Ozzy Osbourne: The Prince Of Darkness Gets A Book The original member of Black Sabbath says there's one thing he wishes everyone could forget: the incidents involving the dove and the bat.

Ozzy Osbourne: The Prince Of Darkness Gets A Book

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(Soundbite of Ozzy Osbourne song)

SIMON: And hey, Ozzy Osbourne is in our studios at NPR West. Mr. Osbourne has co-written his autobiography with Chris Ayres. Its called I am Ozzy.

Mr. Osbourne, you have what amounts to the most extraordinary warning label on an early page in your book. It says other people's memories of the stuff in this book might not be the same as mine. I ain't gonna argue with them. Over the past forty years, and you really list them

Mr. OZZY OSBOURNE (Singer, Songwriter): I've been loaded on booze, coke, acid, Quaaludes, glue, heroin, Rohypnol, Klonopin, Vicodin, and too many others. Its called rock n roll.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: Well, good to talk to you, sir. Thank you very much for coming in. Mr. Osbourne, of course, one of the original members of Black Sabbath with that group and as a soloist, he sold millions of records.

(Soundbite of song, Crazy Train)

Mr. OSBOURNE: (Singing) Crazy, but that's how it goes, millions of people living as foes...

SIMON: He and his wife Sharon and their five children, of course, were featured in that famous reality show on MTV called The Osbournes. Im so glad you could be with us. Thanks very much for joining us.

Mr. OSBOURNE: Wonderful to be here. Thank you for having me.

SIMON: You know, nobody is going to listen to anything we have to say until we get the doves story out of the way.

Mr. OSBOURNE: Oh, next question. I'm so over the dove, the bat. You know, everybody knows what the answer is. It's just one of them things, unfortunately that people will remember me by when I pass on, I suppose. But, you know, the answer is yes, I did bite the head off of a dove. Yes, I did bite the head off of a bat. It's a stupid thing to do, but I did it, you know.

SIMON: Its a very candid book, and I get the impression having read it, and I must say enjoyed it, that almost more significant than the short career you had as a burglar, which you write about, and the few months you spent in prison, you worked in a slaughter house.


SIMON: What was that like?

Mr. OSBOURNE: Well, the first job they gave me was they gave a big pile of sheep stomachs, and my job was to stick a knife in their stomachs and empty the stomachs. And for the first two or three weeks, I did nothing but throw up everyday. The smell was just unbelievable.

But after a period of time, I did get used to the smell and youre kind of okay up then. It was an experience. I still eat meat, and so I dont have a problem with eating it, but people that put me down to this, man, how could you work in a slaughterhouse if theyre vegetarian, I respect that.

SIMON: Youre among, I gather, millions of people on this planet whos - who can say that The Beatles changed their life.

Mr. OSBOURNE: Absolutely.

SIMON: So what happened? Recapture that for us.

Mr. OSBOURNE: Well, I didnt want to live in that environment for the rest of my life - in the working class environment. I was suffering from - I still do -from dyslexia and attention deficit disorder. When youre in a class of 40 kids and the teacher is talking to you about - drawing you stuff on the blackboard and youre honestly havent got a clue what hes talking about, its very difficult.

So when I heard the Beatles, I thought thats it. Thats what I want to be. I want to be a Beatle, you know, and I bought a Beatle suit, the Beatle wig, the Beatle photographs and anything with the Beatles on. And I still get a lot of pleasure, and I still listen to McCartney and Lennon and Harrison and Ringo Starr. It was one of the greatest experiences I have ever had in my life to meet Paul McCartney. It was phenomenal.

SIMON: You say in this book when you first began to perform Black Sabbath, the

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: The girls in the audience ran away from you.

Mr. OSBOURNE: Well, theres a song called Black Sabbath. Thats how we got it the name. That was a very demonic riff.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. OSBOURNE: How we started was we decided to just write scary songs, because I tell you why, because we used to rehearse across the road from a movie theater. And I think it was Tony Iommi who said, isn't it weird that people pay money to go and see scary films? Why don't we start writing scary songs? And we, at that point, we were doing jazz and blues, you know, so its not that far removed from a 12-bar blues riff, you know, some of the stuff.

(Soundbite music)

SIMON: Could you tell us the story about the first, I guess the first time you entered the U.S. and you were asked to write your religion on the visa form?

Mr. OSBOURNE: Oh, on the entry form under religion, I wrote Satanist. And they just went, okay.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. OSBOURNE: I only did it for a joke, you know, I mean, I dont suppose Id get away by saying Satanist in many other countries.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: You know, its funny for a book that imparts so much about

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: biting the heads off doves and taking one drug after another, the almost dirty little secret of this book is, god bless you, you love your wife.

Mr. OSBOURNE: I love my wife. I mean weve had our - obviously, you know, weve had a few slings and arrows across - along the journey, but, you know, I'm not prepared to give in, you know? People say she saved my life, but at the same time, I saved her life, as well, I think. She's a great mother, she's a great wife, she's a great worker, she's a great manager. She's just great.

SIMON: How long have you been together?

Mr. OSBOURNE: Twenty eight years weve been married. Weve been together for 30 years.

SIMON: I have to ask, when we talk about the train of improbable things that have happened to you - you were almost the last casualty of the German bombardment of England.


SIMON: of World War II.

Mr. OSBOURNE: What happened was I was filming one of the episodes of the Osbournes, and I have a farm in England, and I have these quad bikes and in my one of my fields is a lot of quite deep potholes all in a line. I thought, well, Ill go down the one side of the pothole and come out the other side on a quad bike, and I lost control of the quad bike.

And it turned out when the Germans came over to England to bomb, and during the war, sometimes they would just unload their bombs and fly back to wherever Germany was. The potholes were where the bombs had hit the fields, you know (unintelligible) back. So it could have been a belated casualty of World War II.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: Buried with full military honors, Im sure.

Mr. OSBOURNE: Yeah, in that pothole where it stood.

SIMON: When you get to the end of this book a health scare made you give up drugs and alcohol.

Mr. OSBOURNE: No, I--I was the one who gave up the drugs and alcohol. Drugs and alcohol were ruling my life. I made a lot of bad, wrong decisions while I was drinking alcohol. The first thing I stopped was cigarettes and tobacco.

And I've been in rehabs with hardcore heroin addicts, you know, who say, you know, I've kicked the heroin, but I can't let go of the tobacco. I haven't smoked a cigarette in I dont know how long now. I havent had a drink. I havent done a recreational drug for a long while. I like being clean now.

SIMON: Youre going to go back on tour?

Mr. OSBOURNE: Oh yeah, this July, well, the OzzFest comes out and in July Ive got a new album. I havent got a title yet but I have an album coming out. But thats what I have to do now to bring the penny home because you dont sell records much anymore as I got used to.

SIMON: What else would you like people to know about you?

Mr. OSBOURNE: Will you be doing any more touring? How long are you going to be touring? How many records you gonna, talk to me about my passion for my music you know. Was it fun making the songs album and all? Do you wish you could play with this guy? Who would you have liked to be on stage with? Its all about this bloody bat and dove. Its like thats all people think I do you know.

SIMON: I know you met Paul McCartney.


SIMON: Have you ever been on stage with him?

Mr. OSBOURNE: Yup, I was playing at the Queens Jubilee, and we all go on stage and sang one of the Beatles songs, which is, I mean, there again, after that I did a TV thing in England with my wife and children. And he was the guest performer and Sharon said to me - I was star - I was like when I meet this guy Im gaga.

Im like - hes like my hero, you know. And Sharon says to me on the side of the stage when we were all watching his show, did you ever think youd be in this position? Paul McCartney is playing with his band. Hes got a great band now. When he does the Beatles songs and when he does the Wings songs, its -the guy is unbelievable. I tell you, I dont know how the guy does it. Its so effortless to him, you know.

(Soundbite of song, Dreamer)

Mr. OSBOURNE: (Singing) Gazing through the window at the world outside, wondering will mother earth survive

SIMON: Mr. Osbourne, its been a pleasure to talk to you.

Mr. OSBOURNE: The pleasure is mine, sir.

SIMON: Thanks very much.

Mr. OSBOURNE: All right. God bless.

SIMON: God bless sir. Ozzy Osbourne, his autobiography, least what he can recall of it is called I am Ozzy.

(Soundbite of song, Dreamer)

Mr. OSBOURNE: (Singing) After all theres only just the two of us, and here we are still fighting for our lives, watching all of history repeat itself, time after time.

SIMON: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. Im Scott Simon.

(Soundbite of song, Dreamer)

Mr. OSBOURNE: (Singing) Im just a dreamer, I dream my life away, Im just a dreamer, who dreams of better days, I watch the sun go down like everyone of us, Im hoping that the dawn will bring a sign. A better place for those who will come after us ...

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