Tag Archive | "Bill Ward"

Chris Fehn of Slipknot Announces Limited-Edition ‘Drum Art’ Collection”

Chris Fehn of Slipknot Announces Limited-Edition ‘Drum Art’ Collection”

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Known to millions of metal fans worldwide as ‘number 3’, drummer Chris Fehn of Grammy award-winning multi-platinum Iowa-based metal band Slipknot has spent much of his career behind the many infamous masks he and his teammates are known for donning during their captivating live shows. Now, Fehn comes together with Los Angeles creativity house SceneFour to offer fans a glimpse of the man behind the mask with “Through The Darkness”, a limited-edition collection of unique visual fine art pieces that render his drumstrokes in living color.

Chris Fehn

Chris Fehn

Slipknot turned a cult following into an international smash with the 1995 release of their eponymous Roadrunner debut, which swiftly went multi-platinum. With his tall frame, signature long-nose masks and onstage usage of anything from drums to trash can lids, Fehn is a vital component in Slipknot as well as his other band Will Haven. Working with Los Angeles art team SceneFour, Chris Fehn has been crafting the collection for more than a year. SceneFour is arguably best known for their dedication to artwork built from rhythm, with collections of the “rhythm-on-canvas” medium created and released with iconic drummers including Mickey Hart, Bill Ward, Rick Allen and Matt Sorum.

With Fehn’s release, the collection takes a unique turn, as the rhythmic artwork has been fused with found imagery that is intended to reveal itself with each viewing over time. “We’re excited to be working with Chris on this collection and are excited to see artwork coming forward that requires time to decode. It is sophisticated, vivid and perplexing,” SceneFour’s creative director Cory Danziger states. Fehn’s collection, contains a total of 13 different works, each limited in edition size, with all canvases in the collection numbered and individually signed by Chris Fehn. Those interested in learning more about “Through The Darkness” are encouraged to visit chrisfehnart.com.

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Black Sabbath: The Complete Studio Albums Set For April 15th Release

Black Sabbath: The Complete Studio Albums Set For April 15th Release

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After forming BLACK SABBATH in 1969, Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Terry “Geezer” Butler, and Bill Ward went on to record one of the most influential canons of music in the history of rock and roll.

Warner Bros./Rhino brings together the original quartet’s groundbreaking eight-album run for BLACK SABBATH: THE COMPLETE STUDIO ALBUMS (1970-1978). The hard-hitting, eight-disc boxed set will be available on April 15 for a suggested list price of $64.98.

Presented in a clamshell box, the set contains all of the studio albums Black Sabbath recorded for Warner Bros. Records during the 1970’s, including its iconic, eponymous debut (1970), the multi-platinum landmark Paranoid (1970)the platinum albums Master Of Reality (1971), Vol. 4 (1972), and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973), as well as the gold albumsSabotage (1975), Technical Ecstasy (1976), and Never Say Die! (1978).

The past few months have been busy ones for Black Sabbath. Following hugely successful shows in North and South America, Australia, Asia and Europe, the band won its second Grammy® Award when the song “God Is Dead?” picked up the trophy for Best Metal Performance.

The group will kick off another North American tour on March 31 with a show at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. In the weeks that follow, the trek will hit ten cities in Canada, including stops in Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton, before it wraps on April 26 at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, CA. These dates are part of the band’s final shows of its 2013-14 world tour in support of its first studio album in 35 years, 13. A resounding success, the album entered the charts at #1 in 13 countries (including their first #1 in the U.S.). Another run of European festivals and headlining shows will follow this summer.

First formed in Birmingham, England, Black Sabbath’s doom-laden sound pioneered a new kind of heavy rock music, a sound that would later influence hundreds of other bands. Many consider Black Sabbath to be the godfathers of heavy metal, but Sabbath was capable of surprising its fans with songs that showed other facets of their skills besides darkness and monstrous decibels. Decades after their initial impact, guitarists are still stunned by Tony Iommi’s jaw-dropping riffs, Geezer Butler’s swooping bass lines, and Bill Ward’s thunderous drums. And, of course, in Ozzy Osbourne the band has one of the most magnetic and unpredictable front men ever in rock, with a maniacal voice like few others before or since.

BLACK SABBATH: THE COMPLETE ALBUMS 1970-1978

Album Listing

Black Sabbath (1970)

Paranoid (1970)

Master Of Reality (1971)

Vol. 4 (1972)

Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973)

Sabotage (1975)

Technical Ecstasy (1976)

Never Say Die! (1978)

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ABSENCE OF CORNERS: The Legendary Bill Ward On Bringing Rhythm To Canvas!

ABSENCE OF CORNERS: The Legendary Bill Ward On Bringing Rhythm To Canvas!

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For 45 years, Bill Ward has dedicated much of his creative life to rhythm. His career has taken him to every corner of the globe, earning him legions of dedicated fans, millions of records sold and a musical legacy that includes some of the most acclaimed recordings and heavy metal history. He sounds unique and his influence cannot be argued. Even at sixty-five years old, Bill Ward shows no signs of slowing down and is anxious to explore new musical territory. With “Absence of Corners,” he continues to venture beyond sound into the visual around taking on a new medium — rhythm to canvas. An extensive process from start to finish, “Absence of Corners” took nearly a year to complete. To create the dazzling works of art, Ward utilized a sophisticated formula to create the collections visuals, using an array of drumsticks and rhythmic accessories that produce light, much like a painter utilizes brushes and oils. Then working with Los Angeles art team SceneFour, the movements featured within the captured rhythms were then studied and developed into abstract artwork that showcases a dimensional normally seen by the human eye. Each piece in this limited-edition collection is highly personal, visually stunning and remarkably limited. Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently sat down with Bill Ward to discuss the process of bringing “Absence of Corners” to life, the challenges involved and what the future may hold for him in the years to come.

I wanted to start by going back to your very early years. What are some of the first memories of music in your life?

Bill Ward

Bill Ward

My first memories of music are three things. First, it was the music being played in the house; which was mostly American music. It was also the BBC music; which was more like polkas and orchestra pieces with accordions. Something that inspired me a little bit more was every Sunday the Boys’ Brigade would come down our street. Boys Brigade is trumpets and incredible drums! There were big marching snare drums and what would be the equivalent of a tenor drum and of course, the bass drums, cornets and trumpets as well. I was completely consumed by the image of the Boys’ Brigade passing our house. They were only six feet away from me. I was only a baby; three or four years old. I would sit on our doorstep and watch them. I took in every single thing I could possibly see, from the corner of the braiding on the drums to everything else. It was just incredible. The third thing was on Saturday nights, my Mom could play a little bit of piano and my Dad was a very good singer, they used to do a turn in the pub. They would come back to the house on those Saturday nights and have a party. There was a guy who lived about three houses down from where we lived and he had these traps, that is what they were called back then, which are drums. He would leave the drums in our front room after the party, because he was too drunk to take them home. He would always collect them on Sunday afternoon. Listening to the drums in the house was such a thrill for me. Listening to my Mom knocking out a tune on the piano and my Dad singing was really influential to me, especially as a child.

I am sure you picked up those drumsticks; you had no idea the heights it would eventually lead you to. Looking back on career, to what do you attribute your longevity?

Well, these days, not drinking or using! [laughs] That is very true. I think the passion I have had since I was a child is probably the greatest asset I think that I have. I never tire of anything to do with music. I never tire of anything to do with drums. I can remember the first time I was able to get some cymbals. I was around fourteen years old. I can remember the thrill that I had in obtaining these cymbals. I still have exactly the same feeling when I have my cymbals today! My passion for music is as strong as it has ever been.

Your latest endeavor fuses the world of music with the world of fine art. How did you get hooked up with SceneFour initially?

Bill Ward  - 'Intuitive Panic'

Bill Ward – ‘Intuitive Panic’

I got hooked up with them through my publicist. SceneFour have a little history of doing these kinds of things with other drummers. They approached me and my publicist explained it to me. Basically, I go into a darkened room and play my ass off! [laughs] I was given colored sticks which make all kinds of patterns and I get photographed doing that. That is about the simplest way of explaining it. I said “Yeah! Let’s do it!” It sounded like something that could be very adventurous. That is how we initially got involved. We did the session in the dark and I played for an hour and a half. Sometimes, if I needed to back off a little bit and get some air, I would change over to some jazz playing and just ride a little jazz before going back into hardcore playing. It worked really well because during the hardcore playing, I played with the colored sticks and during the jazz playing I played with brushes. These are brushes one would normally play drums with, not paint with. They had so many different colors in them, I believe they were specially made or specially designed. I had the technicians with me. They set up so many lights in different angles, they were on ladders and where shooting me from so many different ways; I didn’t really know what they were trying to obtain in that initial get together. They showed me the pictures and said “Isn’t this fantastic?!” [laughs] I said, “That is nice!” I was happier for them because I couldn’t quite see where it was all going at the time. A couple of weeks later when I got to see the designs much clearer on a computer screen, I began to realize what they had actually been able to create. They had been able to create some very strange and unusual pictures. On SceneFour’s part, there was some manipulation in terms of some of the photography being reverse photography, for example. I don’t know all those details because those guys know much more about the technical process than I do. I think that is where some of the faces showed up. For the most part though, there were just these huge streams of things. I had no idea how they got some of these images to come out of what I was playing! It is quite obvious when I look at the pictures there is so much information, I don’t know if it just happened as we did it. I know during the sessions, as I was playing, I was watching the patterns myself and becoming almost mesmerized and thoroughly enjoyed making all of these arcs and different things as I played with each cymbal, going to a floor tom-tom or playing at high speed. It was a marvelous experience and adventurous for the eyes.

As a drummer, your emotions come through in your playing. What were you dealing with emotionally at that point and did any of the issues you encountered with Black Sabbath play into the final output?

"Hello, I Don't Think We Have Met (Yet)"

“Hello, I Don’t Think We Have Met (Yet)”

That is a great question. I will answer it in two parts. When I was playing, I had been very upset. I wasn’t necessarily angry or resentful but I had been very upset. I had been having uncomfortable feelings, was very sad and I was grieving not being with the band. When I played the drums, there was very much the feeling of that. I think it really showed up in terms of my aggression. I can look at these pictures and see where I was being really aggressive or when I was just kicking back. At this point, I will add, I got in touch with just how sad I felt. At some point, not long after the sessions, I was asked to name the pieces and that is when I really felt I was coming into a true collaboration with SceneFour, in terms of their artistry. I realized when I was looking the pictures, the titles represented to me exactly what I was being reminded of, so much in fact, it was almost like looking into the mirror. It really was! I was just looking at myself and going “Oh my God!” Some of the pictures upset me, not angrily so, in terms of being very endearing. I didn’t realize how much they meant to me. It suddenly became very personal and more than just a drummer playing to the cameras and having pictures taken. It was way beyond that! It became far more therapeutic as I looked at the pictures and was able to name some of the names. Some of the names I did with humor. For example, “Hello, I Don’t Think We Have Met (Yet)”. I couldn’t resist because it is such an incredible picture. When I saw it, I examined it for days and came up with “I Don’t Think We Have Met Yet But My Name Is Bill!” [laughs] Whoever the person is who is viewing the pictures, whether it be a child, a guy of ninety-five or what have you, they will interpret what they want from it but the suggestion of “Hello, I Don’t Think We Have Met Yet” was something I really, really liked. It could be something from Mars or something that reminds us of ourselves and for me, reminded me of myself. With many of these pictures, I was reminded of myself a lot.

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This was really a unique way to showcase your skills as a drummer — very outside-the-box thinking. How do you see yourself progressing or evolving in the future? Are there areas in music you are still anxious to explore?

Oh yeah. Thank you for asking that question because I feel like I am at the beginning. There are so many more things. There are certain rhythms I would love to be able to play more effectively. There are so many more things I would like to be better at. I am trying to improve on my beats-per-minute (BPM) on my bass drums. Back in 2011, I was rehearsing, playing drums and playing 132 BPM. Being in Black Sabbath, we usually won’t need 132 BPM but I was playing 132 BPM to over-compensate, just in case we were going to play something that was going to be moving along rapidly. I wanted to make sure I had more than enough to compensate. The reason I am bringing that up is because I am still practicing that now. I talk to some of my favorite drummers in the metal world. I look at them and say “How do you do that?! You must have legs that are on fire!” [laughs] I am learning from them on how I can advance with more movement from my legs. It is an area that I am really trying to conquer. I have gone through all kinds of ups and downs over the years. There was some good stuff I could do and there is other stuff that was really hard to do. Self-improvement as a drummer is a huge undertaking. It is going to be with me until the day I die!

You have had such a rich career and as you said, feel like you are just at the beginning, do you feel there are any misconceptions about yourself?

Bill Ward - 'Solidarity'

Bill Ward – ‘Solidarity’

I don’t know. Everybody thinks whatever it is they think, you know. Well, there is one. [laughs] I think a lot of people think I am really rich. [laughs] I don’t know why I am bringing this up. I think it came up a couple of years ago, people thinking I am really rich. The bottom line is that I am in spirit, love, friends and family. The fact of the matter is I am a pretty average guy who tries to make projects. I am working on projects right now and we split our finances by paying to the household and if they is anything left over, we pay to the studio and move along slowly. It is a snail’s pace but we get there in the end. I don’t know. It annoys me when I read in the press that people have the misconception that I am a wealthy person. I think someone said I had at least 45 million in the bank. [laughs] It drives me crazy because it is just not the truth! [laughs] At the same time, in saying that, I am blessed and very fortunate that I am not destitute either. That is one of those things that goes out there in the public and they get that impression. You know, I get so much love, affection and strength from all of the fans, whether they are Sabbath fans or Bill Ward fans or my fellow musicians. I get some great letters just the other day from some very well known drummers who absolutely are in support of me as a person. I try to have a bit of humility in receiving this gratitude. I know everybody is going to say whatever they are going to say. If there are some things that really do bother me about things that are being said, I feel like I have always taken the opportunity to set the record straight. I do that because, even if it doesn’t change anything, at least I am setting the record straight.

You have lived an incredible life and I am sure you have many tales to tell. Have you given much thought to telling your story in the form of an autobiography?

You know, I am clean and sober and I am only saying that because when I was about three years sober, I decided to write an autobiography. I started out and I realized it was full of ego, selfishness and self-centeredness, so I stopped writing it. I thought, “You know what? I am going to wait awhile until I feel like I have a little bit of humility.” Today, I feel like I have a little bit more humility than what I had at three years sober. I have been working again, slowly but surely, on a book. I am trying to treat it with care. I want to be very; very careful about talking about people I love and really try to give good detail to some of the things I felt were important in my life. At some point, perhaps we can release such a book! I just want to be careful that I am not a big blabbermouth. I don’t like all of the shock of “Oh, I went to detox 500 times…” and things like that. I don’t like and am not interested in the drama. I just want to write something I hope will be endearing for me as something my grandchildren could read, along with other people, and maybe get a good experience from reading it. That would be a great goal and it would be a good book, if it can be accomplished.

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Obviously, you seem to have a self-reflective nature. What do you consider best part of being Bill Ward these days?

I feel experienced! [laughs] I feel like I am very well loved. I was just at a concert, looking at some other musicians last night. I met them after the concert and felt really, really loved by them. I am really grateful I am alive and to have the friends I have. I am very grateful for the outlook I have on life. It is an outlook that has become quite simple. I try not to complicate it and mess it up, you know? [laughs] There are a lot of things I used to fear that I don’t fear anymore. I simple don’t have the fears anymore. I am not so interesting in selfish things; I am more interested in people how their lives are going. I try to practice that. I think one of the greatest gifts I have is hindsight. With my hindsight, I have so many treasured memories. There is such a plethora of memories, I feel like I have an abundance of experiences that not only I can still enjoy but also share them with other people, so they can be useful to them or that they might enjoy listening to them. There are lots of things that I miss and lots of things I have enjoyed. That are lots of things I can’t do anymore — lots of things I could do at twenty-two that I can’t do because I am sixty-five. I don’t know, I feel worldly and that is because I am worldly. I have been to so many places. I love going to Central Park in New York; sitting there and watching the children play or watching the ducks. I love the whole experience of sitting in the park and looking up at the sky. There are lots of different things that turn the world around every day.

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What is the best piece of advice you can pass on to young people, inspired by you, looking to make a career in music?

The Legendary Bill Ward

The Legendary Bill Ward

I would encourage them to be as honest as they can with themselves. You have to be true to yourself. If you are not true to yourself, you could fall apart by the time you are twenty-one. I have seen that happen over and over and over again. When you get on stage and especially when you are going through some of the rough stuff, if you don’t believe in what you are doing, then you are not going to make it on a thirty to fifty day tour when the food is no good, you haven’t had any sleep, you feel like shit and are missing your wife or family, whatever the situation is. If you don’t have that heart or passion for yourself or your music, then you aren’t going to make it out there. It gets rough, you know. I would definitely encourage your musicians or young people period, to stay as true to themselves as they can. You are going to have to make honest decisions about where you’re really at and have to learn to not be ashamed of those decisions. Sometimes, we make decisions and they are very painful. We can’t be ashamed of our decisions. We have to let things work out. Sometimes, if there are things we have done that we are ashamed of; these things usually have a way of working out in the end. They may not work out at that moment but they will eventually work out. I don’t know how that works but it does work! I would also encourage young musicians to be patient with themselves and be patient with other people. I can remember serving my first apprenticeship in rock ‘n’ roll, it took seven years. Many times I wanted to be there, up on the stage, in the spotlight. I thought was the criteria back then. I realized that it was nothing to do with the art of music but it is part of music and sometimes we have to be patient with where we are right now. I know that is really tough for the younger guys to do, it is tough for anybody to do! We need to be patient of where we are right now, see how things unfold, resolve and come about. Those are the things I have been sharing for a long time with my fellow musicians, especially the younger students. I care about them very much and, obviously, I want them to be successful as people first and successful as musicians. It doesn’t matter if they are going to be playing Carnegie Hall, Nassau Coliseum or The Grove in Anaheim, the gig is wherever the gig is. It is about enjoying the experience, being OK with yourself and doing the best you can.

Thank you so much for your time today, Bill. It has been a pleasure and I look forward to all you have in store for us in the years to come. It is very cool to see you pushing forward and continuing to challenge yourself — very inspirational!

Thank you, Jason! I appreciate it!

To check out Bill Ward’s incredible collection of drum art and to hear his thoughts on each piece, visit www.billwarddrumart.com. See more of SceneFour’s incredible collaborations at www.scenefour.com.

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Legendary Drummer Bill Ward To Release Fine Art Debut With “Absence of Corners”

Legendary Drummer Bill Ward To Release Fine Art Debut With “Absence of Corners”

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He’s arguably one of the most discussed drummers in rock today.  His presence behind the kit for over 45 years has inspired countless imitators.  And for many, he’s considered the most influential drummer in heavy metal history.  But as summer peaks, Bill Ward will make his first foray into the world of fine art with a debut collection, “Absence of Corners.” Set for release on August 1, 2013 at www.billwarddrumart.com, all of the pieces in Ward’s collection are created from rhythm and limited in availability.

An extensive process from start to finish, “Absence of Corners” took nearly a year to complete.  Working with Los Angeles art team SceneFour, Ward utilized a sophisticated formula to create the collection’s visuals, using an array of drumsticks and rhythmic accessories that produce light, much like a painter utilizing brushes and oils.  The movements featured within the captured rhythms are then studied and developed into abstract artwork that showcases a dimension not normally seen by the human eye.  Each piece in this limited-edition collection is then numbered.  All are signed by Ward.

Ward on the project:

“When I’m working on new ideas, musically much of what’s played is guided by a visual appearance or shape.  Since my early childhood, I’ve played drums in visuals as well as sound.  When I write, there’s always an image, sometimes a color attached to what’s being created.

“I’ve never ‘listened’ to bass notes; I ‘feel’ them.  The keyboard’s black notes are dark to me and represent many sad emotions.  These examples are simple, natural, childlike applications that have stayed with me.

“When SceneFour approached me about doing this project, it sounded like an adventurous progression.  I am delighted with the captured expressions from my head and my heart.  Their arrival onto canvas is beautiful.”

To develop the art collection, Ward utilized the expertise of art team SceneFour. Based in Los Angeles, SceneFour specializes in working with music visionaries on the creation of fine artwork.  SceneFour’s previous art collaborations have included releases with Chuck D, Bootsy Collins, Page Hamilton, and The RZA.  Over the last several years, SceneFour’s focus has been on the development and publishing of rhythm on canvas collections, with Ward’s collection being the largest release to date with a total of 18 different pieces featured and ranging in size (30″ x 18″ to the epic 85″ x 30″).

“Absence of Corners” debuts on August 1, 2013 at www.billwarddrumart.com.  Those interested in learning more and seeing the artwork before the release are encouraged to join the interest list at www.billwarddrumart.com.

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Black Sabbath: Original Lineup Reunites For New Album and World Tour!

Black Sabbath: Original Lineup Reunites For New Album and World Tour!

Today is National Metal Day, 11-11-11, so it is only fitting that the stars would align to bring fans around the world something truly special! The original lineup of the legendary heavy metal band Black Sabbath has reunited! The band boasts the impressive lineup of Ozzy Osbourne (vocals), Tony Iommi (guitar), Geezer Butler (bass) and Bill Ward (drums).

The group made the announcement during a press conference today (Nov. 11) at the Whiskey A-Go-Go in Los Angeles, where Sabbath played its first show in the city exactly 41 years ago. Black Sabbath will headline Download Festival, which will take place between June 8-10 in Donington Park, England.

The group’s first studio effort in 33 years will be produced by the legendary Rick Rubin (Metallica, Beastie Boys, Johnny Cash, System of A Down, Slipknot).

A world tour will follow, including an appearance at the U.K.’s Download festival on June 12, 2012. Check out the announcement video below!

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Music Review: Ozzy Osbourne Reissues Get It Right!

Music Review: Ozzy Osbourne Reissues Get It Right!

It may be a completely overworked cliché to compare things to Mount Rushmore (thanks ESPN!) but needless to say, if you’re coming up with a Mount Rushmore of heavy metal, Ozzy Osbourne is no doubt on it.

The Ozzy story is of course legend by now, and most metal fans can recite the greatest hits by heart: misfit kid from working class Birmingham ends up becoming frontman for heavy metal’s first significant band, is fired from said band after drug and alcohol habit spirals out of control, meets Sharon, hooks up with guitarist Randy Rhoads and forms the Blizzard of Ozz band, solo career takes off, bites the head off a dove, Rhoads dies in plane crash, peed on the Alamo, legendary booze and coke habit resurfaces, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

You can count on one hand the number of singers fired by their original band that then goes on to surpass the original band in sales. But that is what Ozzy did, starting with his first two releases, Blizzard of Ozz and Diary Of A Madman.

The real story of these rereleases is that Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne have restored the original bass and drum tracks as recorded by Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake. When the albums were reissued in 2002, Ozzy and Sharon had Daisley and Kerslake’s tracks removed and their parts played by Robert Trujillo and Mike Bordin, Ozzy’s rhythm section at the time.

It was a petty move from the Osbournes, an unnecessary grudge being held by two people who have all the money, respect and fame one could ask for. Granted Daisley and Kerslake had sued Ozzy for songwriting credits, but hadn’t Ozzy and Sharon already conquered the world by then? Would anybody listening to these records care who got songwriting credits?

Thankfully, the Osbournes have restored the albums to their original status, although none of the album photos show Daisley and Kerslake, all the shots are of Ozzy and Rhoads. That’s OK though, since the highlight of these albums has always been the unique chemistry and all-too-brief partnership of Ozzy and Randy Rhoads.

The late guitarist has long been celebrated for his technical virtuosity, witness the shredding on the bonus track “RR,” but listening to these rereleases, it’s easy to lose sight of how good a riff writer Rhoads was.

Blizzard of Ozz is still Ozzy’s best-selling album and contains his most iconic songs. Track after track has pretty much become a staple on hard rock radio since the album’s release.
You have “Crazy Train,” Ozzy’s signature song, a track that is known to just about anybody who listens to music. The iconic “Crazy Train” has been heard everywhere from TV commercials to being sampled by hip-hop artists to sports arenas. But check out the chunky power chords on “Suicide Solution,” and the ominous riff on “Mr. Crowley,” where Rhoads out-Tony Iommi’s Tony Iommi. There’s also the blues-rock strut of “No Bone Movies,” a song where the Blizzard of Ozz band is clearly having a lot of fun.
While Rhoads’ reputation has only grown since his untimely death, what people who listen to these records lose sight of the fact that Ozzy was a hell of a singer in those days. While Ozzy’s last album “Scream” is actually pretty good, the ravages of time have required producers to process and auto-tune the hell out of his vocals.

But here, Ozzy’s voice was very versatile instrument, able to carry the hard-driving “I Don’t Know,” morph into The Prince of Darkness for the eerie “Suicide Solution” (a song about alcoholism that, of course, the straights thought had subliminal messages urging the audience to kill themselves) and the fiendish “Mr. Crowley” (about black magic practitioner Aleister Crowley) but also show an emotional side on the ballads “Goodbye To Romance” and “Revelation (Mother Earth).”

The reissue of Blizzard of Ozz has three bonus tracks; “You Looking At Me, Looking At You,” the B-side to “Crazy Train;” a different mix of “Goodbye To Romance;” and a Rhoads guitar solo outtake, “RR.”

The remastered sound gives the album a fresh sheen. The album doesn’t feel dated at all, although the keyboard section on “Goodbye To Romance” seems very 80s. Tracks like “I Don’t Know,” “Crazy Train,” “Suicide Solution,” “Mr. Crowley” and “Steal Away (The Night)” rock as hard as they ever have. Of the bonus tracks, I almost prefer the guitar and vocal mix of “Goodbye To Romance” better than the album version. The minimalist style fits better the tender ballad better than the full band version.

After the success of Blizzard of Ozz, Ozzy and the band quickly followed up with Diary Of A Madman, a more progressive outing.

The album gets off to an energetic start with the double shot of “Over The Mountain” and “Flying High Again,” the latter of which features a tremendous Rhoads solo. The progressive aspects of the album show up on the album’s two epic tracks, “You Can’t Kill Rock and Roll” and the title track.

While Rhoads and Ozzy are obviously the stars, Daisley and Kerslake’s contributions are more noticeable on Diary Of A Madman, particularly on “Believer” and “Little Dolls,” which rock out with a real swagger. “Tonight” is the album’s big power ballad, while “S.A.T.O” features an acoustic intro before the band kicks in with propulsive momentum. The title track throws everything together: acoustic guitars, church choirs, you name it.

The Deluxe Edition of “Diary” comes with a bonus live disc from 1982 that gives a good example of what the Blizzard of Ozz band sounded like. At the time the disc was recorded, the band was on its second incarnation, with Rudy Sarzo and Tommy Aldridge having replaced Daisley and Kerslake. Despite the changes, the band rips through “I Don’t Know,” “Crazy Train,” “Believer” and “Mr. Crowley” with fierce precision. The final three songs are Black Sabbath covers, a shortened version of “Iron Man,” a good rendition of “Children Of The Grave” and finally, ”Paranoid,” a riff that was tailor-made for Rhoads’ guitar style.

Each band member gets a moment to shine: Sarzo on the bass intro to “Believer,” Aldridge’s drum solo on “Steal Away (The Night)” and Rhoads’ guitar spot on “Suicide Solution.” Of course, the star of an Ozzy show is Ozzy himself and the live disc is peppered with lots of “Let me see your hands!” and “I love you all!” There’s no DVD, so we don’t get to see Ozzy’s goofy stage jumps. Again, what’s striking is how good Ozzy’s vocals sound here. He really can hit the high notes on “Crazy Train.”

My only quibbles with the live disc are: 1) the version of “Flying High Again,” one of my favorite Ozzy songs, was a bit disappointing and 2) some of the crowd noise sounds like it has been added in post-production. The music is quality enough; did the Osbournes really need to pipe in crowd noise?

Ozzy has called Diary Of A Madman his personal favorite album. While I think Blizzard of Ozz is better, Diary Of A Madman is more advanced as Rhoads and Ozzy were really pushing the boundaries here. The shame is we never got to find out what they would do next.

Any metal fan worth their salt would do well to pick up these rereleases to hear one of metal’s icons at the peak of his ability. — Ryan Mavity

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Ozzy To Release Remastered Versions of ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ and ‘Diary of a Madman’

Ozzy To Release Remastered Versions of ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ and ‘Diary of a Madman’

On May 31, music fans will have their first taste of re-issues from rock icon OZZY OSBOURNE’s catalog of work with the releases of two albums which form the cornerstone of Ozzy Osbourne’s career as a solo artist:   Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman (Epic Records/Legacy Recordings).  Long revered by rock fans around the world, these two albums created a template for hard rock in the 1980’s and beyond as they were marked by the ground-breaking and  historic union of Ozzy and the late guitar hero Randy Rhoads.  These definitive versions of 1980’s Blizzard of Ozz (with previously unreleased bonus tracks) and 1981’s Diary of a Madman are available individually on vinyl or CD, or together in a deluxe collector’s box.  All versions were restored and remastered from the original analog sources by George Marino.

The 30th Anniversary Edition of Blizzard of Ozz CD includes the original album in its entirety, restored and remastered for this edition, with bonus tracks, while the new Legacy Edition of Diary of a Madman includes the original album in its entirety, restored and remastered for this edition, with a bonus second CD of previously unreleased live performances featuring Ozzy Osbourne and Randy Rhoads with rhythm section Rudy Sarzo (bass) and Tommy Aldridge (drums).  A single disc version of the remastered Diary of a Madman will also be available.

For serious fans and collectors, the limited edition 30th Anniversary deluxe boxed set houses the restored and remastered vinyl and CD editions of Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman, the “Ozzy Live” compact disc.  Beyond the music, the box set is highlighted by a variety of exclusives including an expansive 100-page coffee table book, a two-sided wall-size poster, a precise and detailed full-size replica of Ozzy’s iconic gold cross that he has worn for 30 years, and “Thirty Years After The Blizzard” DVD.

This new “Thirty Years After The Blizzard” DVD chronicles Ozzy‘s years with Randy Rhoads features previously unseen footage ofOzzy and Randy filmed in 1981 & 1982; it incorporates rare archival photos and films; along with new and revelatory interviews with Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, Lemmy (Motörhead), Steve Vai, Nikki Sixx, Rob Halford, Zakk Wylde, Bill Ward and more. The DVD also contains over 70 minutes of additional rare live performances and interviews; included is the premiere of more than 30 minutes of newly-discovered never-bootlegged footage of Ozzy and Randy from the Blizzard of Ozz tour shot from the front of the stage at New York’s fabled Palladium on May 2, 1981.  This new feature is a must-see for aficionados of Ozzy‘s epic release, Blizzard of Ozz and its pivotal effect on rock & roll history.

A trailer for the upcoming reissues can be seen here: http://vevo.ly/f0jD43

Blizzard Of Ozz (30th Anniversary Expanded Edition)

1. I Don’t Know (5:13)

2. Crazy Train (4:51)

3. Goodbye To Romance (5:33)

4. Dee (0:49)

5. Suicide Solution (4:17)

6. Mr. Crowley (5:02)

7. No Bone Movies (3:52)

8. Revelation (Mother Earth) (6:08)

9. Steal Away (The Night) (3:28)

BONUS TRACKS

10. You Looking At Me, Looking At You (Non-LP B-Side, Previously Unreleased in the U.S.) (4:15)

11. Goodbye To Romance (2010 Guitar & Vocal Mix, Previously Unreleased) (5:42)

12. RR (Previously Unreleased – Randy Rhoads guitar solo) (1:13)

 

Diary Of A Madman (Legacy Edition)

DISC 1

1. Over The Mountain (4:31)

2. Flying High Again (4:44)

3. You Can’t Kill Rock And Roll (6:59)

4. Believer (5:15)

5. Little Dolls (5:39)

6. Tonight (5:50)

7. S.A.T.O. (4:07)

8. Diary Of A Madman (6:14)

 

DISC 2 –

Ozzy Live (recorded on the Blizzard of Ozz tour)

1. I Don’t Know

2. Crazy Train

3. Believer

4. Mr. Crowley

5. Flying High Again

6. Revelation (Mother Earth)

7. Steal Away (The Night)

8. Suicide Solution

9. Iron Man

10. Children Of The Grave

11. Paranoid

Diary of a Madman/Blizzard of Ozz 30th Anniversary Deluxe Box Set

Box Set Includes:

Blizzard Of Ozz (30th Anniversary Expanded Edition)

Diary Of A Madman (Legacy Edition)

Blizzard Of Ozz (180-gram LP – original album only)

Diary Of A Madman (180-gram LP – original album only)

DVD–contains “Thirty Years After The Blizzard” documentary–and additional rare and unreleased performances and interviews.

 

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