Drummer Lee Kerslake, an original member of Ozzy Osbourne’s solo band and a longtime member of Uriah Heep, reveals in a new interview that a “doctor gave me about eight months to live” in his battle with cancer and other ailments.
Kerslake was only a member of Ozzy Osbourne’s band from 1980 to 1981, but played drums on his first two albums, Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman, considered by many to be Ozzy’s two greatest solo discs. Kerslake left the band to be with his ailing mother, and, originally, Diary of a Madmen credit was given to his replacement, Tommy Aldridge, even though it has since been determined that Kerslake played on that album.
In a new interview with The Metal Voice host Jimmy Kay [via Metalhead Zone], Kerslake offered an update on his health, saying, “It’s prostate cancer but it’s moved to rest of my body I have now have bone cancer which is nasty one, so the doctor gave me about eight months to live. But I’ve been fighting all the way.”
He added, “Five years ago they gave me four years to live and so that gives you an idea. Not only have I got bone cancer I’ve got psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and two heart murmurs. As I said to you I’m fighting it and there’s no telling what can happen and they might have a new drug come out and I’ll experiment with it if it keeps me alive.”
Both Kerslake and bassist Bob Daisley sued Ozzy and his manager wife, Sharon Osbourne, for proper royalties and songwriting credits for those first two albums. At one point Sharon enlisted drummer Mike Bordin and bassist Robert Trujillo to re-record Kerslake and Daisley’s tracks for a 2002 reissue, but the albums were once again issued with the original tracks in 2011.
In the same interview (which can be heard below), Kerslake added, “I’ve written to Sharon and Ozzy recently, a personal letter basically asking them to kindly send me platinum album certifications for Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman, to hang on my wall before I die. It’s on my bucket list.” He added that he “went bankrupt” as a result of the litigation over the albums.
Kerslake was also a longtime member of the UK rock band Uriah Heep from 1971 through 1979 and again from 1981 through 2007, playing on most of their studio albums throughout the years.
Currently, Kerslake is working on a new solo album called Eleventeen, which he plans to release in 2019, with hopes that he can defy his doctor’s prognosis again. “I survived this long and all this time I have had this terminal cancer but I have defied it because the music kept me fighting.“
Listen to the full interview below.