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Lee Kerslake with Uriah Heep in Hamburg, Germany in February 1973
|Birth name||Lee Kerslake|
16 April 1947 |
Winton, Bournemouth, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom
|Genres||Hard rock, progressive rock, art rock, Southern rock, heavy metal|
|Instruments||Drums, percussion, keyboards, trumpet, kazoo, vocals|
|Labels||Bronze, Mercury, Warner Bros.|
|Associated acts||Uriah Heep, The Gods, Toe Fat, Head Machine, National Head Band, Ken Hensley, David Byron, Ozzy Osbourne, Living Loud|
Lee Kerslake (born 16 April 1947 in Winton, Bournemouth, Hampshire, England) is an English musician, best known as the longtime drummer and backing vocalist for the rock band Uriah Heep and for his work with Ozzy Osbourne in the early 1980s.
In the late 1960s to early 1970s, Kerslake played with a band called the Gods, releasing three albums. He then joined Uriah Heep in November 1971, left the band in October 1979, and rejoined them in April 1982. He also played on David Byron's and Ken Hensley's solo albums, among other efforts. On the Firefly album he was credited as Lee "The Bear" Kerslake, the nickname being a reference to his beard growth and overall solid physical build.
In 1980, Kerslake met ex-Black Sabbath vocalist Ozzy Osbourne by chance in a lift at the Kings Cross Hotel in Australia. "He was in one corner with his bodyguard and his manager, and I was in the other corner with mine. Rather funny". They would soon form the band Blizzard of Ozz with bassist Bob Daisley and guitarist Randy Rhoads, though the band soon became an Ozzy Osbourne solo project. Kerslake's work can be heard on Osbourne's first two solo albums, Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman.
Kerslake left Osbourne's band in early 1981 to care for his mother, who had fallen ill. On the Diary of a Madman notes, Kerslake and bassist Bob Daisley were not credited, with drummer Tommy Aldridge and bassist Rudy Sarzo instead receiving credit. Aldridge has stated of the Diary of a Madman album, "I think it's pretty obvious that it's not my drumming on that album. I have never taken credit for that recording and have always given Lee Kerslake, whenever asked or interviewed, the credit he rightly deserves."
In 1998, Kerslake and Daisley filed suit against Ozzy Osbourne and his manager/wife Sharon Osbourne, seeking royalties and songwriting credits for their contributions to the Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman albums. As a result, the 2002 reissues of both albums removed Kerslake and Daisley's performances, replacing them with newly recorded tracks by bassist Robert Trujillo and drummer Mike Bordin (when the albums were again reissued in 2011, the original bass and drum tracks were restored). Kerslake is unsure why the Osbourne camp has treated him so negatively. "The only thing I could ever recall was once Ozzy had asked me to speak to her on his behalf regarding the two shows in New York in one night as Ozzy said 'I can't do two shows in one night - not with my voice!' He told me to tell her. I did as he said. I would have died for Ozzy as we were a band and I loved him as such. Because I broke the news to her, she's hated my guts", he recalled in 2011.
In 2003 Kerslake became involved in 'super group' Living Loud, a hard rock project also featuring bassist Bob Daisley (formerly of Uriah Heep, Gary Moore, the Ozzy Osbourne band, Rainbow and Black Sabbath), guitarist Steve Morse (Dixie Dregs, the Steve Morse Band, Kansas, Deep Purple) and singer Jimmy Barnes. Keyboards player Don Airey (ex-Rainbow, currently with Deep Purple) made a guest appearance. The group released a debut self-titled CD, featuring covers of several Daisley/Kerslake penned Ozzy Osbourne tracks.
In 2003, Kerslake and Daisley's lawsuit was dismissed by the United States District Court in Los Angeles. This dismissal was upheld by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Lee now performs with his own band the "Lee Kerslake Band", guests with various bands and regularly joins ex-Heep members Ken Hensley and Paul Newton in "Uriah Heep Legends"
In early 2007 it was announced on the Heep website that Kerslake left the band 'due to ongoing health problems'. Kerslake is currently semi-retired because of illness.
On 15 October 2015, Kerslake and Ken Hensley joined the current lineup of Uriah Heep at Crocus City Hall in Moscow for a two-hour set.
Kerslake has played a variety of drum kits including Ludwig and Pearl, but became closely associated with Premier and later Tama drums, which he played for much of the duration of his career. He also plays Zildjian cymbals.
With The Gods
- Genesis (1968)
- To Samuel a Son (1969)
- The Gods Featuring Ken Hensley (1976)
With Head Machine
- Orgasm (1970)
With Toe Fat
- Toe Fat (1970)
With National Head Band
- Albert One (1971)
With Uriah Heep
- Demons and Wizards (1972)
- The Magician's Birthday (1972)
- Uriah Heep Live (1973) - often referred to as "Live '73" by Heepsters
- Sweet Freedom (1973)
- Wonderworld (1974)
- Return to Fantasy (1975)
- High and Mighty (1976)
- Firefly (1977)
- Innocent Victim (1977)
- Fallen Angel (1978)
- Abominog (1982)
- Head First (1983)
- Equator (1985)
- Live at Shepperton '74 (1986) – recorded 1974
- Live in Europe 1979 (1986) – recorded 1979
- Live in Moscow (1988)
- Raging Silence (1989)
- Different World (1991)
- Sea of Light (1995)
- Spellbinder Live (1996)
- King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents in Concert (1997) – recorded 1974
- Sonic Origami (1998)
- Future Echoes of the Past (2000)
- Acoustically Driven (2001)
- Electrically Driven (2001)
- The Magician's Birthday Party (2002)
- Live in the USA (2003)
- Magic Night (2004)
- Between Two Worlds (2005)
With Ken Hensley
- Proud Words on a Dusty Shelf (1973)
With David Byron
- Take No Prisoners (1975)
- Man of Yesterdays: The Anthology
With Ozzy Osbourne
- Blizzard of Ozz (1980)
- Diary of a Madman (1981)
- Tribute (1987) (on two tracks)
- The Ozzman Cometh (1997) (not on the current pressing)
With Living Loud
- Living Loud (2003/04)
- Live in Sydney 2004 (2005, 2CD/DVD)
With Berggren Kerslake Band
- The Sun Has Gone Hazy (2014)
- The Fuze interviews Lee Kerslake http://www.bobdaisley.com/interview/fuse-lee-kerslake
- LEE KERSLAKE: a Steel Mill interview http://kkdowning.net/interviews/leekerslake.html
- blabbermouth.net (22 January 2005). "Drummer TOMMY ALDRIDGE Says OZZY Made Fun Of RONNIE JAMES DIO". blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
- Legendary OZZY OSBOURNE Drummer Lee Kerslake Talks About Blizzard/Diary Reissues, Randy Rhoads, The "Evil And Nasty" Sharon Osbourne http://www.bravewords.com/news/166075
- "News - Federal Appeals Court: Ozzy Do". Knac.Com. Retrieved 2011-10-20.