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Black Sabbath's Tales of Drugs and Debauchery [Ozzy Osbourne and Tony Iommi Interview, Part 2]

Photo by Dennis Kleiman

Welcome to part two of Paradise Burning's vintage Black Sabbath interview, where, fearless journalists that we are, Bobby Black and I throw caution to the wind and broach the taboo subject of Ozzy’s micturation on the Alamo. Plus, despite the fact that they both used to gobble pills and powders like Pac Man in a DEA evidence locker, Ozzy and Tony explain why hard drugs actually suck. Click here for part one.


Chris: [To Ozzy] There’s a story about you dressing up in drag and what was it? Pissing on the Alamo…

Ozzy: [obviously displeased] I don’t want to…

Chris: No, I’m not asking you to repeat the story. I was wondering, what is it about English men that they like to dress up as women?

Ozzy: I don’t know. What happened in my case is my wife had taken my clothes to stop me from drinking. I thought, fuck, You’ll not stop me! So I put one of her evening dresses on that I had in the trunk.

Chris: You’re part of the Alamo tour now. They point out where Ozzy pissed.

Ozzy: No!

Bobby: Yeah!

Chris: I swear to God. A friend of ours, a Texan, he said he went on the tour of the Alamo and they said, “Right here is where Ozzy Osbourne…”

[Ozzy cracks up]

Tony: They’re gonna put you in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Chris: You have your own contribution to history there.

Unknown: A bronze plaque.

Chris: A bronze bowl.

Unknown: A bronze urinal.

[Ozzy smiles, pleased with the accomplishment]

Chris: Did drugs break up the original Black Sabbath?

Ozzy: That was a part of it. I mean it was the lifestyle, the way we were. I don’t know. What do you…

Tony: At that point we were trying to manage ourselves. There were so many other hang-ups. We did have a lot of problems with drugs. Drink and drugs. And we were working a lot as well at the time… I think matters just came to a head.

Chris: Was there an incident where you said, “Oh, we can’t play with Ozzy anymore”?

Tony: We just got to a stage where we were trying to write an album and it just wasn’t working. I suppose we just had so much of everything.

Ozzy: It’s such a long time ago as well, you know. Why do you break up with your girlfriend?

Tony: Looking back, now, it was a good thing we did it. Because we’re better off, we’ve experienced so much more, and then we come back and get together and really appreciate what we have.

Chris: We were wondering, since Meatloaf recently came out with Bat Out of Hell II, and Frampton came out with Frampton Comes Alive II, would you ever come out with Volume IV II?

Tony: No. No.

Ozzy: I don’t think so. [pause, then Ozzy starts cracking up] Volume IV II! Volume IV ½ + II! Mathematical fucking…

Chris: Can either one of you point to a record that changed your life? That you heard when you were younger that set you off?

Ozzy: There’s so many. When I first heard the Kinks’ “You Really Got Me” [sings the riff] my hair stood up on my arm. That’s what I used to go for. When Tony would come up with the riff, I thought, This is happening, it’s gonna be good.

Chris: Does rock ‘n’ roll still make the hair stand up on your arms?

Ozzy: Absolutely. That live recording [Reunion, 1998]. That night I was fucking buzzed for a week. If you had been there that night you probably would have been mugged for what’s in your pockets.

Chris: I’d have to come prepared. I’d have to have my mugging pot in my pocket and my other stuff in my boot. Did you have a favorite Ozzy replacement in Black Sabbath?

Ozzy: I thought Dio did a good job for a while.

Tony: There was never a replacement. Nobody could ever replace Ozzy. It was just a continuation. Just carry on, you know. He wasn’t replaced.

Chris: Ozzy, you’ve talked a lot about Prozac. I saw you on Tom Snyder…

Ozzy: Yeah. I take Prozac every day.

Chris: What’s the difference between waking up in the morning now, and waking up in the morning then?

Ozzy: I still pop a pill. With the coke and all the chemicals, I’ve got a chemical imbalance in my brain. I used to get freaked out. I’d have problems all the time. I still get the problems but it kind of nips it in the bud, you know. And that was from cocaine, I got very, very paranoid with the coke. I thought everything was a plot, everybody was plotting against me. Someone was following me all the time, fucking… they were in my room. I’d be looking under the fucking bed every night before I go to bed. It was fucking crazy.

Chris: How much do you have to do to start getting crazy like that?

Ozzy: I don’t know. I think it effects different people in different ways. I wouldn’t sleep at one point. I would not sleep because I thought I was never going to wake up again. And then you do more coke. It’s so, it’s so…

Tony: You'd get that paranoid.

Ozzy: I’d hide it and then forget where the fuck I’d hidden it, you know. Then I would be wrecking the house. “Where’s that bag?”

Chris: I’ve tossed my fair share down the toilet.

Ozzy: When the door knocks, I’d go, “Quick!” and I’d throw it in the toilet, anything to get rid of the fucking stuff. And it winds up being somebody going, “Excuse me, is this the right way to the…” And you go, “Oh no.”

Chris: You don’t answer the phone, you’re supposed to go out…

Tony: You don’t do anything, you just stay in the house.

Ozzy: And you combine that with Demerol and opiates and you get well fucked up. You get a tolerance after a while. You get such a tolerance, you think, to get normal you have to get high. Anything in moderation, but with cocaine it’s absolutely, in my opinion, for me anyway… I know people who can do one line, I’ve known people who can do cocaine and eat fucking food. Food was the fucking farthest thing away from me. You could have the best fucking gourmet food in the fucking world, I wouldn’t even go near it.

Chris: You couldn’t swallow it.

Ozzy: I’d have jaw ache from talking all fucking night. “I-I-I-I-I love you…”

Chris: When you got sober did you have a “moment of clarity” the way they talk about it?

Ozzy: No, I’d come to the point that I thought I was going to destroy another marriage. I really didn’t want to go through all that crap again, you know? I fucked one marriage up. I’d go out, blow it out on one night. In bed with some fucking chick and I think I’ve got the clap or syphilis or fucking AIDS or something. Then I would get paranoid and in order to get the paranoia away, I’d get stoned again, and the whole thing would keep revolving and it became not funny anymore, you know? I’d become really shaky. It’s left me—I mean, I have to take Prozac and various medications to stabilize me.

Chris: So you don’t think there was a chemical imbalance originally? You think you caused it?

Ozzy: I think there was some kind of chemical imbalance, all I did was feed it. There are addictive personalities and there’s non-addictive. You know some people can have a beer and go home. If I have a beer, I can guarantee, I’ll be straight downstairs throwing fucking vodka down in two minutes. You give me a beer now and I guarantee in five minutes I’d be ordering a bottle of vodka or scotch. Without any shadow of a doubt.

Chris: I guess anything can get boring including getting fucked up.

Ozzy: Absolutely. When I discovered coke, I thought, fucking hell, this is nirvana. This is what I’ve been looking for all my life. It’s like when you first get high, you never get that high again. You never get that same buzz again. You’re trying to chase that fucking feeling for the rest of your life. And it doesn’t work. All you get is a quick buzz, and then you have to do another whack. You keep doing that all the time. And I reckon doing crack and freebasing is even worse. I’ve never smoked it.

Chris: It makes for good VH1 documentaries, though. David Crosby.

Tony: We’ll be on that soon.

Ozzy: One of the rock ‘n’ roll stories I remember on one of my tours—do you remember Layne [Staley] from Alice in Chains?

Bobby: Yeah.

Ozzy: He was smacked out of his head all the fucking time. On something all the time. And we were at this fairground one day and he got one of them fucking off-road four-wheelers. I’m on this fairground, I watch his fucking face, he’s wasted. He gets on this thing, goes around this track, and slams it straight into the front of a truck that’s parked. Broke his leg. Fuck, his leg, snapped it, and then he had to go on stage in a chaise carriage for the rest of the tour. Fucked up every day. That heroin shit, fuck, I’ve never gotten into that. I tried it twice, fuck that shit, man.

Chris: What were the most riotous cities traditionally, cities where you’d have the best time?

Ozzy: There was a big period of time in the seventies when I used to drink cheap wine and do ‘ludes and the audience would be like fucking jelly. They would be like a pond or a fucking oil slick. Sweaty fucking downed-out fucking… did you ever try the original Quaaludes?

Chris: No, that’s a little bit before my time.

Ozzy: They were fucking wonderful. Weren’t they? The best, they were. I can still get them, ha ha.

Tony: You still do them?

Ozzy: I know somebody who froze ten thousand, probably.

Chris: They froze ‘em?

Ozzy: Froze ten thousand ‘ludes.

Chris: From back then?

Ozzy: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Chris: I’ve heard about them. They are things of legend.

Ozzy: The fucking… they were the best, man. A couple of them and it was like… sex on them was like a new experience. Now they’ve got these fucking, what’s it called now? Viagra.

Chris: What if you mixed the two?

Ozzy: I don’t know. I’d probably explode before I got in the room.

Chris: We had a question about, like, heavy metal fashion in the eighties.

Ozzy: Oh, don’t even…

Bobby: What was up with that?

Ozzy: I look back at some of those things and I was drinking an enormous amount of booze. Every day I would drink four bottles of Hennessy, a case of Budweiser, and as much fucking dope as I could get down my fucking face. As much as I could. I was O.D.-ing on a daily basis.

Chris: So that’s where the funny clothes came from?

Ozzy: I think that’s where the funny everything came from. We all thought we looked cool. We look at ourselves—what the fuck were we doing, man? Gay wasn’t even the word. Gay people would write us letters and say, “What are you fucking doing?”

Chris: I was wondering if there was a connection between Satanism and poodle haircuts.

Ozzy: It’s all part of the fucking crazy world of rock n roll.

If you missed it, check out part one.

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