BASSIST BOB DAISLEY DISCUSSES WORKING WITH RAINBOW, OZZY, RANDY RHOADS, COZY POWELL AND MORE, SAYS HAVING HIS BASS TRACKS REPLACED ON OSBOURNE’S RECORDINGS WAS “PATHETIC…AND THE FANS HATED THEM FOR IT”
Andy Greene of Rolling Stone spoke with bassist Bob Daisley (Widowmaker, Uriah Heep, Ozzy Osbourne, Rainbow, Dio). Portions of the interview appear below.
Rolling Stone: [The band] Widowmaker, [had] so much talent in that band. Why was it so short-lived?
Bob Daisley: [Lead singer] Steve [Ellis] had problems. Somebody smashed him with a brick or something and he had damage in the front of his head. His doctor said, “You shouldn’t be drinking,” but he used to sneak off and drink, anyway and when he drank, he turned into a different person. That became a big problem.
We were managed by Don Arden. They used to call him “The Godfather of Rock” because he was so hard-hitting and strong-armed. We were on tour one day and Steve went insane. He stormed into [guitarist] Luther [Grosvenor]’s room and kicked him in the nuts. He couldn’t walk for days and so Don Arden called the rest of us into his room at the Plaza Hotel. His words were, “That cunt has got to go.” He was talking about Steve Ellis.
We finished the tour, got back to England, and auditioned John Butler, who I thought was a way better singer anyway. I preferred his voice tone. Then, we did the second record, which was Too Late to Cry.
And we went on the road in America. But then we had more problems with fights and squabbles within the band. Luther ended up getting nutted by John Butler. He hit him and his eye turned about six different colors.
Rolling Stone: It doesn’t seem like this was a band destined to last, but it led to you joining Rainbow.
Bob Daisley: First off, I loved Widowmaker. I wanted to see it make it. It was my band as much as anyone’s. We weren’t working for someone else. It was our band. It was a democratic situation. But at the end of the last Widowaker tour, we were in Los Angeles to play at the Whisky a Go Go. I got a call about auditioning for Rainbow.
I thought to myself, “I’ll try this. I’ll go to the audition and I’ll see what happens.” I get there and there’s [drummer] Cozy [Powell], there was Ronnie James Dio, and there was Ritchie [Blackmore]. We played for about an hour or so, they went into one of the offices of the rehearsal place, and they came out and said, “You’ve got the gig if you want it.”
They’d already auditioned about 40 bass players. They couldn’t find somebody. That’s because there’s three main credentials you need for a band, usually, when you do an audition. You’ve gotta look the part, you’ve got to be able to get on with them, and you’ve got to be able to play.
I said, “I don’t know. I’ll think about it.” [Laughs] They must have thought, “You little f–k. Who the f–k do you think you are? This is Rainbow. We’re offering you the gig and you’re going to think about it?” But, I did have to think about it. I wanted to know, for sure, that I wanted to make the move from Widowmaker into that.
Also, Ritchie had a bit of a reputation of chewing people up and spitting them out quite quickly. People that knew me were saying things like, “You could be gone in three months. You might end up with nothing.”
And so I played the Whisky that night with Widowmaker. At the end of the night, we went up to the dressing room and another squabble broke out. I was like, “Oh, f–k. Oh ,God. Here we go again.” I said, “F–k this.”
Ritchie saw me that night. He came to the show and told me he’d be at the Rainbow afterwards, which was just a few steps away. After the squabble, I said, “I’m going up to the Rainbow.” I packed my bag and walked out. What I meant was, “I’m going up to the Rainbow Bar and Grill.” But I also meant, “I’ve decided to join Rainbow.”
I walked in and Ritchie was at a booth by himself. When he saw me, he stood up and clapped. I thought, “Wow.” That meant a lot to me. Ritchie didn’t give compliments easily. That was a really good sign for me. He never suffered fools gladly. He was an aware person. He had the reputation of being cantankerous, but I got along fine with him. As long as you did your job, kept your head down, and went along with it. I had a drink with Ritchie that night. I think the very next day, I started rehearsals for Rainbow.
Rolling Stone: Was the period around Rainbow’s Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll a good time for you?
Bob Daisley: It was. Some of the tracks on Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll had been done. Ritchie played bass on a couple of tracks since they didn’t have a bass player. Ritchie as a bass player is a great guitarist, if you know what I mean. [Laughs] He’s a great guitarist, phenomenal, brilliant player. With bass, there are certain notes that a guitar player doesn’t play normally, or a feel, or an approach. I thought it was just a bit too tidy. But he did a good job. I got to play on about three tracks.
Rolling Stone: Did you and Ronnie bond quickly?
Bob Daisley: Oh, yeah. When I first joined the band, we rehearsed for about four or five weeks in L.A. As we rehearsed, I got on great with Cozy. We hung out a lot together and had breakfast or dinner together at Ben Franks in L.A. We used to go there a lot. We had a lot in common. Cozy and I were always reciting Monty Python, and so were Ronnie and Ritchie. We were all big Python fans.
I remember Ronnie always saying to me, “You’re in like Flynn. I’m going to take you under my wing.” He was great. There was nice camaraderie in that band, even though it was Ritchie’s band. It started out as Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, which I can understand since he’d just left Deep Purple. After a while, I think that used to rub Cozy and Ronnie the wrong way. They were like, “When are we going to drop the Ritchie Blackmore part?” And we did. It eventually became just Rainbow.
I think what happened with that band is Ritchie wanted more chart success. We had album success and all the shows were selling out and the reviews were great. In 1977 or 1978, we got the the live band of the year in Sounds magazine in England. We got the number-one live band of the year. The band was being received really well, but Ritchie wanted more chart success. He did want to become more commercial-orientated.
It was Ronnie and me that went first. And then Cozy got to the point where he just didn’t like the music and he left. But then Ritchie continued on with [vocalist] Graham Bonnet and then [bassist] Roger [Glover] came back in the band. And they had chart success with Since You Been Gone and All Night Long and all that. You can’t knock success. But for me, personally, I thought, “Oh, he sold out.”
Rolling Stone: How did your Ozzy Osbourne period start after that?
Bob Daisley: Well, Ronnie Dio phoned me when I went back to London. He said, “Obviously, we’re not going to get back together with Ritchie. The Rainbow thing is over. I’m going to put a new band together. I’ve got interest from record companies. I’m going to be looking for a guitarist and a keyboardist. Would you be interested?” I said, “Yeah.”
He told me he’d be in touch, and so I didn’t look for anything else. I was waiting for Ronnie. I thought, “This will be good.” But I went up the road one day and I bought Melody Maker. On the front, it said, “Ronnie James Dio Joins Black Sabbath.” I thought, “Oh? Thanks for telling me, Ron, while I’m siting around like a spare dick.”
Not long after that, I went to see this band Girl play at the Music Machine Camden. They had Phil Collen, who ended up in Def Leppard. They were on Jet Records, the same label as Widowmaker. I went backstage and spoke to some of the people from Jet, including Arthur Sharp. He had been working at Jet for a good while. He said, “Ozzy’s here tonight. Do you know Ozzy?” I said, “No, but I think I met him once when Black Sabbath did a show with Widowmaker.”
Anyway, I got to chatting with Ozzy and he said, “I’m putting a band together. Would you be interested?” He knew who I was and what I’d done, and I’d just come Rainbow. I said, “Yeah, OK.”
Rolling Stone: What happened from there?
Bob Daisley: I took a train out to Ozzy’s place. He had already auditioned Randy Rhoads at this point, and he told Randy that he had the gig. But then Ozzy went back to England and decided he really wanted to have an English band. Randy was still in America.
Two other guys were at Ozzy’s when I arrived. One of them had red hair. I can’t remember their names, but they were a guitarist and a drummer. They were OK. They were decent enough players, but not what you would call virtuosos or world class or that impressive or anything.
Ozzy had this little rehearsal room built on the side of his house. Ozzy and I went out into the kitchen. We made a cup of tea and started chatting. He said, “Do you want in?” Me and him got on great. He phoned Arthur Sharp at Jet and said, “Bob’s here. We just had a knock together. We get on like a house on fire. The fire brigade had just left.” Those were his words. I remember it like it was yesterday.
I said, “Yes, I am interested.” That’s because I like Ozzy’s voice. I loved him as a guy. We got on really well straight away. I said, “To be honest with you, are you set on these other two guys?” He said, “Why?” I said, “They’re alright. They are good, but there’s no spark there. There is nothing special about the situation.” He said, “Wait a minute.” He then walked out of the kitchen, into the rehearsal space, and he said, “It’s alright, fellas. You can pack up and go home. It’s not working out.”
Then he came back into the kitchen and sat down. We were drinking tea. He said to me, “I met this guy in L.A. He’s a guitar teacher. He’s great.” I said, “Who is that, then?” He said, “His name is Randy Rhoads.” I said, “OK, let’s get him over then. That sounds better.”
We went to David Arden. And he still says it today. He said, “Against my better judgement, I paid for this young, unknown kid to fly to England.” He flew Randy over. What he meant by “against my better judgement” is that nobody had heard of him or even knew if he was a good player. Did Ozzy know that he was a good player? Ozzy wasn’t really a musician.
Rolling Stone: Tell me about first meeting Randy.
Bob Daisley: I went to Jet Records and met him. I had this vision in my mind of Randy because he’d been described to me by Ozzy as a guitar teacher. I expected to see some bloke with a cardigan and slippers and a pipe. [Laughs] I walked in and saw Randy. He was young. He was only 22 or something then. We met and went up on the train together to Ozzy’s place. We had a knock together. Ozzy had a friend of his that played drums for us. He wasn’t a professional drummer, but he could keep a beat while we had a knock together.
At the end of the first good play together, Randy and I looked at each other and virtually said the same words at the same time. It was something along the lines of, “I like your playing.” We immediately knew there was a spark there, and we began auditioning drummers.
At that time that Randy and I went up to Ozzy’s, Randy was staying in a hotel in London. They put him up in a hotel there, the Montcalm in the West End near the Marble Arch. After we played together the first time, we caught a train to London the next day. And when I was standing at Stafford Railway Station with Randy, I had this sort of premonition. I had this feeling. “One day, people are going to be asking me over and over again what it was like to play with Randy Rhoads.”
I didn’t have that much experience of playing with Randy at that point. It just came to me. I knew he was a good player and I knew it worked between us. That’s why I said, “Let’s get drummers lined up and audition and carry on.” But I remember that voice in my head, that premonition. And know when I look back, it did happen.
Rolling Stone: I want to ask you about a few songs you wrote. I think with Crazy Train, many people just hear the chorus and miss the broader message of the song. It’s about the state of the world then.
Bob Daisley: Yeah. Here I was, writing lyrics for the band. That’s because Randy wasn’t a lyricist. Ozzy wasn’t a lyricist. Geezer Butler used to write the lyrics in Black Sabbath. And I actually said, “I want to keep the band in self-sufficient mode. We don’t want to go outside the band for someone to write lyrics. Look, I’ll have to wear the lyricist hat.” And so I started to write the lyrics to the songs.
The thing I had to think about was that I was writing for the singer of Black Sabbath. I wasn’t going to write corny love songs or cliché stuff of, “Don’t leave me baby/I love you baby.” There’s nothing wrong with a good love song, but not for an act like that…and make it a little more philosophical with more of a message to it.
We’re talking 1979 when we came up with Crazy Train. Randy had that riff and that effect on his guitar that made it sort of sound like a chugging sound. I thought, “That sounds like a train.” But it was kind of psychedelic-sounding. I said, “A crazy train.” That’s where that title came from. I just came up with it at that point when Randy was getting his sound for it with these pedals and things.
Ozzy was, in some ways, a bit like me in being philosophical. He was a little bit worried about the state of the world. There were always threats of World War III, and the Cold War was raging between Russia and America. I wanted to interpret some of that into the song. The thing was, it was “Crazy Train” and it was “Crazy, but that’s how it goes/Millions of people living as foes.” Why? It’s all so foolish and silly that that should be happening on a potential paradise planet. It’s so unnecessary.
Rolling Stone: I’ve heard fans say that You Lookin’ at Me, Lookin’ at You would have been a better choice for the album than No Bone Movies. Do you agree?
Bob Daisley: Well, yes and no. [Laughs] You Lookin’ at Me, Lookin’ at You was one of the first things that we actually did. It could have been the very first thing that we did. I know Goodbye to Romance was one of them. But You Lookin’ at Me, Lookin’ at You was put together and we thought it would go on the album.
But when we got to Ridge Farm [Studio] to actually make the album, [drummer] Lee Kerslake had only been in the band about a week. We auditioned all these drummers and didn’t find anybody. He was the last one we had to audition. And so we auditioned him and he was perfect. Randy and I looked at each other when he started to play and went, “Where the f–k has he been? ” Finally he turns up and he’s the last man standing, the last one to be auditioned.
When we got to Ridge Farm, we thought, “Would it be fair to Lee to have something with his name on it, as well?” And so we worked up No Bone Movies with Lee and gave him the writing credit on that. That was why that was on the album. We kind of liked the way that it turned out. We had a little meeting about it. We said, “Let’s put No Bone Movies on the album and we can use You Lookin’ at Me, Lookin’ at You as a B side to Crazy Train.
That’s why that happened. But I can see why people say that. “No Bone Movies” is a little quirky. [Laughs]…
Rolling Stone: Black Sabbath beat you guys you by releasing Heaven and Hell a few months before Blizzard of Ozz. It was a big hit. Was there some concern that Sabbath would be huge and the Ozzy record wouldn’t do as well and his solo career wouldn’t take off?
Bob Daisley: Ozzy was worried about that. I know he was concerned. It did whack him in the gut a bit that the new Black Sabbath with Dio did so well…
…The only thing we could do was go into the studio, be ourselves, do our best, and like it or not. That’s what we did. We didn’t go in trying … ”What would be a good single? What will be a hit single? How can we make this album a commercial hit album?”
We didn’t do any of that. It was just, “Go in. Play how you play. Work together. See what you do. See if people like it.”
I think the honesty of that, the authenticity of what we really were, comes out in the music, the joy in it, the belief in it. We weren’t pretentious in any way. It was just go in, do what you do, and do it as good as you can, and we did. I think that holds up in the record of how it turned out.
Rolling Stone: They let you go from the band right after recording Diary of a Madman. What happened?
Bob Daisley: During that tour in 1980, when we just had the first album out, Ozzy and Sharon kept pulling me aside and saying, “Let’s get rid of Lee. Let’s get Tommy Aldridge in the band.” And I’d never agree. It wasn’t because of any sort of blind loyalty to Lee or anything. I just thought the band was working so well. Why fix something that wasn’t broken? I couldn’t agree to something I thought was wrong. I said, “Sorry, I can’t agree.”
They asked me several times and I would never agree. And then even Tommy Aldridge turned up to one of the shows, which I thought was a bit distasteful. Lee didn’t know. But then we went into Ridge Farm in February of 1981 and began Diary. As soon as that was finished, I phoned my mum. I said, “We’ve just about finished the album.” She said, “What’s going to happen then?” I said, “We’re probably going to America next week and then go on the road to promote both albums.” She said, “Well, you won’t.” I said, “What do you mean?” She said, “You might think you are, but you’re not. And neither will the drummer.”
She didn’t even know Lee. She just knew. I actually said to her, “This time, mom, you’re wrong. There’s no time. That’s it.”
I think we did a couple more days at Ridge Farm, finished recording, and then a couple days later I got the phone call from Sharon. “It’s over.” I still remember her words.
Rolling Stone: She didn’t explain why?
Bob Daisley: No. I think they wanted to get rid of Lee. They wanted to get Tommy Aldridge in the band. The only way to do that would be to get rid of me as well, and then ask me back, which did happen. About six weeks later, I got the phone call from Sharon. I had a meeting with her and the accountant and she said, “Whether you come back in the band is one thing, but we want you to write for and play on the next album.”
That was Bark at the Moon, which was meant to be with Randy, Tommy Aldridge, me, Ozzy, and probably Don Airey. But then in early 1982, when it was all planned we’d do the album that year, Randy was killed in a plane crash on the 18th of March. That was all put back. And then they got Jake E. Lee. That’s when we did the Bark at the Moon album.
Rolling Stone: You were infamously not credited for your playing on Diary of a Madman; the album listed Rudy Sarzo as the bassist. How did you feel when you looked at Diary and saw Rudy’s name there and not your own?
Bob Daisley: Lee and I were in the studio with Uriah Heep. We put them back together. They became defunct for several months or a year. Lee phoned Mick Box and was like, “Let’s put Uriah Heep back together. Bob is interested.” We got John Sinclair on keyboards and Peter Goalby on vocals. We had another good band. We were in the studio and we went into the office and somebody had a copy of the Diary of the Madman record. When we opened it up, we just freaked. They had taken everything away from us. They credited Tommy Aldridge and Rudy Sarzo on the album we played on. They didn’t even play a note on it.
They also took our production credits off it. Max Norman at Ridge Farm was the house engineer. He was a good engineer. We got on great with him. He engineered the first album. You’ll notice on the first album, he’s credited just as “engineer” and it says it was produced by us. That’s what we wanted. By the second album, he was house engineer at Ridge Farm when we went back to record Diary. It was actually my suggestion: “Let’s give Max a production credit since he’s become part of us.”
That was agreed. But when the album came out, Lee and I didn’t get credit for playing on it. We had our songwriting credits, that was all good. That was still on there. But it says, “Produced by Max Norman, Ozzy Osbourne, and Randy Rhoads.” And so we got left off production as well. And I put some good ideas into those songs for production. I didn’t mind Max having a production credit, but I would have liked one myself.
Rolling Stone: They bring you back for Bark at the Moon, but it says, “All music and lyrics by Ozzy Osbourne.” How did that happen?
Bob Daisley: I can’t speak for Jake. I don’t know what his situation was. I know he’s spoken out about it. I won’t go into his side of things. My side of things was, I had signed publishing with Uriah Heep. We had a discussion about buying the songs from me and me getting a lump sum. The other thing I had to take into consideration was this was a new band. Ozzy and I were the only ones from those first two albums. Lee had gone. Randy had died. It could have flopped. Nobody knew what it was going to do.
We had a deal where I just got paid to do the songs and play on it, and not have credit for writing. It was a hard pill to swallow, let me tell you, when I put that much into it and just got paid off, but what’s what I agreed to. I can’t complain about that, although it did look pretty awful when the album came out and it said, “All songs written by Ozzy Osbourne.”
Rolling Stone: What’s your best memory of playing the US Festival?
Bob Daisley: I remember it was pretty nerve-racking. Ozzy had a bass player named Don Costa. I don’t know what he did, but he did something since Ozzy whacked him in the nose. I think he had to pay for a nose job since he broke it. And then Ozzy phoned me and said, “Can you do the US Festival?”
I was supposed to come in after that to write for Bark at the Moon. But he said, “Can you come in earlier? Also, I want you to do the US Festival.” That was like two days away. I was like, “F–k. I haven’t played those songs for two years. How the f–k are we going to do that?”…
… We were flown in by helicopter because when you’re talking 400,000 people, it was like the size of Woodstock. It was an ocean of people. As far as you could see, it was people. It was amazing.
I remember it was really hot. It wasn’t humid, which was a saving grace, but it was really hot. It was like 110 degrees or something. But it was pretty nerve-racking to do a show like that after two rehearsals and being jet-lagged.
Rolling Stone: Was The Ultimate Sin a good experience for you?
Bob Daisley: Not really, no. Jake and I had been knocking together material in Palm Springs. Tommy Aldridge was there on drums. Ozzy was in the Betty Ford Center for rehabilitation off drugs and alcohol and all the rest of it. He used to come out on a day pass to rehearse. [Laughs] But it was mainly Jake and I. We were putting songs together musically and all that.
When we got back to London, we were looking at drummers since Tommy left to join Whitesnake. One day, Ozzy and I had a bit of a fallout. We had to go into the studio to record four songs just so the record company could hear what we were doing. A lot of the rehearsal time, Ozzy didn’t show up. It was just me and Jake and various drummers just keeping the beat as we put the stuff together.
And then Ozzy showed up at the studio. He started drinking again and smoking pot and all the rest of it. Once he got into the frame of mind where he wasn’t straight, he wanted to make changes. I said, “Ozzy, we have just one weekend to do four songs and get them recorded and mixed and out the door to the record company on Monday.”
I started to get a bit annoyed with him since he was wanting to change things. I said, “If you’re not happy with it and want to make changes, maybe you should have gone to rehearsals.” That was it. He got all pissed off. “You can f–k off! And take that Jake with you!” That’s what he said. I don’t know what Jake had done. [Laughs.]
But I got a phone call from Ozzy saying, “We can’t work together.” That was it. I was gone. But then, about a month or six weeks later, he phoned. He had Phil Soussan playing bass then. He goes, “Well, can you write the lyrics?” I thought, “Well, I’ve already put a lot of the songs together with Jake. I may as well do the lyrics, otherwise I might as well get f–ked out of everything.”
There was no offer of, “You worked on all the other songs and here’s your offer.” There wasn’t even an offer to give me credit. There was none of that. So I said, “OK, I’ll write the lyrics.” And so I sat at home, wrote the lyrics, and took them up to Ozzy in London from time to time. He loved them all and used them. That was it for that album. I helped put the music together with Jake and I wrote all the lyrics. But to be honest, when I heard that record, even Ozzy said he hated it. I didn’t like it either. I don’t think it represented what Ozzy was or who he was or what he was about.
It was produced by Ron Nevison and I don’t think he did the right job. I heard it as a different thing. He was a bit of a weird bloke and it didn’t really work out. Ozzy called it The Ultimate Din instead of The Ultimate Sin. [Laughs] And the first pressings that came out, I didn’t even get a mention. Nothing. Not even my songwriting credits, or anything. And the first half million had shipped! They came and went without my credit. And then I fixed it and it kept on selling, but the first half million went out without my credit.
Rolling Stone: Was Ozzy’s No Rest for the Wicked a better experience than The Ultimate Sin?
Bob Daisely: Oh, definitely. No Rest for the Wicked was a good experience. I enjoyed that a lot. That was in 1987. I co-wrote all the music with Zakk [Wylde]. We used to sit opposite each other on chairs and put it all together. And then I wrote all the lyrics for it. That was a good experience. I love that album. It has good songs on it.
Rolling Stone: [But] for the tour, he brought in Geezer Butler.
Bob Daisley: I was supposed to be doing the tour, and then out of blue it was, “No, we’re going to use Geezer.” I was psyched since I played on the whole album and co-wrote the whole album. And now I was supposed to be in the videos. And all of sudden, it was “No, you’re not doing it. We’re getting Geezer.”
I don’t know what happened. We hadn’t had any fallout. I hadn’t done anything wrong. Who knows? I really don’t know the answer to that one. Maybe he and Ozzy got together and had a drink together and maybe Ozzy got a little bit pissed and had too many drinks and invited Geezer back. I know when Geezer’s mom died, I got the phone call. “Can you fill in for Geezer for a couple of days?” And so I went out and did one or two shows.
It was then that Ozzy told me, “Geezer had to learn all your bass lines. He thinks you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread.” That was nice.
I flew in and saw the show with Geezer playing. I stood at the side of the stage and watched. He went, “Oh, God, you made me nervous, you watching the show like that.” He respected me, which was really nice. It was nice of him to say that. I got on fine with Geezer. There was never any hard feelings or animosity between me and Geezer.
Rolling Stone: There’s a real pattern here. They use you on the record, they set you aside or replace you, and then they realize they need you and they bring you back.
Bob Daisley: Well, a lot of that happened because of the lawsuits with Don Arden and Jet Records. I can’t go into too much detail because of the legal situation. But Lee and I were suing Jet Records. Sharon had a big fallout with her father. She was going to help us with our lawsuit. I kept going back to work with him while that was going on. But the details are in my book. If anyone wants the full story, it’s in there [Dana’s note: Daisely’s book, For Facts Sake is a great read, buy it here].
Rolling Stone: I love No More Tears. It’s my favorite post-Randy Ozzy album. Tell me about working on that one.
Bob Daisley: I got the phone call right at the last minute. I think it was Sharon that phoned me. She said, “We’re in the studio. We’re doing the next album. And Ozzy’s not happy with how it’s sounding. Would you come in and do the album?” I said, “I don’t know. I’d have to think about it.” I still remember she said, “Well, don’t think too long.”
She called back the next day or whatever. Ozzy came on the phone. He sounded a bit drunk. He was in L.A. and he said, “Come on, Bob. You’ve got to do this album. You owe me that much.” I said, “I owe you that much. F–king A. Blimey.”
Anyway, I agreed. I went in and did the album. That was another one where it was a last minute thing. I was in a hotel room with a tape of the songs, sitting there playing along to them, coming up with parts to go with the songs. The [bassist] from Alice in Chains … Mike Inez. He was a lovely guy. He was there before me, and there were no hard feelings even though I was playing on the album that he had started. Ozzy just wanted me on it because we had a certain rapport and a certain sound together that Ozzy wanted to keep going.
Michael was a lovely guy. He used to come in, listen, and when he saw me, he called me “crème de la crème,” which was very nice of him. There was never any animosity. Lovely guy, and he’s a good player, too. That opening riff to No More Tears, he came up with that initial idea. I changed where some of it fell on the beat, and I did the rest of the song on my own, but he came up with that little opening line. I’m always one for credit where it’s due.
Rolling Stone: I think it’s no coincidence that that’s the last great Ozzy record and it’s your last record with him.
Bob Daisley: [Laughs] You’re not the only one to say that. That’s been said over and over and over. But I wouldn’t put it down to just me being on it. I think there was a rapport between Ozzy and me. We had a thing that worked with the writing, the vibes, the energies. It worked so well.
That’s why when the band was first together with Lee and Randy and me, it was just a magic energy and a magic chemistry. That’s why I didn’t want to disturb that by getting rid of Lee, which is why I’d never agree to that. While I was recording No More Tears, I was in the control room with Ozzy. That’s where I would record, sitting on a chair next to him and the producer. Ozzy actually said to me, “You know, you were right about Lee.”
I was like, “Oh, God.” This is about 12 years later. But I didn’t say any more about it. I just bit my tongue. I thought, “This is pointless now.” I didn’t want to say, “Why the f–k couldn’t you see that back then? Why didn’t you listen to me?” But that was water under the bridge and I didn’t want to take it any further, so I let it go.
Rolling Stone: I’ll spare you and everyone the details of the lawsuits you filed against Ozzy for unpaid royalties. People can read about that in your book. But how did it feel to learn that they’d re-recorded your parts on the first two Ozzy records?
Bob Daisley: To be honest with you, I thought it was pathetic. Someone sent me a copy of one of them, and I laughed. I thought, “Is this a joke?” I just didn’t think it was done right. The thing is, you can’t reheat a soufflé. You can’t take the ingredients out of a cake and then try and bake it again. It happened once. We did various takes of each song and we used the parts where each of us shined the best. There might be five takes of Crazy Train or four takes of something else, or eight takes of something else, and we picked the one that had the best vibe. And it was four people being recorded in a room together. You can’t change that.
And the fans hated them for it. It was like, “God, you’ve got no respect for the fans and everyone that spends money on this music.” They were hated for it. I’m just quoting what fans said, not me.
Rolling Stone: What are you working on now?
Bob Daisley: I’ve just done an album with the drummer of the Hoochies, Rob Grosser. We’ve come up with an instrumental album. It’s not really a band. It’s just me and Rob, and there’s one or two guests. But 95 percent of it is just me and Rob. I’m just so pleased with it. It’s turned out so well.
I’ve called the band the Upstarts. It’s a name that’s not too serious. It’s a little bit cheeky…Some of it sounds ideal for television or movie themes. It has got that sort of vibe about it. And I love it. There’s not one person I’ve played it to that doesn’t like it. Everyone says, “I love this. It’s really good.”
It’s easy to listen to. It’s pleasant….That’ll be out this year, within a couple of months. There’s no album title. It’s just the Upstarts. I’m very pleased. It’s really nice to do something different.
Read more at Rolling Stone.
Again, buy Daisley’s book, For Facts Sake, here.
Listen to Daisley’s new project, the Upstarts, below.