How Rick Wakeman’s Son Ended Up Touring With Black Sabbath
For multi-talented Black Sabbath touring member Adam Wakeman, every concert is like living a school kid's dream.
"I'm looking up and seeing [Sabbath guitarist] Tony [Iommi] and thinking, 'I used to do play 'Paranoid' in a school band when I was 15, and now I'm here chugging along with Tony and [bassist] Geezer [Butler],' Wakeman told Joel Gausten in a new interview. "That never fails to touch me. That's quite an emotional thing."
The son of former Yes legend Rick Wakeman, Adam worked with Ozzy Osbourne's solo band as a keyboardist and rhythm guitarist before joining Black Sabbath to add similar depth and color to their recent live shows. "[My] job is to play as close to [Iommi] as possible, riff-wise, so that when he solos, there's something underneath," Wakeman told Artisan News in another interview. "It's not like Sabbath needs two guitar players. Tony Iommi's sounds, and his parts, they speak for themselves."
Rick Wakeman himself added some Moog to 1973's Sabbath Bloody Sabbath album, as his son fondly recalled in his talk with Artisan News. But that's not how the younger Wakeman got the Sabbath gig. He met Osbourne through his wife and manager Sharon Osbourne, who attended an Annie Lennox concert, where Adam was playing keyboards. At first, Wakeman played keys with Osbourne; later, he started adding guitar to Osbourne's solo takes on the Sabbath catalog onstage. "In those early songs, there were no keyboard parts," he noted. "It's just a bit more authentic if there is a rhythm guitar there."
Wakeman became a mostly unseen member of the Black Sabbath concert experience after Iommi discovered that the keyboardist was pulling multi-instrumental duties during an Osbourne solo concert in 2010 in Los Angeles. Wakeman has since been part of the tour in support of Sabbath's reunion project, 13, as well as their current farewell shows. He said he had to make only one notable adjustment. "I'm offstage," he told Gausten "It's like doing a show but not doing a show. It's a very weird experience, but fantastic."
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