Band members of Crazy Train. Eric Rovito photo

I’ve covered a lot of tribute acts recently so I think I can safely say that one of the best is coming to the Somerset Abbey on Nov. 6th. I’m referring to Crazy Train, a four-piece group of talented musicians (Vinny “Ozzy” Cormier, lead vocals; Dylan Cormier, guitar; Craig Goodall, bass; and Michael Caliandro, drums) who cover the songs of Mr. Ozzy Osbourne — both his solo work and his stint with Black Sabbath. They were scheduled to appear at the Madison venue earlier but COVID reared its ugly head and the show had to be canceled, so when I found out that it had been rescheduled, I requested to speak with the leader of the band, Vinny Cormier and reached him at his home in Bangor. He told me that stage show for Crazy Train is very high-end and videos sent proved that to be true, so I began by asking him if he’d ever performed at the Abbey before?
Cormier: Never did. This is going to be our first time going in there and we’re really excited. We were supposed to go in there earlier this year and, believe it or not, I caught COVID …

Q: Oh, no.
Cormier: Yeah, and we were supposed to play {there} so I had to cancel it. I stayed in the hospital for 11 days and when I got out I rested for two weeks and was 100% after that, so I was lucky. My doctor says I’m a walking miracle to be able to recover that quick, so we’ve just been playing all summer-long after that, every weekend, as a matter of fact.

Q: Well, you were indeed fortunate, that’s for sure. Now, let’s talk about what you do musically, okay?
Cormier: Sure, I play with a band called Dakota — we’re an 80s/90s classic rock band and the band doubles as Crazy Train, which is the Ozzy tribute, so it’s the same members except we get all dressed up when we do the Ozzy thing … and that’s all Ozzy and Black Sabbath stuff. So that’s what’s happening so far this year.

Q: Now this Dakota band you mentioned, could you talk a little about it?
Cormier: Well, I’m the only original guy left in Dakota and it was formed back in 1985 in Moncton, New Brunswick, it was a Canadian band, and we used to travel all over Canada and from Maine down south to Florida and back. We came out with an album and it did pretty well up in Canada.

Q: How did you end up living in Maine?
Cormier:  Well, Dakota was a touring act and I met my wife, who wasn’t my wife then, of course, down here in the Bangor area, and after going out for a couple of months we decided to get married and I’ve been here ever since. Oh, and my brother, who was also in the band, and I were both American citizens, our parents moved us up there when we were young.

Q: So how did Dakota transform into Crazy Train?
Cormier: Well, in our Dakota sets we would do three or four Ozzy tunes and I had the knack of nailing down the voice, so my son and I decided to give it a try. Some members of Dakota didn’t want to tour, which as a tribute act, you really have to do, so I told my son, “If we do this I do not want to drop Dakota, we have to have a balance between the two bands because Dakota keeps us around home a lot and Crazy Train is going to take us away from home. I’m too old to just go and tour again, I don’t mind traveling but I don’t want to live on the road like I did, it was fun in the 80s but not now.”

Q: How many Ozzy shows do you want to do, say, over a year?
Cormier: Our goal is to do at least 20 Ozzy shows a year, 20 to 25 would be perfect. This year we will have met that goal, which is really great. Our first show as Crazy Train was in New York.

Q: When was this — what year?
Cormier: I was the year right before COVID struck and everything shut down.

Q: How do you pick the Ozzy material you cover?
Cormier: Well, I learned that this guy has a huge catalogue of songs, something like 35 songs are ones you’ve heard on the radio. I didn’t want to do deep cuts because that can turn regular fans off, there’s one or two songs that might surprise some people that we do, but other than that it’s all the biggest hits that he’s got. That’s how I pick them out, I kind of put myself in the audience’s position of what they would like to see and then I take it from there.

Q: Okay, then what can folks expect from your performance there in Madison?
Cormier: What my goal is is to present a true Ozzy so that people would feel like, “This is about the closest that I’ll ever get to see Ozzy perform!” I try to do the best I can because I want people to feel like they got their money’s worth.

Q: Now, what’s the breakdown of the Crazy Train band?
Cormier: Well, my son, Dylan, gets dressed up as a young Zakk Wylde; I get dressed up, obviously, as Ozzy; and our bass player {Craig Goodall} puts on a suit jacket and looks like a young Geezer Butler.

Q: Is there anything, Vinny, that you’d like me to pass on to the folks reading this article, this will be an area debut for Crazy Train, after all.
Cormier: I definitely want to thank Somerset Abbey for being so kind to us, I apologize for not being there the first time, that couldn’t be helped. And I’d like to let people know that if they come out and see this band, I think they’ll be very surprised at how dedicated the music is, how dedicated I am for trying to be Ozzy; I think they’ll at least walk away saying that we put a lot of work into this. I think that they’ll definitely get their money’s worth and what I want more than anything is to have people feeling that it was a great show.

Lucky Clark, a 2018 “Keeping the Blues Alive” Award winner, has spent more than 50 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

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