Ozzy Osbourne Interview: The Good, The Bad & The Ozzy
GW What would make you hungry again?
OZZY I am, in a way. This is the first record I’ve ever done sober. I’m five months sober, and it’s very difficult. I don’t know whether it’s good or not. I’m writing mellower songs. Not to say the album will be mellow. Zakk will make sure it’s not. He’s crazy. In fact, he reminds me of me.
During rehearsal, I’ll sit down with the road crew and have a can of Coke. Geezer [Butler] will walk in and quietly join us, then Randy [Castillo, drums]. But Zakk, you hear him from a mile away, screaming or whatever. He’s like a circus coming to town. Geezer cowers when he hears Zakk coming. There are so many cool-guy guitar players with their sunglasses and all that, but Zakk is one of the boys. He’s a real shitkicker. He always says hi to people and takes the time to talk to the fans—he’s always on. One of the key things about him is that he’s always got some time for the people. That’s a big asset. When people find success, they tend to get big heads and 18 bodyguards. They forget that without the fans they wouldn’t have a flash limousine and the money to pay for the bodyguards.
You shouldn’t make yourself overavailable, but you shouldn’t make yourself invisible either. I have to be careful because, in a lot of areas, not only are there a lot of people who like me but also a lot of people who hate me. I don’t want to be the next John Lennon.
Trying to clean my act up was a major step in my life. I’m suddenly stone-cold sober in this zoo and the lions are trying to pick the lock. I was stoned for 21 years. Most rockers get stoned to break down the inhibitions, paranoia and shyness that stem from personal hang-ups we’ve carried around since we were kids. We all want to communicate with our fellow man, but we’re too frightened to try. Getting drunk allowed me to relax. But after a period of years, that stopped working for me. So I had a real dilemma. I was getting high and it was killing me. Yet, I was afraid of being sober. Things began going drastically wrong for me in my personal life. I had hit the bottom, and all that was left was death or insanity. Now with the grace of God, I’ve kept my sobriety, but I still take it one day at a time.
On the next studio record I’ve decided to take a whack at writing a love song and things I actually feel. I may also write a song called, “Son of a Bitch, Everything’s Real.” [laughs]
GW Someone once described you as a “nuclear bluesman.” The analogy fits—you often write simple, guitar-oriented songs about the woes of the modern man.
OZZY Just the other day I was watching an old video of me singing “Paranoid.” I listened to the lyrics and thought, Hell, where were we when we wrote that? It was really strange because I had this smile on my face while I was singing this heavy, heavy song.
I mean, Sabbath grew up in Birmingham, England, which was in an industrialized pit. That was a billion light years from San Francisco’s hippified flower power, where you’d hear some guy singing about wearing flowers in your hair. Meanwhile, my life was shit. I was frightened by fear. Fear has been my closest friend throughout my life. That’s why we drank. That’s why we’re all fucked up.
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