Steve Vai reveals he recorded a whole album with Ozzy Osbourne in the '90s that was never released

Steve Vai and Ozzy Osbourne
(Image credit: Lisa Lake/Getty Images, Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)

Steve Vai has revealed that he once recorded a whole album with Ozzy Osbourne which has yet to see the light of day.

The record, which is still very much "sitting on the shelf", was recorded in 1995 during the pair's collaboration on Ozzy's Ozzmosis, which features the Osbourne/Vai co-write My Little Man. 

In an exclusive interview with Eonmusic to promote his new album Vai / Gash, the guitarist reflects on his time working with Ozzy, and reveals how their collaboration in the '90s actually grew into something much larger than expected.

“Well, I'm sitting on a whole Ozzy record, and it's like the Gash record - not 'like' the Gash record, but it's a project that I recorded that's sitting on the shelf”, Vai reveals.

Unfortunately, it looks like the album will most likely remain unreleased, as Vai doesn't have "any control over it or rights to it obviously", which is disappointing, with the guitarist revealing that they "did record some pretty good stuff”.

Elaborating on the sound of the secret project, Vai continues, “The interesting thing about that stuff we recorded from a guitar perspective is all of my rhythm guitar parts, I use an octave divider [guitar effect], and that the record doesn't sound like anything else.

"There was some real, real heavy stuff because, as I mentioned, I used an octave divider on everything, and that's was a conscious effort”.

When asked how close he came to joining Ozzy's band, the guitarist explains, “So Ozzy and I, basically what happened as far as I recognised, Ozzy had recorded about half of his record (Ozzmosis, 1995) for the record company, and Sharon and the label wanted to get him together with some different songwriters to just get some more songs.

“I was one of the ones that they wanted to get together with. It was really just to write some songs for Ozzy's record that he would then take and go use for his record, and whoever he was working with on the record would record it. So I thought; "yeah, that'd be great. I'd love to do that".

During the studio sessions, the pair noticed that they worked particularly well together, and ended up creating more songs than they were supposed to.

“Ozzy and I got carried away because we were having a lot of fun, and we ended up recording a lot of stuff, and then we started scheming; "hey, let's make a new record!", and all that was fine and good, and we got excited about it until the hammer came down, and they basically said; "what are you doing? No, you just got to take a song from Vai and finish your record. We're already into it for this much money, and Vai is expense".

Of how he felt about working with The Prince of Darkness prior to the collaboration, Vai recalls: “I thought "okay, you're going to work with Ozzy, and all these incredible guitar players have played with Ozzy; what are you going to do?" I was not going to be conventional”.

"Yeah, that's not me as you know, but I had to be accessible, so I thought; "I'm going to use an octave divider on everything”.

You read the entire exclusive interview with Vai on Eonmusic

Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music.