Classic Rock

Lee Ker­slake

Know­ing that he is liv­ing on bor­rowed time, for­mer Ozzy and Uriah Heep drum­mer Lee Ker­slake looks back at a life filled with highs and lows, friend­ships, fall­outs and rec­on­cil­i­a­tions.

- Words: Dave Ling

Know­ing that he is liv­ing on bor­rowed time, the for­mer Ozzy and Uriah Heep drum­mer looks back at a life filled with of highs and lows, friend­ships, fall­outs and rec­on­cil­i­a­tions.

It’s early Fe­bru­ary 2019. It’s the last Fe­bru­ary Lee Ker­slake will ever see. But, con­sid­er­ing ev­ery­thing that he’s been through, he’s do­ing pretty well. Di­ag­nosed with prostate can­cer in 2014, he’s hang­ing on in there, although more re­cently, with the dis­ease hav­ing spread in­side his body, a doc­tor ad­vised him to ar­range his af­fairs over the fol­low­ing eight months.

“I have bone can­cer, a com­pli­cated type that’s very nasty,” he con­fides, seem­ingly with­out a flicker of emo­tion. “It’s gone right down my spine. Five years ago I was told I had four more years to live. The can­cer then came back with a vengeance. Now I’ve got di­a­betes, pso­ri­atic arthri­tis [a painful con­di­tion which causes in­fla­ma­tion of the joints] and a heart mur­mur. One more and I’d have hit the jack­pot.”

The dry chuckle that fol­lows seems gen­uine.“I’ve got no choice but to laugh,” he shrugs. “And of course mu­sic helps me to keep on fight­ing it.

“I’m liv­ing on bor­rowed time,” he con­tin­ues. “I’ve got be­tween four or five months. Next week they’re giv­ing me a new, un­tried drug. It’s very, very strong and ex­tremely ex­pen­sive. My re­sponse was: ‘Oh, goody, it must work.’ That’s a joke, of course – no­body knows. And I’ve come to terms with it.”

Ker­slake’s ap­par­ent good cheer is lit­tle short of as­ton­ish­ing. Hav­ing been forced to step down from Uriah Heep’s drum stool some 11 years ago, he and his wife Su­san now live in a modest flat sit­u­ated a stone’s throw from one of Bri­tain’s pret­ti­est pub­lic parks, Crys­tal Palace. Spring­time is ap­proach­ing when the drum­mer and song­writer col­lects me from the sta­tion in his car, and I won­der whether he walks his res­cue dog Blaze amid its leafy beauty.

“Since I’ve known that I’m dy­ing I no longer want to hold a grudge.”

“Not any more,” he an­swers ca­su­ally. “It’s too much for me now. These days I’m a rasp­berry rip­ple [rhyming slang for ‘crip­ple’].”

These words seem strange com­ing from the prover­bial bloke’s bloke who in his prime was so pow­er­ful and bulky that his Uriah Heep band­mates nick­named him The Bear. And yet, in spite of all that life has thrown at him, Ker­slake ex­udes an air of peace and con­tent­ment. What he doesn’t project are sor­row, self-pity or awk­ward­ness (from an in­ter­viewer’s per­spec­tive, at least) that you might rea­son­ably ex­pect dur­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with a dy­ing man. If there’s an ex­tra spring to his step, it’s thanks to Ozzy and Sharon Os­bourne.

Six months ago such a state­ment would have been laugh­able. Back in 1980, fol­low­ing eight years with Heep, Ker­slake joined Ozzy, fresh out of Black Sab­bath, in a new group called Bl­iz­zard Of Ozz. Hav­ing played a huge role in the band’s phe­nom­e­nal suc­cess, Ker­slake and bassist Bob Dais­ley were, in Lee’s words “thrown out of the band be­cause Sharon wanted newer mem­bers”, and their con­tri­bu­tions to a se­cond al­bum, Di­ary Of A Mad­man, for which Ker­slake in­sists he co-wrote sev­eral tracks, went un­ac­knowl­edged (Dais­ley also claimed a co-pro­duc­tion role); tour­ing mu­si­cians Rudy Sarzo and Tommy Aldridge ap­peared on its sleeve in­stead. Ker­slake and Dais­ley both al­lege that they didn’t re­ceive per­for­mance roy­al­ties, although they did re­ceive some writ­ing monies.

As the two sides en­trenched – Ker­slake and Dais­ley protest­ing vo­cif­er­ously from the rooftops, the Os­bournes in fierce op­po­si­tion, claim­ing that Lee and Bob were sim­ply hired hands – a bit­ter

feud be­gan. In 1986 the pair sued Jet Records, the com­pany be­hind the two al­bums, and won. Later it emerged that the Os­bourne camp had bought the rights to the first two records, re­brand­ing them as Ozzy solo re­leases. So Lee and Bob sued the new own­ers… and lost, the statute of lim­i­ta­tions – the time frame in which they needed to bring the case to court – hav­ing ex­pired. Adding in­sult to in­jury, when those al­bums were reis­sued in 2002, Ozzy’s then-rhythm sec­tion of Robert Tru­jillo (now with Me­tal­lica) and Mike Bordin (formerly with Faith No More) had over­dubbed the pair’s ex­ist­ing parts. The orig­i­nal per­for­mances were re­in­stated al­most a decade later, but most con­sid­ered it a low blow – petty games­man­ship that many would find it im­pos­si­ble to for­give.

And yet that’s ex­actly what Ker­slake has done. How­ever, it’s been a long road.

The heal­ing be­gan less than a year ago when Ker­slake wrote a deathbed plea to Ozzy and Sharon, re­quest­ing plat­inum discs for Bl­iz­zard Of Ozz and Di­ary Of A Mad­man. Later on he is­sued a state­ment: “Life is too short and I have so much ad­mi­ra­tion for Sharon as a busi­ness­woman. I’d like to think that Sharon, Ozzy and I are friends.”

It worked. Sharon placed a call to Lee’s man­ager, ap­par­ently “with a tear in her eye”, grant­ing the re­quest and re­lay­ing Ozzy’s best wishes. The pre­cious discs weren’t too far be­hind. With ob­vi­ous con­tent­ment, Lee pro­duces a hand­writ­ten let­ter from Ozzy and reads it aloud. The tone is friendly enough. Writ­ten be­fore the forced can­cel­la­tion of Ozzy’s re­cent tour­ing, Ozzy refers to his own ail­ments and be­moans the pass­ing of time since they last met – “it must be at least thir­ty­five years or more” – end­ing with the words: “God bless you [and] stay safe.”

Although the let­ter car­ries no ref­er­ence to guilt nor apol­ogy for any past trans­gres­sion, merely re­ceiv­ing it sat­is­fies Ker­slake. “That’s it,” he says, smil­ing. “Ev­ery­thing is done and dusted.”

You are en­ti­tled to some skep­ti­cism. Af­ter ran­cour, re­sent­ment and ac­ri­mony over four decades, most peo­ple could not sim­ply for­give and for­get in such a ca­sual man­ner.

“Since I’ve known that I’m dy­ing I no longer want to hold a grudge,” Lee ex­plains pa­tiently. “I want to go with a clear con­science. They [Ozzy and Sharon] know I haven’t got much longer left. They [the discs] are all I wanted.”

The out­stand­ing roy­al­ties would have been nice too, though, surely?

“I didn’t want their money or any of the wor­ries about that,” he says, “though of course some might have come in handy, but it ain’t gonna hap­pen,” he re­sponds in an even voice. “That,” he adds, point­ing across the room at the pack­age con­tain­ing discs that ar­rived from Cal­i­for­nia, “is ev­ery­thing. I’ve kept on and on about get­ting it. I fought the case, and in do­ing so I lost an ab­so­lute for­tune.”

Ker­slake and Dais­ley’s court­room de­feat to Ozzy and Sharon prob­a­bly played its part in Lee’s whole re­gret­table spi­ral, which saw him de­clare bank­ruptcy and lose his house.

“Health-wise ev­ery­thing went down­hill af­ter­wards,” he agrees. “But I’ll live with that and I’ll die with it.”

And you’ve re­ally for­given them? Seven years ago you told an in­ter­viewer: “The fact is that Sharon is evil, why she hates [Bob and my­self] I have no idea.”

“Look, enough wa­ter has gone un­der the bridge and I’m will­ing to for­get the nasty bit. The let­ter was enough for me to say that’s it, the ha­tred is over.”

As if to prove this point, a few days af­ter this in­ter­view took place, and fol­low­ing the lat­est drama in the Os­bournes soap opera, Ker­slake took to Facebook to plead: “Peo­ple, please lay off of Sharon. Ozzy is very ill and she has enough to con­tend with.”

This is re­mark­able. But then Lee Ker­slake has lived a re­mark­able life.

He was born in Win­ton, near Bournemout­h, in 1947. His first band of sig­nif­i­cance was The Gods. An out­stand­ing tal­ent pool, at one time or an­other their line-up would in­clude Greg Lake, fu­ture Rolling Stones gui­tarist Mick Tay­lor, gui­tarist Alan Shack­lock, who be­came a star with Babe Ruth, the Glas­cock broth­ers Brian and John (the lat­ter would join Jethro Tull), fu­ture Heep co-founder Paul New­ton and, most sig­nif­i­cantly from a Ker­slake view­point, Ken Hens­ley. The lat­ter, flam­boy­ant, ex­cep­tion­ally tal­ented and prone to dis­plays of mega­lo­ma­nia – dur­ing his fi­nal days with Heep the key­board player, gui­tarist and song­writer de­manded his own per­sonal light­ing rig – was des­tined to be­come a piv­otal fig­ure in Ker­slake’s fortunes. Across more than half a cen­tury the pair have been blood both­ers as well as sworn en­e­mies, and all stages in be­tween.

The Gods made three al­bums, in­clud­ing a provoca­tive fi­nal one called Or­gasm un­der the han­dle Head Machine, and en­joyed a suc­cess­ful

“Walk­ing away from Uriah Heep was the hardest thing I ever had to do, but I knew I was ill.”

“Life is too short… I’d like to think that Sharon, Ozzy and I are friends.”

res­i­dency at Lon­don’s Mar­quee club earn­ing the then-princely sum of £25 a week. Then at Christ­mas time in 1969 Hens­ley left to join the em­bry­onic Uriah Heep (then still known as Spice).

Although Heep’s as­cent over the course of three al­bums was grad­ual, by 1972 the five-piece stood on the precipice of some­thing very big in­deed. Their la­bel, Bronze Records, drove the band hard – some might say too hard. Some­how they re­leased two al­bums each year and spent the re­main­ing 11 months on tour. The third al­bum, 1971’s Look At Your­self, fi­nally pro­pelled them into the Top 40 at home. Doors were also open­ing in Amer­ica, where the band would soon be sup­ported by Kiss. And although Heep had got off to a bad start with the US press (a critic from Rolling Stone promised: “If this band makes it, I’ll have to com­mit sui­cide”), a be­grudg­ing re­spect was blos­som­ing.

Ker­slake was en­joy­ing life with the Na­tional Head Band when he was in­vited to join Heep in late 1971. He felt bad about leaving his col­leagues in the lurch – that is un­til he was told about how much he would earn.

Decades later, it’s dif­fi­cult to ex­plain just how big Uriah Heep be­came in what seemed a fairly short amount of time. This rapid rise had much to do with the star qual­ity of their charis­matic front­man, David By­ron.

“When David was on form no­body could touch him,” Ker­slake ex­claims. “He was unique and un­afraid of any­one. I re­mem­ber a gig open­ing for Rod Ste­wart, who was one of the best show­men in rock. Af­ter we came off, Rod asked: ‘How the fuck am I sup­posed to fol­low that?’”

Heep’s break­through, with the al­bum Demons And Wizards, was just around the cor­ner. But by the time it ar­rived, four-fifths of the line-up and Gerry Bron of Bronze Records were at log­ger­heads. As their la­bel boss, pro­ducer and man­ager, Bron had ma­neu­vered him­self into the wear­ing of three hats, some­thing that Ker­slake feels would to­day be deemed “il­le­gal”.

“It’s a con­flict of in­ter­ests,” he main­tains. “Gerry and I never re­ally got on. We clashed al­most ev­ery step of the way, I ad­mit that.”

With Ken Hens­ley hav­ing as­sumed the role of chief com­poser, Bron was prob­a­bly right to en­cour­age the productivi­ty of his golden goose, although of course this per­ceived favouritis­m was di­vi­sive in a group riven with in­di­vid­ual quar­rels, in­clud­ing a ri­valry be­tween Hens­ley and the in­creas­ingly way­ward and self­de­struc­tive By­ron. The lat­ter was sacked af­ter the ap­pro­pri­ately ti­tled High And Mighty al­bum in 1976. By that point bass player Gary Thain had died of a heroin over­dose, some­thing that gui­tarist Mick Box has al­ways at­trib­uted to the work­load forced upon them.

Ker­slake wasn’t the only one com­plain­ing about the state of af­fairs, but his voice might have been the loud­est.

“Ken wanted to con­trol the band, and he couldn’t, not with my­self and Micky around,”

he sighs now. “But there were times when I had to say to Micky: ‘I can’t fight all of the prob­lems, be­cause I haven’t the strength, not alone’. It caused me to leave the band. And I’m glad that I did so.”

It all came to a head in Oc­to­ber 1979. Ker­slake still sim­mers when re­count­ing his first exit from Uriah Heep – at the hand of Gerry Bron, although the or­ders came from Ken Hens­ley.

“Bron ac­tu­ally called me ir­rel­e­vant,” he seethes. “This was a man who took fifty per cent of our earn­ings but stopped pay­ing us for a year to fi­nance his air­line project. Fi­nally I told him to stick Uriah Heep up his arse – it was the only place it would fit. But when Gerry or­dered me from his stu­dio I replied: ‘When I’m ready; I bought one­fifth of this place’.”

Lee had toyed with a solo project, but then he re­ceived a call from the Ger­man con­cert pro­moter, Ossy Hoppe, who re­vealed that Ozzy had a new band but didn’t have a drum­mer.

“What I did was – and this is the ab­so­lute truth – I au­di­tioned them as they au­di­tioned me,” Lee beams. “I wasn’t go­ing straight back into an­other band to be treated again like a se­cond-class cit­i­zen. I knew Bob from his days with Wi­d­ow­maker, but I’d never seen or heard Randy be­fore. Randy was the tini­est kid, so thin and good look­ing.

“I’ve got no choice but to laugh. And of course mu­sic helps me to keep on fight­ing.”

“They were both set­ting up when I ar­rived at the stu­dio,” he con­tin­ues. “And then Ozzy ar­rived – with his hair cut off and wear­ing a fur coat he looked like a griz­zly bear.”

Lee re­mem­bers that af­ter powering through a sin­gle num­ber, pos­si­bly I Don’t Know, “Randy jumped up in the air and roared: ‘We’ve got our­selves a fuck­ing drum­mer!’” ig­nit­ing a warm friend­ship be­tween the English drum­mer and the gui­tar prodigy from Cal­i­for­nia.

Although the writ­ing for the de­but was “al­most fin­ished” when Ker­slake joined Bl­iz­zard Of Ozz, he added drum parts and threw in sug­ges­tions for words and mu­sic. When Jet Records boss Don Ar­den heard it, he com­manded: “Get straight back into the stu­dio and make an­other one, be­cause you’re go­ing to be away for at least a year and a half on tour in Amer­ica.” And so it proved.

Ker­slake and Dais­ley be­came scape­goats when Sharon Os­bourne de­manded the band should play two shows a day in cer­tain cities. Ev­ery­body else – in­clud­ing Ozzy and Randy – op­posed the propo­si­tion, but be­cause Lee had been the mes­sen­ger his card was marked. “Ozzy had said: ‘No, no, I just can’t do it’, and started shit­ting him­self,” Lee in­sists.

This was an oddly vul­ner­a­ble point for Ozzy, who at the start of his solo ca­reer seemed to be lack­ing con­fi­dence. “He was al­ways a bag of nerves be­fore go­ing on stage,” Lee agrees. “But once out there he be­came the Ozzy char­ac­ter that we know.”

The fleet-fin­gered, clas­si­cally trained Rhoads soon be­came a hot prop­erty, his imag­i­na­tive technique prompt­ing Gui­tar Player mag­a­zine to vote him the Best New Tal­ent of 1981. Al­ways seek­ing to im­prove, Rhoads sought out clas­si­cal gui­tar tutors on the road. Ker­slake had no doubts that had Rhoads not died trag­i­cally in the plane crash dur­ing the tour­ing for Di­ary, the de­vel­op­ing star would have moved away from rock and into an­other area of mu­sic.

“Even be­fore Bob and I were sacked, Randy had told a friend of Bob’s that he was leaving the band,” Lee claims. “He wanted to teach clas­si­cal gui­tar. But of course he never got the chance. What hap­pened – go­ing up in a plane, with a pi­lot on co­caine, which dive-bombed the bus and the wing catch­ing the bus – was com­pletely stupid. But Randy was go­ing to leave, there was no ques­tion of that. And he would have found suc­cess in any­thing he turned his hand to.”

Lee stepped up with the writ­ing of Di­ary Of A Mad­man, and claims he had a hand in most of its eight songs, although this would not pre­vent

his ruth­less sack­ing be­fore a se­cond bout of tour­ing. How­ever, the tim­ing of get­ting the axe and a re­turn to a re­con­sti­tuted, re­vi­talised Uriah Heep for their 1982 al­bum Abominog now seems al­most heaven-sent.

“Micky Box wanted to put the band back to­gether again. Oh, how I loved that pe­riod and Abominog,” Lee ex­claims hap­pily.

The rea­son was sim­ple. “There was no Gerry Bron!” he says, laugh­ing loudly. “Gerry had said: ‘I don’t like those songs.’ And although the al­bum came out through Bronze, he wasn’t the pro­ducer. Abominog was a very suc­cess­ful record for us.”

Abominog and its fol­low-up Head First both al­lowed Heep to en­ter the 1980s with a fresh and con­tem­po­rary-sound­ing re­boot. There fol­lowed good times and bad, but even at the band’s nadir dur­ing the early 90s Lee’s loyalty re­mained un­ques­tioned. In ’04 he was part of Liv­ing Loud, a project fea­tur­ing Dais­ley, the Deep Pur­ple duo of Steve Morse and Don Airey, and singer Jimmy Barnes. Even­tu­ally, though, in 2007 de­clin­ing health forced him to walk away from his beloved Uriah Heep for the fi­nal time.

“That was the hardest thing I ever had to do, but I knew I was ill,” he sighs. “I was so tired that I screwed up on stage – I couldn’t re­mem­ber one of the songs. I had to own up to Micky Box: ‘I can’t play any more, mate. There are too many things wrong with me.’ So I went to Por­tu­gal for a break, came back, and that’s when the doc­tors told me I had can­cer.”

There fol­lowed a course of chemo­ther­apy, “which went slightly wrong”, and a pe­riod of time spent in iso­la­tion wards. Ker­slake re­calls be­ing at Lewisham Hospi­tal and de­cid­ing that he’d had enough, and in­formed the med­i­cal staff that he was go­ing home.

“A doc­tor said: ‘Do so and you’ll be dead by the time you get there’. Bang – that’s when the sever­ity hit me. I was told that my con­di­tion was worse than Aids; con­tract even a touch of a cold and I was a goner.”

Heep brought in Rus­sell Gil­brook as Ker­slake’s re­place­ment. Twelve years and four al­bums later, Gil­brook re­mains with the group, who have un­der­gone yet an­other re­vival in fortunes, in­clud­ing last year’s well-re­ceived Liv­ing The Dream al­bum. The ever-can­did Ker­slake praises his suc­ces­sor, but ad­mits it took time ad­just­ing to Gil­brook’s ‘busier’ style. “At first Russ thrashed around like a lu­natic on The Mup­pet Show, but he’s learned to pull things back,” he says, smil­ing. “Now he’s tremen­dous.”

While still with Heep, de­spite hav­ing vowed never to ab­solve the “skul­dug­gery” of the past (“Ken’s be­come a born again Chris­tian – what bol­locks! He did evil things,” Lee once thun­dered), Ker­slake did even­tu­ally for­give Hens­ley, when the key­board player made a guest ap­pear­ance with the band at an event called The Ma­gi­cian’s Birth­day Party in Lon­don in 2001.

“Ken walked into re­hearsals and gave me a huge hug. I was so glad [the bit­ter­ness] was over,” Ker­slake rem­i­nisces. “We had both suf­fered for the neg­a­tiv­ity. It was time to let it go.”

Ker­slake and Hens­ley ap­peared to­gether again with Uriah Heep in 2015 at a one-off show in Mos­cow, play­ing along­side the cur­rent line-up.

“I’d love to have done a cou­ple more of those, but it wasn’t to be,” the drum­mer says rue­fully.

Ker­slake did make an­other cameo with Heep, ap­pear­ing from the wings at the band’s Shep­herd’s Bush Em­pire gig back in De­cem­ber. It was just days af­ter he’d an­nounced his ter­mi­nal ill­ness, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house as he sang back­ing vo­cals on Lady In Black with Box and front­man Bernie Shaw, and also joined Gil­brook on the drum riser to hit a few cym­bals.

“It was a beau­ti­ful ex­pe­ri­ence, but back in the dress­ing room I broke down and cried,” he says. “I have given forty years of my life to that band, and to know there’s not much longer left…” His voice trails off. “I’d still love to do some­thing bigger with me, Micky and Ken.”

Ker­slake’s re­con­nec­tion with Hens­ley is such that, should re­main­ing time al­low, there’s talk of work­ing to­gether again in some ca­pac­ity.

Mean­while, there’s a crowd­fund­ing ap­peal for an au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal doc­u­men­tary. Ti­tled Not On The Heep, it was born in the most ran­dom man­ner af­ter Ker­slake hap­pened to meet and strike up a con­ver­sa­tion with the Bri­tish ac­tress-turnedBAFT­A-nom­i­nated writer and direc­tor Tayla Good­man in Crys­tal Palace Park. The doc­u­men­tary will fea­ture ap­pear­ances from Def Lep­pard’s Joe El­liott and Deep Pur­ple’s Ian Paice. With the project al­ready “two-thirds com­pleted”, Lee hopes to in­clude David Gil­mour, Gene Sim­mons, Paul Stan­ley and a num­ber of other mu­si­cian pals.

“The point of the film is friend­ship,” Lee ex­plains. “I’m em­pha­sis­ing the ca­ma­raderie be­tween mu­si­cians who re­main mates even when they don’t speak to one an­other for twenty or thirty years.”

He also has a new stu­dio al­bum called Eleven­teen on the hori­zon. “It’s a var­ied mix of styles, from a bal­lad about my mum to a sin­ga­long pub song called A Port And A Brandy,” he re­veals. “With all of my ill­nesses, it took three and a half years to make. Ide­ally the doc­u­men­tary and al­bum will be re­leased si­mul­ta­ne­ously, but they are what they are and I’m proud of them.”

Be­sides his ac­knowl­edge­ment from Ozzy, Ker­slake re­cently flew to Cal­i­for­nia to be in­ducted into the Hall Of Heavy Metal His­tory (Bob Dais­ley, un­able to at­tend, sent John Sykes as a proxy).

Ker­slake’s eyes have threat­ened to pro­duce tears through­out our con­ver­sa­tion to­day, but on his face now is a mas­sive grin.

“I’m smil­ing be­cause I’ve seen life,” he ex­plains. “I was a few hun­dred feet away when those planes crashed into the Twin Tow­ers on 9/11 [Lee was in New York fight­ing the Os­bournes on that fate­ful day in 2001]. The ex­pe­ri­ence had a big ef­fect upon me.”

Were it pos­si­ble to go back and al­ter some things from along the way, what would they be?

“I don’t think I’d change any­thing, ex­cept the ill­nesses,” he says.

“I made my mis­takes, and I tried to learn from them.”

As a much younger man, Ker­slake was feisty and bullish. To­day his in­ner calm and dig­nity are im­pres­sive.

“I was full of en­ergy back then; I could go three days with­out sleep. But I never had an ego. I al­ways stayed my­self.”

Is it fair to say he could be feisty and short-tem­pered in his youth?

“Maybe,” he says, grin­ning.

“I lost my rag be­cause I al­ways knew what I wanted – and I didn’t like peo­ple stand­ing in my way.” How would he like to be re­mem­bered? “As one of the great drum­mers in rock mu­sic and as a song­writer,” is the solemn re­sponse. “I’m un­der­ap­pre­ci­ated as a writer. Peo­ple just don’t know that me, Randy and Bob wrote Di­ary Of A Mad­man. I hope peo­ple think of me as a de­cent hu­man be­ing.

I don’t think I’m an ass­hole, I like my­self.”

For­give­ness for Ozzy and Sharon and also for Hens­ley is one thing, but Ker­slake re­fuses to ex­tend it to the late Gerry Bron, who passed away in 2012.

“I could go on for­ever about how badly Gerry ripped off the band and me, but he’s dead now,” he states. “Let him rest in peace, and I’ll keep on go­ing for as long as I can.”

Pre­par­ing to take my leave, I ask him where he’ll hang his pre­cious plat­inum discs.

“In the bed­room, so I can see them when I drift off to sleep and again in the morn­ing,” he replies. “I worked hard for them, so why not?”

“I hope peo­ple think of me as a de­cent hu­man be­ing. I don’t think

I’m an ass­hole, I like my­self.”

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 ??  ?? Happy days: Recording the Bl­iz­zard Of Ozz al­bum at Ridge Farm stu­dios in 1980: (l-r) gui­tarist Randy Rhoads, Lee Ker­slake, Ozzy Os­bourne
and bassist Bob Dais­ley.
Happy days: Recording the Bl­iz­zard Of Ozz al­bum at Ridge Farm stu­dios in 1980: (l-r) gui­tarist Randy Rhoads, Lee Ker­slake, Ozzy Os­bourne and bassist Bob Dais­ley.
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 ??  ?? Uriah Heep circa 1980: (l-r)
Bernie Shaw, Mick Box, Lee Ker­slake, Phil Lan­zon, Trevor Bolder.
Still be­hind the kit: Lee Ker­slake at home
on May 30, 2014.
Uriah Heep circa 1980: (l-r) Bernie Shaw, Mick Box, Lee Ker­slake, Phil Lan­zon, Trevor Bolder. Still be­hind the kit: Lee Ker­slake at home on May 30, 2014.
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 ??  ?? Lee at home in Lon­don with some of his pre­cious plat­inum discs, for Bl­iz­zard Of Ozz.
Lee at home in Lon­don with some of his pre­cious plat­inum discs, for Bl­iz­zard Of Ozz.

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