Why Michael Schenker Demanded a Private Jet From Ozzy Osbourne
“I got a phone call from Ozzy Osbourne in the middle of the night, stuttering, asking me to help him out because Randy Rhoads had died in that plane crash,” Schenker told Classic Rock in a recent interview.
“I loved Sabbath, and I should have been delighted to join – I instantly had visions of Ozzy dragging me across the stage by my hair – but a voice in my head said, ‘Michael, follow your vision.’ I’d left UFO and Scorpions because I didn’t want to go any further with the fame thing, and I wanted freedom and peace, so I felt it would be crazy to join.”
He also felt it “wasn’t the right time” because he was working on Assault Attack, the second Michael Schenker Group album. “Ozzy knew that I was Randy’s favourite guitar player, so he thought I’d be the perfect fit,” he added.
“The only way I could think of getting out of the Ozzy gig was by making outrageous demands, so that’s what I did. In his book Ozzy said I asked for a private jet, and that’s true – but it was only so that he’d turn me down.”
In the same interview Schenker looked back on refusing an audition with the Rolling Stones because he was only 16 and had just arrived in England, and felt he was experiencing enough change in his life. He also recalled being considered for Thin Lizzy, but although he was a friend of Phil Lynott he’d never been interested in joining his band.
The Misunderstanding that Trashed Michael Schenker’s Aerosmith Plan
However, his view of joining Aerosmith had been different – when Steven Tyler’s band lost Joe Perry in 1979, Schenker had been all set to replace him, until a misunderstanding knocked his plans off course.
“I got as far as rehearsing with Joey Kramer and Tom Hamilton in Boston,” Shenker said. “At the time, Steven Tyler was in hospital, and I remember Brad Whitford coming into the room, being shocked at seeing me and running out again, saying, ‘Fuck!’
“I think he went to see Tyler in the hospital and said, ‘Michael Schenker is trying to steal our rhythm section! You need to do something!’ So they decided to carry on Aerosmith without me.”
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Gallery Credit: Jen Austin, UCR Staff