“That was an interesting album. Sharon Osbourne asked me to make the record. She knew that I’d worked with David Bowie and Robert Plant, and of course, she knew that I was from England, so she figured I would get along well with Ozzy, which I did. He and I shared the same sense of humor and spent a lot of downtime in the studio listening to old Monty Python, Dad's Army and the Goon Show.
“It was a tough album to make because the personnel of the band was very in and out. Zakk was in the band, but then there would be a falling out and he’d be gone – but then he’d come back. I didn’t have time to wait around for all of these disagreements to be figured out; I was under pressure to deliver an album, so I had to just plow ahead.
“Reeves Gabrels came in and played guitar for a while, as I did, but I knew in the back of my mind that Zakk would return. Thankfully he did, because I think that what he does with Ozzy is phenomenal. He’s an incredible guitar player, especially for Ozzy’s style of music.
“When we finally got the whole crew in order, we went to A&M Studios. Ozzy was very open to some song ideas I had, and I wound up with a couple of songwriting credits, including the single Gets Me Through, which was a first for me. There were some very funny times in the studio trying to write lyrics with Ozzy. He’s a terrific guy to be around.
“There was one strange incident: Before I got involved with the record, Sharon had picked out the musicians. There was one player from the live band that Ozzy had been working with for a while, but he didn’t make it onto the album. He sort of put two and two together and decided that maybe it was me who had decided he wasn’t good enough, which of course was not true. I got a call from Ozzy halfway through the record telling me that I had to call the police – there were death threats being made against me. ‘We have messages on the office phone, Tim,’ he said. ‘Somebody wants to kill you.’
“The road manager confirmed this to me, and he said that he thought it was this particular musician, whom I won’t name, that had assumed I had fired him. So I basically rang this guy up and told him the facts – I didn’t fire him. But I also told him, ‘Guess what? Even if I did fire you, if you want to continue to work in the music business, get over it. These things happen. You’re a great musician, so move on.’
“I never heard anything from him again. Death threats are pretty strange, I must say.”