"People take me too damn serious."
On the occassion of the anniversary of Black Sabbath's beloved heavy metal classic Vol. 4, Ozzy Osbourne gave an candid, in-depth interview to long-running rockumentary radio show In the Studio with host Redbeard. During the chat, the hard rock god and former reality television star/mumbly jester spoke quite lucidly on the undoing of Sabbath's classic lineup, his problems with drugs and alcohol, his villification in the public eye and, rather surprisingly, his fear of being assassinated. Here are the 10 most facsinating revelations from that talk.
1) "People take me too damn serious. I mean, I have sung songs about the darker forces, but i've also written songs about everything across the spectrum from pollution to politics to war to poverty to happiness to a boy meets girl. People go, 'Oh, Ozzy Osbourne. He bites the heads off things and pissed up the Alamo.' I kinda feel typecast ... What I've desperately tried to get across is that if you think you know Ozzy Osbourne, you're only scratching the surface because I don't even know Ozzy Osbourne. I so often frequently surprise me, you know?"
2) "What happened with me and Black Sabbath was that, in the beginning we all had a purpose, but as it went along that inevitable thing stepped in called ego ... The fact is that success does change you. When you're hungry, you all have one goal, and that is to get successful. It affected me. I didn't give a shit. I was full of cocaine and all the rest of the crap I used to do. That stuff makes you talk total horse crap. There shouldn't be a problem in the world, 'cause we [thought we] solved them all in the bathroom of a hotel with a bag of that white powder."
3) "Ever since John Lennon got shot, I always get scared that someone's gonna freak out, ya know."
4) "Having a car, flying first class, doing all this exciting stuff. I was just like a dream come true. It was a dream come true. The early part of the success is so much fun. The first two Sabbath albums were great for us because it was so new. And then all of a sudden it becomes deadly serious because people start telling you what you should and shouldn't do. If anyone is listening to this and you crack the egg, man, you enjoy those first few years because you never recapture them again."
5) "In the '70s, you'd get bands like the Eagles, Yes, and Sabbath playing the same gig. We opened up for James Taylor one time... Nowadays, it's like these rap packages, these metal packages, these alternative packages. To be totally honest with you, Headbangers Ball, I couldn't watch it because it's too much. And I'm called heavy metal. But it went from Poison, Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Ozzy, Motörhead [to] Metallica. we were all called heavy metal but we're nothing like each other musically."
6) "The kids that follow Ozzy ain't all suicidal. They ain't all devil worshippers. It's a minority of the people that think that's what they've got to do and it ain't cool to be that crazy. It ain't very clever."
7) "I've tried to confront some of these evangelist people who put me down, but I get the impression it's like banging your head against a brick wall because they've already made their mind up and you can't budge them, and I don't want to get involved ... I steer clear because I'm not a religious fanatic, although I am a Christian. I'm not a politician. I think all politicians should pick up rock and roll guitars and make people smile. It's always this scandal, or this 'something-gate,' or that arms-deal-gone-wrong."
8) "'Suicide Solution' wasn't a song for people to kill themselves to. It was my warning about the dangers of alcohol then when I was going through my period of, 'Hey, this ain't so cool to get stoned and wrecked all the time. It ain't so cool when you waking up shaking fearsome and wondering when your next drink's going to come. ... If anyone is out there and they have this problem, go find help because it's free."
9) "I got the rap of being stoned and drunk all the time. I wasn't the only one, man. I mean we were all in a bad way with drugs and alcohol. A very, very bad way."
10) "I'm not a bad person getting better, I'm a sick person getting well. Alcoholism and drug dependency is a killer disease, you know. I went to two rehab places and then I still went out again. And then I stopped again and then I started. I have accepted I have a problem with drugs and alcohol. That's a big stepping stone, you know. I'm very lucky that I'm still alive and I'm also very lucky I can still put two words together."