Michael Jackson Guitarist Speaks Truth on Ozzy Osbourne Audition, Claims Says She Was Rejected for Being Female

In a recently published interview on Ultimate Guitar, guitarist Jennifer Batten reflected on the situation in the music industry back in the 1980s. Before she famously got her gig in Michael Jackson’s live band, Batten reveals she attempted to get an audition for Ozzy Osbourne. The issue came up when she was asked about what it was like to navigate through the music industry as a female guitarist to which she replied:

“I’ve gotten comments over the years. A lot of guys will say to you, ‘You play pretty good for a girl.’ Or, the best one, this guy said, ‘You play just like a boy.’ What does that even mean?”

“Yeah, millions of male guitar players, some are great and some suck, so it has no meaning. But you kind of have to look at the energy that’s coming at you, and he meant it as a positive thing.

Jennifer Batten Solo Beat It Michael Jackson "before and after"

“I remember, specifically, before the Jackson thing came up, I was trying to get an audition with Ozzy Osbourne. And they were of auditioning everybody in LA at the time.

“And I know my audio 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. Having said that, if it was the same thing today, I think it’d be a whole different story.

“You get somebody like Nili Brosh – you could slay in a gig like that. She has incredible chops, great tone, great attitude, everything. It’s a different world. It is a very different world now.

Elsewhere in the interview, Batten was asked about giving advice to young musicians who plan on making it big these days. She said:

“The only thing that you can control is your improvement as a musician. And that’s where the satisfaction should come in. I mean, it’s great if you have the goal of playing in big stages. But there’s so many things you can’t control. From how you’re perceived to how your personality is perceived. You are what you are. If people resonate with your music, these days, you’re going to get likes and people are going to share it. Like Billy Eilish.

Jennifer Batten - Beat it (Michael Jackson)

“Well, they probably had dreams of getting big, but they just threw songs up, and it really resonated with people, you get a million shares and your career is looking pretty good. I think one of the biggest disservices you can do to yourself is to compare yourself with another player.

“If you look at other players and are inspired by them, that’s great. But, if you look at other players and go, ‘Oh shit, I’ll never be that. Why bother?’ Then, you’re really doing your own creativity a disservice.

“If you want to make a living as a musician, that’s an important thing, you got bills to pay. I could do art music all day long and be homeless. [laughs] and I’ve definitely done gigs that I really didn’t like but for the most part.”

“I’ve been pretty lucky. I think any musician has times of feast and times of famine. And it’s up and down. There’s nothing that lasts forever. Hopefully, your name gets out there enough, eventually, after a couple decades, maybe, that there’s enough to keep you afloat.”

Photos: gumdropgas (Jennifer Batten), Harmony Gerber (Ozzy Osbourne & Blasko)

David Slavkovic

David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.

David Slavkovic has 363 posts and counting. See all posts by David Slavkovic