Guitarist says she ‘probably’ didn’t get Ozzy Osbourne’s audition because she’s a woman

Jennifer Batten, a former guitarist for Michael Jackson and Jeff Beckthinks she didn’t make it to the audition 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, which lasted for three years. Batten has also released a number of solo albums and has appeared on dozens of songs as a guest performer.

Before hooking up with Michael Jackson, Batten tried to show off her chops to Ozzy Osbourne. This would probably have been around 1987, then Jake E. Lee left 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 all auditioning in LA at the time. And I know my sound 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. That said, if it was the same today, I think it would be a completely different story. You get someone like Nili Brosh — you could kill at a concert like that. She’s got incredible chops , great tone, great attitude, everything. It’s a different world. It’s a very different world now.”

Of course, the job eventually went through Zak Wyldewho would go on to play with Ozzy on-and-off for decades.

Batten also shared his 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 was her age I’d probably do something similar on stage – the hair-flick thing, [laughs] the metal guys do. But that’s not who I am right now. It just cracks me up a little.”

Watch the full interview with Jennifer Batten at Ultimate guitar and click here for her upcoming tour dates.

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