Steve Vai on His Unreleased Album with Ozzy Osbourne: “That record doesn’t sound like anything else” – 2023
eonmusic: Delving deeper into his past, we caught up with Steve Vai to discuss #Vaigash, plans for reissues of some of his greatest works, and get an EXCLUSIVE on the album he recorded with Ozzy Osbourne, and how felt playing with Whitesnake/David Coverdale once again.
You can read the entire interview @ this location. An excerpt has been provided below.
Ozzy Osbourne has this year announced his retirement from touring, so I wanted to ask what it was like to work with him back in the 1990s?
Well, I’m sitting on a whole Ozzy record, and it’s like the Gash record – not ‘like’ the Gash record – but it’s a project that I recorded that’s sitting on the shelf. I don’t have any control over it or rights to it, obviously, but we did record some pretty good stuff. The interesting thing about that stuff we recorded from a guitar perspective is all of my rhythm guitar parts, I use an octave divider [guitar effect], and that record doesn’t sound like anything else.
How close did you come to joining Ozzy’s band at that time?
Okay, so Ozzy and I, basically what happened as far as I recognized, Ozzy had recorded about half of his record [ ‘Ozzmosis’, 1995] for the record company, and Sharon and the label wanted to get him together with some different songwriters to just get some more songs. So I was one of the ones that they wanted to get together with. It was really just to write some songs for Ozzy’s record that he would then take and go use for his record, and whoever he was working with on the record would record it. So I thought; “yeah, that’d be great. I’d love to do that”, but Ozzy and I got carried away because we were having a lot of fun, and we ended up recording a lot of stuff.
And then we started scheming; “hey, let’s make a new record!”, and all that was fine and good, and we got excited about it until the hammer came down, and they basically said; “what are you doing? No, you’ve just got to take a song from Vai and finish your record. We’re already into it for this much money, and Vai is expense”, so it worked out perfect, really.
So you ended up doing a whole album with Ozzy?!
Yeah, one of the songs was ‘Danger Zone’. I had already written it, and it was already done – it was a Gash track – and I thought; “well, maybe he’d like this”, and I reworked it a bit, but it’s on the shelf. There’s also a song called ‘Dyin’ Day’ that’s on my ‘Fire Garden’ album, because that song originally had lyrics, and that was one. There was some real, real heavy stuff because, as I mentioned, I used an octave divider on everything, and that was a conscious effort. I thought “okay, you’re going to work with Ozzy, and all these incredible guitar players have played with Ozzy; what are you going to do?” I was not going to be conventional. Yeah, that’s not me as you know, but I had to be accessible, so I thought; “I’m going to use an octave divider on everything”; I mean, all the rhythm.
You can read the entire interview @ this location.