JAKE E. LEE is clearing the air about songwriting credits during his stint with OZZY OSBOURNE, something that’s obviously been bothering him for more than 30 years according to ultimateclassicrock.com.
Lee joined Osbourne’s band just before 1983′s ‘Bark at the Moon,’ replacing late guitarist Randy Rhoads. When the album appeared, all lyrics and music were credited to Osbourne — in direct violation of an agreement Lee says they had going into the sessions.
“I was told from the get-go, ‘[If] you write part of the songs, you’ll get writing credit, you’ll get publishing. That’s part of your deal,’” Lee told Eddie Trunk in a new interview (via Blabbermouth). Later, however, after he recorded the final guitar track, “They said, ‘Ah! We have the contract for you.’ And in it, it says, specifically, ‘Ozzy Osbourne wrote all the songs. You had nothing to do with any of the writing, you have no claim to publishing and you cannot say so publicly.’”
When he balked, he says Sharon Osbourne, Ozzy’s wife and manager, told him he’d have to accept the new terms — or else his contributions would be erased. “She says, ‘Because if you don’t, we’ll give you a plane ticket, you go back home and you stand in line and you sue us. In the meantime, we have all your tracks, we’ll get another guitar player, he’ll redo your tracks, and you’ll have nothing,’” Lee added.
‘Bark at the Moon’ became a Top 20 hit album, going triple platinum, but the success always left a bad taste in Lee’s mouth. “The only reason I’m saying it now is because that was just mean — that was mean,” he said. “What am I gonna do? Really? Am I gonna say, ‘Fine. I’m going home. Take my tracks off. Some other guy will get all the credit for playing guitar, and I still have to try to sue you for the rights?’ It would have been just … not a good decision.”
Lesson learned, Lee said he got everything in writing before returning to work on Osbourne’s 1986 follow up, ‘The Ultimate Sin.’ “I refused to do anything until I had a contract in front of me,” he said, “promising me writing credit and publishing.”
Lee ended up with co-writing credit on eight of ‘The Ultimate Sin”s the nine songs, though not its breakout hit ‘Shot in the Dark.’ He’s since founded a new band called Red Dragon Cartel.