During a recent interview with Ultimate Guitar, former OZZY OSBOURNE guitarist Jake E. Lee spoke about his replacement, Zakk Wylde, who has been playing with the BLACK SABBATH singer, on and off, for more than 30 years.
"I think Zakk's an incredible guitar player," Jake said. "I like his playing. I have little bit of a problem with his pinch harmonics... [Laughs] which everybody does. But apparently he likes them and that's part of his playing.
"He's a great guitar player," Jake continued. "I mean, shit, 'No More Tears' — he plays slide in the verse. I never would have thought of that. It's so unique and awesome. I think only he could have ever done that.
"I think he ended up being a better fit with Ozzy than I ever was. Although I'll say he would have never worked right away, despite the fact that he would have been too young. I don't think his style of playing or even his look would work immediately after Randy [Rhoads], because it would have been a little bit too similar. And what Ozzy needed right after Randy was something different but as good in a different way. At least visually, I was completely different from Randy. And playing-wise, I was fairly different from Randy too. And [Ozzy] had to have something like that to establish himself as a credible presence on the music scene, not depending on any one particular guitar player or even style or look. So I do think I was the perfect guy to come in after Randy. And I do think Zakk was the perfect guy to come in after me. And he did it with a bang.
"I was hoping, a little piece of me was hoping [Ozzy's first album with Zakk, 1988's] 'No Rest For The Wicked' was gonna kind of suck," Jake admitted with a laugh. "You can't help it. You want to — 'Oh, look, he's not as good without me.' But it was an incredible record. And kudos to Zakk, he did a great job."
Asked to name his favorite and least favorite Ozzy Osbourne guitarist, Jake said: "Um... No, I can't do that. I really don't like comparing guitar players. After you get to a certain level, it really is... Well, you did say favorite, you didn't say 'best.' [Laughs] Because best would be impossible. It all depends on your taste and personal preferences. Favorite... Well, Randy. I'm discounting myself, of course. Zakk's incredible and he's done some really good stuff, but Randy, for no other reason than that it was Ozzy's first thing out of SABBATH and Randy's style and playing really kicked it up to where he couldn't be ignored. And we don't get to hear anything else from Randy. So that makes it special for me."
Lee, who was tapped by Ozzy to replace the late Rhoads in Osbourne's band, played on two Ozzy records: "Bark At The Moon" and 1986's "The Ultimate Sin".
Jake and his band RED DRAGON CARTEL released a new album titled "Patina" on November 9.
Photo credit: Joseph Gorelick