musicNEWS: The Osbournes Downward Spiral
But this is only the latest in the drama for the family since they became international stars thanks to the hit MTV show “The Osbournes”. First the family had to deal with the jump from Ozzy being the “Prince of Darkness” and a near deity to metal fans to the family becoming the cover personalities for magazines like People. The fame started to build and it looked like the Osbournes could do no wrong, but then they were hit with a series of misfortunes—tailor made for reality TV. Son Jack admitted his drug addiction and went off to rehab. Daughter Kelly tried her hand at becoming a pop star and failed (she was dropped by Epic after her CD sold less than 200,000 copies despite all the free publicity from the show). Sharon discovered she had cancer and had to go through a tough therapy regiment (all under the watchful eyes of millions of television viewers). Her syndicated talk show came and went without much notice and then last December Ozzy nearly lost his life when he crashed an ATV on his English estate and suffered severe injuries.
Many longtime Ozzy fans found “The Osbournes” amusing at first but then got turned off when it appeared that the show was a vehicle for making Ozzy look like a bit of a clown. But they still had the music they had grown up with…. Wait, not so fast. With the rising fame of the Osbournes, a claim made by original bassplayer Bob Daisley and drummer Lee Kerslake came back into the spotlight.
Daisley and Kerslake filed a lawsuit in 2000, claiming that they were owed songwriting royalties for the first two Ozzy Osbourne solo albums, “Blizzard of Oz” and “Diary of a Madman”.
Ozzy and Sharon fired back against Daisley and Kerslake when they reissued the albums with their original drum and bass tracks replaced by tracks from the then current band members. Much to the disdain of fans. The lawsuit was eventually thrown out because of the statute of limitations.
Now a new controversy is brewing. Just last month original Blizzard of Ozz guitarist Randy Rhoads was inducted into the Rock Walk of Fame in Hollywood. Rhoads to this day is still considered one of the pioneers of metal guitarist. While he only recorded two albums with Ozzy, he became one of the most influential guitarists of his generation, not only for his virtuoso metal riffs but for his brilliant infusion of classical guitar into the music. Sadly, Rhoads was killed in a tragic plane crash in March 1982 while the band was on tour.
Now one of his former bandmates has gone on record about how Ozzy and Sharon supposedly treated Rhoads, and it’s not pretty.
Kelly Garni was one of the founding members of Quiet Riot, the band that Rhoads was in before joining the Blizzard of Ozz. Garni recently spoke with The-Fuze.net about Rhoads and his final days and made some pretty strong claims against the Osbournes. He not only claims that Sharon and Ozzy treated Rhoads badly up until his death but that Ozzy punched him when he announced that he wanted to leave the band.
“Randy wasn’t happy in the end. He wanted out,” Garni told The-Fuze.net. “There’s a lot of friction between me and Ozzy because I speak my mind about that. Him and Sharon paint this lovely picture — 'Randy could have left any time he wanted. Whatever Randy wanted, we wanted. To see him happy — that was the most important thing.' Bulls***, bulls***, bulls***. They wouldn’t let him out of contract. They threatened him... Ozzy punched him when Randy said he wanted to leave. Two weeks before Randy died, Ozzy punched him in the face, over breakfast. They were adamant about not losing him. They didn't care about his happiness. And who would want to let him go? The guy was a great guitar player, a nice kid, very serious…so I can't blame him for that, but the reality of it was when it came time for him to really try to get out of that band they played hardball. It turned into a very unhappy situation. Randy was the kind of guy who didn't like to hurt feelings and didn't like confrontations. I think he just kind of resigned himself to, 'Well, I’m stuck here.' I've read some letters that he wrote, and he actually wrote to [former QUIET RIOT singer] Kevin [Dubrow] about it more than anything. He thought Kevin could advise him a little better. Kevin made me copies of these letters. He was miserable in that band. He didn't even like anybody else in the band. . . [Randy] and [former QUIET RIOT bassist] Rudy never really were all that close. Rudy was at least a little bit of a connection to where Randy came from, and Rudy's a very nice guy, but he's not really… 'Randy people,' I guess is the best way to say it. I don't think Randy felt like he had a good close friend there, or an ally. Rudy has a tendency to mind his own business. So Randy was stuck. It's weird that, to get out of that band, he had to die. You could almost say that was the only way he was ever going to get out of it. They weren't going to let him go."
This is the latest, but certainly not the last, controversy to hit the Osbourne clan.