Bob Daisley (pictured), who played bass on the first two solo albums by Ozzy Osbourne, says that he was "devastated" and "flabbergasted" by the August 2002 ruling by the Los Angeles Federal Court dismissing the lawsuit over unpaid performance royalties brought by Daisley and ex-Osbourne drummer Lee Kerslake against Ozzy and the singer's wife and manager, Sharon Osbourne.
Daisley continues to get paid his songwriting royalties for the songs he wrote on Ozzy's "Blizzard Of Ozz" album and the follow-up, "Diary Of A Madman". The issue is, and always has been, about performance royalties.
Daisley, whose "For Facts Sake" autobiography came out last year, told Australia's Guitar magazine about his legal battle with the Osbournes (see video below): "It gets pretty complicated, so you need to read the book to see all the different factes of it and levels of it, and the journey that it takes over the years.
"I started working with Ozzy in 1979, putting the band together with [guitarist] Randy [Rhoads], and then we got [drummer] Lee Kerslake. When 'Diary Of A Madman' came out, Lee and I were ousted, and 'Diary Of A Madman' came out without our credits on it, and they credited someone else that was going on the road with them. So there was a lawsuit developed out of that, which was settled in court against Don Arden, who was Sharon's father and the owner of Jet Records. But later, sort of late '90s, Lee and I found out that Sharon and Ozzy were receiving our royalties from those albums, so we sued them. And that went on for a while. And Don Arden was going to help Lee and me fighting the case for our royalties. But when Sharon found out that her father was helping us — I mean, she hadn't spoken to him for something like eighteen years or something — all of a sudden she made up with him. And he stopped helping us and went against us and that was the end of our case. But it's way more complicated than that. That's a simplified version of it."
He continued: "We were sort of devastated, flabbergasted [when our lawsuit was dismissed by the judge]. [We] just couldn't believe it.
"I remember when our lawyer took on the case, and he took it on a contingency basis, which means no win, no fee. So he was very sure that he had a good case. And he used to say to us, 'It's not if you're gonna win, it's how much.'"
Daisley also spoke about a video that was recently posted on YouTube of bassist Rudy Sarzo where, according to Bob, "he's playing all my lines and didn't even mention me," Daisley said. "Yeah, well… What can I say about that? [Laughs] It doesn't make me feel very good when I see that sort of stuff, because it was his name on the 'Diary Of A Madman' album instead of mine, when I'd done all the work and played on it and co-wrote the songs with Randy and Ozzy and some of them with Lee. And when that album came out, it had Tommy Aldridge as playing drums on it, which Lee Kerslake played drums, and Rudy Sarzo as playing bass on it, when I played bass. We got our songwriting credits, but not the performance credits. So, yeah, it's pretty frustrating — when you put that much work into something, and then they credit someone else. It's pretty hurtful."
In a 2012 interview with Rock Cellar Magazine, Daisley revealed that the 30th-anniversary remastered reissues of Osbourne's classic early albums, 1980's "Blizzard Of Ozz" and 1981's "Diary Of A Madman", which came with a box set of previously unreleased live recordings, a coffee table book and other goodies, could have packed much more material than what actually made the release.
"There'd been talk about it during 2010, and it was then that I offered to supply tapes of our rehearsals and writing sessions, to go as proper bonus material," Daisley said. "And I just said that I wanted a royalty out of it, because it's my stuff. But they wouldn't do it because they didn't want to give me a royalty — they just wanted to buy it.
"So no agreement was made, and as a result the bonus material in the box set is minimal, which is unfortunate because I know the fans want to hear the stuff that I've got — recordings of the writing sessions, rehearsals and the songs taking shape. But the Osbournes wouldn't come to the table, y'know. I didn't even ask for an equal royalty, it was just a small royalty I wanted because it's my stuff…"
Daisley added that he had "literally hours and hours of tapes I've got from us writing those albums and rehearsing it" that could have been included in the package. "You can hear the songs changing, the different parts taking shape, and all this stuff would have been perfect bonus material for the box set," he said. "Sadly, the Osbournes are just too greedy and self-absorbed."
Bob Daisley said in a 2010 interview with his web site that he had not been contacted about the 30th-anniversary editions of "Blizzard Of Ozz" and "Diary Of A Madman". The tracks played by Daisley and drummer Lee Kerslake on both albums were replaced on a previous reissue after Daisley and Kerslake sued Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne over royalties.
Daisley told the web site, "Neither Lee nor I have been contacted, considered or consulted in the decision to re-release the original recordings. As for royalties, we have not been approached for a reconciliation and have been offered and promised nothing."
Ozzy told The Pulse of Radio he was against the idea of replacing the original tracks when he found out about it. "Believe me, it wasn't my doing," he said. "I mean, I didn't know that was being done, 'cause Sharon was fighting all the legal things that were going down at the time. I said, 'What did you do that for?' And she said, 'The only way I could stop everything was if it went to that level.' And I said, 'You know what, whatever the circumstances were, I want the original thing back.' I mean, I wouldn't have done that."
The replacement tracks were played by current METALLICA bassist Robert Trujillo and FAITH NO MORE drummer Mike Bordin.
Daisley says that he and Kerslake were fired because of disagreements with Sharon over a number of things, including refusing to do two shows in one day out of worry that Ozzy would blow out his voice.