Ozzy Osbourne auditioned Richie Kotzen and Testament guitarist Alex Skolnick to replace Zakk Wylde in the 90’s. Alex told the story on Waste Some Time With Jason Green. Ozzy Osbourne Fired A Big Name For A ‘Bad Reason.’
“I didn’t know the whole back story, but I guess at that point, Zakk Wylde was doing his own thing, and they were looking to move on from Zakk, even though he had recorded the most recent album, which was “Ozzmosis.’
“They were not doing a public audition, they were trying a few different players. I know Richie Kotzen auditioned – great player, by the way – some others as well.
“But for some reason, they hadn’t found the right fit. I ended up flying to London and auditioning with Ozzy in a dingy rehearsal place in London, and I was basically there for about a week. We ended up doing an unannounced show, and it seemed to go well, he seemed really happy.
“Everybody in the crew said, ‘This is the happiest we’ve seen him. This feels right. I’m sure you’ve got this.’ Ozzy basically told me I’ve got this. But then the one person who didn’t congratulate me was the one who was supposed to let you know if you’re hired or not [referring to Sharon Osbourne].
“She didn’t seem disappointed, but I kind of got the sense of, ‘Alright. It’s not decided.’ Anyway, a bunch of time goes by and I don’t hear anything, so I kind of assume nothing’s happening.
“And then I find out they got the guitarist Joe Holmes, who had auditioned for them earlier on. He had been a candidate at the time Zakk Wylde had tried out.
“I was also getting these messages – subtle messages – about my stance and lowering the guitar. And I realized, ‘Oh…’ Now, having been in the music and entertainment industry for a while, and knowing about casting and things like that, I think they were very used to Zakk.
“And I think at first they were trying to make me more like that. They were used to this guitar-slinging, lumberjack thing. I don’t know – obviously, you would have to ask her.
“But I would guess that instead of somebody sort of known and somebody that’s gonna be this featured guitar hero, let’s just take somebody who can play well but will move into the background. And that’s how that was. And I wouldn’t have been happy doing that.” Ultimate-Guitar transcribed Alex’s comments.