In a wide-ranging Rolling Stone interview ahead of tonight’s (Sept. 7) debut of Biography: The Nine Lives of Ozzy Osbourne on A&E, Ozzy Osbourne said he was “done” with Black Sabbath even though guitarist Tony Iommi is up to play with the legendary lineup again. Osbourne did admit, however, that he regrets not doing Sabbath’s 2017 farewell show in Birmingham with founding drummer Bill Ward.
“I felt really bad about that. It would have been so nice. I don’t know what the circumstances behind it were, but it would have been nice. I’ve talked to him a few times, but I don’t have any of the slightest interest in [doing another gig],” Osbourne said.
Osbourne’s health issues of the last several years have included a Parkinson’s-related diagnosis, a fall, and surgery, and the frontman says that he’s “still in recovery. When they cut into the spine in my neck, they severed my nerves and I got this thing called neuropathy; it’s just nerve pain. That’s giving me a lot of grief now. But, you know, I ain’t dead.”
Of his rehab efforts, he terms his progress as “six steps forward and eight back. Very slow recovery. I ain’t good at being laid up.”
The forced downtime, due also to COVID-19, along with the documentary, has made room for reflection. As the press notes the anniversaries of Sabbath’s groundbreaking Black Sabbath and Paranoid albums, Osbourne said that he remembered thinking at the time, “‘Well, this will be all right for a few years.’ Fucking 50 years later, it’s still going. Those guys are my brothers, you know? They go back to my childhood. It’s more than a friendship with me and them guys; it’s a family.”
Of that family, Iommi remains the closest, Osbourne acknowledges. “Out of all of them, he’s been the one I’ve been most in touch with [since my surgery]. He’s been really keeping me going and giving me words of encouragement. I’ve heard from Bill once or twice. I haven’t heard much from Geezer, but that’s Geezer.”
Osbourne, 71, is looking forward to playing live again with his solo band, and promoting his 2020 album, Ordinary Man. He asks, “What else am I gonna do? Sit around and remember when I was famous? As far as what I do as a job, it keeps me alive. I suppose I was probably born to do what I do. I haven’t done my last gig yet. Even if it’s just to do one gig, I will do a gig. Then I’ll feel like I finished my job.”