Ozzy Osbourne. (Photo by Getty Images)
On January 25th, 2010, Ozzy Osbourne put out his autobiography "I Am Ozzy." Co-written by Chris Ayers, the collection of Ozzy's experiences from growing up, though the years with Black Sabbath, and a turbulent solo career are surprisingly excellent. "I Am Ozzy" proved to be a tremendous read, and when the 'Prince of Darkness' arrived in Boston on February 28, 2010 for a book signing at Barnes & Noble in Kenmore Square, he decided to call me for a midday chat.
It wasn't out of the blue, I'd been warned and had enough time to cram through my copy of "I Am Ozzy," but the legendary singer's tight schedule meant he had six or seven minutes to give, and no more.
I'd met Ozzy once before, backstage at the Orpheum Theater when he'd thanked a few of us radio guys for our support and I found him to be a really nice guy. After reading his book, I realized he could have been having one of his crazy nights biting off the head of a dove or shooting up his hen house with a shotgun, but at least I knew that at times he could be a pleasant and even charming individual (even if his handshake was pretty limp).
The hotline rang in the studio; the big moment had arrived! Ozzy said hello and I began asking him questions from a list I'd prepared. I mentioned the book signing and that the fans must already be lining up eight hours early! That was the last thing I understood from the entire interview. With that famous stuttering style, enhanced by a neurological syndrome called Parkin Syndrome, Ozzy's slurs were quite impossible to discern. I panicked!
So, without directly responding in conversation, I just ran through my list of questions until the friendly, but unintelligible, singer had to say goodbye and move onto his next interview. Eventually, I'd understand what he said, but it took me a couple listens to the recording to figure it all out!
So, plan to pause and replay parts of this one!
Ozzy talks about working in a car horn factory as a kid - inspecting horns on a conveyor belt! No lie. "There were eight guys doing the same thing at the same time...in a sound-proof room!" He lasted three months.
When asked if there were plans to reform Black Sabbath, the singer hedged. "Not in the immediate future. I never say never." Indeed the band would release its 13 album three years later and tour the world.
Was it true that Sharon would hide his clothes in the hotel so he couldn't leave in the middle of the night and cause drunken mayhem somewhere? "Yeah. I'd wear Sharon's clothes [to get out]."
So have fun deciphering this one - I still am!