When Ozzy Osbourne is on stage over the next couple of weeks, there's a good chance that Palm Beach Gardens resident Ron Anderson will be standing nearby. Earpiece in one ear, tiny microphone in one hand, he'll be talking Osbourne through his lyrics during the show.
No one in the audience will know, but Anderson will be an integral part of the show — as he has been for hundreds of concerts and dozens of major celebs the past 25 years.
Anderson, you see, is a "voice doctor." He waits for calls from tour managers whose stars — could be Shania Twain or the Red Hot Chili Peppers or Eddie Vedder or Kylie Minogue — have a voice problem. And unlike the Maytag repairman, Anderson gets called out often.
"Ozzy has a problem later this month: four shows of his tour on consecutive nights," Anderson says. "At his age, he'll be exhausted and his voice will suffer."
That's where Anderson comes in. He'll spend several days with the bat-biting rocker, looking at what he eats (steaks and salads are good for the voice, he says) and drinks, making sure he rests his voice, placing humidifiers in the bedrooms and then talking into Ozzy's earpiece during the show.
Anderson, a retired opera singer, started giving voice advice to bands in the mid-'70s for free. Now, he charges 5 Gs a day.
When word spread last year that pop tart Ashlee Simpson couldn't sing and actually lip-synched during an appearance on Saturday Night Live, Anderson was drafted to help.
"Her problem was physical and she had no technical skills," says Anderson, 60. "But we worked with her and helped her through her new CD. You won't believe the difference. Don't quote me, but she's better than (her sister) Jessica (Simpson)."
You also may see Anderson on the tube now and then. He recently was featured on CBS' reality fare Rock Star and Fox's American Idol — where, Simon Cowell would no doubt admit, some may be beyond Anderson's help.