Ozzy reflects on book, life and biting bats
By Larry Rodgers
Ozzy Osbourne waited until age 61 to tell the story of his rocky road from working-class upbringing in England to wealthy star of heavy metal and television.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has just released his autobiography, "I Am Ozzy," which tells of his music with Black Sabbath and as a solo act, his struggles with drugs and alcohol, his two marriages and the family that ended up starring in MTV's "The Osbournes."
The now-sober Osbourne recently chatted about the book (published by Grand Central), his career and his life.
Question: How are you feeling?
Answer: Great. I'm in training for the (book) tour and then for Ozzfest in the summer.
Q: Why did you decide on this timing for your book?
A: I didn't do more than 20 or 25 gigs last year. I was working on an album. Last year was the time I had to sit down and do it properly. So I had this guy, Chris Ayers, ghost-write the book for me. I thought it would be a long, drawn out job, but it was quite quick.
Q: Are there any themes about your journey that you are trying to convey?
A: It's just a human story. I can't really say my life was tragic. It's an interesting story.
Q: Are there misconceptions that you hope to clear up?
A: Nothing really bugs me, apart from when they get the story wrong. When that bat-biting thing was going around (he bit the head off what he mistakenly thought was a toy bat thrown onstage by a fan in 1982), they were saying, "Ozzy wouldn't go onstage until he killed 14 puppies." But then again, it's probably a thing I created.
Q: What are you most proud of in your career?
A: I'm proud of surviving. People say, "Ozzy's got the right way of doing it." I don't have the right way, I'm just a lucky guy.
Q: Has quitting drinking changed your life dramatically?
A: I like the way I am now. And I used to think that (drinking) was fun, waking up with my face stuck to the table.
Q: Were drugs and alcohol a waste of time or did they serve a creative purpose?
A: I used to think, "How can I write songs without smoking a joint or having a line of this or sip of that?" I was self-medicating. I had a heart-to-heart with myself and said, "Get real."
Q: You credit (wife and manager) Sharon with helping pull you out of substance abuse, even saving your life.
A: She gave me some tough love. One time I was having a bad come-down from some stuff at 4 a.m. and I said, "I think I'm dying." And she goes, "Die quietly. I have a meeting tomorrow morning."
Q: Do you ever have second thoughts about letting Sharon be your manager?
A: Of course. Sometimes I wonder if she's talking to me as a loving wife or a (expletive) manager. She's become quite a celebrity on her own with all the TV stuff she does. She loves it.