How Michael Schenker Avoided Joining Ozzy Osbourne’s Band
Michael Schenker recalled how he had gotten himself “off the hook” after being invited to join Ozzy Osbourne’s band back in 1982.
The guitarist came up with the idea of asking for an “impossible” deal after his drummer, Cozy Powell, reinforced the argument that the Michael Schenker Group’s album Assault Attack, and new singer Graham Bonnet, were too important to abandon.
“I was tempted to do it,” Schenker explained in a video promoting the new Michael Schenker Fest album Revelation, which comes out tomorrow. “I said, ‘How can I get away from this?’ And then Cozy was saying, ‘You can’t do this – we’re doing Assault Attack now, we just got Graham Bonnet!’ I thought, ‘I’ll just ask [Osbourne] for the impossible. He’ll maybe say no. And that’s what I did. … I asked for the impossible with the hope that he’d say no, and then I was off the hook.”
You can watch the video below.
In a separate interview, Schenker reflected on why the Osbourne collaboration wouldn’t have worked anyway. “I had to remember my time with the Scorpions and with UFO,” he told EonMusic. "I said to myself, ‘If I join Ozzy Osbourne, then I never needed to leave UFO in the first place, because it would be just more of the same thing.’ For me, I had reached my peak with Strangers in the Night, and for that was it.”
He also noted that Osbourne wouldn’t have let him “experiment with my vision” because “I wouldn’t have made him any money.”
Schenker first met Osbourne when he was recording in a London studio that was also being used by Black Sabbath. “Ozzy was doing crazy stuff, like drinking all the spices that were available in one go,” Schenker said in the new video. “How did he manage to stay alive? … I sometimes have a sip of Tabasco, but he was going like [mimics drinking from various bottles].”