Bat Head Soup
A Tribute to Ozzy (Deadline)
by Scott Hefflon
A higher echelon of has-beens assemble here to rock the shit outta Ozzy tunes, replacing Ozzy’s trademark vocals with their own. Ditto with some well-respected axe-meisters tackling the mighty Randy Rhodes, Jake E. Lee, and the guys who came later. As for bassists and drummers, well, they’re here as well…
Most of the songs covered are pretty obvious, but most of ’em are done so well (yet slightly differently, no one trying to sound like Ozzy cuz, well, that’s for stoner bands), ya don’t mind hearing them yet again. A few things get lost along the way, that’s just the way of things. I recall that in one of the three good songs on Olympic Recording’s Ozzy trib a few years back, someone had the good sense to yell “Flaps!” in “No Bone Movies.” A greatly underrated song to begin with, I’ve never been able to figure out why the hell anyone would yell “Flaps!” for any reason, under any circumstance, much less when the tape’s rolling. So it’s all about the details… So sometimes a flourish is missed and sometimes it’s added, and it’s totally yer call if you appreciate it or think they shoulda kept it pure.
Guitar geek Paul Gilbert sees fit to play around with “Children of the Grave,” and seeing as that (and most of Masters of Reality) was some of the first metal I worked and slaved to play note-for-note, it bothers me greatly and all the wanking in the world won’t ever convince me this version was worth the recording time. A few others mar an otherwise worthy effort, some covers really going the distance, others just being good players having at good songs. Two obvious notables are “Goodbye to Romance” by Lisa Loeb and Dweezil Zappa and the scorching cover of “Mr. Crowley” by Tim “Ripper” Owens and Yngwie Malmsteen that I always wished someone’d do. The original is one of the darkest, spookiest songs of its time, and Randy’s solos and fills have brought me to tears on more than a few occasions. The new Priest screamer, “Ripper,” showcases his impressive range on the classic, and even Yngwie doesn’t really piss me off much, most of his wanking working within the song and only occasionally making me wanna slap him upside his doughy, girlfriend-beating head.
Howling in the Blizzard of Ozz: Jeff Scott Soto & Bruce Kulick (“Shot in the Dark”), Adam Paskowitz & Peter Perdichizzi (“Suicide Solution”), Jack Blades & Reb Beach (“I Don’t Know”), Lemmy & Richie Kotzen (“Desire”), Vince Neil & George Lynch (“Paranoid”), Joe Lynn Turner & Steve Lukather (“Hellraiser”), Dee Snider & Doug Aldrich (“Crazy Train”), Mark Slaughter & Brad Gillis (“Over the Mountain”). Track listing’s probably different, cuz Deadline/Cleopatra has never been known for accuracy, and while I follow bassists and drummers like the Hollywood dating gossip or who’s running for President, I recognize a bunch of the names as having been in important bands. Fifteen years ago, that is…
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