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Ozzy Osbourne On Sobreity, New Sabbath Album, And Looking For New Guitar Player (7/21/2005)

Ed Masley of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette earlier this week conducted an in-depth interview with Ozzy Osbourne. Several excerpts from the chat follow:

On BLACK SABBATH's enduring influence:

Ozzy: "When we first started writing music, we had no [bleeping] idea at that time that in the '80s, '90s, now 2005, that kids would look upon that as the [bleeping] Holy Grail. I still don't understand when people come up to me and go 'I'm not worthy' or whatever. I'm just baffled by it. And I'm not complaining at all, but when people tell me, 'Man, you were our biggest influence' and I go 'Which part?,' it's always the BLACK SABBATH thing. I mean, I was solo longer than BLACK SABBATH. I was 20 years solo and I was with SABBATH for 12 or something."

On the possibility of a new full-length studio recording with BLACK SABBATH:

Ozzy: "The truth of the matter is, we have tried on a couple of occasions, but when we originally wrote, we never tried. We just jammed, and it worked. It would take no time at all for us four to go in and make an album. What I'm trying to say here is, if it's not up to the same standard as when I left, why put out an album? I could do any [bleeping] thing and call it BLACK SABBATH. There's enough of them kind of albums out already, with the people who replaced me and Bill and Geezer along the way. In my opinion, it's gotta be better than anything we've ever done before. I'd love to do a 'Vol. 4' or 'Sabbath Bloody Sabbath' or 'Paranoid' or whatever. If it's meant to be, it's meant to be. But I refuse to do an album just for the sake of calling it 'BLACK SABBATH' with Tony Iommi, Bill Ward, Geezer Butler and myself and the album not being any [bleeping] good.

"I mean, BLACK SABBATH is a completely different animal than the BLACK SABBATH without me or an Ozzy Osbourne album. When we did those two songs for the reunion album, the review so rightly said 'One sounds like an Ozzy track and one sounds like a SABBATH-meets-Ozzy track,' because I've developed, I've changed. I'm not just the singer in the band anymore. I've grown a lot, without knowing I've grown a lot. I've never put an album out where I've gone, 'Now, that is perfect.' And usually, what I would call the filler tracks, I guarantee that someone will come up to me and go 'Why don't you ever play so-and-so or so-and-so live?' And I just think, 'You [bleeping] like that?"

On his favorite SABBATH album:

Ozzy: "I have a favorite SABBATH moment. The first album was great. The second album was even better. Up until 'Sabbath Bloody Sabbath', it was cool. But we were ripped off by the management, all this legal [expletive], we didn't have a clue what we were [bleeping] doing or whatever. We were a band working to pay our lawyers' fees. And it kind of got sad at that point. I left at one point then rejoined, then they booted me out. We were all [messed] up on dope and all that [expletive]. But the one thing I'm really happy about is that at the end of the day we all got back together, and we're all really more friendly than we have ever been."

On trying to put together another solo band:

Ozzy: "The problem I'm having is finding a [bleeping] guitar player, 'cause Zakk's [Wylde] off and running. I mean, I'm sure if I asked him, he'd drop everything and come with me, 'cause Zakk and his family and my family, we're like a family. So I really am looking for the next guitar player, but I don't know how to do it. I don't know where to go.

"When I've auditioned players, I have to sit in a [bleeping] room, and half of them just want to meet me, so you get rid of them, and then the other half, that can play, after 80, 90 [bleeping] guitar players, you don't know what the [expletive] you're listening to in the end. And then you pick the guy and you find out he's a [bleeping] Buddhist monk who's not working on Wednesdays or if it's raining or if his wife looks at him with one eye. Or he's a [bleeping] freak and he didn't really want to play. He just wants to convert you. But I'm sure it will happen eventually.... I hope."

On working on a musical about controversial Russian politician Grigory Rasputin with songwriter Mark Hudson, who's collaborated with AEROSMITH and Ringo Starr:

Ozzy: "I'm finishing up some music for a musical that I've been working on with a friend of mine for the last 10 years. I think I can afford, at this time in my life, to do some experimental [expletive], you know? Like a Broadway show. Not like [bleeping] 'Fiddler on the Roof' or anything. The one I'm doing is about Rasputin, the mad monk."

While there is a certain element of metal to some of the music, he says, "There's also some stuff where you'd go 'Ozzy Osbourne doing this?' I've seen a few musicals, and one thing I've noticed is they're not really musicals. A musical to me is [bleeping] 'South Pacific'.... Back in the '50s or '60s, when they did a musical, there was a song every five minutes or something. Now it's [bleeping] one song and it's all guys dressed as [bleeping] cats crawling all over the stage or something."

On "The Osbournes" TV show:

Ozzy: "I just don't understand it. I don't go 'Oh, today I'm gonna pick up a reality show, and it's going to be the biggest thing since sliced bread.' I haven't got a clue. It's as if it's all been meant to be that way. I keep saying to Sharon 'How long is this [bleeping] thing gonna last?' And she'll go 'We'll know.' Every year, it gets bigger. We played Hartford last night. [Bleeping] maximum capacity crowd. It was like a [bleeping] sauna up on stage, but it was [bleeping] great."

On Ozzfest:

Ozzy: "The way it started was she tried to get me on Lollapalooza in '94 or something, and they said 'Ozzy's like a dinosaur. He's kind of over.' And yet, their version of diversity is Tony Bennett to NINE INCH NAILS and all this. And Sharon just said very politely, '[Bleep] you. We'll do our own festival.' And I said 'Whoa, Sharon, hold on a minute. Don't go too crazy here. Let's just feel our way. See if it's gonna work.' So I think she put five or seven shows out. I said 'Don't go book the [bleeping] planet and end up with one [bleeping] drunk in Pittsburgh. Or London.' And it's grown and grown. I honestly don't understand how it's done it. ... I'm the guy that goes 'Oh [bleep] it, it's [bleeping] 10 years. There ain't gonna be anyone there.' But luckily, or whatever, it's getting bigger and [bleeping] bigger. It's the biggest [bleeping] thing for the summer now. I'm not trying to sound like a [bleeping] smirky [bleeper] now. I'm not one of these guys that takes it for granted. If I go on stage and my voice blows out, I'm really unhappy, because I can't give the show that I wanted to for the audience.

"I do respect and love everyone that comes to see me, because I'm very fortunate to be in the position at the age of 56 to have an audience anyway. And they haven't all got great jobs that pay high salaries. A lot of these kids have to save pennies and nickels and dimes every year to buy a ticket, and I don't forget that. I've met so many people on my side of the fence with the attitude of 'I'm cool, man. You're so [bleeping] blessed to have me on the stage.' That's not Ozzy. I come from the streets. I know what it's like to want something, and I have never forgotten that. I'm just one of them that's lasted the realm of time."

Ozzy says he'd like to take the next year off from Ozzfest to concentrate on other things but knows he can't:

"It wouldn't be a bad idea for somebody else to finish the job. But then it wouldn't be Ozzfest, would it? So [bleep] it, I've gotta get on with it. But hey, man, I've got a good life."

On the thought of retiring someday:

Ozzy: "When I'm out here, I want to be home. And when I'm home, I want to be out here. So I'm one of these contrary [bleeping] rock n' rollers. Then I really stop and think to myself how [bleeping] lucky I am. I was just watching this thing on VH1 about these [bleeping] ... do you remember that band in the '80s, did that song 'Be My Cherry Pie'?"

Would that be WARRANT?

Ozzy: "One of them [bleeping] bands," he says. "But this guy's got all bloated and he's got on one of these ridiculous 'who can get thin first' shows and I'm thinking 'I'm so [bleeping] lucky to be doing what I'm doing and still be cool. A lot of bands along the way are either dead or pumping [bleeping] gas."

"But don't forget, along the way, as high as I got was as low as we got. My kids all ended up doing dope. I was [messed] up. My wife got cancer. She gets over the cancer, I go home to my house in England and [bleeping] kill myself on a [bleeping] motorcycle. They had to bring me back."

On being sober now:

Ozzy: "I work a 12-step program. I'm 15 months without a drink or a recreational drug."

On how being sober has affected his performing style:

Ozzy: "I've got more [bleeping] energy, and I know what I'm doing more than I used to. I mean, I don't want to go too much on the sobriety thing because it's a personal thing. But believe me, if I thought by getting [messed] up, I would be a better man for it, I wouldn't be [bleeping] sober on the [bleeping] phone right now. I'd be drinking. I just wanted to at least remember what I did yesterday and not have to apologize to anybody, you know?"

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette / Blabbermouth

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