warwick, Rhode Island broke out when the band’s pyrotechnics display ignited flammable soundproofing foam installed in the venue. Over 200 people were injured, with Great White guitarist Ty Longley being among the 100 fatalities.

While Russell was not charged, he and Great White did settle a $1 million lawsuit with victims of the fire, which was part of an overall $176 million settlement fund. Those who were indicted included Great White’s tour manager, Daniel Michael Biechele — who was operating the pyrotechnics without a permit — and Jeffrey and Michael Derderian, the brothers who owned the Station. All three struck plea deals, with Biechele and Michael Derderian serving prison time.

“It was like the 9/11 of rock and roll,” Russell told the Brew. “I have this survivor’s guilt, like, why did I get to live when so many other people didn’t? I feel guilty for people coming to see me play and losing their lives. It’s really hard to deal with it. It’s not like I had anything personally to do … It was just a horrible accident.”

Russell said he was anxious to tell his side of the story through the documentary partly because in the immediate aftermath, his lawyers advised him not to apologize, as it would imply guilt. While Russell hoped making the film would help bring him some closure, some friends and family of the Station fire victims were angered by his remarks.

Read more at Rolling Stone.

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bretmichaelsflamehat Deborah Evans Price of Billboard reports:

When hair metal bands reigned supreme in the ’80s, Poison definitely did their share…Before his band took off, frontman Bret Michaels admits to making some of the same questionable fashion choices that many fell prey to in the decade. “I have a lot of great memories of that era. I have a lot of memories of me wearing the powder blue tux that I thought looked good. That’s all I’m going to say,” he tells Billboard.

In addition to his work with Poison, the singer has proven to be a Renaissance man with a successful resume that includes solo albums and tours, reality TV shows, a line of pet products — Pets Rock by Bret Michaels — and winning Celebrity Apprentice in 2010. Here Michaels serves up his list of favorite hair metal bands:

1. Guns N’ Roses

“To me, one of the best Rock N’ Roll records ever is Appetite For Destruction. It’s still part of my party bus iPod.”

2. Def Leppard

“Because I’ve toured with them, I love them as people. They still have two of the best-produced records in history — Hysteria and Pyromania. Mutt Lange did them and Mutt Lange is a production guru.”

3. Bon Jovi

“Because he just writes damn good songs.”

4. Mötley Crüe

“I’ve toured with Mötley Crüe. I just think in the end they’ve got great rock songs.”

5. Poison

“And of course Poison!”


GunsNRosesOriginal Dish Nation reports:

Legendary ​rock giants ​Guns N’ Roses​ are ​​”days away” from announcing ​a​ world​ reunion tour ​next year, Dish Nation is exclusively reporting.

Guitarist Slash ​has confirmed that he ​and lead singer​ Axl Rose have​​ ​reconciled after ​almost a decade of ​arguments and now Los Angeles music insiders close to the band say they ​have tentatively​ agreed to perform together again in 2016.

It’s expected that they will headline several festivals across Europe and the United States before heading out on a staggered world tour that will coincide with their 30th anniversary​.

“Slash and Axl have verbally agreed to get things together again and reform the original band. The live shows is where they can show the world what they had and also make the greatest earnings,” ​a music insider exclusively told Dish.

“Promoters are quietly working away to land opportunities. Details of the reunion are expected to leak out in the next few days. Everyone is expecting huge demand for tickets, but the boys are very humble and are not sure what to expect.”

Reports have recently come out saying that the band has been offered gigs in Australia, Sweden and Portugal — although reps for the band have refused to comment.

Last month a friend close to Slash confirmed that he and Axl are now talking again and a comeback tour ​is close to being rev​e​aled.

Marketing experts say that the American band are on course to bank a whopping $100 million thanks to ticket sales, CD revenue, licensing and merchandising.

“I know that he and Axl talking again is a really good sign, because we all grew up loving Guns N’ Roses. I mean I am an LA kid and I remember when they were playing the Sunset Strip,” ​Slash’s close friend John Murdy told the UK’s Mirror.

“It is so cool to see these guys back when they have been around so long.”

G​uns N’ Roses keyboard player Dizzy Reed ​recently hinted a band ​comeback is close​, too.

“With GNR, timelines don’t really apply,” Dizzy told Loudwire.

“And that’s fine, things will come out when they’re ready and we’ll go on tour when we’re ready…”

​Even Slash, who refused to speak with Axl, has painted the singer in a more positive light.

“There’s no animosity. Over time we all just got sick and tired of the black cloud,” Slash said in an interview with CBS.

“The biggest thing that happens when you have a break up that is less than harmonious, you build up a bad energy because of the distance. The bad feelings get exaggerated.”

It has been over two decades since Slash, Axl, Duff McKagan, Izzy Stradlin and drummer Matt Sorum all stood on stage together to perform on their “Use Your Illusion” tour.

It wrapped July 17, 1993 in Argentina, and since then Axl has only since brought Duff and Izzy onto the stage with his new Guns N’ Roses band. However, he refused to appear at the 2012 Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame Museum induction.

The band — which started in a Hollywood deli​ and were signed in 1986​ — sold over 100 million albums worldwide.



deloresrhoads640 Delores Rhoads, the mother of guitar legend Randy Rhoads, has died at the age of 95.

Bassist Rudy Sarzo, who played with Rhoads in Quiet Riot shared the news wrote on his Facebook page, “The world today has lost one of the most gracious and sweetest ladies I’m blessed to have known, Delores Rhoads. Please keep her and the Rhoads family in your prayers.”

Delores Rhoads graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor’s degree in music and founded the Musonia School of Music in North Hollywood, Calif., in 1949. After receiving his first guitar at the age of six-and-a-half, Randy began taking lessons at Musonia.

Randy’s brother Kelle told, “She plays 15 instruments; her main instruments were trumpet and cornet. She primarily excelled in brass. She changed a policy at UCLA when she was a music student there. A woman couldn’t sit first-chair in the brass section. Until my mom. My mom challenged this because she was so much better than the guys. So they had a little contest, she smoked them, and she was the very first woman that got to sit first-chair in a brass section. In the very early ’40s. She graduated in 1944 and got married. Plays piano, violin, flute, flugelhorn.”

When discussing Randy once, Delores stated, “Randy grew up musically in my school. I am sure he was influenced by this in many ways. He started when he was so young, he was somewhere between six-and-a-half and seven when he started lessons. In those days, way back then, we started them with the folk guitar where they learned the chords and a few pop songs.”

But she also made sure that he learned that being able to play simple pop songs was only a small part of the equation. “To play in my little group that I had even way back then,” she continued, “he had to read [music notation], because he couldn’t play in the group unless he read. And then I worked with him when he was very young. I gave him some piano lessons, so he had to learn to read. I always make my students count very accurately and read properly and do everything the right way, so he had some help in that.”

Rhoads’ 50-second classical guitar interlude from Osbourne’s Blizzard of Ozz, Dee was written as a tribute to her.

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