Dt: June 14, 1990
EARLY DAYS OF HIS SOLO CAREER
AND THE MAKING OF
‘BLIZZARD OF OZZ’ (1980) AND
‘DIARY OF A MADMAN’ (1981)
Q: Tell us about the end of your time with Black Sabbath and the beginning of your solo career.
OZZY: I’d been fired from Sabbath. I remember thinking it’s all over now. I thought it was the end of the story for me. I was at Le Parc in Los Angeles, and I thought, well this is my last fling. I thought I’d be back to reality after that, the dream was over. So I just drank and ordered food in, pizzas and burgers, whatever. Just have my last big fling for a few months. Sharon came round one day and she says “look, if you clean yourself up and get yourself together, we want to manage you,” which was a total shock ’cause I didn’t think anyone was interested in me. She said, “you’ve got to start auditioning guys for a band.”
Q: Is that when you met Randy Rhoads?
OZZY: My initial choice as my bass player was Dana Strum. He knew I was looking for a guitarist and said, “You gotta meet this one guy, he’s just amazing.” He brought Randy Rhoads [who was playing in Quiet Riot at the time] around one night, and I looked at him with my drunkenness and he looked like a little doll. Then I heard him play in the recording studio that we went round to, and I thought I was hallucinating, ’cause I had taken so much drugs and alcohol. I just said, “I don’t know what you’re made of, but I’m really interested in what you have to offer.”
Q: One of the first things you wrote together was BLIZZARD OF OZZ’s “Goodbye To Romance.”
OZZY: Yes, I wanted the music to be more accessible and Randy was great at that. His guitar was an extension of him, you know.
Q: What about BLIZZARD’s “Suicide Solution”?
OZZY: We went to a place in England, a well-known rehearsal place called John Henry’s, and he was at rehearsal messing around with his guitar getting some sound, and he did the riff to “Suicide Solution. ” I said “what was that?’ And he says, “what was what?” I said “what you just played,” he said “I didn’t play anything.” I said, “what you just did, play it again.” And that’s how the song came about.
Q: You’ve had success first with Black Sabbath and then as a solo artist, selling more than 100 million records between those two. Any similarities that you can recall from both beginnings?
OZZY: In two successful careers, both with Black Sabbath and my own career, the early albums are the best ones, because you have everything to gain and nothing to lose. If it’s a flop, it’s a flop, and if it’s a success, you’re off and running again. You just have fun doing it. It’s when you get the hits that you gotta try and top the last one.
Q: With the May 2011 reissues of Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman (Epic Records/Legacy Recordings), what are your memories from that time? Any specific remembrances about Randy?
OZZY: Both Blizzard and Diary are very special records for me because they were a lot of fun to make and it was just a great period of my solo career. Just a lot of drinking and crazy days and nights. It seemed like Randy was with me for a lifetime, yet he was only with me for a few short years. He was part of my life that seemed as long as anything else, and yet it was over in a flash. He was a phenomenal guy. I lost a dear friend in my life.