Paul Brannigan of Kerrang! spoke with the Prince of Darkness, Ozzy Osbourne, portions of the interview, appear below.

Kerrang!: When you look back at your childhood in Birmingham, do you remember it as a happy time in your life?

Ozzy Osbourne: No. No, I wasn’t a very happy child at all. I had three older sisters and two younger brothers and it was tough for us. I always dreamt of better things. We never went on holidays, we never had a car… we had a bathroom, which was pretty fortunate compared to other families on our street, and I often wonder how my dad afforded that. He was a hard-working guy, and so was my mum. My father used to say, ‘You’ve got to get a job with a trade and a pension, and bring your pay cheque home.’ My kids don’t know what it was like. I’ll say to them, ‘When I was young, if you wanted something, like a bike, you had to get a paper round, or whatever, and save up. You didn’t go to your dad and say, ‘I’d like a new bike’ and have him say, ‘Oh, just charge it to my account.’ It was a different world.

Kerrang!:In 1970, Paranoid became a Top 10 single for Black Sabbath. Did you enjoy being a pop star for a moment?

Ozzy Osbourne: Oh yeah! I mean, none of us set out to be pop stars or rock stars, but it was all an experience. Obviously we hoped we’d be successful, but we didn’t really want to be a regular Top Of The Pops band, we didn’t want to sell out to that point. That was never going to be our world. When Paranoid was in the charts alongside all these awful pop songs, you’d think, ‘How the f–k has this happened?’ We could have chosen to write pop songs, but we wanted to write music with a bit of grit and a bit of substance, rather than (sings‘I love you, you love me…’. All we ever wanted was to write music that we liked.

Kerrang! When you left Black Sabbath, were you scared that it might be the end of your career?

Ozzy Osbourne: Of course I was. There was no challenge anymore with Sabbath at the time, we’d all outgrown each other. But it’s like being married to a woman and falling out of love, and thinking, ‘I no longer want to be with her… but what if I meet someone who’s worse than her?’ It’s a very big decision to just go, ‘F–k this!’ I actually left, and then went back, and then they fired me, so I thought, ‘Okay, well, I’ve no f–king choice now.’ I remember being in Le Parc Hotel [in Los Angeles], thinking, ‘Well, this is it, I’m f–king done now.’ I went back to England and bought a wine bar with my now ex-wife, but ended up drinking more than I was selling. And then I met up with Sharon [Osbourne – Ozzy’s wife and manager], and the rest is history. Looking back, it was good for them and it was good for me. They needed a new singer and I needed a new band.”

Kerrang!: As your manager, Sharon obviously had great faith that you could become a solo star. But did you believe in yourself as much as she believed in you?

Ozzy Osbourne: Probably not. But then Randy Rhoads came along and it was a match made in f–king heaven. Randy was phenomenal, a great guy and a wonderful musician and he really helped me as a singer. He’d hear me humming a melody around the house and go, ‘Is that yours?’ and we’d work together to build a song out of it. With Sabbath, it worked the other way. Tony would come up with an amazing riff and I had to put a vocal on top of it, which wasn’t always comfortable for me, because I had to bend to what the band wanted.

Kerrang! You’ve played with some incredible guitar players in your career, from Randy to Jake E Lee through to Zakk Wylde. What makes a great guitar player in your eyes?

Ozzy Osbourne: Someone who can f–king play, for a start. Back in the day, auditions used to drive me f–king mental. The first 50 people who’d show up would only be there because they wanted to meet you, and then maybe if you were lucky you might find someone decent among the next 50. I used to get the guys in my band to make a shortlist, otherwise I’d have to sit through 900 guitar players, and usually all kinds of weirdos. I remember one guy saying to me, ‘I do a great solo standing on my head.’ So I said, ‘I don’t need a f–king acrobat!.”

Kerrang!: You were quoted last year as saying that you didn’t really enjoy the final Black Sabbath tour. Assuming that was an accurate quote, what didn’t you like about it?

Ozzy Osbourne: I didn’t like the fact that [original Sabbath drummer] Bill Ward wasn’t there, for a start. People put that down to me, but it wasn’t me, honestly. We [Sabbath] didn’t have the f–king time to hang around, we had to get going, but I’m sorry it didn’t work out with Bill. Tommy [Clufetos, Ozzy’s drummer, who played with Sabbath on their farewell tour] did great, but the four of us started this, and it should have been the four of us ending it. Those final gigs in Birmingham were bittersweet because you think of how far we came, and how much we did, and it would have been good to have shared that together. Maybe one day there’ll be one last gig, I don’t know.

Kerrang! Is a new Ozzy Osbourne album a possibility in 2020?

Ozzy Osbourne: I’d like to make one, but the truth is that people don’t buy records anymore. I’d like to make one just for the hell of it, and I imagine Zakk would be into the idea too, because he’s a force of nature and a great guitar player, so we’ll see.

Read more at Kerrang!

Ozzy recently announced rescheduled No More Tours 2 2020 UK and European dates, click here to view the itinerary.

10 Responses

  1. Absolutely pathetic that Bill Ward was not a part of “The End” tour, regardless of the reasons. Money, egos, management, etc….all share the blame….

  2. This is what, 4 years later that Ozzy comes out with this thinking? I guess better late than never, except for Bill and the fans. Shame wins again.

  3. He is saying this I think to ease his guilt , save face, whatever , it’s BS. If you wanted him in , you’re Ozzy ! You make it happen you make sure his spot is open – I think I remember original the post about it …. turns out bill was really unable to tour because of his health –

    1. I think that is what Sabbath was claiming, Ward said it had to do with an “unsignable” contract. I remember the last go round, the band said they were going to split the profits equally 25% a piece, then Ozzy Sharon demanded 50% (and got it).

    2. Is that verified Dana? I had wondered but never followed through on finding out for sure. Cheers

    3. I found it, it had to do with Black Sabbath’s “trademark,” not touring profits. This lawsuit took place a decade ago, so I was mistaken when I stated it had to do with touring. But the trademark/logo can effect how the profits are split on any march sold, even at live events, so it is somewhat related to touring.

      It stuck out in my brain, because Osbourne claimed the profits should be split, evenly fours ways, and then he sues for half?? So, how is that fair and equitable?

      Anyway, here are some, of the many links, that I was able to find:

      Ozzy Osbourne sues over ‘Sabbath’ name

      Osbourne is demanding a 50% share of the name for himself as well as a split of monies earned while he was not in the band. https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/ozzy-osbourne-sues-sabbath-84767

      Ozzy Osbourne: ‘The Black Sabbath Trademark Should Be Owned By The Four Of Us Equally‘:

      Ozzy Osbourne has filed a lawsuit against his Black Sabbath bandmate Tony Iommi, claiming that Iommi illegally took sole ownership of the band’s name in a filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

      Osbourne is suing Iommi for a 50 percent interest in the “Black Sabbath” trademark, along with a portion of Iommi’s profits from use of the name. https://www.blabbermouth.net/news/ozzy-osbourne-the-black-sabbath-trademark-should-be-owned-by-the-four-of-us-equally/

      Ozzy sues Iommi: It’s a black day for Sabbath fans!:

      According to the New York Post, Osbourne is suing Sabs guitarist Tony Iommi for a 50% interest in the BS name and a portion of Iommi’s profits. The suit also asserts Iommi illegally claimed ownership of the Sabbath moniker, and that Black Sabbath’s popularity decreased following Osbourne’s departure — which, apart from anything else, adds another chapter to Ozzy’s feud with his Sabs successor Ronnie James Dio. https://ew.com/article/2009/05/29/ozzy-sues-iommi/

      They did settle this suit, a year later in 2010, but there is no mention to how much of the percentage Ozzy dud receive.

      “Ozzy Osbourne told The Pulse of Radio recently that a lawsuit between him and guitarist Tony Iommi over the use of the Black Sabbath name has been settled and that everything is now okay between them…Ozzy filed a lawsuit against Iommi in May 2009, claiming that Iommi illegally took sole ownership of the band’s name in a filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

      Osbourne sued Iommi for a 50 percent interest in the “Black Sabbath” trademark, along with a portion of Iommi’s profits from use of the name.

      The Manhattan federal court suit also charged that Osbourne’s “signature lead vocals” are largely responsible for the band’s “extraordinary success,” noting that its popularity plummeted during his absence from 1980 through 1996.

      Lawyer Andrew DeVore argued that Osbourne signed away all his rights to the Black Sabbath trademark after he quit the band in 1979.

      Osbourne’s lawyer, Howard Shire, called that agreement a “red herring” that was “repudiated” when the singer rejoined in 1997 and took over “quality control” of the band’s merchandise, tours and recordings. http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/ozzy-osbourne-tony-iommi-settle-black-sabbath-trademark-dispute/

    4. Ohhh wow Dana, thank you so much for taking the time to find all those links. It’s a shame what selfish egos do to something that began as a true love for music, brotherhood and represent their community. I still love Sabbath, Ozzy, Bill, Geez and Tony and even that crazy ‘bird’ Sharon. Even if she did sleep with Randy, a beautiful soul, so she stated on Howard several ions ago.

      Cheers & Up the Irons

    5. You’re most welcome, Tasker.

      I read Sharon’s book, but it was quite a long time, ago, so I don’t remember much. However, I do recall the Randy incident. Rhoads is my favorite guitarist, and he seemed like he was a wonderful soul, so I understand why Sharon may have had feelings for him.

      D 🙂

  4. I bet he was as well. He seemed to exhude a tender caring soul. Even up on the that big Blizzard of Ozz/Diary stage he looked rather diminutive yet the epitome of cool, confidence and skill. When I discovered Tribute around 88’ I was 16 and blown away. Especially by his tracks of Dee. I’d already loved Sabbath since I was 15 and came to love what I knew to be unique blend of Segovian-baroque classical guitar with heavy chords and riffs. I have the coolest black and white raglan tee of Randy with an outlined of his face and his name printed with his birth-death dates that I got in Toronto in the late 80’s. In a couple of years my daughter will be able to wear it. And so I guess I pass the torch to the next generation. It’s a fun experience. Randy was the best and I guess gave Eddie a kick in his pants and caused him to step up his game.

    My name is Brent \mm/ Thanks for what you do for us. From ORegon \MM/

    1. Hi Brent,

      You’re most welcome, and I loved your description of Randy’s style, you summed it up, perfectly.

      D 🙂

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