Night Ranger guitarist Brad Gillis had a recent conversation with Greg Prato of ‘Guitar World’ and recalled the chat he had with Sharon Osbourne while he was playing for The Prince of Darkness.
In 1978, Gillis played with his first band Rubicon in front of 250.000 people and started climbing the ladder of fame as a popular guitarist in the rock scene. After the unexpected death of Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist, Randy Rhoads, Ozzy decided to hire Bernie Torme. However, he did not like Bernie’s playing style and hired Gillis as Randy’s replacement in 1982.
In his conversation with Guitar World, Brad was asked to tell what it was like recording Osbourne’s ‘Speak of the Devil’ album. The Night Ranger guitarist admitted that the band was highly stressed after the death of Randy Rhoads and since he was very excited to share the stage with such an icon, he sometimes messed up on stage.
According to Brad, his first concert was in Binghamton, New York and he ended up coming into the fast section of ‘Revelation’ too early. Gillis revealed that the next night, Ozzy’s manager and wife Sharon came to warn him saying, that although he’s doing well he should be careful and ‘not fu*k up again.’
Here is what Brad said in the interview:
“You have to realize that after the sad death of Randy Rhoads, the band was going through a lot of emotional stress throughout the rest of the tour. So, when I joined the band, it was quite a heavy situation.
Bernie Tormé was playing guitar at that time in the interim, before a permanent replacement was added. And when I flew to New York for the audition, I basically found out it was just me. So, I did the best I could practicing in my hotel room every day, with a small amp, a boombox and a live board cassette with Randy that had been recorded a few months earlier
At night, I would go to the shows to watch the live performance from the soundboard. I was amazed at the large castle, fire, explosives, and the hanging of the dwarf – realizing that in a few days, I was going to be up on stage. I’ll never forget the sound man looking over at me and laughing, saying, ‘You’re next buddy!'”
“My first night was quite a horrendous experience – because not only was I scared to death, at soundcheck, we only played seven out of the 18-song set, and Ozzy didn’t even show up. My first gig was sold out in Binghamton, New York for 8,000 people. That was basically my entrance into Ozzy’s world.
I ended up botching ‘Revelation,’ as I ended up coming into the fast section too early, and the whole band looked at me like, ‘What the hell are you doing?’ I stopped playing, regained my composure, and finished out the song and the set – with no other major mistakes.
The next night before we went on stage, Sharon came up to me, saying, ‘Bradley, you’re doing a great job. But tonight… Don’t fuck up.‘”
You can watch Ozzy and Gillis’ ‘Revelation (Mother Earth)’ performance below.