Ozzy Osbourne explained why he’d never felt “important” in Black Sabbath, and said he’d only taken part in reunion projects “for the fans.”
In a new interview with Stereogum, the iconic singer looked back on the first time he regrouped with Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward for the U.S. side of Live Aid in 1985, six years after he’d been fired and then gone on to achieve success as a solo artist.
Ozzy recalled that he and wife Sharon were “in a war” with her father and Sabbath manager Don Arden, who presented the singer with a lawsuit at the event. “I was fucking served at Live Aid by my father-in-law, for interference or some bullshit, and nothing ever materialized from it,” Osbourne said. “And I was drinking lots of fucking booze in them days, and I was bloated.”
“It wasn’t a great experience,” he continued. “It was more like, ‘I’ll have my revenge on them’… Or no, it wasn’t revenge. It was just the first time I’d seen them all since the breakup. It wasn’t a life-shattering experience where I went, ‘Fuck, why did I go and get fired?’… It was just Sabbath.”
Osbourne pointed out that he’d tasted “freedom” by then, adding that “with Sabbath, I didn’t feel that important in the band. I used to feel I was just a sideman for their show. I’d come up with my own melodies and that, but I didn’t feel on an equal part with them, because I couldn’t play an instrument. But that was a long time ago, and when you start thinking about this shit now, it doesn’t seem necessary anymore, does it?”
Asked about his attitude to his reunions with Sabbath, Osbourne replied: “It was for the fans who thought they would never get the chance to see the original lineup. It was a bit awkward because the fans would write and say, ‘Oh, we’d like to see the original lineup.’ And Sharon would show these to me from time to time. But I never wanted to go back full-time on tour with them.”
Ozzy’s new album, Patient Number 9, was released Sept. 9. It has achieved the best chart placings of his solo career, including No. 3 in the U.S., No. 1 in Canada and No. 2 in the U.K.