Steve Vai Clarifies Comments on Ozzy Osbourne Album Sessions
UPDATE: Steve Vai has clarified his comments surrounding his previous work with Ozzy Osbourne, revealing that while there was enough material for a full album, the songs were never completed.
He writes in a social media posting: "In a recent interview I spoke a bit carelessly about 'Sitting on an entire Ozzy album' and then the clickbait headlines went viral. To clarify, Ozzy and I got together back around 96 and spent some time trying to come up with some potential songs for an album that he already had half recorded. That record later came out as 'Ozzmosis.' We demoed a handful of tracks and then there was a bunch of tracks I built for him to check out. He ended up picking one song to use on his album and that’s 'My Little Man.' It was re-recorded with his band, and it came out great. Only one other demoed track from those sessions had an Ozzy scratch vocal on it and I handed in all the Master demo tapes to the label and kept safety tapes of the tracks I personally built.
All in all, there was (is) enough music for a whole record, but those songs would require re-recording. The demos are bumpy road maps but not the goal. I, like many Ozzy fans, would love if there was a secret hidden Ozzy album somewhere, only to be revealed to our surprised ears at a future time, but it wouldn’t come from those sessions. So sorry for the confusion.
While guitar great Steve Vai worked with Ozzy Osbourne on the song "My Little Man" for the Prince of Darkness' 1995 album Ozzmosis, their working relationship went so well that they actually completed enough material for a full album, reveals Vai.
Speaking with eonmusic, Vai says, "I'm sitting on a whole Ozzy record," then confirming that it's shelved as he doesn't have any control or rights to it. That said, the guitarist recalls the experience saying, "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, and that record doesn't sound like anything else."
While diving deeper into how they came to record so much material, Vai recalls, "Ozzy had recorded about half of his record 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,'" Vai continues. "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!' All that was fine and good and we got excited about it until the hammer came down. 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 expensive.'"
In the end, "My Little Man" was the Vai contribution to the Ozzmosis record, but he reveals in his chat some of the other tracks that were under consideration. "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." Vai also reveals that "Dyin' Day' was a song that's on his Fire Garden album that was under consideration as well.
He continued, "There was some real, real heavy stuff because, as I mentioned, I used an octave divider on everything, and that's 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."
Both artists have gone on to thrive in the time since. Vai most recently issued his Inviolate album last year, and has a Vai/Gash album set for 2023. Meanwhile, Ozzy released the star-studded album, Patient Number 9, last year.