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Joe Cerisano - Sabbath Audition

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  • Joe Cerisano - Sabbath Audition

    Below is the info Joe Cesirano gave me about his audition for Sabbath in 1984.

    In the thread where this first came up things got a little hectic, so I looked a little bit into Joe Cerisano's background and it seemed to me that he was quite well-connected back in 1984, his credentials and who he says he's worked with check out.

    The Silver Condor song he mentions in his story below was recorded with Neal Schon among others: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYpwmqM-SNk
    Later it appeared on a Bob Ezrin-produced Lee Aaron album: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DXpve73r50
    Here's a TV performance from Silver Condor featuring Earl Slick: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBhScxTkko0
    He's provided lead vocals for:
    TSO - Dream Child (A Christmas Dream)
    Blue Oyster Cult - The Siege and Investiture of Baron von Frankenstein's Castle at Weisseria http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAXLlaW_4cM (thanks to Ady for the link!)
    And he's done a load of commercial and session work.

    In the brief exchanges I've had with him, he expressed genuine surprise at the hostile reaction he received - he seems to be completely unaware of the contentious nature of some of Sabbath's history and he thought he was simply providing an interesting story from his past that Sabbath fans would enjoy. Reading his story it seems he was totally unaware of the turbulence the band were experiencing back at the time too, that he did not know details of the recent band history of the period. As all his other connections check out I'm inclined to treat his info in the same way that I have done for other interviews I've conducted with established musicians; that is to take this at face value.

    I've forwarded all this info Joe S, as I thought he might have the opportunity to learn more from the band themselves. Until I learn more I'll keep an open mind.

    Please note his story has a lot of background info in it, because I asked for it! I felt that the context of how it came about was important.

    Anyway, here's the sory as told to me, I hope you enjoy the read:

    -----

    Hi Rich, I'll answer the questions the best I can for ya'. I'm hoping that by digging deep into my memory I can also refresh myself of the details.

    I'll start by saying I had lived in Los Angels from late 1979 to Aug 1983. I had driven out from NY/NJ to meet Earl Slick to start a band. Ian Hunter and his guitarist Tommy Morengello had been talking to Slick and he mentioned that he was looking for a singer. They gave him my number and within three weeks I was there. I drove out in my orange VW. I brought with me 20 brand new songs I had written while playing 6 nights a week back east so when I got to LA Slick and I had pretty much all the material we needed to get a record deal. Within five months we had one of the largest record deals of 1981 with Columbia Records. The name of the group was Silver Condor. To make a very long story short I'll give a thumbnail of the Silver Condor story. First album was a big push from the record company but they really screwed up on the marketing. Second Silver Condor Album was really a Joe Cerisano solo record because after the first record flopped the band left me high and dry and Columbia Records wouldn't let me out of the contract and wouldn't change the group name. I worked my ass off, had to fire producer Eddie Kramer a month after I hired him because he wasnt doing his job then had to produce the whole project myself and hired an all star cast of player who were friends of mine. By the time I had finished that record I was over $700.000.00 in the red to Columbia Records and was totally beat up. I left LA a week after that record was finished and never looked back. I was outta there.

    A few good things came outta of that record, in fact a lot of good things came outta that record but one of the main things was Bob Ezrin heard one of the songs "Barely Holdin' On". He was producing a Canadian artist, Lee Aron and got her to record it and it became a heavy metal hit for her. That's how I met Bob.

    When I got back east, after going home to my parents house in West Virginia, like I said I was beat up and I just wanted to get dropped by Columbia because I owed them so much money. Somehow someone in NYC who was a big shot in advertising heard the new record. They called me to see if I wanted to try out for a Miller Beer commercial. I thought I'd make about a hundred bucks and that would be it. Well, that's not what happened. I won the audition and it went on Super Bowl Sunday 1984. The commercial also had Albert Lee the famous guitarist on slide guitar. I couldn't have planned it better. I was at the right place at the right time with the right vocal skills and it all clicked. Within a year I was the top studio singer in NYC and I was finally making good money for the first time in my life! AND I was working getting to work with the best musicians in the world. In fact that's what David Letterman's band did every day before they did the show everyday at 3:00 pm. So I was really digging it. Then in the fall of 1984 I got a call from Bob Ezrin and asked me if I wanted to try out for Black Sabbath. I told him sure. So they flew me out. When I first mentioned it on Reddit I thought it was in 1983 then I finally realized and remembered it was during the week of the Olympics in '84. Also one of the reasons I now remember it so well is because Mary Lou Retton won the gold medals. She and I are the only people who ever made it out of Fairmont West Virginia! In fact, she lived the next street over from my parents house and my sister used to supervise the playground where she used to play. So I know that was when I was there.

    As for the audition, as I recall it lasted about an hour. We rehearsed three songs. I can't remember all the songs but I know we did War Pigs and then I think we did a couple of more and then we did some Rock and Roll stuff just for kicks. It was Tony for sure, Geezer and I think it was the original drummer. There was no other musicians. The guys were really nice to me. We got on real well. The rehearsal took place at SIR in Hollywood which is a major rehearsal studio. As for being a fan [of Sabbath], I was a fan of the first two albums then I lost touch. In fact I still have my albums to this day. As for the atmosphere it was really good. I didn't really know what was happening within the band. All I knew was, I might get this wrong, was that Randy Roades, who was with Ozzie who was killed the previous summer in the plane crash. I took note of that because a few of the guys I was working with knew him real well. The guys I was working with was Steve Plunkett and the rest of the guys who became Autograph. So by the time of the Sabbath audition I was kinda disconnected. Like I said, the mood of the band was fine. They kicked ass too. When we were done I said goodbye and headed back to my motel out in the valley.

    Nothing was discussed about anything. I met the guys. I sang. We had a great time making some music and that was it. Totally professional. There was no hint of what they were planning or what was happening internally.

    So I went back to my motel room. I started to think about the situation. You have to realize that I had just moved back a year before after living in Van Nuys for four years. I was sick of being in bands. I had been totally beat up by the record business and now I was starting to make great money back in NYC and working with the best musicians in the world everyday! I had to ask myself, do I really want to join a band again and go through all the bullshit. I had just turned 30 years old and had been doing this professionally since I was 14 which had a lot to do with it too.

    I was supposed to go out to Century City and meet with Don Arden the next day to discuss the situation. That night I had talked to my girlfriend back east and told her I didn't think I was gonna do it if I got offered the job. Well, I drove out to meet Mr.Arden. It was in the big private condo with a guard station. I told the man I was there to meet Mr. Arden. He made a call and here came a golf cart to pick me up to take me to Mr. Arden's condo. Oh, this guy was also was packing a pistol. So I went up to the condo and met Mr.Arden. He said the boys really like my singing and said he wanted to offer me the gig. You have to realize I had known about Don Arden. He was part of rock and roll history in England. I knew he was the first person to promote Little Richard in the late fifties and Robert Stigwood had worked for him. He had a reputation of being part of the English record business mafia, a real tough guy. So I was on my best behaviour. I was very respectful. I remember exactly what I told him. I told him that I really didn't want to mess him and the boys up and had to pass on taking the gig. He thanked me and right then and there he asked me if I wanted a record deal. I was taken back by the offer. I asked him if I could think about it and let him know. It was crazy... what an experience.. After thanking him for the opportunity we shook hands and I left. As for seeing any of the band after that, we never crossed paths again.

    I'd like to close by thanking Rich for taking the time to give me an opportunity to tell this story. I know there were a few who thought that I was making this up but it happened. I tried to recall to the best of my ability to get the detail correct. I hope I've added a little insight to all the Sabbath fans out there.

    -----
    I don't need wings to reach the sky
    And I don't need hands to hold you tight...
    ~~~ Coroner ~~~

  • #2
    All I can say is that it's the first time I ever hear of this bloke and also the first time I hear about this story even after reading books and magazines and things like that.Maybe it's true,but if it is it means that there could be other things like that we do not know about Sabbath after all.
    Where I was,I had wings that couldn't fly
    Where I was,I had tears I couldn't cry
    My emotions,Frozen in an icy lake
    I couldn't feel them,Until the ice began to break
    Bruce Dickinson-Tears Of The Dragon

    Comment


    • #3
      Hey if you get another chance to talk to him,Tell him hes a fucking great singer.
      R.I.P. Ronald Padavona,Ronnie James Dio,DIO,Legend.

      Comment


      • #4
        Indeed much of these details are noteworthy. I now realize that just because such a story does not show up in a Sabbath biography, it could still be true. I mean, if something this insignificant (Well, in terms of the bands overall history) were to appear, why would it be included in a biography of sorts?

        The dismissal of these claims was only a natural reaction. I, like many other people on this forum, have read multiple articles, seen multiple films, and listened to all of the Sabbath discography, and through these experiences I have not heard of this man. However, like I said earlier, many things do happen over the years which people indeed forget about or disregard.
        http://wickedinquisition.bandcamp.com/

        Comment


        • #5
          I should apologizing for being so firm, and bluntly; a dick. I didn't know about the band being turbulent.
          And while I don't beleive you got the gig, I think I can believe that you were asked out there, after listening to your vox.

          Sorry for being an ass. Apoptosis.

          Comment


          • #6
            thats a cool story, whether its true or not that has yet to be proven. He's got a very good voice on him, thats for sure.
            "I don't care which god you follow, whose promises you swallow" - Ronnie James Dio
            http://www.reverbnation.com/breakingintoheaven?#!
            http://www.facebook.com/pages/Breaki...916616&ref=sgm

            Comment


            • #7
              Hey!! That guy sounds great on that BOC song!!Imaginos is a Great underrated album.
              Upping The Irons and Defending The Faith

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by NoWayOut View Post
                Hey if you get another chance to talk to him,Tell him hes a fucking great singer.
                I will, I think he'll appreciate that.

                Originally posted by MobRules
                And while I don't beleive you got the gig, I think I can believe that you were asked out there, after listening to your vox.
                On this timeline I reckon he'd have been up against David Donato? I don't know enough to be sure about that... but if he was, then on vocal ability alone Donato would've been my second choice. So I'm still open to it.
                I don't need wings to reach the sky
                And I don't need hands to hold you tight...
                ~~~ Coroner ~~~

                Comment


                • #9
                  I believed him before after I did a bit of searching on the internet. Now he's told the story in great detail it's even more believable.

                  The guy is a professional singer, he's got no reason to lie. If you typed his name into google (the first thing I did when I saw the other thread) and nothing came up then yeah, you could be pretty sure it was bullshit, but the guy has a long career in the music business.

                  Thanks to Totentanz for looking further into this, very interesting stuff !
                  Last edited by Ady; 01-01-2011, 11:06 AM.
                  >>TECHNICINS F SPCE
                  SHIP ERTH THIS IS
                  YR CPTIN SPEKING
                  YR PTIN IS DEA˝D<<

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    This is true

                    This is the first and only time I will contribute to this forum. This story came up in my Google Alerts this morning and I feel compelled to set the record straight:

                    In 1984 Don Arden had asked me if I would produce an album with Black Sabbath. I agreed though the band did not have a lead singer at the time. So, the first order of business was to find one and to do that we held some auditions and tried out a few folks. My recollection is that we were in a studio, not a rehearsal room but I could be wrong about that - it's many years and scores of projects later for me.

                    I knew about Joey through Earl Slick who was and still is a dear friend of mine. I invited Joey to come to LA to try out. He was the best of the singers that we had auditioned and we all agreed that we should offer him the job. It seemed as though our problem had been solved.

                    I don't recall exactly what happened after that but Joey's account sounds accurate. Don was living in a big condo complex in Century City at the time. And it was Don's style to get straight to the point so I'm certain he reached out to Joey immediately after we picked him.

                    In the end, the project fell apart of its own accord and we all went our separate ways. In total, the whole process lasted no more than a few days. I must say that the band was playing great then and they were all very charming and easy to work with. I spent one great evening at Tony's house before we decided to work together and I was really impressed with his warmth and humility. I expected someone much harder edged.

                    I really enjoyed my BS experience, brief as it was, and Don Arden and I became quite close as a result of it. He definitely was a character.

                    I hope this helps. Now I will return to my privacy.

                    Happy New Year to all here.

                    Bob Ezrin

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      haha bob,thats pretty cool you would write to us.
                      R.I.P. Ronald Padavona,Ronnie James Dio,DIO,Legend.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Cheers and Happy New Year Bob, Thanks!!
                        We dont see things as they are; we see them as we are.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Bob Ezrin View Post
                          This is the first and only time I will contribute to this forum. This story came up in my Google Alerts this morning and I feel compelled to set the record straight:

                          In 1984 Don Arden had asked me if I would produce an album with Black Sabbath. I agreed though the band did not have a lead singer at the time. So, the first order of business was to find one and to do that we held some auditions and tried out a few folks. My recollection is that we were in a studio, not a rehearsal room but I could be wrong about that - it's many years and scores of projects later for me.

                          I knew about Joey through Earl Slick who was and still is a dear friend of mine. I invited Joey to come to LA to try out. He was the best of the singers that we had auditioned and we all agreed that we should offer him the job. It seemed as though our problem had been solved.

                          I don't recall exactly what happened after that but Joey's account sounds accurate. Don was living in a big condo complex in Century City at the time. And it was Don's style to get straight to the point so I'm certain he reached out to Joey immediately after we picked him.

                          In the end, the project fell apart of its own accord and we all went our separate ways. In total, the whole process lasted no more than a few days. I must say that the band was playing great then and they were all very charming and easy to work with. I spent one great evening at Tony's house before we decided to work together and I was really impressed with his warmth and humility. I expected someone much harder edged.

                          I really enjoyed my BS experience, brief as it was, and Don Arden and I became quite close as a result of it. He definitely was a character.

                          I hope this helps. Now I will return to my privacy.

                          Happy New Year to all here.

                          Bob Ezrin
                          Happy New Year to you and thanks very much for posting.
                          >>TECHNICINS F SPCE
                          SHIP ERTH THIS IS
                          YR CPTIN SPEKING
                          YR PTIN IS DEA˝D<<

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Bob Ezrin View Post
                            This is the first and only time I will contribute to this forum. This story came up in my Google Alerts this morning and I feel compelled to set the record straight:.........

                            Bob Ezrin
                            Very Cool! Thank you for responding.
                            "I can honestly say its truly been an honor to play at his side for all these years, his music will live on forever." ~ Tony Iommi (Speaking of Ronnie James Dio)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Bob Ezrin View Post
                              I hope this helps. Now I will return to my privacy.

                              Happy New Year to all here.

                              Bob Ezrin
                              That helps a lot

                              In the exchanges I've had with Joe C, I've found him to be a great guy, so I'm really pleased to read something like this.

                              Thank You.

                              ---------- Post added at 09:20 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:13 PM ----------


                              I'd also like to add this comment I got from Joe C - he's a real top bloke, he knew from the start we'd all get a kick out of learning this story:

                              Originally posted by Joe Cerisano
                              Thanks Rich, I read the responses and please tell everyone I truly apoligize for the harsh words that I used in my responses. Everything's good and I'm glad I could help add to some the untold history that isn't published in the news and bios. Peace to all the guys. and thanks again Rich. joec
                              So it looks like it's Happy New Year all round, starting off 2011 with a genuine exclusive on the Sabbath forums.
                              I don't need wings to reach the sky
                              And I don't need hands to hold you tight...
                              ~~~ Coroner ~~~

                              Comment

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