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Black Sabbath Backing Musician Adam Wakeman Discusses Playing With Metal Icons

Black Sabbath
Tim Whitby, Getty Images
It’s not uncommon for acts to add to their lineup when they hit the road, as backing musicians can add so much to the sound. So while keyboardist and guitarist Adam Wakeman may not be the most recognizable face onstage, he’s happy to be associated with one of the great metal bands of all time, Black Sabbath.

Wakeman actually has an extensive history with singer Ozzy Osbourne, often performing with his full live band and offering his services to Sabbath when the opportunity arrives. He tells MTV Hive, “This year, we’ve only done two shows with Sabbath. It’s such a different ballgame to being in Ozzy’s band. Ozzy’s band is a band, and it’s all great. With Sabbath, I’m kind of like the hired keyboard player, shoved off the stage. So it’s a bit of a weird one with me, especially after being in Ozzy’s band for my ninth year now.”

The keyboardist, who is also the son of Yes‘ Rick Wakeman, says he actually started with Ozzy on the last Black Sabbath outing in 2003, and he recalls, “They’re a really nice bunch of guys. When I first started doing it in 2003, when Bill Ward was doing it, as well, we rehearsed for a month in the studio in White Horse, and we’d all go out for walks and stuff. Spending time with them — I was surprised at how little they spoke about music.”

Wakeman says he’s also worked with artists from other genres as well, but still has a soft spot for the Black Sabbath guys. He explains, “They’re all just normal, nice guys. Like the old school rock royalty that they are. I’ve played with quite a few pop artists in my time, and very few of them come close to the kind of class of the older generation.”

The keyboardist says he’s heard plenty of stories of the hard-partying early years, but at this point the band members have settled into are more traditional lifestyle. He explains, “Ozzy doesn’t drink, Tony doesn’t really drink much. They’ve gotten to a point in their lives where they’re just happy to be still here. Things are much more civilized now. There’s no craziness. I think they’re just appreciative that they’ve got through it and are still here. They’re a good bunch.”

Next: Black Sabbath Make U.S. Return at Lollapalooza

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