Ozzy Osbourne announced his final world tour on Tuesday, and said he hopes to record a new solo album soon, with eight songs already sketched out. But as he sat onstage for a press conference in the small basement theater beneath his Los Angeles home, he complained about one big problem: "This should have been my studio instead of a fucking theater!"
Sitting beside him was his wife and manager, Sharon Osbourne, who decorated the 1920s house while they weren't speaking a couple of years ago and did what she pleased with it. But Ozzy's going to be busy saying his farewells on a two-year "No More Tours" road trip, which begins April 27th in Jacksonville, Florida, before heading across North America, and then overseas in 2019. His band will again be led by guitar flamethrower Zakk Wylde, with bassist Blasko, drummer Tommy Clufetos and keyboardist Adam Wakeman.
The Osbournes had long planned for the metal icon to begin slowing down when he turned 70. By the time No More Tours closes, Ozzy will be 72. "Listen, if a festival comes up that Ozzy wants to do in the future — a one-off? Sure, no problem," Sharon told Revolver afterwards. Ozzfest will continue, if not every year. "But as far as those suitcases coming out and going off for a couple of years, no."
A small group of journalists were invited to the announcement, and were led down a staircase lined wall-to-wall with gold and platinum album awards from Ozzy's long solo career and his years with Black Sabbath. The family's pack of tiny dogs was mostly locked away in the office, and an Ozzy ventriloquist dummy in a top hat watched from a nearby couch.
On a wall above the downstairs fireplace were large vintage autographs of visiting celebrities from the basement's previous life as a radio studio. Among the names scrawled in white were the late crooners Mel Torme and Rudy Vallee, actress Natalie Wood and gameshow goddess Vanna White, along with other celebrity names lost to time and obscurity.
Last year, Ozzy ended his time in Sabbath with a farewell tour that closed in Birmingham, England, where the band formed in 1968. "I got emotional," the singer said. "It's the greatest love affair I've ever had in my life." After the press conference, Sharon described that final show as a "very, very strange" experience for the band. Co-founders Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler each threw celebratory parties afterward, but not the Prince of Darkness. "It was very odd how each of them reacted to it, how they dealt with it," she explained. "Ozzy was sobbing. Ozzy didn't want to go have a party: 'I'm just going to go home.'"
After the press conference ended and his theater emptied out, Ozzy spoke with Revolver about his future.
YOUR BAND'S LINEUP HAS BEEN TOGETHER FOR SOME TIME NOW. WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE A MEMBER OF YOUR BAND?
OZZY OSBOURNE To be good. Not just playing the instrument, but [good] to be around. I have a great relationship with the band. Tommy did the Sabbath thing. It's good people. They're just very reliable. Nobody gets loaded or drunk. It's great.
WHEN YOU WERE TOURING WITH SABBATH, IT WAS WITH PEOPLE YOU'VE KNOWN SINCE YOU WERE A KID.
Nobody plays Black Sabbath like Black Sabbath. You can get the greatest people in the world. The only sad thing about it is that things didn't work out with [drummer] Bill Ward. It would have been great. But we did the best we could. When I go onstage with Black Sabbath, I don't have to look over my shoulder. When we locked in, nobody could touch us. Tony Iommi — for whatever people want to say about me and him — is a founder of heavy metal. He would come up with a riff, and I'd go "He ain't going to top this!" And he would every time.
IS THE FEELING OF TOURING ON YOUR OWN DIFFERENT FROM BLACK SABBATH?
In Black Sabbath, I'm a singer with a band called Black Sabbath. Now I'm my own boss. If I don't like something, I'll get it changed. In Sabbath, it was three against one.
DID IT EVER FEEL THAT WAY?
It felt like that because I don't play an instrument.
WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO BE RECORDING?
I've been saying to Sharon, "I've got these songs I want to put down." And the boss from the record company just came to my house saying, "Do you want to do an album?" There's a good chance of doing an album.
ON THE LAST ONE – 2010'S SCREAM – YOU HAD A STUDIO AT HOME ...
This should have been a fucking studio! She built a theater, which she never uses. But the thing about having your own studio, you get lazy — because you don't have to get up, get dressed, get in the car, go to the studio.
FOR YEARS, YOU HESITATED TO DO A NEW SABBATH ALBUM BECAUSE YOU WORRIED ABOUT MEETING THAT HIGH STANDARD. IS THAT WEIGHT OFF YOUR SHOULDERS NOW THAT IT'S BEHIND YOU?
It was the first No. 1 we ever had in America — both solo and as Black Sabbath. Which is quite interesting. The whole deal has changed. I never thought in my lifetime I would see the end of discs or albums. But now it's all fucking dial it in, whatever. I'm computer dumb. I don't want it.
DO YOU THINK YOU'LL RECORD AGAIN WITH SABBATH?
I don't know. Right now I haven't got any plans. But when I've slowed down, I can think clearer.
YOU SIGNED OFF WITH SABBATH, AND NOW YOU'VE ANNOUNCED YOUR LAST BIG TOUR. IS THIS A TIME OF CLOSING SOME DOORS FOR YOU?
It's closing some doors and opening others. I wasn't there for my kids growing up — neither physical or mental. I was loaded up on some shit or screaming at the top of my lungs. Now I can appreciate the fact that I've got grandchildren and a family still. I'm lucky to be alive, never mind the family. I don't drink anymore, I don't do drugs, I don't smoke cigarettes. I'm quite a boring old fart! [Laughs]
WHEN THOSE DAYS WERE BEING WRITTEN ABOUT, DID YOU RECOGNIZE YOURSELF?
No, but everybody likes the bad guy. I'm sure Robin Hood didn't rob from the rich to give to poor. He robbed everybody. It's always the bad things that people get a kick out of. I was the rock & roll rebel for a long while. But that's alcohol and drugs. It's not very cool to die young. I lived through a whirlwind of fun. But when I was having fun on my own, because I was too outrageous, it was lonely.