The Prince of Darkness meets The Mizard of Oz
Heavy metal's "Prince of Darkness." Metal Madman. Befuddled father of The Osbournes. We have all seen different sides of Ozzy Osbourne and now his diehard fans get what they have been waiting six years for -- a new studio album called Black Rain, available in stores today.
Some fans may not realize that Osbourne is a longtime sports-entertainment fan and has an association with WWE that goes back more than 20 years. He was in the corner of the British Bulldogs when they won the World Tag Team Championship at WrestleMania 2.
Osbourne recently rekindled his relationship with WWE when he sang "I Don't Wanna Stop," the first single off Black Rain, on SmackDown. The Miz, a fan of the metal legend, got a chance to sit down with Osbourne for this week's Superstar to Superstar:
Miz: So, this is your second time here with WWE. The first time you were here was at WrestleMania 2?
Osbourne: I was friends with Andre the Giant back then.
Miz: I heard about that. I heard that you were booze buddies back in the day?
Osbourne: He was a load. I was in a hotel bar in New York, and I didn't want to bother him, you know? And then he said, "Hey come over here." When you're standing next to him, you're like, "f***!" You can't stop looking at him. And he's telling me how he makes a fortune on his T-shirts. … It is sad, him not being with us [anymore].
Miz: Now could you outdrink Andre the Giant?
Osbourne: ME outdrink Andre the Giant?
Miz: Yeah! You're Ozzy Osbourne! You're the craziest of the crazies!
Osbourne: For him, one f*** drink would be like a pitcher full of cranberry juice and vodka. And then he would have a six-pack [to himself] all the time. … But he was a really nice man, he really, really was.
Miz: Yeah, it's too bad he's gone.… So, how does it feel being back in WWE?
Osbourne: One thing I noticed -- and I first noticed this at WrestleMania -- I've been doing what I do now for nearly 40 years. I thought I'd seen some crazy crowds, but that crowd [at SmackDown] blew off the f*** roof. It was rock 'n' roll and then some.
Miz: What's the craziest thing you've done on stage?
Osbourne: Oh … I don't know …
Miz: [Laughs] Too many crazy things?
Osbourne: It's just wild. I went to the stage [one time], and we had a custard pie fight, like you do on TV or on old movies, but it was with lunch meat.
Miz: Lunch meat and on the stage? [Laughs]
Osbourne: I didn't throw s*** back at them.
Miz: Awesome. Now, your new album, Black Rain, comes out May 22. What can we expect? It's brand new material, right? Any inspiration?
Osbourne: No … it was like a good time, I'm not kidding you. That's what you shoot for.
Miz: Is it back to the old school Black Sabbath or Ozzy? Is it new or new age [Ozzy]?
Osbourne: It's kind of like a little bit of Black Sabbath, a little bit of old Ozzy, a little bit of now Ozzy. There's a track [on the new CD] called "Black Rain" -- it always reminds me of [my] Sabbath [days].
Miz: It's kind of like "Crazy Train," songs like that?
Osbourne: It's just very, very heavy. Check it out when it comes out.
Miz: I definitely, definitely will. I want to get into The Osbournes and how you had this mystique of Ozzy Osbourne back in the day -- you would eat bats' heads. And then on The Osbournes, you were "fatherly Ozzy." It was just so great to see this guy who I had a perception of that was wild and crazy, and he has this loving family.
Osbourne: Well, I used to be wild and crazy back at home, but it got to be too much. I had to take care of me and my children. And every time you'd go someplace, you'd have to have the f*** police around us. You can't … I had hellraising younger years, but I'm still f*** nuts.
Miz: My favorite thing [about you] is you giving every metal-head a gift with Ozzfest. I used to bring me and nine of my friends -- I'm from Cleveland -- and you guys used to play at Blossom [Lounge] all the time. Every time Ozzfest would come, we would go, all nine of us. And the great thing about Ozzfest was that I would see these bands that I knew -- huge bands like Slipknot and Marilyn Manson, Ozzy Osbourne, all these great bands. And then there would be the second stage.
Osbourne: I did the second stage.
Miz: You did it? I didn't realize that.
Osbourne: It was attached to the show.
Miz: Usually the second stage is a lot smaller of a venue.… On the second stage, you would have all these new, up-and-coming bands, which was my favorite. It was the first time I saw Disturbed. The first time I had heard of Disturbed was through Ozzfest. They were the first band on second stage, and then the next year, they just blew up. You just brought metal to everyone, and that was great for me as a kid.
Osbourne: Well, Sharon had tried to get me on Lollapalooza. And people would say here's what we've done -- you aren't really relevant anymore. And Sharon just said, "F*** them. We'll do our own [thing]. But don't do too many dates. Just do a couple ... five, six or as many as seven dates." The tickets sold in a heartbeat.
Miz: It's been going on for a long time now. What bands are we looking forward to this year?
Osbourne: Well, me.
Miz: Well, of course you. Everyone's looking forward to seeing you.
Osbourne: Because it's free this year.
Miz: Yeah, I heard you go on the Internet and it's free? What made you do that?
Osbourne: We're getting sponsorships from people -- I'm guessing sponsorships from all over the world. I ask Sharon, "How are we f*** going to pay for the hotel room? How are we going to get to shows now?" She says, "Don't worry about it." … The reason behind it was because people who came from the outset of Ozzfest -- the more we began to play and sell more and more [tickets], bands would want to get paid more and more money. And ultimately, you would have to take this out of the tickets [higher ticket prices]. … And everybody wants to sponsor you.
Miz: And every metal band wants to do it [play at Ozzfest] because it gets their name out there. I remember just seeing all these bands at second stage and that helped them so much to make it -- Mudvayne, Taproot, Nonpoint. I remember seeing all these bands at second stage and then blowing up after Ozzfest.
Osbourne: Slipknot made it after Ozzfest and went on the road for f*** two years and blew it all away, and then they made it back.
Miz: What bands do you look at and say, "Wow, they're going to be around for awhile."
Osbourne: I don't think because of who I am I have the right to say that's good or that's bad. I gotta be careful because if something sounds good in my head, my music [tastes] may unknowingly affect [how I feel about it].
Miz: What are Jack and Kelly up to these days?
Osbourne: Jack's in China doing his f*** monk thing. It's … Kelly's doing a lot of TV in London. Sharon's doing the English equivalent of American Idol. It's called The X Factor.
Miz: Well, thank you so much for your time, Ozzy. I really, really appreciate it, and I do look forward to your new CD, Black Rain.
Osbourne: Thank you, sir.