CHRIS IMPELLITTERI Says He Was Approached By SHARON OSBOURNE About Joining OZZY's Band
April 12, 2020
In a brand new interview with Canada's The Metal Voice, neo-classical guitarist Chris Impellitteri was asked if he has ever been approached, over the course of his three-and-a-half-decade career, about joining a big band. He responded (see video below): "The answer is yes, I have been offered multiple times to join big bands. I'm not gonna say who they are, 'cause of their guitar players still exist in their bands. So I certainly had that opportunity.
"I have to be honest — I feel really blessed," he continued. "There's something about doing your own thing. If I was to join an established band, which I would be open to it if it was something I was really passionate about — about their music, about the artist — but I also have to recognize, would I be happy kind of playing covers? 'Cause, really, that's what you're doing — you're playing someone else's creation. And there's nothing wrong with that. But, for me, I like to be able to express myself.
"The one thing I really love about being an artist is that you get to start with a blank canvas and create something that comes from our soul," he added. "And so joining a band, I don't know how I'd feel about that."
Chris also talked about the time he was contacted by Ozzy Osbourne's camp about playing guitar for the legendary BLACK SABBATH singer. He said: "That's where I go, 'Do I exaggerate the truth?' I don't know. What I remember, and forgive me, this was long even before Zakk [Wylde joined Ozzy]. I get my years confused, 'cause it was so long ago — maybe it was '86 or '87… I think [Jake E. Lee] was still in the band, to be honest. I remember coming back, 'cause at that time I lived in Hollywood, and I remember I had roommates at that time. I remember coming home, and my roommate goes, 'Hey, you've gotta listen.' I was, like, 'What?' And he goes over to our answering machine, and he hit 'Play' on it, and it was Sharon Osbourne. And Sharon basically said, I guess her and Ozzy were checking me out and wanted to know if I'd be interested in playing guitar for him.
"I remember thinking about it, and it was around that time, I believe, [the band IMPELLITTERI] had signed with Relativity and Sony, which was [before the release of the] 'Stand In Line' [album], so we had a record deal. And I wanted to do it, because Randy [Rhoads], he was like a hero to me — he's one of those guys where, yeah, I would bite the bullet and say, 'Oh, yeah, I wanna play this music.' 'Cause, again, I'm playing someone else's creation, but I loved him so much, I'd be into it. And I remember they called me a few times — I probably talked to them four or five times. But I know, legally speaking, I had a deal, so I really couldn't go much further with it. And that was it — it was about five or six calls, and that was the end of it.
"Looking back, in hindsight, I'd be an idiot not to have done it, but the reality is, who knows how serious they really were, because after five or six conversations, it didn't go anywhere. The Jake thing, as far as I know, kept going.
"My memory is distorted about the whole thing too, so I try not to sit there and say, 'Yeah, they [had] a million-dollar check waiting for me,'" Chris added. "It was nothing like that — there was no commitments whatsoever. I guess they had an interest in me. And I think it was initiated originally by some A&R guy at Atlantic Records, who, I guess, was friends with them and turned them on to me and they started listening to some of my music. And at that time, I think the only thing we had out was the IMPELLITTERI [self-titled] EP."
Asked if he would record an album with Ozzy today if he was approached to join Osbourne's band and contribute to the songwriting process, Chris said: "I guess the answer would be yes. I'd be a fool not to… Let's be honest — yeah, I would probably do it. But I would wanna do a record like 'Diary Of A Madman'… But would they allow it?... I listened to Ozzy's newest record ['Ordinary Man'], I've heard some of the solo material, and, look, Ozzy sounds great. A lot of it sounds very Pro Tooled. I listen to it as a guitar player, and — I'm sorry — it doesn't do a lot for me. It's good music — don't get me wrong.
"With someone like me, believe me, I'm hard headed," he continued. "So let's pretend, in my fantasy example, if he called me again and said, 'Hey, we want you to be in the band,' if he would allow me to do another record like 'Diary Of A Madman' or first solo record — where I could do stuff like 'Revelation (Mother Earth)', 'Mr. Crowley'; stuff like that — 'Diary Of A Madman', 'Flying High Again', I'd be there in a heartbeat."
Pondering the "what could have been," Chris added: "In '86, let's say I was able to do it, and it worked out. And I would bitch and moan or whatever, 'Let me do another 'Diary',' or whatever, do one of those records, if he had done that, would it have been successful? Because he became much more commercial [in the ensuing years]. Those were great songs with Zakk Wylde, and it really elevated Ozzy's career commercially, versus me, being more hardcore metal, would that have hurt somebody like him? I don't know."
IMPELLITTERI's latest album, "The Nature Of The Beast", which was released in October 2018 via Frontiers Music Srl.
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