Ozzy’s Opinions of His Guitarists

January 22, 2010 | By | 4 Replies More

Guitar fans owe a debt of thanks to Ozzy (or really Sharon, for saving him). Musically, I mean. The reality TV thing…not so much.

Not only does Ozzy pick incredible guit-slingers for his bands – pretty amazing since he claims not to know much about the guitar – he also gives them the freedom to be themselves, at least within the context of Ozzy. I mean, Randy sounds like Randy, Jake sounds like Jake, Zakk sounds like Zakk. Even Brad Gillis sounded like himself. All their styles came out.

Here’s what Ozzy said about all his guitarists in an interview in the November 1998 issue of the long-gone Guitar Shop magazine.

“It tickles my spine when I hear guitar player I like because I can’t understand music – I go by emotion.

On Tony Iommi: “I can feel him. I can be in a dark room and say, ‘That’s you Tony over there.’ He’s got a very distinctive style of playing.

On Randy: “I don’t really go for the player – I go for the person as well. I think that every now and again in your life you meet some other shooting star. You meet some person that comes into your life like a current of energy that comes through. It’s so wonderful and you can’t get your breath. Then all of a sudden they come and they go.

“Randy Rhoads came into my life and was just like that. Randy…was a very tasty player and he would educate me…. As a guitar player he was just phenomenal. His heart wasn’t really into rock ‘n roll so much as the classics. He wanted to be a classical guitar player. He was one of these guys who, once he tasted what he wanted to taste, wanted to move on. He wasn’t really interested in becoming the next guitar hero.”

On Jake, Brad and Bernie: “After Randy’s passing, it was very difficult for Jake E. Lee to step in. Jake was just as good a guitar player [huge compliment!], but it didn’t work out and he moved along. Brad Gillis stood in for him [Randy] for a while, but he wasn’t a permanent member – he had Night Ranger…a different style of music.”

“Bernie Torme only lasted three weeks and I really owe a lot to Bernie because had it not been for Bernie, I honestly don’t think that I would’ve gotten off my a** and done another gig – because when I saw Randy’s plane in flames, I thought it was over.”

On Zakk: “As for Zakk, he’s a wild man. He needed to stop and look at himself for a while, and make one decision on what he wanted to do. He can play any style, any way: fast, slow, blues, country, rock. You know the guy could play it all like a mother, but he switches midstream. I mean, coming from Ozzy and then doing that country stuff is crazy….

“But what right do I have to say that…change is healthy. But don’t do it suddenly – do it gradually. On the No More Tears album you could feel the hints of the country style creeping in. Now from that album…he went from there straight over to freakin’ Lynyrd Skynyrd, from one extreme to the other.

“Zakk is a great player, he’s a great writer, he’s a great guy. I love him to death, but you know, once a Zakk’s got a bee up his ass you can’t change it.

“If I was Zakk, I would’ve changed slightly and I would’ve got a singer because Zakk doesn’t have a very distinguished voice, in my opinion. He can sing, but it’s not what he does best. He’s a great guitar player. You can’t be the ship’s cook and bottle washer all at the same time.”

On Joe Holmes: “Joe’s a great guitar player and he was one of Randy’s students. I’m looking forward to doing some studio work with him, but I haven’t really made any plans for the future….”


> Not including the newest guy (Gus), the order of Ozzy guitarists was: Randy, Bernie, Brad, Jake, Zakk, Joe, Zakk.

> Asked in the interview for advice for guitar players, Ozzy said: “Randy Rhoads would say, ‘If you want to be great, practice, practice, practice.’ That’s all he would ever say, and that’s what he did. Don’t give up on your dreams, if you have a dream, because this whole business is run on dreams.”

Bark at the Moon, Jake, 1984
> Kicks a**!

Bark at the Moon, Joe, 1995
> I’ve still yet to see Joe Holmes’ face – is he Buckethead?

Bark at the Moon, Zakk, 2007
> HEAVY version.

Category: Brad Gillis, Jake E. Lee, Randy Rhoads, Zakk Wylde

Comments (4)

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  1. Paul_Davies says:

    I think George Lynch had a little (VERY little) spell too I think… I'm not sure of the details; something along the lines of replacing Randy and Ozzy chasing him round a street coz they simply didn't get on…

    I always thought that funny coz George's style would have fit so well!

  2. WoodyTone says:

    I don't think George was ever in the band, though I think he did play one gig.

  3. rockerjt says:

    George never played live with him. He auditioned, and they thought he was the guy, told him he got the gig, then they auditioned Jake and liked him better, told George he was out and Jake got the gig. I agree, George would have been awesome in Ozzy’s band. Don’t forget, George was the one guy playing on the Strip that Randy Rhoads had huge respect for, to the point that he got George a teaching job at Musonia.

  4. Khriss Bliss says:

    Its true: much like Siouxsie Sioux, Ozzy is a brand swimming in great guitaristry: he melds American songularity with Brit riffing, which pushes his axmen to greater heights, for the ears, fingers, heart& mind.
    Zakk not bad. Randy is abso oneofkind Mozart of Metal. I adore Jake E Lee very very much: folks should revisit his tone on the entire BATM: its classic, brown& crisp: not at all spongy, maybe cuz he used a plexi. anyways, i also thought Brad had an excellent Ozzy tone: very gothic& purple, very much in the spirit: i prefered it to Iommis live tone,& Randys live tone. Jake & Zakk were more crunchy, in a good way, but Brad got points for eerie and controlled feedback/harmonics. Speak of the Devil is really fantastic: great song order. Definitive version of Snowblind for me: sounds coked up, not plodding. “Black Sabbath” is mint:THE WIZARD:Aldridge just OWNS It!, … Sorry i cd go on and on…

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