SHARON OSBOURNE SAYS FORMER OZZY OSBOURNE BASSIST BOB DAILSEY IS “A SAD OLD F–K”
Larry LeBlanc of Celebrity Access Encore spoke with Ozzy Osbourne’s wife/manger, and co-host of CBS’ The Talk, Sharon Osbourne. Highlights from the interview appear, below.
Celebrity Access Encore: When Black Sabbath sacked Ozzy in April 1979, few music industry people wanted anything to do with him. He was widely viewed as a has been.
Sharon O: The thing was in those days if you were the singer and you got fired from a group you didn’t go on to do anything. So he broke the mold. But it was like, “So they’ve left the group, they are over. They are dead.”
Celebrity Access Encore: When Ozzy left Sabbath and recorded his first two albums, Blizzard of Ozz (1980) and Diary of a Madman (1981) were your father, and your brother David still actively involved in his management?
Sharon O: No, they weren’t. Yes, we were signed to my father’s label, Jet. The two of them did absolutely nothing, especially, my brother because he lived in England, was basically nowhere to be seen. My father was not doing too well at that time. He was trying to hold on to Electric Light Orchestra who were walking out the door. He had a huge lawsuit on his back. So he was dealing with that lawsuit, and my brother was in England, and he didn’t give a s–t about America. He was married, and just had his first child. So there was no one there but me.
Celebrity Access Encore: What made you think that you could manage Ozzy?
Sharon O: Because I had managed other people. I had managed Gary Moore.
Celebrity Access Encore: He was the late great Northern Irish guitarist who played with Thin Lizzy and with the jazz-rock fusion band Colosseum II before his own, highly successful solo career.
Sharon O: He was the first guy that I managed, and I loved it (management). I had a great time doing it. In fact, I wanted Gary to join Ozzy’s band, but he wouldn’t.
Celebrity Access Encore: When Ozzy and you gathered the musicians to play with him was it intended as a band project?
Sharon O: Never, never, never. The bass player Bob Daisley has said that over the years. He’s a sad old f–k that played on two of the greatest albums in the (rock) genre, and he can’t get over the fact that we didn’t use him further. Like it was, “Goodbye. See ya.” And he’s never gotten over it. And several lawsuits later—he tried to sue us three times–each time thrown out of court. Thrown out of court three times—he’s tried to change history, and it just won’t fit. It was never a band. There’s no way. It was Ozzy Osbourne.
Sharon O: Yeah, just to teach him a lesson.
Celebrity Access Encore: You got your revenge on Bob Daisley. He and drummer Lee Kerslake were both fired by you in the summer of 1981, and their names and contributions were later erased from those first two albums. The tracks were re-recorded with new players.
Celebrity Access Encore: (Laughing) You are a mean bitch, aren’t you?
Sharon O: I am. I am. It’s true. I am.
Celebrity Access Encore: When Ozzy and you were putting together the band, you were in Los Angeles first, and then in England?
Sharon O: We started off in L.A. yeah. That is where Ozzy found Randy (Rhoads). Couldn’t find a bass player or a drummer. Bob Daisley had been working with Jet Records for awhile with Widowmaker. He was like a session player. If you look up Bob Daisley’s list of credits, I think he was in about 12 different bands because he was a session player. So my brother said, “Well, we’ve worked with Bob. Why don’t you try him because he’s a good bass player?” And he is and was a good bass player. So we said, “All right, we will try him.” Then when we couldn’t find a drummer Bob said, “I have a mate, (drummer) Lee Kerslake, looking for a gig” and that’s how Lee Kerslake played on the first two records as well.
Celebrity Access Encore: Randy came from the band Quiet Riot.
Sharon O: Yes, he was from L.A. We auditioned these guys and one of them, he was a bass player, Dana Stum (future Slaughter bassist) was very sweet to Ozzy. He didn’t get the gig as a bass player but he was a very nice guy. He would sit with Ozzy. He befriended Ozzy. Dana said, “I know this guy, this guitar player,” and it was Randy.
Celebrity Access Encore: When did you officially start managing Ozzy, separate legally from either your father or brother?
Sharon O: Oh Lord. God, let me see. ’81.
Celebrity Access Encore: You father wasn’t happy, of course.
Sharon O: No.
Celebrity Access Encore: How did you and Ozzy end up with the rights to the two Jet albums? Did you buy them back from your father eventually?
Sharon O: Ozzy had to give him a million and a half dollars which Ozzy didn’t have. Ozzy didn’t have a million and a half dollars.
Celebrity Access Encore: You had to buy Ozzy’s contract out from your father and brother?
Sharon O: My brother never had Ozzy signed ever. It was just to my father’s company.
Celebrity Access Encore: Jet, right?
Sharon O: Yes.
Celebrity Access Encore: Blizzard of Oz sold 4 million copies.
Sharon O: No, it was 5 million but the thing was that we had to get money from the record company. Jet in those days went through CBS (for distribution). We had to go to CBS, and get the money. You see the deal was Jet through CBS. When we gave my father the million and a half, the albums reverted back to us right away. His buyout was 100% from the day that he cashed that check. So he was gone.
Celebrity Access Encore: How about the publishing?
Sharon O: We never signed the publishing with him. He tried to get it, and we wouldn’t sell it. We absolutely refused, and he sent people after us and threatened us and everything, and we just wouldn’t do it.
Celebrity Access Encore: How about the Black Sabbath publishing? There’s been so many covers of Sabbath songs over the years.
Sharon O: My father didn’t manage Sabbath until ’79, and their publishing deal was done in ’70 with their first manager, and he gave it to a f–king publisher for perpetuity. So it was gone, and the bastards still won’t give it back to Black Sabbath. It’s this company called Essex (TRO Essex Music Group).
Celebrity Access Encore: Your bio says that you have also managed the Smashing Pumpkins, Coal Chamber, Queen, Motörhead, Lita Ford, and Electric Light Orchestra. When did you manage Queen?
Sharon O: Oh my gawd. Freddy Mercury, and his girlfriend (Mary Austin) were big friends of mine, and Freddy hated their manager (Norman Sheffield of Trident Recording, Publishing and Management). So they asked me if we would consider taking then on. I said, “Of course.” I go to my dad and everybody’s over the moon. And that was it. They came to us. That year, probably ’74 or ’75, we had a Christmas party and I had John Reid there who was another friend of mine. And Freddy and John Reid then met, and the rest is history.
Celebrity Access Encore: UK promoter Harvey Goldsmith swears that Freddy Mercury was the best performer of them all, including David Bowie and Mick Jagger.
Sharon O: Oh my God. Nobody could compete with Freddy. Nobody could compete with Freddy Mercury. First of all his vocal range was untouchable. Nobody had his vocal range. And he was just electric onstage. You couldn’t compete with Freddy. He played every instrument in the world. And that was it. Go on.
Celebrity Access Encore: What did you think of the Bohemian Rhapsody film in which Rami Malek, wearing a set of prosthetic teeth, plays Freddy? He received critical acclaim and won several awards, including the Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, and British Academy Film Award for best actor. The film has raked in more than $1 billion worldwide at the box office, and it received four Academy Awards.
Sharon O: I did not like it. I cannot watch it. Listen I know that kid got the Oscar, but I can’t watch it.
Celebrity Access Encore: The thing intriguing about Queen onstage is that you couldn’t take your eyes off Freddy. Meanwhile, critics and fans have accused the Bohemian Rhapsody filmmakers of twisting facts to create a more convenient drama for the movie.
Sharon O: But please don’t give me the s–t in that movie about Brian (May) doing this, and Brian doing that. Brian did what Freddy told him to do, and that’s it. And you know what? It’s like finally these two (drummer Roger Taylor and bassist John Deacon) have got to their late 60s, and finally, finally, they have got the attention that they always wanted, but never got because of Freddy. As you say, you watched Queen you didn’t give a s–t about anybody else. You were drawn to Freddy. And who did anyone want to write about? Nobody but Freddy. So there were these frustrated f–k musos that sat at home going, “We hate Freddy. We hate Freddy.” And that was it.
Celebrity Access Encore: What’s the best show you’ve ever been to not counting Ozzy’s shows?
Sharon O: Every Queen show that I ever went to. And Elton. It has to be between Freddy Mercury and Elton John.
Celebrity Access Encore: How have you kept Ozzy in the public eye all these years?
Sharon O: Listen Ozzy has been playing for 51 years now, and he’s been always touring. It is what Ozzy does. There is only one Ozzy. There’s only one person who looks like him and sounds like him. That voice is instantly identifiable. And that’s it. He’s unique. And he’s one of the few guys, like I said before, who has ever left a successful band and has gone on to do just as successfully on his own. Even Mick Jagger couldn’t do it.
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