Jimmy Kay from Canada The Metal Voice recently spoke to Night Ranger guitarist (Ex Ozzy Osbourne) Brad Gillis about his time with Ozzy during the recording of Speak of the devil and Night Ranger's new album Don't let Up which will be released on March 24, 2017 on Frontiers
When asked on his audition for Ozzy Osbourne
"I saw Ozzy play in 1981 in Oakland California with Randy and I was pretty much blown away by Ozzy and Randy and those records coming out so I was playing a couple of songs in my set list with my band."
"In 1982 I was playing around the Bay Area, doing a lot of cover songs. I remember driving down the road in '82 and hearing about the plane crash with Randy in it and it pretty much freaked me out because my dad was a pilot and I flew all the time with my Dad, it just seemed like a tragic loss. I was playing later that night and did a little tribute to Randy and there was this guy in the audience that say me play and his name was Preston Thrall. Preston said to me do you want me to let them know (Osbourne camp), you might want to audition. I said sure but thought everybody in the world would want that gig. Preston told Pat Thrall and Pat told Tommy Aldridge and Tommy told Sharon and sure enough I got a call two days later from Sharon and I thought someone was screwing with me, so I said put Ozzy on the phone. I grabbed a piece of paper and a pen and I was shaking and he listed 18-19 songs and I wrote them all down."
"I flew to New York on a one way ticket and $150 dollars in my pocket, no credit cards. Ozzy was playing Madison Square Gardens that night and Bernie Torme was the interim guitar player. I get a call from the road manager and he said hey you want to come up to the suite and meet Ozzy. Ozzy said go get your guitar and I said Ozzy I don't have an amplifier and he said go get your guitar. I came back to the room with it and I sat on the end of the bed and Ozzy said what song do you want to play and I said lets do Flying High Again , I'm playing with no amplifier and Ozzy is singing and Ozzy stood up and gave me a big hug and he said Brad thank you for helping me out, I love you and he walked out looked out and said I found my new guitar player."
When asked about the pressure of playing with Ozzy in 1982, replacing Randy Rhoads and Bernie Torme
"I was on the road for four days and I practiced in my room with a live cassette that they gave me from a board mix of Randy Rhoads and with a little amplifier and I leaned the songs everyday and I would go to the shows and watch the show. I remember the first night going in sitting at the soundboard watching the show I thought, with the big castle and all that stuff going on, sold out every night and I thought OMG I am going to be up there soon and it kind of freaked me out, it was a very scary scenario I was in. On that firth day I told them I was ready and I did my first show. "
"Rudy even told me, what Ozzy told him that it was hard for him looking over and not seeing Randy next to him and it was hard for him to accept another guitar player. I felt a lot of pressure not only from the somber mood of the band but with the audience a couple of kids were flipping me off and it was a real tough scene for me playing those shows. Then two weeks into the tour we did a live broadcast throughout the states and after that live broadcast everybody heard it, all of a sudden I started to get a little love from people."
When asked if Ozzy started picking on him on tour as stated in Rudy Sarzo's book Off The Rails
(Rudy Sarzo's book pg 268 it wasn't until one month after the crash that Ozzy began to enter the anger stage. At this point Ozzy began drinking heavily again and started acting resentful towards Brad and urged Sharon to look for another guitatrist. it was rather disturbing to watch Brad , who was doing such a great job, being verbally abused by an inebriated Ozzy)
"Ozzy never really picked on me, it was all good, Ozzy actually encouraged me and was glad I was helping him out. The only problem for me was towards the end of the tour that is when we recorded Speak of the Devil record. Rudy Sarzo decided to leave and go to Quiet Riot and I had an offer to go back to Night Ranger that had a pending record deal and then Ozzy started getting a little defensive towards me and it got kind of weird and rough. I rolled the dice and I left and came with Night Ranger and sure enough we got our record deal and here I am today with the same band Night Ranger 35 years later releasing a new album and touring all over the country, we are going to Japan pretty soon."
When asked if he would record another album with Ozzy Osbourne again
"Sure I would go in and do a record with Ozzy Osbourne, no problem. the problem that would be is that Night Ranger is my top priority. You got to realize that Ozzy has let go 6 guitarists since I left the band. I kind of like the idea that I am with a band that I am with a band that has longevity"
When asked if Night Ranger was pushed into being to be a ballad band after the success of Sister Christian from the record company
"I came from a hard Rock and roll background, when we released SISTER CHRISTIAN it was such a massive hit that the record companies felt well this is their niche, so they ended up releasing ballad after ballad, cause we really had no say on what they released. By 1989 it got to the point where we were kind of tired of it all, touring 200 plus shows a year we saw our audience dwindling. we were losing our male audience hard rockers and that's when we decided to break up in 1989, we just needed a break. Then we got back together in late 1995 and that's when it started moving again."
Frontiers Music Srl will release "Don't Let Up", the new studio album from NIGHT RANGER, on March 24 2017.
Night Ranger has sold worldwide 17 million albums, have played over 3000 live shows and more than 1 billion in radio audience, NIGHT RANGER is proof that powerful songs, plus accomplished musicians is the perfect formula for continued success.
Metallica's Lars Ulrich wanted me to produced Kill Em All-Chris Tsangarides Producer(Judas Priest)