Michael Jackson Guitarist Jennifer Batten Accuses Ozzy Osbourne Of Sexism
Jennifer Batten had the chance to prove herself as a guitarist while working with Michael Jackson and Jeff Beck, but not everyone was willing to give her a chance. Batten recently chatted with Ultimate Guitar and disclosed how she struggled with sexism while trying to play with Ozzy Osbourne.
Even if women now have the chance to be more vocal in the rock scene, it wasn’t easy to score a gig back in the day. The guitarist recalled how challenging it was to be a female rocker and discussed how the compliments she got for her guitar mastery were often sexist.
“I’ve gotten comments over the years,” stated Batten as she recalled some of the most common ones. “A lot of guys will say, ‘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.”
Then, Jennifer recalled her attempts to enter the scene and play alongside big names. She said, “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.”
Maybe it wasn’t the ideal gig for Jennifer Batten back then, but the rocker said everything would be different if the auditions were to be held now. “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,” exclaimed Batten and explained why she would have been perfect for the job but overlooked due to her gender. “She has incredible chops, great tone, great attitude, everything. It’s a different world. It is a very different world now.”
Batten made it clear that even though she had musical talent, she didn’t even get the chance to audition for Ozzy Osbourne. However, her efforts paid off, and her talent was appreciated when she started working with Michael Jackson, taking the stage beside him and showing the world her guitar mastery.