The Osbournes have welcomed a new member into the family.
No, Jack, Kelly and Aimee don’t have a new sibling, but the Ozzman does have a new guy in his closely knit band. Earlier this week, Sharon Osbourne put in the call to Rob “Blasko” Nicholson, best known for his years playing bass for Rob Zombie, to tell him he’s landed the gig vacated by former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted.
Newsted, with the band for less than a year, left for undisclosed reasons, and Nicholson couldn’t be happier about the opportunity.
“It’s still settling in,” Nicholson enthused, talking on his cell phone while driving through Hollywood. “It’s something I never would have imagined. After playing with Rob Zombie, I was ready to go, ‘OK, this is as far as I’m taking this bass-playing thing. This is the end of the road.’ I was ready to kind of hang it up.
“But when this came around, it was very odd,” he added. “I was almost like, ‘There is no possible way that this could happen.’ ”
Newsted, busy writing new material with the cult thrash band Voivod, declined to comment.
Ozzy recruited Newsted following the departure of longtime bassist Robert Trujillo, who coincidentally quit to fill the position Jason left vacant in Metallica. Despite talk of writing an album together (see “Ozzy Compares Newsted To Geezer Butler, Wants To Record LP” ), Jason parted ways with Ozzy sometime after fulfilling his touring obligations on this year’s Ozzfest.
At least one other bassist — Fear Factory’s Christian Olde Wolbers — jammed with Ozzy, guitarist Zakk Wylde and drummer Mike Bordin in recent weeks, but Nicholson was hired after successfully completing two auditions.
“The first audition was a little intimidating, to say the least,” Nicholson said. “Granted, I know Zakk and I’ve been on Ozzfest before. The situation wasn’t uncomfortable, it was just intimidating, playing these songs that I had never played. But the second audition, I was a lot more prepared.
” ‘Into the Void’ is my favorite Black Sabbath song, and Ozzy called it out,” he continued. “At that moment, I realized, even if I don’t get the gig, the fact that I got to play ‘Into the Void’ with Ozzy was the coolest moment of my life.”
During the auditions the band also played songs like “I Don’t Know,” “Bark at the Moon,” “Crazy Train” and “Paranoid.”
In recent weeks, Nicholson had been recording music with Helmet’s Page Hamilton and his Rob Zombie bandmate John Tempesta. And he said that when Zombie releases a new record, he’d be open to the idea of touring with him if the offer were extended and scheduling with Osbourne’s band permitted.
“He seemed like he was over playing music for a while,” Blasko said of the singer-turned-filmmaker. “But even then, I thought he’d sit at home for a year and miss it. It comes as no shock that he’s back in the studio and wanting to work on some new music. That kind of thing is in your blood. I think he just needed to step away from it for a while. I’m totally backing the idea of him working on a new record, and I think it’ll be good.”
For now there’s no word on a new Ozzy album, according to a management spokesperson, although the singer was last known to be hard at work on a musical about Rasputin in his home studio (see “And The Tony Award Goes To … Ozzy Osbourne?” ) and enjoying the fruits of a newfound treatment for his health (see “Ozzy Regains Control Of His Health, Says He Finally ‘Feels Good Again’ “ ).