An Interview With Blasko, New Bassist For Ozzy Osbourne
mXc: OK, so in February 2003, Robert Trujillo left Ozzy to join Metallica and Jason Newsted, who had already left Metallica, joined Ozzy, and less than a year later you replaced Newsted. You are following in the footsteps of some great bass players, how does it feel to be that guy?
Blasko: Well I feel very fortunate. It's an honor to be stepping in with guys like that, you know for sure... [receives phone call...] We're heading over to our rehearsals and stuff today for Ozzfest.
mXc: Are you rehearsing in California or are you already in Seattle?
Blasko: We're in Seattle.
mXc: Are you a full-time member of Ozzy's band now, or just along for Ozzfest and the rumored 2007 world tour?
Blasko: Since I got the gig, this is more or less the first tour that I've done. I've done some one-off things here and there but this is the first tour that we've done because the last two Ozzfests have been Black Sabbath. I take everyday as it comes. As of today, things are going good, you know. I'm going to rehearsals and we're going to start Ozzfest here on Thursday and take it from there, you know.
mXc: Ozzy is playing only 13 of the Ozzfest 2006 shows. Will you be traveling with the whole tour, or just flying out for those shows?
Blasko: We'll be traveling along, but obviously on days that we're not playing, we won't be there. But no, we're not going to be flying around or anything. We'll just be kind of on our own, you know, a vacation with some shows to fill in occasionally.
mXc: That must be nice!
Blasko: (laughs) Yeah, well, it's not bad!
mXc: For the first time ever, at Ozzfest 2006, Ozzy is headlining the second stage half dozen times. I wish I could go to one of those Ozzfests, I think it would be awesome just to see Ozzy perform at 4 in the afternoon under the blazing sun, on a smaller stage!
Blasko: I think it's gonna be really good, I think it's really gonna shake up the Ozzfest in general. I mean, it's like, here we are, we're going into the 11th year of Ozzfest and, you know, the way that it's done is that they have the people that buy the tickets that are in the front row and those people are there every year, and then you have all the kids that are in the grass that really kind of want to be up front. So now those kids now get to be up front. The show is now for those kids who've been patiently waiting for 11 years. Some of these shows, those kids now get to see that. So I think it's really going to mix it up a lot, and it's really going to change the dynamic of an Ozzfest... which is cool, you know. I think it's about time that something like this happened.
mXc: Do you feel a little bit bad for Dragonforce? They have to play now after Ozzy!
Blasko: Well, let's face it, someone has to play after somebody. You can look at it like 'hey, they get to open the mainstage'. It's like 'the glass is half empty, the glass is half full', you know?
mXc: Are there any bands that you are really psyched to see on the second stage at Ozzfest 2006?
Blasko: Definitely looking forward to Norma Jean, I'm a big fan of those guys. I'm kind of looking forward to see everybody. I'm friends with a lot of the bands and stuff already anyway. Plus it's always good to see bands in that capacity. I mean, you see them in clubs, and it's cool, but to see them in front of 5,000 people for the first time they've ever played in front of that many people before... it's good to kind of see that happening.
mXc: You've been Ozzy's bass player for a few years now, at the same time recording and touring with Rob Zombie. Was the split with Rob cordial? Did he more or less know that, one day, you would probably leave his band for Ozzy?
Blasko: I think he knew that there was the potential because of the fact that in the midst of recording the newest record, I left for two weeks during that time to go to the UK with Ozzy to do a couple of little one-off shows and stuff. So I think that Rob knew that there was the potential whenever the Ozzfest started brewing, and it was announced that Ozzy was going to do some shows on it. Of course it was a concern. But the split was very cordial, and at the end of the day, it was a totally fine thing. I was able to get my replacement in place there for them, and it was cool. I did what I set out to do and I fulfilled my responsibilities. I think the situation was more than amicable of a split.
mXc: So then you had a hand in choosing Piggy D [ex-Wednesday 13] as your replacement?
Blasko: Yeah, I mean, he's a good friend of mine. Him and I have written songs together and stuff, so we have a relationship and I've always wanted to, always thought it would be cool to be in a band with him. Even though we're not gonna be in a band still, it was cool. He's a buddy of mine, and I thought it was a good fit.
mXc: I ask everyone this question last, and having rarely interviewed anybody who sells as many records as you have, I'm extremely interested in your answer… so with most major record labels fighting a losing battle against downloading, what do you think about this and the current state of music in general?
Blasko: What exactly are you asking, major labels vs. downloading? I don't think downloading is really that big of an issue, to be completely honest. When I was a kid, we traded cassette tapes. Tape trading was the whole thing back then when I was growing up. We didn't always have money to go out shopping, and even when we did, we'd go and buy used records. So to me, it's just kids being kids. I still listen to… if someone burns me a copy of something, I'll go and check it out, and if I really like it, I'll go buy it. For me, it's no different; I mean, I go out and I buy records too. There are a lot of bands out there that are selling records whether it's a lot of records or a little bit of records, people are still going out and still buying records. So I don't think the downloading thing is that overly affecting anything. Now you just have a way of tracking it. With tape trading and used record shopping, you can't really monitor that, but you can monitor downloading to a degree. I think maybe it's just more visible now, so people are making a big deal out of it. But in my personal opinion, I don't see downloading being a problem at this point.
- Alan Ralph
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