Ozzy Osbourne: ‘I will get back on stage if it fucking kills me’

Ozzy Osbourne is at home in Los Angeles, contemplating the passage of time. When he first came to this city to record, he was a wide-eyed, golden-voiced Brummie lad of 23, with a passion for fringed stagewear and as many cereal boxes full of cocaine as he could lay his nostrils on. The year was 1972, and heavy metal pioneers Black Sabbath were in sun-kissed California making their stone-cold classic Vol 4. When it was done, their hell-raising frontman flew back to England and celebrated by swallowing 10 tabs of LSD. “We used to take it all the fucking time,” he recalls, that Aston accent still clear as a ringing bell. Osbourne wandered into a field and spent an hour talking to a horse before it turned round and told him to “fuck off”. He’s a little hazy on the rest of the details. “I’m sorry,” he says, impishly. “You’ll have to ask the horse.”

Fifty years on, Osbourne is once again plotting a return to England with an explosive new album tucked under his arm. On the eve of his 13th solo record, Patient Number 9, Osbourne and his wife Sharon have put their stately mansion in LA’s leafy Hancock Park up for sale for $18m (£15.5m). After two decades here they’ve decided to go back to their Grade II-listed Buckinghamshire estate, Welders House. It’s time for a change. These days Osbourne walks with the aid of a black cane, and the only pure white lines are the roots near his centre-parting. There’ll be no high-powered psychedelics for tea this time. “I’ve missed going to the cake shop in Beaconsfield,” says Osbourne, infectiously enthusiastic about the move. “It’s still England. It’s lovely. I’ve missed British people. I’m not American and I want to come home, you know?”

The 73-year-old is in fine form, sharp and witty despite various physical ailments. In June, Osbourne underwent “life-altering” surgery to deal with neck injuries he first sustained in a 2003 quad-biking accident, which were exacerbated by a fall in 2019. That same year he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and more recently he’s survived a tussle with Covid. Today, though, he’s enjoying that just-home-from-holiday bounce. He’s been in Hawaii with Sharon, celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. “I feel great today,” he says. “Maybe it’s because I’m back off holiday and I’m not spending any more money.” He bought his wife a ruby necklace for the occasion; she got him a ruby-encrusted skull ring. What’s the secret of their long-lasting marriage? “Love, I suppose,” says Osbourne. “If it wasn’t for Sharon, I’d be dead. I was doing fucking huge amounts of drugs and booze. I never stopped. People wouldn’t know if I was gonna go through the door, the roof or the window. Now I don’t drink or smoke or fucking do any of that shit. I’m fucking boring!”

Continue reading at The Independent