Former OZZY OSBOURNE bassist Bob Daisley recently spoke to Australia's Undercover about his ongoing legal battle with the Osbournes over unpaid royalties and songwriting credits on OZZY's solo albums. Bob says he wrote all the lyrics, not OZZY, as it is widely believed.
The following is a transcript of the conversation between Daisley and Undercover reporter Paul Cashmere:
Paul Cashmere: So Bob, which songs did you write the lyrics for?
Bob Daisley: Pretty much all of them really from the Blizzard of Oz album (the very first one), Diary of a Madman, Bark At The Moon, The Ultimate Sin, No Rest for the Wicked and the last album I played on was No More Tears but I didn't write anything on that.
PC: That body of work has a fair chunk of OZZY signature tunes.
BD: OZZY is actually quoted in interviews of saying "when I wrote this" and "when I wrote that" and "what I meant here" but he didn't write of the lyrics, so it is a bit of a blatant inaccuracy for him to say that.
PC: How come you weren't originally credited?
BD: When the songs were written we just put the songs down to not to specifics as to who had done what. Most of the vocal melodies are OZZY's, although some of the vocal melodies on Diary of a Madman were Lee Kerslake, the drummer. Randy Rhoads was the riff merchant who came up with the basic riffs, although having said that, Randy and I worked on the musical side of it together to create the finished song. A lot of the music is mine as well. All the lyrics are mine. OZZY had a couple of ideas, like for a song title or he'd say "I want this song about this" or whatever but a lot of the songs are completely mine including title and what the song is about, the storyline or whatever.
PC: Run through an example then.
BD: Well, "Suicide Solution". That was a pretty controversial song that was on the first album. It was controversial because a young lad in America had killed himself. I think he was about 18. That was during the 80s. They found a copy of Blizzard of Oz, the first album on his record deck and blamed that song, "Suicide Solution", as being his way out and influencing him. But what I wrote that song about was OZZY drinking himself into an early grave. He was pretty disturbed that he was thrown out of BLACK SABBATH and he described it as like going through a divorce. He was drinking heavily because of it and getting stoned and wasn't very productive which is why he got thrown out of BLACK SABBATH in the first place. I wrote a song called "Suicide Solution" and the word solution had a double meaning, meaning solution to a problem or liquid solution meaning booze. OZZY did come up with one line in that song "wine is fine, but whiskey's quicker". That was the opening line of the song and that is what I wrote the song about. That drinking yourself to death is a solution to your problem. I didn't make it publicly known and I didn't even make it known to OZZY at the time. I just used his situation to write the words to that song.
PC: Give us another example.
BD: A song called "I Don't Know". That is another one off the first album. I got inspired for that when OZZY told me a story about BLACK SABBATH. Because they were considered to be an occult band and into all sorts of things, it was a reputation they had, people used to ask OZZY, "Tell my fortune" and I just wrote a simple song saying, "Don't ask me, I don't know. I'm just a singer".
PC: What about "Mr. Crowley"?
BD: "Mr. Crowley" was OZZY's idea. It was based on Aleister Crowley, being into black magic and living in a negative world with his connections to Satan worship. That song wasn't pro-Satan worship. It was about standing back and looking at someone like Aleister Crowley and saying, "What sort of life is that?"
PC: Again was that your lyric?
PC: What about "Bark At The Moon"?
BD: "Bark At the Moon" was a title that OZZY came up with and I wrote that sort of like a hammer horror film. It was about a beast thing that comes out when the moon is full, the horror thing kind of vibe.
PC: So as time has gone on, your name has fallen away from this and OZZY is getting all the credit?
BD: Exactly. He lives on the reputation of those first two albums. They put him on the map in a big way after he got fired from BLACK SABBATH for being non-productive because he was stoned and pissed all the time and that band was a great band. I'm not saying just me. Randy Rhoads was a brilliant, dedicated musician. Lee Kerslake was a great drummer who was perfect that band. I just happened to be there as a lyricist because no one was a lyricist in that band. It was my job. Necessity is the mother of invention, although I had written lots of lyrics in lots of other bands. OZZY was the perfect vehicle being a well-known singer from a big band with a big following.
PC: Is OZZY a fake?
BD: I suppose one way of putting it is like saying, "Would the real OZZY OSBOURNE please stand up", if you know what I mean. Because a lot of people think that OZZY wrote that stuff because he has lead them to believe that. If he leads them to believe that he wrote all that stuff, then he is a fake. As a performer, and as a genuinely good performer, he is not a fake. He is a good frontman. He has his own style, he has his own following, and he has a lot of new fans because of it. But the new fans came because of the new band, the new line-up, the new material after SABBATH. I suppose if you look at his interviews and you read what he has said he some ways it is a fake. If he had only said "when we wrote this" or "when we wrote that" but he says "I wrote this" or "I wrote that" and he drops everybody out. The other thing that was an absolute fake was that second album Diary of a Madman. It was credited to two other people, Rudy Sarzo and Tommy Aldridge playing on that album when they didn't play a note on it when it was still the original line-up with myself and Lee Kerslake. Now me and Lee Kerslake are suing the Osbournes for our royalties that we haven't been paid on those first two albums. We already went to court in London in 1986 against Jet Records and Don Arden who is Sharon's father. We won that and we got a payout and we thought everything is going to be solved now. We'll get out royalties and we will get the credits changed on Diary of a Madman so we are credited. It didn't happen. Having worked with OZZY over the years thinking that it was going to be sorted out, I was promised that the credits would be changed and they never ever were. When I asked about royalties I had my life threatened. The other thing was OZZY and Sharon bought the rights to OZZY from Don Arden and Jet Records in '83 without telling us, so we had no idea who was getting our royalties or if they were getting them so we are suing them now.
PC: How do you feel about the new reissue of the old albums?
BD: Oh, that is totally fake. That is bogus bullshit. They didn't even warn the public on the cover with a sticker saying this is not the original band and these are not the original recordings. What people are buying is a re-recording with his current band pretending to be the original albums. They are not. They sound shit. They sound rubbish. They are awful. I am not putting those guys down saying they are shitty players. They are great players. What I am saying is you can't recreate something like that. It happened once. I couldn't even recreate it. There were other out-takes of those songs that we didn't use because they weren't as good as those ones. We chose those because they were the best. You can't recreate that. If they said to me go in and play it again, it wouldn't sound like the original either. It is a real slur on the name of Randy Rhoads and an insult to Randy Rhoads because he is dead. He got killed in 1982 in a plane crash. A brilliant guitar player and dedicated and he is put with two other guys and he has no say on who he gets put with. It makes his playing sound second-rate as well. All the magic has gone out of it.
PC: Was there any logic that was explained to you why this has happened?
BD: Sharon had a press statement that said "Daisley and Kerslake have harassed us and our family for years and now OZZY wants to remove them from the recordings. We have turned a negative into a positive and we hope you enjoy the fresh sound of the recordings." It is absolute rubbish. She wouldn't know a positive if she fell over one. The fact of us harassing them and their families, we have had no contact with them. The only contract we have had is our lawyers contacting their lawyers trying to get us paid the royalties that are rightfully ours.
PC: Have you seen the TV show?
BD: I've seen it but I've seen all that shit first hand. Having worked with them over the years for many years from the early days and watching the kids grow up. My kids used to play with their kids when they were little. They are sweet kids. As a family I always got on well with them. Obviously they are a little eccentric and it is not a normal family with a normal family lifestyle but that is part of the business I guess.
PC: Would you like to perform the songs with your own band?
BD: I could do. There is nothing to stop me. I could go in and re-record them with other people.
PC: What are your recording plans for the future?
BD: I just did a blues album here in Sydney with a guy called Tim Gaze who was in a band with me in the 70s called KAHVAS JUTE. We did that one first album called Wide Open. Now I'm playing with him again in a band called THE HOOCHIE COOCHIE MEN named after "Hoochie Coochie Man", the old MUDDY WATERS song. We have just done a blues album at the moment. I'm negotiating and trying to get it released. Release details will be on my web site (www.bobdaisley.com).