With their massively successful new album, 13, having stormed to No1 around the world last year, Black Sabbath are preparing for their triumphant assault on Hyde Park on July 4th.
Now frontman Ozzy Osbourne talks to the Mail about booze, bats, Botox, Britain, Bieber and his screaming rows with Sharon.
I was a bad father, an abusive husband...and I have no idea why I'm not dead: The resurrection of Ozzy Osbourne
By Louise Gannon
7 June 2014
Daily battles with booze. Screaming rows with Sharon. An ill-fated brush with Botox... but now he's back with Black Sabbath, playing Hyde Park
Prince of Darkness: 'It is insane. I should be dead. I don't know why I'm not,' said Ozzy Osbourne
In his expensively decorated Los Angeles mansion, Ozzy Osbourne is sitting in a vast ornate chair telling a story.
‘I was at this big music event the other day and a television reporter came up and asked me what I thought about Justin Bieber throwing eggs at his neighbour’s house.’
He grins, widens those round, blue eyes, and then holds his hands (complete with perfectly manicured black-painted nails) next to his face and sticks out his tongue.
‘I mean. I looked at this guy and I said: “Are you serious? Are you asking me what I think of someone throwing eggs?”’ He pauses, shakes his head and laughs: ‘Eggs. I threw carnage. Every five freaking minutes. So what do I think? Eggs. Is that it? Go and make a flipping omelette.’
At 65 years old, John Michael Osbourne, from Aston, Birmingham, remains the most legendary hellraiser of them all.
Drink, quad-bike accidents, drugs, attempted suicide, attempted murder, women, police cells, endangered animals – Ozzy has had a run-in with all of them.
He’s drunk ‘swimming pools of vodka’, risked his sanity with mind-bending substances, ingested more narcotics than Motley Crüe, bitten heads off bats and doves and racked up a reputation as the craziest car crash in rock ’n’ roll.
Bieber’s antics are mere child’s play to Ozzy, who regales me with just one of his countless outrageous escapades – urinating, while intoxicated, drugged up to the eyeballs and wearing a woman’s dress (his wife, Sharon, had removed all his clothes in an attempt to keep him in his hotel room, so he took one of her outfits instead) against the revered Alamo Cenotaph in Texas.
He ended up jailed and banned from San Antonio back in 1982.
'I once jumped out of a hotel window thinking it was the ground floor, but I was two floors up,' said Ozzy
‘I thought I wasn’t going to get out of there alive,’ he says.
‘It wasn’t the cops or the sheriffs, it was the guy in the cell with me.
'I was slammed up for six hours in a tiny cell with a wife-killer and there I was wearing make-up and a long green evening robe thinking, “At least I made it to 30.”’
Yet here he sits 5,000 miles away from the streets of Birmingham in the sunny splendour of Beverly Hills, super-wealthy, surprisingly healthy (he’s just come from an hour-long workout) and preparing for Black Sabbath’s triumphant assault on Hyde Park on July 4 after their massively successful comeback album, 13, which went to number one all over the world.
He scratches his head.
‘It is insane. I should be dead. I don’t know why I’m not. Most of the people I used to get off my head with are dead. I’ve fallen down stairs, over stairs, over balconies.
'I once jumped out of a hotel window thinking it was the ground floor, but I was two floors up. I landed in a rosebush. I didn’t even get a scratch. I didn’t think I’d see 40 let alone 60. There’s no reason on earth I should still be alive.’
He pauses. ‘But I am. Someone must be looking after me. I’ve even had doctors check out my blood cells [he underwent genome sequencing in 2010] to find out why the hell I haven’t managed to kill myself and whether I’ve got some special DNA. They came back with pages of reports... didn’t understand half of it but none of it said DEAD.’ He grins.
He clearly worries about his mortality, so does he have any regrets? He looks momentarily startled and the tone turns serious. ‘You haven’t got enough time. I have thousands. Thousands of them.’
'I've got so many regrets I can't even remember half of them. But wives and kids are right at the top,' Ozzy said (pictured: performing with Black Sabbth in 1975)
‘The way I treated both my wives (he was married first to Thelma Reese, mother of his children, Jessica, 42, and Louis, 38 ). I was a bad father, an abusive husband and I had an ego the size of India.
‘I spent decades of my life being an absolute idiot. I’ve got so many regrets I can’t even remember half of them. But wives and kids are right at the top. It’s pointless even saying sorry. I couldn’t say it enough times. All I can do is stay sober.’
Right now he is sober. Two years ago, while recording 13, he fell off the wagon big-time, moved out of the family home, nearly wrecking his marriage for good.
At the time it was said his relapse was caused by news that Sabbath’s founder member Tony Iommi had cancer. He shakes his head.
‘Not true. There was no reason except that I’m an alcoholic and one day you just look outside, it’s a sunny day and you know nothing is going to come between you and a beer, and then you go right down the mad slide and you’re crawling around on the floor wishing you didn’t have to watch another sunrise.
‘But if you take cocaine you can drink forever. Cocaine and booze are the eggs and bacon of the addict’s world, the perfect combination. And you just can’t stop.’
But he did.
'I honestly don't think I could do anything without Sharon,' said Ozzy. They married in 1982 (left), when she was his manager. They are Derby and Joan meets Sid and Nancy
‘I looked in the mirror one day and thought: “No more.” And now I’m trying. Every day.’
As we talk Ozzy’s fire-cracker wife Sharon comes in to chat and check off a few household issues.
‘She always knows what’s going on,’ he says. ‘I honestly don’t think I could do anything without Sharon.’
Their day-to-day routine depends on who is filming – usually Sharon (she is currently filming her show, The Talk, which is screened live in Los Angeles).
‘I love her working because it makes her happy and she’s bloody good at it,’ he says.
He goes to daily AA meetings, which he says is the only way he can keep to his recovery.
A crazed Ozzy with his daughter Aimee
‘Sharon tells me I’m a bloody fool and screams at me when I’m drinking, but that doesn’t stop me.
'But she supports me, she knows it’s an illness, she knows it’s part of who I am and it’s only me who can deal with it and it’s because I don’t want to lose what I have with Sharon and the kids that I do it. No one else can cure an addict but the addict.’
They married in 1982, when Sharon was his manager. They are Derby and Joan meets Sid and Nancy.
When Ozzy steps out on stage in Hyde Park it will not just be a triumph for Black Sabbath and his own ungodly survival but it will be his 32nd wedding anniversary.
A 22-year-old Osbourne with his Black Sabbath pals and a rubber chicken in London, 1970
‘We’re still together because we both just hung on in, even when it got insane and because she’s a far better, far bigger person than anyone can ever meet – and because she’s got a bloody good right hook.
‘If you heard us row you’d think you’d need to call the police. Throwing stuff, smashing stuff everywhere, but then we also have a bloody good laugh. We annoy the hell out of each other.
'She spends money like water – candles, flowers, air conditioning. We spend more money in summer than winter on electricity. And I spend my life moaning or going food shopping. I love supermarkets – I go in, wander round and watch everyone else on the tills, doing their shopping. I love it.’
It is impossible to be anything other than charmed by Osbourne, formerly known as The Prince Of Darkness.
Everything about him, from his pink socks to his little black slippers to his tattoos and crucifixes, is in keeping with the caricature he created in the infamous MTV show, The Osbournes, alongside Sharon and their children, Kelly, 29, and Jack, 28 (their eldest daughter Aimee, 30, refused to take part in the show).
He has the delivery of a natural comic, the look of a rock aristo and the manner of a down-to-earth Brummie. He takes a palpable delight in his own comeuppance.
'We're still together because we both just hung on in, even when it got insane and because she's (Sharon) a far better, far bigger person than anyone can ever meet,' said Ozzy
Last month a plan to convert a huge barn on his Buckinghamshire estate was vetoed after planning officers found protected bats were living there.
‘I laughed my head off when Sharon read out the letter. F****** bats. I said: “They’re vermin – I’m going to shoot them.” But I know it’s funny. It’s actually really cool. Karma’s going to bite you in the a***. The bats bloody won.’
For all his anecdotes of excess, he sees himself as culpable, if laughable.
‘I don’t care if you laugh at me or with me, as long as you’re laughing.’
He can’t tell lies. Any question he answers with absolute childlike honesty.
So what about Simon Cowell?
‘Like him. Says what he thinks. I had Botox because he’s a big fan of it. But they stick a needle in you and it bloody hurts, so I didn’t do it again.’
And does he regret leaving Britain?
‘I miss the tea. Yorkshire Gold. And M&S. First thing I do every time I go home is go to M&S and buy up boxes of chocolate eclairs. I ate 12 in one go last time I was home, followed by four trifles.’
Is he vain?
‘Of course I bloody am. I haven’t given up. I’ve still got my hair. I still want to put on a show.’
'I see myself sitting on the doorstep, skinny, 14, no money, wondering what the hell is going to happen to me,' he said. Ozzy with Elton John in 2004 (left) and with Justin Bieber in 2011 (right)
It was music that has saved his life, as he was a no-hoper at school who seemed destined for a job in a local factory.
But in 1967 he formed his first band and within two years they had become Black Sabbath, outrageous, loud, dark and part of an explosion of British heavy rock bands, which included Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple.
Ozzy’s crazy persona (biting a bat’s head off on stage, snorting a line of ants, eventually being fired in 1979 for being ‘more drunk and drugged up’ than any other member of the band) gave the world of heavy metal an instant legend.
His solo career rocketed; Ozzfest (created by Sharon and his son Jack in 1996) is still one of the biggest rock festivals in the world and in the past two decades he has become a regular fixture on U.S. and UK TV.
‘I never thought we would last,’ he says. ‘It’s part of the reason why I went for it so hard. I thought: “One album, that’ll be it, then back to the factory, so make the most of it. But it never stopped. And I never stopped.
And it carried on and I was still drinking and partying like it was all going to be taken away from me tomorrow... and even now I can’t believe that 40-plus years on we’re still going, with the biggest album we’ve ever made.’
Black Sabbath today - Tommy Iommi, Ozzy and Geezer Butler
. Bill Ward quit the band in 2012, but it seems likely he will return to the band to record another new album with them
There are two times during our conversation that Ozzy looks stricken. The first time is when he mentions his wife’s battle with colon cancer a decade ago.
‘I thought I might actually lose her,’ he says.
The second time is when I ask him about how he felt about his own children’s well-documented battles with drug addiction.
‘At the time I didn’t think anything because I was off my head as well. During the MTV filming I was drinking non-stop. I was in my mad world and Sharon had to be the mum and the dad and deal with all of that.’
He stops. ‘I remember having a go at Jack saying: “Why? Why do it? You’ve never had to work, you’ve never had to worry, you’ve never had to want for anything.”
'And he said to me: “Try wanting a father.” That’s why I know I have to stay sober. And Jack’s got 11 years’ sobriety, Kelly’s doing well. I’ve got good kids.’
When he goes home to Britain he often drives to Lodge Road, Aston, parks in a car opposite his old family two up, two down (‘it’s still there; totally different culture now, but the house, it’s still there’) and sits for an hour or so.
‘I see myself sitting on the doorstep, skinny, 14, no money, wondering what the hell is going to happen to me.’
He shakes his head and grins. ‘Somebody up there must like me.’
Black Sabbath perform in Hyde Park on July 4. bst-hydepark.com
Read more: Ozzy Osbourne: I was a bad father, an abusive husband...and I have no idea why I'm not dead | Mail Online
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
Last edited by Blackleaf; Jun 8th, 2014 at 10:35 AM..