Let’s start with some context. Around 1984, my three favourite bands were probably Maiden, Motley Crue and Ozzy Osbourne. Whilst Mr. Rockbrat was focusing on ‘Animalize’, ‘Stay Hungry’, ‘Last In Line’, ‘Out Of The Cellar’ and Blackie’s boys in WASP – I was listening intently to Ozzy’s ‘Speak At The Devil’ and ‘Bark At The Moon’. These were good albums, but not a pinch on the ‘Blizzard Of Oz’ and ‘Diary Of A Madman’ albums which were, as time has proven, landmark albums. My walls were emblazoned with posters of Ozzy circa ‘USA 83’ Festival and posters of Randy Rhoads. I played those first two Ozzy albums to death. Fast forward to 2011. My mate Bucko is good enough to lend me a copy of the new Ozzy DVD, “30 Years After The Blizzard”. After watching it, I look back on those years of the early to mid 1980’s and realise that what I dug about Ozzy all along – was Randy Rhoads. With the exception of the live footage on the DVD, I think the DVD is nothing short of a disappointment. There’s a documentary on the DVD that for the most part made me cringe. Ozzy and Sharon Osborne hold court, telling all and sundry how great Randy was. Bottom line is, without Randy, Osbourne could have quite possibly been a nobody in the 1980’s, a drunk who was the ex lead singer of Sabbath. Of course he’s gone on to sell squillions of albums and is a household name worldwide – and the Osbourne’s owe it all to Randall Rhoads.
This DVD ranks as a cash grab to me. If it was going to be done with any kind integrity, they would have been bothered to interview guys who were actually there; like Rudy Sarzo, Tommy Aldridge, Frankie Banali or even guys like Kelly Garni from the early QR days. Instead, there are interviews with guys like ‘Blasko’, who I’m told is Ozzy’s current bass player and would have been about 11 when Blizzard Of Oz came out. How is he qualified to talk about Rhoads? Also adding their insight into Randy Rhoads are Zakk Wylde, who in 1988 emerged as a carbon copied version of Rhoads and is currently vying for pie eater of the month (and hey Ghode, there is only one Black Label and they hail from Western Sydney OK). Sure, he’s got all of Randy’s licks down pat, but one can’t help get the feeling that he’s another who’s leveraged his own career off of Rhoads. Most of the documentary shows Ozzy sitting in the studio next to his producer Kevin Churko, who also would have been about 12 when Blizzard came out. C’mon Sharon, the guy who actually produced the album, Max Norman wasn’t available? Instead we get some guy who had no connection to the album pressing the play button, grinning an assured smug and commenting about the recording? Please. Gotta keep it all in the Oz family right. Even in sobriety, Ozzy comes across as incoherent and bewildered – with a permanent puzzled look – and for a guy who says he doesn’t want to be remembered for “the dove, the bat, and the Alamo”, he never fails to mention them in every interview I hear or read. Always good for a few more sales hey Shaz. Pissing on The Alamo – He’s just damn lucky The Duke wasn’t alive in 1982 to sit him on his ample ass. What’s interesting, is that one month after the ‘Alamo incident’, Rhoads was killed, yet apparently, he’d already told Osbourne he was wanting to leave the band and do other musical things. Sharon Osbourne comments on the documentary that Randy had had enough of Ozzy’s behaviour……Anyway, where was I, yes, the interviews. Bill Ward, Steve Vai, Nikki Sixxcheeseburgers, that leather whip crackin’ Rob Halford and Lemmy add some authenticity, but overall, as a documentary it left a lot to be desired. It goes without saying that neither ex Uriah Heep man Lee Kerslake or our own Bob Daisley got a mention – so there in lay the problem. The DVD documentary is about the ‘Blizzard’ album, and with the exception of Ozzy – there is NO ONE ELSE, offering comment who was actually on the album – be it other musicans, producer – not even the janitor from the studios! Instead we get Ozzy’s current bassist trying to tell me all about it! Hey dude – metal up your ass. Talk about dis genuine. I’m always about dubious about re issues, more money for the Osbournes, but on this one, I can smell a rat., and this is a grab of Simmons like proportion. In fact – NO ONE from those first two albums was interviewed. Before I forget – Along with Ozzy (who I assume wrote the lyrics), 99% of the music on those first two albums was penned Daisley and Rhoads, with Daisley’s songwriting skills coming to the fore. Dont underestimate the contribution that Daisley made to the Blizzard of Oz. By the time he joined Ozzy’s band, he had 10 years as a top notch songwriter under his belt, from Kahvas Jute to Chicken Shack, Mungo Jerry, Widowmaker and Rainbow – he was a crucial factor to the success of those two first Ozzy albums. As is well known, on the original Diary of a Madman LP notes, both Kerslake and Daisley weren’t credited. They were both fired in late March 1981, just after the recording session, and replaced for the tour by Aldridge and Sarzo, whose photos were put on the album and they were credited as studio musicians – though they didn’t play on the album. Anyway, as I mentioned elsewhere, the live footage on this DVD (including video of the New York Palladium from May 2, 1981) is very cool, and worth while picking up for that reason alone. Almost 30 years later, I still love Randy Rhoads. As I’ve written elsewhere, along with Ron Wood and Johnny Thunders, Rhoads is one of my three favourite guitar players of all time. His legacy is already assured, though I still don’t think the definitive documentary on his life has seen the light of day.