In all the years that Zakk Wylde has served as Ozzy Osbourne's guitarist, the two rock legends have rarely been interviewed together. So with the release of Black Rain, Osbourne's first album of new material since 2001's Down to Earth, finally upon us, we here at Revolver thought it would be cool to get this demonic duo on the phone to give us the lowdown on the disc.
What we didn't count on, as we jumped through various logistical hoops to set up the conference call with Osbourne and Wylde, was that it would be all but impossible to keep the interview on topic—or even get a word in edgewise—once these gentlemen got going. In the end, we admittedly didn't get much out of them about the new record; but since the conversation that ensued was so hilarious, we thought we'd print it anyway.
ZAKK WYLDE Hey, brother! What's goin' on?
REVOLVER Hey, Zakk. We're still waiting for Ozzy to call in. In the meantime, can you tell us a bit about the new record?
WYLDE We had a blast makin' it, bro. It was just so much easier to do it at his house, instead of doing rehearsals and then doing it a studio. Writing in the rehearsal space was always a drag. Ozzy would be like, "Zakk, I can't even think right now," because of the volume. I mean, after 15 minutes of the sound of nuclear bombs going off, he'd be like, "I gotta get outta here!"
OZZY OSBOURNE [Suddenly joining in on the conference call] Hallo, Zakk! Hallo, Dan!
WYLDE Oz! What are you doin', big guy?
OSBOURNE Oh, I'm down in Malibu. I've got my grandchildren around, would you believe? It's like that scene in The Godfather where he's chasing the kid around the vineyard. The only difference is that I haven't fallen into the fucking cabbages! Where are you?
WYLDE Right now, I'm out in Nashville, and I guess we're doing a show in Louisville [Kentucky] tomorrow. We've been knocking 'em out all over the place—three shows in a row, day off, another three in a row, day off, three in a row…
OSBOURNE If you can do it, that's all right. But when you actually get my fucking years around you, you'll be like, "Fuck that! Don't fucking disturb me when I'm just getting this cold one down my fucking neck!" [Laughs]
WYLDE Oz, Barbaranne [Zakk's wife] just came out for a couple of days. We did the show, and then I came back and took a couple of these Enzytes, these Viagra-type pills I got in GNC. I swear to Christ I thought I was gonna have a fuckin' heart attack! [Laughs]
OSBOURNE You can't drink booze with them! Because what they do is, they give you a boner, but your blood pressure goes through the fucking roof!
WYLDE I know! I found out! I was sitting there pounding beers just to bring me down 'cuz I'm so fucking amped up! I'm in the bathroom, fuckin' pukin' and pissin' out of my ass, and Barb is goin', "Are you okay? You want me to send you to the hospital?" It's like, "How did Zakk die? Was it a drug OD?" "Yeah, he was takin' fuckin' Viagra, and he collapsed!"
OSBOURNE But people do, though! We were on the road, and we go to one place where this fucking doctor comes around with, like, a fucking suitcase full of samples. I said, "I heard it makes you blind," and he said, "No, just take half of one and wear glasses!" [Laughs]
WYLDE One day when we were working on the record, I come into the house and go into the music room, and Oz is laying there on the couch just watching the History Channel. I walk over and give him a kiss on the head and go, "Oz, what're you doin', buddy?" He puts his glasses on, and he goes, "Who the fuck are you?" [Laughs] I'm like, "Ozzy, it's me! It's Zakk!" And he's like, "Oh, I'm sorry, Zakk. Sometimes I don't know who the fuck I am, either."
OSBOURNE Zakk, sometimes you get into fucking bed when you've had a few and sleep with me and Sharon! [Laughs] Those fucking golfing shoes have gotta go, man. They leave fuckin' marks on my legs!
WYLDE Check this out—the other day, we're setting up the dates for the tour for the new album, and Sharon sits us down. She goes, "Now boys, when you get to Russia…" And Ozzy goes, "Why the fuck are we playing Russia?" [Laughs]
OSBOURNE I have a Russian woman working at the house now, and I told her, "Oh, you know, I'm going to Moscow." She goes, "You are? You will be taking bodyguard?" I'm like, "Why?" She goes, "They look at you and know you're foreigner—you wake up hogtied!" She tells me I'm going to be kidnapped and have my fucking eyes poked out!
WYLDE Nice! [Laughs] Oh, you can't make this shit up! Before you know it Oz, we'll be out on the road again. The madness will be starting all over again.
OSBOURNE Before you know it, we'll be fucking fightin', and I'll be complaining that my voice is going out again. The thing about it is, I'll be yelling at Sharon, "You're not touring me like that this time!" And she'll be like, "Come on, kids. Let's go to the shops." I'm not fucking there! "Hello! Hello! I'm here!" I don't even know where we're doing the shows, because nobody fucking talks to me!
WYLDE Ozzy just finds out when we get there! "Zakk, where are we at now?" "We're playing the Garden today, Oz." "Oh, great. What time are we onstage?" "Ten minutes!" [Laughs]
OSBOURNE People will come up to me and say, "Hi, Ozzy!" I'm like, "Do I know you?" "Well, I was at your house on New Year's Eve." "Oh, yeah? Where was I? Probably in some hospital somewhere…"
WYLDE When Oz was all banged up with the ATV accident [in December 2003], he was just coming out of the coma and he's whispering, "Zakky, Zakky." I bend down to hear him, because he's got the oxygen mask on, and he's trying to say, "Make sure they don't give me a tracheotomy." But as I'm pulling the oxygen thing off his face so I can hear what the fuck he's saying, the thing goes "Whoosh!" and the oxygen starts flying all over the place. He's going, "Sharon! He's trying to fucking kill me!"
OSBOURNE When I went back to the hospital to have them check all my metal bits, the guy goes to me, "Do you remember what you said to me when you were going into surgery?" I said, "I haven't a clue." He goes, "You grabbed me by the collar, and you said, 'If you fuck my tattoos up, I'll fucking kill you!'" [Laughs]
WYLDE And then I'm standing there with Sharon after the surgery, as Oz is coming in and out, and he kept fucking with the nurses. One nurse would come in, and he's going, "Oh, I'm hurtin' really bad, I need some more pain medication." So they're saucing him up with more morphine or whatever, and there's Oz, winking at me. And then another girl would come in, and he'd go, "Oh, she didn't give me anything! Can you give me something?" He was playing all of them!
OSBOURNE I'm the only patient in British medical history to get evicted from the hospital!
WYLDE The best is, Oz is going to all the nurses, [groggy voice] "Would you fancy fucking a guy like me?" Sharon just looks at me and goes, "Yeah, he's back!"
REVOLVER [After several failed attempts to inject a question into the conversation] So, Ozzy, what can you tell us about the new album?
OSBOURNE This album, I don't know, I didn't think I could come up with anything sober. But I was pleasantly surprised! And [coproducer] Kevin Churko was great to work with! He came up with some very good ideas for me. It's true that this album took a long time, but I'll bet you Axl still hasn't put a fucking vocal down yet.
WYLDE I was saying, we should call the album Chinese DemOZracy, because this was the longest album it's ever taken Oz to make. We'd put it out, and Axl would blow a fuckin' gasket. He'd go, "They can't use Chinese Democracy!" And I'd go, "No, it's DemOZracy! It has fuckin' OZ in it!"
OSBOURNE [Abruptly signing off] So listen, I'll speak to you later, Zakk!
WYLDE You got it, Oz. I'll see you in a bit. I love you, buddy.
OSBOURNE Bye. [Hangs up]
WYLDE Oh, the brewtality! [Laughs] Well, at least you got some good goofy-ass shit in there!
REVOLVER So, Zakk, what does the new record sound like?
WYLDE Just killer tunes with cool riffs, you know? It sounds like a fucking Ozzy record, brother!