Producer Arthur Rizk on the Influence of Former Ozzy Osbourne Shredder Jake E. Lee

photo: Gene Smirnov

When we interviewed super-producer Arthur Rizk for the February 2021 issue, we naturally talked about his work with Power Trip, Municipal Waste and Cavalera Conspiracy—not to mention his guitar playing and drumming in Eternal Champion, Sumerlands and Cold World. But we also asked him about his fondness for the killer riffing and tasteful soloing of shred lord Jake E. Lee on Ozzy staples Bark At the Moon and The Ultimate Sin. Space didn’t allow for us to publish his thoughts in the mag itself, so we’re presenting them here in full:

“When I first started learning how to play leads on guitar, there was no YouTube and frankly I don’t think my family even had the Internet at that point. But I was obsessed with Guitar World magazine, and in the back, they would transcribe songs every month. One of the first issues I owned had ‘Bark At the Moon’ transcribed in the back. I spent like two years learning the song inside and out because I just couldn’t believe how awesome everything about it was. So I have a deep connection to Jake’s playing because I was only 13 or 14, spending hours and hours a day with that song.

I do bow down to Randy Rhoads—he’s a god and a virtuoso in many senses, and I appreciate his worship of classical. However, there is something about the sleaziness and melancholy of Jake’s albums that keep me listening over and over. I love the vocal approach to his soloing. In my opinion, ‘Shot in the Dark’ is one of the all-time greatest guitar solos—sort, sweet and to the point. Plus, it’s emotive and builds on themes.

I pull a lot of overlying themes from that era of Ozzy for my bands because I just love sorrowful, dark music. I grew up listening to Lebanese music, which is all dark, minor and depressive shit. Fairouz is the number one Lebanese singer of all time, and most of her stuff was melancholic, so that type of art is etched into my DNA. So, while I love to rock to ‘Flying High Again’ and ‘Over the Mountain,’ which are more groundbreaking songs, I relate more to the vibes of ‘Shot in the Dark’ and ‘You’re No Different.’”