Friday, August 29, 2008

Ozzy Blizzarded

Between 1987 and 1996, I wrote about a thousand stories, reviews, columns for Australian newspapers and the music press and a bunch of magazines. Most of the stories and interviews were about hard rock and heavy metal, my main addiction.

I recently found a file of the original versions of a few dozen of these stories, hard copies I thought were long lost. The original, first drafts were far longer, more detailed, and more alive, than a double page spread in the West Australian or On The Street could hold. Comparing the originals to the published versions, I've discovered I approached the original writing with far more energy and enthusiasm than I did the editing, where I'd have to lose half or more of a story to fit the word count required for the Herald Sun, or Metal Masters magazine.

No blogs back then to run the long versions on, not like now.

So here's the first of probably a few dozen old pieces I'm going to put up in the next few months. Nostalgia and a need to archive drives me to transcribe these stories from the typewrittered originals, lest they be lost.

This is Ozzy Osbourne, September, 1991 :
Ozzy sighs when he reveals he doesn’t remember anything much about the 16 straight hours Black Sabbath spent in a studio, when Ozzy was only 21, laying down a whole album of songs, live, most songs finished in one take. He also doesn't remember what is now seen by Sabbath addicts as the magical hour when the band needed an extra song to fill out the second album, and came up with Paranoid right there in the studio. Much of it was improvised, the immediately classic riffs and lyrics pulled from a river of beer and dope.

“The funny thing about Black Sabbath being a part of history,” Ozzy says, “is we never knew what the fuck we were about. I never, ever thought we were very good, to be honest."


"I mean Iron Man and Paranoid were good riffs, but we weren’t a great band. We were always fucked up on drugs and booze. The whole thing is actually a hit of a haze to me….

"Anything bad that happened we never took seriously because we just went off to the pub and got pissed again….”

Another big sigh, a shrug. “We missed out on a lot of reality.”


But Ozzy doesn’t want you to get him wrong on his opposition to alcohol and drugs.

It’s for a reason related more to his work, the upcoming world tour, than to a looming tower of regrets for having had so many good times when he was younger.

He doesn’t want to be a role model for anybody.

“Do whatever the fuck you like.”

Ozzy considers this statement for a moment.

“Do what you wanna do as long as you’re enjoying it. If it becomes a problem, then go and get some fuckin’ help. There’s a ton of help.”

Ozzy raises a hand to scratch his face. He misses. He fingers tremble.

“This is where I kinda get pissed off in the respect that just because I was an alcoholic drug addict and I cleaned up my act…” Ozzy is starting to shout now, it’s good, “what gives me the right to tell you not to do it? You are you and I am me. If I worked in a steel mill, and I went up the foreman and told him he shouldn’t drink, he’d tell me to go and fuck myself.

“I’m not a politician. People have always drunk and people will always drink, and people will always die of liver disease due to alcohol, or kill themselves in a car wreck or murder somebody, you ain’t gonna stop it…”
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