For Facts Sake (Book Review)
Released: 2013, Thompson Music
If you are Hard Rock/Heavy Metal fan you know Bob Daisley, even though you may not realize it. Daisley is one of the most respected and experience bassists in all of Rock. Since his early career in Australia in pub bands he has risen to his current stature playing with countless classic Rock and Metal bands over the past 40 years including Ozzy, Black Sabbath, Rainbow and many more. The eye catching cover lists 15 bands he has been in and inside he tells of many more that he worked with a session player and/or hired gun. FOR FACTS SAKE is a is big book, an oversized paperback with glossy paper and it is over 300 pages long. If it was a normal sized paperback it would be closer to 500 pages long. There are tons of photographs as well many candid, relaxed and personal shots from his private collection. I would have liked to have maybe an introduction or foreword by a person more famous than Kelle Rhoads, brother of Randy, (Bob certainly knows enough famous people) but Kelle does a heartfelt job. There is no index, table or contents or discography, the latter of which would have been invaluable.
Daisley tells his life story in a conventional linear fashion from his early childhood in Australia, his move to London in 1971 and spreads the story across Twenty-two chapters. He talks about his family, his homes, his love affair with jukeboxes and his extensive collection and he is a gear guy as well. There is lots of detail about his gear and collection of rare basses so gear-heads will get a kick out of that as well. There is a bit of sex, drugs and rock and roll but not at the expense of the story and he doesn’t dwell on the party lifestyle, even though he was there, he seemed to keep his head screwed on pretty straight. He has hung out on a social level with so many famous people, The Beatles, The Who, Led Zeppelin and so many more during that exciting time in the early days of Hard Rock, that nay classic rock fan will devour this. All of it is from his own pen, he did not use a ghost-writer and his style is laid back laced with humour and wit. Some readers might get confused with some of the older British and Australian sayings and/or phrases. He seems a very decent sort.
Daisley kept extensive diaries through is life so there are extensive dates and times to help document his adventures. This is a real strength of the book. Many books written by aging Rock/Metal starts lack detail, they can’t remember names, places, studios or even in some cases who was in the band at certain points. FOR FACTS SAKE is loaded with detail, about which session member came to the studio on what day and what time and what songs they worked on! This is a trivia hounds treasure trove! Daisley also always seemed to have a camera handy, and as mentioned in the introductory paragraph, this book is packed with photos, probably hundreds, from across the decades. They really bring his story and the authenticity of his claims to life.
While the pace and tone was even and flowed well I noticed that there were certain sections of the book I was far more interested in, namely the middle. I’m a Metal guy and deep down Daisley is a Blues/Hard Rock guy who happened to be in the Metal scene for some years, due to his talent and timing. The early years of Daisley’s life, while interesting didn’t excite me because I’m not really a fan of those bands late 60’s and early 70’s bands that he was in such as Widowmaker, Mungo Jerry and Chicken Shack. The later years, the last part of the book were not as interesting either because I’m not really a fan of the bands he was in later in life, The Hoochie-Coo Men, Living Loud and the reincarnated 70’s Australian band Kahvas Jute. However, the middle years is where I realty devoured the book. There was a phase from the very late 70’s the early 90’s where is really was one of the most in-demand sessions bassists in Metal. From his days with Rainbow, to Ozzy to Yngwie Malmsteen to Dio and Black Sabbath, Bob was the man. Bob was also in (or worked for) a number of lesser-known bands, that I also really enjoy such as Stream, Takara and Mother’s Army. I was personally disappointed that the detail on Stream and Takara was at a minimum but Daisley knows his audience, people (the average Rock/Metal fan) wants to read about him and Ozzy, Dio, Ritche Blackmore, and Randy Rhoads and not Neal Gursky (Takara) Peter Scheithauer (Stream) or his time in Vertex, the Stephen Pearcy (Ratt) Al Pitrelli (Savatage/TSO) side-project. Those were the really underground details I wanted to read about but it was not to be. I was also disappointed that he didn’t have much info on his time with Malmsteen who was working with Joe Lynn turner at that the time which eventually led to the collaboration between Joe Lynn Turner and Daisley in the under-rated Mother’s Army.
Referring to what people ‘want’ to read, there was a theme running through the whole book, basically the story behind the infamous, complicated and long-running legal disputes between Daisley and drummer Lee Kerslake and the Osbourne camp over allegedly unpaid royalties and fees. The story began with the recording of the first two Blizzard of Oz albums and he describes in extensive detail how the band eventually morphed into the Ozzy solo project with interference from record labels, lawyers, mangers and a one Mrs. Sharon Osbourne. There are three sides to every story but based on the evidence presented I’m inclined to believe Daisley (and Lee) that they got totally and royally screwed and ripped off by Sharon and Ozzy. I think Ozzy is pretty much a cog in the gears of Camp Osbourne machine, a puppet on a string as it were, while the power behind the dark throne were the Arden family and the various record labels. Daisley’s diaries come in handy and presents some pretty damning evidence and I was disappointed to learn that he and Kerslake had the case thrown out of court on a technicality. They didn’t lose but they don’t have a fair chance to have the case tried in court. Daisley is a sincere, loyal and true friend to Ozzy, which is admirable, but at times you can’t help feel that Daisley was naïve or perhaps too focused on chasing a paycheque. Every single time Sharon picked up the phone in a panic and called him to come in a do the bass parts (because the new hotshot guy from LA was not working out) off he went. Every time he got the shaft (financially) and yet he kept going back over and over until finally he worked on the OZZMOSIS album and they (again allegedly) flat out refused to pay him and he finally severed his ties with Ozzy and eventually sued them. I think that much of this story forms the core of the book and the title FOR FACTS SAKE.
Daisley doesn’t complain or whine but he states his side of the story and it is a sobering account of the life of a working, traveling musician. Daisley comes across as personable and professional, a rare combination in the music industry.