Ozzy Osbourne Had First Dibs on Weezer’s ‘Hash Pipe,’ but Passed
In an alternate universe, it could have been Ozzy Osbourne singing Weezer's 2001 hit “Hash Pipe.” The band's frontman and principal songwriter Rivers Cuomo shared the revelation in a new interview with Guitar World.
“I think it was in 2000, he asked if I had any songs for him, and I just happened to have written ‘Hash Pipe,'” he recalled. “I sent it to him, but he didn’t end up using it. In another reality, it might have been interesting to hear him singing that song.”
While the collaboration didn’t pan out, the Black Sabbath singer's musical influence can be heard on "Blue Dream," a new Weezer song structurally built around familiar riffs and hooks from Osbourne's "Crazy Train" from his 1980 debut solo LP, Blizzard of Ozz.
The similarities are pointed out in the interview, and Cuomo laughed and admitted the two songs are “pretty similar.” He noted “they get half the song or something like that,” referring to "Blue Dream"'s songwriting credit, which is shared among Cuomo, Osbourne, Bob Daisley and Randy Rhoads - the latter three wrote "Crazy Train."
“It’s kind of like a sample, really,” Cuomo added. “But we played it.”
"Blue Dream" began with a different riff. Cuomo liked the song itself, but he wasn’t happy with the riff. “It wasn’t the greatest guitar riff of all time,” he said. “Which I felt it should be."
At that moment, he heard from his manager, who suggested Weezer should find a way to sample "Crazy Train" in one of their songs. “I know he was thinking: ‘What’s going to get people talking? What is going to confuse the internet?’” Cuomo noted.
The suggestion gave him the missing piece he needed to finish "Blue Dream." They reached out to Osbourne's team to get approval. And while they didn’t get a specific reaction from Osbourne himself, “they approved it, so I’m assuming he heard it.”
You can hear Weezer's "Blue Dream" below.
The spirit of ‘80s hard rock runs throughout Van Weezer, the new album by the Los Angeles group. “So much of my technique is from learning Ratt songs or even the Scorpions," Cuomo said of his guitar playing. He also references Faster Pussycat and L.A. Guns in the lyrics of "Precious Metal Girl"; elsewhere, the song "One More Hit" pays homage to Winger.