Ozzy Osbourne talks unlikely critics, U2’s new album and why George Bush is a “c*nt”
Firstly, we wanted to ask what you thought of the recent U2/Apple launch…
I think it’s good in one way, and bad in another. People got so p*ssed off with it, it was terrific. Trying to find out how to delete it off their f*cking phones, or whatever. But U2 can afford to put an album out for free, whereas other bands can’t, so it makes it difficult for up-and-coming bands. It’s f*cking selfish, really. They just got a zillion f*cking sales from Apple, I suppose. Not everyone is U2, not everyone can get a f*cking deal with Apple. There are a thousand bands out there today that aren’t going to get heard by f*cking anybody because they can’t afford to do it.
You’ve mentioned recently that you like the idea of putting out some completely different music under an assumed name. What sort of record would you make?
No idea. I could do a blues album, I suppose. My wife keeps telling me, “Why don’t you do a duet album?” I say, “Who the f*ck wants to hear me sing with some other bint?”
Do you ever practise doing your patented ‘scary face’?
No. I try not to. At photoshoots, I’ll do some normal faces and they go, “Give me the ‘Ozzy face’! Just once!” It’s one of those things I’ve done and can’t get away from. It drives me nuts at times.
Speaking of going nuts, Nikki Sixx of Mötley Crüe tells a fun story about the time you dared him to lick up a line of his own urine…
What?! I don’t remember. I was in a coma all the time [back then].
You seem to be a bit of a loose cannon irrespective of your drug and alcohol intake, though…
Well, most of it was drugs and alcohol -fuelled. And rock’n’roll, the industry I chose to work in, is a breeding ground for people like me. Society always remembers the bad people. I’m sure Robin Hood didn’t just rob the rich to feed the poor. I suppose he robbed everybody he f*cking could coming through his neck of the woods. To buy new tights. So when you get somebody off the beaten track who doesn’t play by any rules, [rock’n’roll] is the perfect job. If I worked at IBM, they wouldn’t put up with my antics.
What was your reaction to the hippy movement that was happening around the same time Black Sabbath formed?
When you walk into a rehearsal place at 9 o’clock in the morning – because that was the only time we could get to play our music – and you hear on the radio a guy playing a song with the lyrics, “If you go to San Francisco/Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair”, and you come out and it’s p*ssing down with rain and you’ve got no shoes on your feet, you’re like, “What’s this bullsh*t on the radio?”
You have been guest of honour at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, where you were introduced by then-president George W Bush…
Yeah – he was a c*nt. I was f*cking faced at that dinner. I’d had three bottles of wine before I went in there. Sharon was going f*cking nuts at me.
Did you talk to Bush?
No. I mean, no one would come near me because I was off me f*cking nuts. I’ve met him, I’ve met Bill Clinton, I’ve met loads of them. But they’re very strange people. Hillary Clinton was wonderful, a very nice lady. George Bush, I never quite got his deal. The thing is, I don’t suppose he expected World War 3 to begin when he got voted in, did he? It was a bit of a shocker, a kick in the pants. He hadn’t been in office more than five minutes and 9/11 went down. We were in New York when that happened!
That must have been frightening…
I wasn’t scared, I was excited! It was my kind of craziness, y’know. The day after that happened, there was f*cking nobody in New York. I remember standing on the steps of the hotel, and – you know when you see an old cowboy film and that tumbleweed rolls past on the ground? There was newspapers just floating around on the streets. It was so f*cking weird. Everybody just backed off Manhattan because they didn’t know if it was an all-out thing or what. But I hope this Isis lot don’t get going. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s in mankind to try to kill each other for one thing or another. And I think sooner or later one of these crazy f*ckers is going to get a nuclear weapon or some f*cking thing, and f*ck a lot of people up. That’s in our nature. I hope it won’t happen, but it looks like it could happen if they get it.
On a lighter note, how do you keep your hair so sleek and shiny?
I wash it every day. Nothing special, just regular shampoo and conditioner. But I’m 66 with my own f*cking hair! That’s gotta say something about me.
Ozzy Osbourne’s Memoirs Of A Madman, a 17-track audio release on CD/LP/Picture Disc and a 2-disc DVD set, is out on 13 October (Epic Records/Legacy Recordings)