Jimmy Kay from Canada’s The Metal Voice spoke to former Ozzy Osbourne, Uriah Heep drummer Lee Kerslake. Kerslake spoke about his time drumming with Ozzy Osbourne writing and recording the albums Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman, his new solo record that will be released in 2019 called Eleventeen, his recent induction into The Hall of Heavy Metal History 2019, his illness with prostate and spinal cancer and his race against time to fund and finish his autobiographical documentary.
WATCH INTERVIEW HERE
When asked how he joined Ozzy Osbourne’s Blizzard of Ozz band
"I left Uriah Heep because I had a big argument with the management and I was sick and tired of the band politics so I left and started doing a solo album. I then got a phone call from Ozzy’s agent and said would you fancy joining Ozzy Osbourne's band and I said no, I'm not interested in joining any band unless I am part of the band. I’ll join if I am a member because I've had enough arguments and politics in bands over the years. So Ozzy’s people said okay, so I went to the auditions and I told them I will audition you and you will audition me."
"At the audition it was just Randy Rhoads, Bob Daisley, Ozzy and me. I'd never heard of Randy Rhoads before I never knew of him or any of his playing but I knew Bob Daisley from Widowmaker. In rehearsal we played the song ‘I don't know’ and Randy Rhoads jumped and yelled We got a drummer! And the Bob said this guy's incredible and so I joined. Nothing more was discussed because we had to go in the studio right away and record an album . I didn't know the songs because most of the tracks were already written and in the end I wrote only a couple of songs. The first album was suppose to be called the Blizzard of Ozz as the name of the band but Sharon changed that and turned it around to Ozzy Osbourne . The album did very well in America."
When asked about the pros and cons of recording The Blizzard of Ozz
"Only pros, no cons, the wonderful thing about recording The Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman was everyone left the band alone to do the albums. They just left us to it and that was what we wanted, we had a fabulous engineer in the studio, who was Max Norman. We had me and Bob's studio knowledge and of course Randy Rhoads talent and Ozzy that’s why the album came out so well."
When asked about his memories U.K. tour, performing between recording the two albums
"Everything was great, every gig was sold out, everybody was coming to see us and we were playing really really well. Ozzy as his normal self was a bag of nerves before he went on, always so frightened going onstage but when he got on stage he was fine and a professional."
When asked about his songwriting contributions to Diary of a Madman Album
"I co-wrote, Flying High, Over the Mountain, S.A.T.O. I had seven songs that I co-wrote.As an example basically Randy Rhoads came up with a riff I listened to it with Bob and we worked it, I then started playing the drums and singing the vocal melody and then Bob Daisley would come on the bass and we build it bit by bit and it just came out. I did vocal melodies and I helped Randy do certain solos as well because I had them in my head."
When asked about who came up with the opening drum intro on Over the mountain, himself or Frankie Banali from Quiet Riot
"Frankie Banali’s a liar because we never met. I wrote it. I did it and I take credit for it because it was my idea. It was that triple quadruple triplets that was me."
When asked about his current illnesses
"It's prostate cancer but it's moved to rest of my body I have now have bone cancer which is nasty one, so the Doctor gave me about eight months to live. But I've been fighting all the way. Five years ago they gave me four years to live and so that gives you an idea. Not only have I got bone cancer I've got psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and two heart murmurs. As I said to you I'm fighting it and there's no telling what can happen and they might have a new drug come out and I'll experiment with it if it keeps me alive. I survived this long and all this time I have had this terminal cancer but I have defied it because the music kept me fighting."
When asked about his autobiography documentary that he is trying to raise funds to complete
" I want to finish this documentary which I feel is so important to educate and inspire the people in the world who have illnesses, so that they can overcome them. I don't know from one day to the next what's gonna happen to me at the moment every day it's getting worse and worse and it's hard to fight because one minute you're up, then one day later you've got five days of agony. You want to give up but you don’t.The one thing I'm doing is keeping myself going with the documentary but we need help we need financial help. I put my last pennies and the producer had put her money, as much as she can and bless her heart she deserves a break. So we would love if people would donate even, if it's a six thousand people giving a couple of bucks. This money is going to help us get to do the interviews in the documentary with Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley in California and the money would get me there. Also Nicko Mcbrain from Iron Maiden wants to help. I wanted people to realize there is camaraderie in the music industry between all the musicians even when we don't speak to each other for maybe 20 years . I went to Joe Elliot’s house from Def Leppard and he did an interview, I went to Ian Pace's house and it was bloody wonderful we played drums together. The name of the documentary is called, right now ‘Not On the HEEP’
When asked about his new album that he is shopping around that will be released in 2019
"My new album is called Eleventeen the reason it's Eleventeen is when I was a kid and I was at school I used to count and I used to go why isn't there an Eleventeen in the numbers? It sounds right you have 18 19 but no Eleventeen, So that's all the name of the album Eleventeen because it's silly and it's all about you know my craziness. I've done some serious heavy songs, I've done a ballad song about my mum, there is a pub song, it has a lot of variety on the album and it is completed mixed and finished and now we are shopping it around."
When asked about his thoughts on being inducted into The Hall of Heavy Metal History with Bob Daisley for their work on the first two Ozzy albums
"I felt proud, someone has acknowledged us, it’s fantastic. That’s like having a platinum album on the wall which I never got to this day for those albums."
When asked if he made peace with the whole Sharon and Ozzy litigation and fights over the years
"Yes I have made peace, it's all forgotten and forgiven. I've written to Sharon and Ozzy recently, a personal letter basically asking them to kindly send me a platinum album certifications for Blizzard of Ozz and or Diary of a Madman to hang on my wall before I die, it’s on my bucket list. I really wrote a nice letter to them and I hope they will come to terms with it and say yes. I went belly-up bankrupt when I lost the case to Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne in the courts it costs me hundreds of thousands and I had to sell the house and then starting to get ill. I never managed to get back up but a platinum certification on my wall for these albums would be fantastic and it would say I help create those album."
To donate to Lee Kerslakes film Not on the Heep click here
CEO of The Hall of Heavy Metal History Pat Gesualdo
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