The incident took place in 2000, soon after he’d moved to Los Angeles in an attempt to secure his future as a musician and before he joined Skid Row. In a recent interview with WRIF (video below), he said he was living with former Motley Crue frontman John Corabi at the time.
“I heard that Ozzy was auditioning drummers, so I called Vinnie Paul – the late, great Vinnie Paul from Pantera – and I go, ‘Vin, can you get me into this audition?’” Varone recalled. “And Vinnie calls Sharon Osbourne and gets me an audition.”
The drummer asked Corabi to go along with him for moral support, but fell apart when the audition began. “I don’t know what happened, but it was like I never played drums before in my life. It was incredible: I got Popeye arms, which means I just tensed up so bad, I couldn’t hold the drumsticks,” he admitted. “I could not play. And it was all the great songs, ‘Crazy Train’ and all the stuff that we played as kids.”
According to Varone, Corabi wasn’t ever able to say anything good about the “brutal” experience, while Paul mined the story for years. “Till the day Vinnie died… he’d bust my balls about that damn audition,” the drummer noted. “Every time I saw him he’d go, ‘Dude, what the hell happened with that?’ … Sharon Osbourne called him and went, ‘Vinnie, what is this? A joke? This guy can’t play for anything!’ She got mad at him ‘cause she thought that he was doing a joke on her… That’s how I bad I was.”
Varone reflected that it hadn’t been his first big mistake, saying he’d quit the music business a few years before the Osbourne audition. “I decided that I’m just going to call it a day and buy a restaurant… That was the worst damn decision ever. [I] lost everything from that. I took every last penny I had and put it in this restaurant and that went under ’cause I didn’t know what I was doing. It’s like life lesson after life lesson.” Still, not long after his bad audition, Varone latched on with Skid Row. “So it all ended up okay.”
Watch Phil Varone on WRIF