Guitarist Says She ‘Probably’ Didn’t Get Ozzy Osbourne Audition Because She’s a Woman
Jennifer Batten, a former guitarist for Michael Jackson and Jeff Beck, believes she didn’t get to audition for Ozzy Osbourne’s band because of her gender.
Batten recently spoke with Ultimate Guitar about her career, which continues to this day. She famously played in Michael Jackson’s band from 1987-1997, including three world tours (Bad, Dangerous, HIStory) and the 1993 Super Bowl Halftime Show. She later joined Jeff Beck’s touring band in 1999, lasting for three years. Batten has also released a number of solo albums and has appeared on dozens of songs as a guest performer.
Before she joined Michael Jackson, Batten attempted to show her chops to Ozzy Osbourne. This would’ve likely been around 1987, when Jake E. Lee departed from Ozzy’s band. "I remember, specifically, before the Jackson thing came up, I was trying to get an audition with Ozzy Osbourne,” Batten recalls. “And they were auditioning everybody in LA at the time. And I know my audio got to the right people, and I didn't even get a chance. Looking back, it's a super macho gig, and they probably wouldn't even consider a female for that. Having said that, if it was the same thing today, I think it'd be a whole different story. You get somebody like Nili Brosh — you could slay in a gig like that. She has incredible chops, great tone, great attitude, everything. It's a different world. It is a very different world now.”
Of course, the job eventually went to Zakk Wylde, who would continue playing with Ozzy on-and-off for decades.
Batten also shared her opinion on Nita Strauss. "I'm super proud of her,” she said. “I don't have her record, but I've seen quite a few things on YouTube. It's kind of funny, I think if I were her age, I'd probably do a similar kind of thing on stage — the hair flippy thing, [laughs] that the metal guys do. But that is so not who I am right now. It just kind of cracks me up."
Check out the full interview with Jennifer Batten at Ultimate Guitar and click here for her upcoming tour dates.