‘Rock Icons N’ Metal Gods’ Author Jeb Wright Talks About Interviewing Ozzy Osbourne, Sammy Hagar + More
One of our favorite rock and roll books in recent months comes from Classic Rock Revisited mastermind Jeb Wright. 'Rock Icons N' Metal Gods' features revealing and entertaining interviews with dozens of rock and metal's biggest stars from the longtime music veteran.
We also came to a mutual agreement on our choice for both the most interesting and hardest to understand rocker in all of rock and roll today:
Were you particularly nervous before any of the interviews?
I don't know that I'm nervous as much, I get giddy, almost like a kid, I still love this stuff. It's been my passion. I was excited to interview every one of the people in the book. What I've done here, is sorted it into two sections - the rock guys and the metal guys. Ronnie James Dio, that's a real special one because he's gone now. I was excited to talk to Billy Gibbons, cause I'm a big ZZ Top fan.
So you were cool as a cucumber for all of them?
Probably if there was a little nervousness, it was with Ozzy. i wasn't sure, cause I was taping it and transcribing it, (wondering) "Gosh, will I be able to figure out everything he said?" Ozzy was a god with Black Sabbath, then went out on his own and took over. So that was nerve-racking, because I wanted to do good and wanted to be sure I could hear him. Luckily, everything went like butter, man, I think it was already off the sauce and stuff, he was very coherent, it was a good interview.
We just did an interview with Lemmy from Motorhead, and had a similar fear...
Lemmy, man, was actually in the same category -- the guy's an awesome interview but he's hard to understand! Some of them were just thrills. Paul Rodgers has got to be the best vocalist in rock, in my book. One of the top ones. So being able to bend his ear, and listen to what he had to say, was great. I'm a huge Judas Priest fan, so Halford, I've interviewed him several times, but each time it was like an honor.
The one that was the most outrageous, was Paul Dianno, the original singer from Iron Maiden. You need to go read that one, because it'll have you rolling on the ground.
Outrageous or Controversial?
Both! Well, he was very honest about the early days, and his hatred of his old bandmate, Dennis Stratton. I mean, graphically, just putting him down. It's one of the funniest reads in the book. Castration gets mentioned.
Bill Ward, he talks openly about trying to commit suicide, and being on drugs, and having to leave Black Sabbath. Stuff like that, that's riveting to me. Steve Perry, who's sometimes noted for not being the friendliest guy in the world, did a GREAT interview with me, all about mixing the DVD for Journey that was out a couple of years ago. He said he had his head down on the console, cause he couldn't even watch some it it, it was too emotional. That's what I like to get into.
Anything else people should know about the book?
The photos! They were done by Mark Weiss, who was kind of an iconic rock and roll photographer for Circus magazine back the day. He's Ozzy's personal photographer. If you look him up on his website, it's unbelievable what he's done within the canon of rock and roll.
So what keeps you doing this after all this time?
I'm a music guy, I play, music's been a part of my life, my whole life. That's what I wanna get into, get into their heads and learn what makes them tick. Sammy Hagar talks real openly about his father being an alcoholic, and passing away in a police car. I don't wanna give them all away, but… just opening up like that, it kind of helps in my mind to make these guys human, you know, instead of stars. They are rock stars, but at the same time, they are just people who've done extraordinary things.