Sued By Fan Over 'Deceitful' Remasters
(antiMUSIC) Ozzy Osbourne's apparent attempt
to thwart one lawsuit has brought about another one. An Illinois man is
suing Osbourne's record label, Epic, over the "remastered" versions of
his first two studio albums "Blizzard of Ozz" and "Diary of a Madman".
Anthony Wester filed suit last week in
Cook County Circuit Court, according to the Chicago Sun Times. Wester is
seeking compensation for himself and anyone else that purchased copies
of the two remastered albums, claiming he was duped into buying a remaster
of the original recordings only to discover that the albums had been altered
by the replacement of the bass and drum tracks
Epic issued the new versions of the album
in April of 2002 as "remastered" editions; however they failed to mention
on the cover that the bass tracks of Bob Daisley and drum tracks of Lee
Kerslake had been removed and rerecorded by Ozzy's then drummer and bass
player, Robert Trujillo and Mike Bordin.
One fan wrote on Amazon.com that the rerecording
of the tracks was like "painting a mustache on the Mona Lisa!"
Many saw the move on Osbourne's part as
a way to avoid paying royalties to his former bandmates. Daisley and Kerslake
were suing him for unpaid royalties. A month after the reissues were released
the musicians issued a press release explaining their lawsuit as well as
blasting the "remastered" versions and warning fans to stay away. "Adding
insult to injury, this artistic dismemberment was accomplished without
any notice on the covers and only scant mention in the inside liner notes".
Daisley addressed the "remasters" directly,
“We’ve had to file two lawsuits and fight for the past 20 years to get
paid for our work on these albums and now they go and slap us, and the
fans, in the face with these dreadful re-masters.” The press release
also gave a reported reason for the move on Osbourne's part, "While Sharon
Osbourne, Ozzy’s wife and manager, claims that the performances were removed
because Bob and Lee have been “harassing” and “unjust” to their family,
Bob and Lee have had no direct contact with the Osbournes in years.
All communications have been through the parties’ attorneys, with the express
purpose of getting Bob and Lee the payment and recognition for their work
that they are due and were promised. Also contrary to Sharon’s assertion
is the fact that Bob’s performances were not removed from the three other
Ozzy albums on which he performed, albums that are not part of the lawsuit."
Daisley and Kerslake's $20 million lawsuit
was dismissed in August of 2002 by Federal Court Judge Christina Snyder
because the statute of limitation had passed.
The Chicago Sun Times reports that since
their parts were removed from the 2002 versions of the albums, they can
not obtain royalties. The albums have sold an estimated 10 million
copies since their original released in 1980 and 1981. Sales numbers
for the reissued version were not available at press time.
In October of 1994 "Diary of a Madman"
was certified triple platinum (3 million units sold in the U.S.) by the
RIAA. "Blizzard of Oz" was certified 4 times platinum (4 million units
sold) in August of 1997.
The Diasley/Kerslake press release offered
the following background information on their contributions to the original
recording and their lawsuit: Bob Daisley joined Ozzy and Randy
Rhoads to form a new band around the end of 1979; after auditioning multiple
drummers, Lee Kerslake was added in 1980. Bob wrote all the lyrics
and co-wrote the music for “Blizzard of Ozz” and “Diary of a Madman,” including
the famous “Crazy Train,” “Suicide Solution” and “Mr. Crowley” (Randy wrote
the instrumental “Dee” from “Blizzard” all alone). Lee also joined
in co-writing the music for one song from “Blizzard” (“No Bone Movies”),
because most of it had been written, by Bob, Randy and Ozzy, when he joined.
However, Lee along with Bob, Randy and Ozzy co-wrote all but two of the
songs from “Diary” (the other two being co-written by Bob, Randy and Ozzy).
Additionally, Bob and Lee co-produced both albums and – up until the current
re-issues – they performed ALL bass and drums for both albums, to date
still Ozzy’s highest selling and reaching mythic multi-platinum proportions.
However, in 1981, nearly the night before the first U.S. tour, Sharon,
by phone from the U.S., phoned and fired both Bob and Lee from the band.
This is when the litigation began, in 1981, against the then-record label
Jet Records, owned by Sharon’s father, Don Arden. Despite a settlement
with Jet in 1986, the same problems arose again: lack of proper credit
on “Diary,” and then on “The Ozzman Cometh,” and underpayment of royalties.
Hence, in August 1998, the current suit was filed against Sharon, Ozzy
and Ozzy’s various companies (i.e., Blizzard Music, which controls publishing
royalties, and Monowise Ltd., which controls record royalties) and the
major music labels which recently released the altered masters (i.e., Sony
and purchase music from Ozzy