Ozzy Osbourne Guitarist Refuses To Play His Songs For Weird Reason

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Former 1983-1987 Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Jake E. Lee discussed refusing to play Ozzy songs in a new Eddie Trunk Podcast interview (transcribed by Ultimate-Guitar).

During live shows, you’ll be doing a mix of the usual stuff, right? Two albums of Red Dragon Cartel, some Badlands stuff, some Ozzy stuff… it will be a little bit of an overview of your whole career?

“No, it won’t. There won’t be any Ozzy. I decided that not too long ago. We had to do it [Ozzy songs] on the first [RDC] record because there are multiple singers, and because of the production style, so I had to dig back onto the catalog.

“I haven’t played any Ozzy songs in 30 years, I thought it would be fun so we threw some of that in there. It quickly, for me, became uncomfortable to play the Ozzy songs.

“I know I was the guitar player on those songs, and I wrote the music but it just didn’t feel honest to me.

“They are Ozzy songs, despite my contribution to them, they pretty much belong to Ozzy as far as I’m concerned.

“So it became uncomfortable for me to do Ozzy songs live, and now that we have enough songs that we can really concentrate on the Red Dragon Cartel stuff, I decided we won’t be doing any more Ozzy songs.

“We might throw a couple of Badlands songs in there, they’re still fun for me to play, but the new record [‘Patina’] is really going to make up most of the set.”

It’s fascinating that you say that because as you said, regardless of what credits have read over the years, you did write those songs, and you did a huge part on those two albums with Ozzy. Was there anything else that went on? Was it the way they treated you so you felt uncomfortable? Was that a factor in all of this?

“No, not a factor at all. It just felt dishonest – maybe that’s too harsh of a word. They are Ozzy songs, and I will play them again if, you know, Ozzy sings. Here’s my open invitation – Ozzy, come to my show in one of these clubs – tell me you want to sing ‘Bark at the Moon’ and I will play ‘Bark at the Moon.’

“It doesn’t feel right for me to play those songs, that’s all there is to it. There’s nothing on my part that feels like I haven’t gotten my due. It is what it is. But yeah, no more Ozzy songs.”

Ozzy has been opening his shows with the song ‘Bark at the Moon’ lately. Have you ever looked at how his other guitar players have played the material you’ve done with Ozzy?

“Yeah, definitely. Although, to be honest, just Zakk. He’s the only one I’ve heard play ‘Bark at the Moon’ since me, and he does a great job with it. He doesn’t play it exactly right, but why should he? He’s Zakk Wylde.

“The thing that struck me the most, and this is from a musical point of view, is that they are so deep-tuned now. The song being played live now is so far down the scale of what it was originally written in. It sounds kind of weird to me.

“It doesn’t sound exactly right. It’s not any fault of Zakk’s, it’s just that every tour they bring it down.”

Ozzy recently said in an interview on this very platform that the one album he would like to go back and remaster is [1986’s] ‘The Ultimate Sin.’ He wants to potentially remix or remaster that. He said you did some really great stuff that people didn’t hear properly. Are you aware of that?

“I have heard that, and I do agree with it. That, I think, is probably considered as Ozzy’s pop album, so much of that was because of the mix. It’s very keyboard-heavy, the guitars don’t snarl the way I’d like them to…

“I can see remixing that and I think it would be very interesting to see an album come out like that. Hey Ozzy, I’d like to be a part of that.

“I don’t have any problems with Ozzy. I’ve always loved Ozzy. I mean, I was a huge Black Sabbath fan, like the second concert I ever went to was when I was maybe 13 or 14 and it was Black Sabbath on their [1971’s] ‘Master of Reality’ tour.

“And to this day, that is one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. They’re so heavy live… Yeah, I have no problems with Ozzy. Hey, let’s make ‘The Ultimate Sin’ into a good album.’