| Home

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Ozzy still ready for the challenge of being Ozzy

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Rege Behe
Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2010

Ozzy Osbourne has been the subject of more parodies than most sitting presidents. He's variously portrayed as the intemperate rock star, the guy who bit the head off a bat during a concert, or the hapless father at odds with his family on the reality show "The Osbournes."

But during a recent teleconference to promote Ozzfest, which arrives Thursday at the First Niagara Pavilion in Burgettstown, Osbourne projects a different image. Sure, he's sometimes hard to understand, but that's only because of his Brummie accent, the regional dialect particular to natives of Birmingham, England. He's cogent, thoughtful and most importantly, sober.

The latter condition is a relatively new state for the 61-year-old musician, one he admits he wasn't keen to embrace.

"When I first started to get sober, I thought, 'Well, how can I enjoy music without drugs or alcohol in my system?' " he says. "And I had to come to a decision where I'd get help ..."

A clean and sober Ozzy seems like an amusement park without the roller coasters. But Osbourne doesn't really miss the attendant drama that comes with substance abuse. With a new album, "Scream," a new healthier regimen and perhaps a new sense of purpose, he sounds revitalized.

Just don't expect any mischief with Motley Cure, who joined with Osbourne in 1984 for "one of the most intense tours I ever did," he says. "I don't think that it's going to be as it was, I mean, in the respect of getting loaded and all that (stuff). I don't do that anymore, you know."

But despite past foibles and misadventures, he never took live performances for granted.

"When everything is in the right place and it's going well and my voice is on form, you know, and the crowd is giving me some craziness .... when it's going great, there's nothing in the world to come anywhere near -- love, sex, drugs, there's nothing can touch it," he says. "But at the other end of the spectrum, when it's going bad, there's nothing worse, as bad as that. The challenge is still there for me."

With Ozzfest, however, all Osbourne basically does is show up. When asked about selecting the bands on the tour, he says son Jack takes care of that detail. Asked about any new innovations with his stage show, and he replies, "I ask Sharon (his wife) what I got to do."

But Osbourne is being pro-active in one area that means the world to him. Osbourne recently stated that he'd be in favor of reuniting with original Black Sabbath members Tommy Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward.

"We're talking and that's a good sign," he says."We're not at war with each other ... I was speaking to Bill Ward last night. I've got to speak to the other two. But it was in the last attempt where we just all met without saying anything to each other (after) quite a few years. I'm trying to get things done right, talking at least. I can't give any dates, 'cause I don't know anything. I don't know whether they want to do it with me, or whatever, but I'm starting to feel (things) ease up for it. To be honest with you, I would love to do a killer Black Sabbath album. It would make my life, my whole thing, round up perfectly for me.'

There is one other thing Osbourne would like to accomplish before his voice deserts him or before he's too old to care: He'd like to have a No. 1 record in the United States, something that eluded him even in the halcyon days of Sabbath. And if conditions are right, Osbourne might even try to reinvent himself.

"I'd like to get a fictitious band name and do something completely different than heavy music, you know," he says. "(Do) something a different way, because being Ozzy Osbourne -- having the track record I've had -- it's very difficult. But if I want to try something like a blues album, it's very difficult to do that. (It would be) 'What the hell is he doing now?' "

Additional Information:


Featuring: Ozzy Osbourne, Motley Crue, Rob Halford, Devildriver, Nonpoint and others

When: Noon Thursday

Admission: $15-$155

Where: First Niagara Pavilion, Burgettstown

Details: 800-745-3000, or

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Pirates’ Burnett endures another poor start in blowout loss to Reds
  2. Steelers stress improved conditioning in attempt to play past injuries
  3. Memories of Steelers fan from Beaver Falls go beyond simple recall
  4. Pirates bolster bullpen by trading for former closer Soria
  5. Steelers’ reserve quarterbacks vie to secure spot behind Roethlisberger, Gradkowski
  6. Music on way to Westmoreland’s Twin Lakes Park
  7. Police: Escaped Armstrong County inmate armed, dangerous homicide suspect
  8. Pirates notebook: Blanton introduced; Worley designated for assignment
  9. Traded after Stanley Cup, Saad not alone in being dealt after title
  10. Girl, 10, forced to strip in Sewickley Township home invasion
  11. Derry man gets 19-year prison sentence for recording sex assaults of girl