ScotlandOnSunday recently conducted an interview with legendary heavy metal singer Ozzy Osbourne. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.
Ozzy: “Rehabs are not there to cure you. You’ll never get cured from addiction, but they’ll tell you what’s wrong and suggest how you can arrest the symptoms. It’s a terrible affliction and thank God people have recognized it as being an illness.”
“Some people never stop, like when George Best died, he had fucking liver transplants, the whole nine yards, and he still continued to drink. Alcohol, drugs, tobacco, it’s all the same, it’s something to fix the way you feel, but it started to turn on me. As time went on my tolerance got bad, I could hardly hold anything, I’d drink and then have to have another drink to get me back up again, so by nine in the morning I was done.
“That was when I used to have a sniff of the old powder and get me back on my feet again. At first it was fun to do, but then it became not fun anymore and I had to do that just to get to what I thought was normal. I’m becoming awake again now, you know?”
On the wake-up call that made him realize he had a problem:
Ozzy: “One time we had a kids’ party, one of the kids’ birthdays, and Sharon [Ozzy’s wife] said to me, ‘You fucking should have seen yourself yesterday,’ and I went, ‘What’s wrong with me, I was all right, playing with the kids, whatever.’ And she kept saying, ‘Do you want to see yourself?’ and she put a video in the machine and I was fucking freaked out. I thought, ‘Maybe it’s true.'”
On being on the receiving end of death threats from both Satanist and Christian groups during the early 1970s heyday of his former band BLACK SABBATH:
Ozzy: “I’ve had numerous threats on my life. They were gonna shoot me one night. I go to this gig and there’s this strange vibe going down backstage and all of a sudden this cop walks in and goes, ‘We’ve had it from a very good source that this guy’s gonna try and shoot you tonight, what do you want to do?’ I went, ‘Well, they’re in so if I don’t go on they’re gonna get fucking pissed off. They’re not gonna shoot me when I’m onstage, I don’t think’. I thought I’d just move around a bit more, use Tony, my assistant, as a shield.”
On his early solo “Diary Of A Madman” tour in 1982 when he would encourage his audience to fling offal, gore and meat onstage and would conduct the mock hanging of a midget”
Ozzy: “It was all in fun. He’d say, ‘Where’s the fucking toilet, Oz?’ and I’d come over and put my hand over the WO and go, ‘Look, MEN’. But he couldn’t open the door to get out so women would be smacking him around. It’s sad because he committed suicide, he overdosed on Prozac.”
On starting his own annual travelling festival, Ozzfest, which has given then-rising acts such as SYSTEM OF A DOWN, SLIPKNOT and LINKIN PARK a leg-up:
Ozzy: “I’ve often had people go, ‘I bet you’re happy with the resurgence of heavy metal.’ Well, number one, I can’t stand the title, heavy metal. If it was heavy rock, it’d be better. But you can’t say that the bands now sound anything like the bands in the 1970s. But what I’m happy about, I gave a platform for a lot of these kids to do gigs. The record industry is fucking dying, so what a lot of these kids will do is have a recording thing on the bus and make a record through the night as they’re travelling and sell it at the gig.”
On “The Osbournes” reality-TV show:
Ozzy: “It was an experiment. I looked at it being an extended version of ‘Cribs’, that’s basically what it was. Believe me, we could have gone on with it. I didn’t want to do it. I haven’t really watched any of the shows, I’ve seen bits of it. I can’t stand to see myself on TV. They’re very ruthless people, it’s a very cut-throat business.”
On the strangest thing he’s snorted:
Ozzy: “Snuff in a pub. A quick line of snuff, the next minute I coughed and a big fucking black bubble of shit come out of my mouth. I thought my fucking brain had melted.”