Ozzy Osbourne: Replacing Zakk Wylde Was the ‘Hardest F—ing Thing in the World’
Ozzy Osbourne. The Prince of Darkness. The reigning despot of Metal. The godfather. The heart, soul and voice of heavy metal. That sums it up in one fell swoop. Ozzy’s new album, ‘Scream,’ is out June 22, and Ozzy was ready to chat with Noisecreep about his new Guinness Book of World Records achievement, working with Gus G, losing Zakk Wylde and how he’ll probably never retire. I will admit Ozzy is hard to understand, but what he does say is poignant and profound … always!
So, how do you feel about setting a world record with the loudest scream which you conducted at Dodger Stadium last week?
Yes, we set the record. Screaming for a minute is a long time. You have to suck in air. It was f—ing loud.
Did you get a certificate from Guinness?
I got a plaque. But it was nerve-wracking.
The new album is one of your heaviest — there is a lot of quality riffing, courtesy of your new guitarist Gus G. Do you think fans will respond to your first new guitarist and first new album in many years?
I hope they like it. I had been working on it for months, in the studio in my house. For the first time in my career, I had the luxury of time. I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing. I can get lazy and put it off! [Laughs]. But I wrote my book and did the album.
I know you are no stranger to losing a guitarist, after Randy Rhoads, and of course, Zakk Wylde was with you since what felt like birth. How has the transition been?
You know, I knew I had to get a permanent replacement for Zakk. After Randy, Zakk was the longest who was with me. When he got sick, I knew it was the time to do it. It was the hardest f—ing thing in the world. Gus has big shoes to fill, and I can crack the whip! I hope it works out. Consider that I am on the road with these people in my band and am with them more than I am with my own family. So of course, I am hoping it works out.
Ozzfest has been resurrected this year, albeit in a shorter capacity. How do you feel about a shorter tour?
The last tour was one show! Other tours developed and we just got to book the f—ing thing. If it takes off again, good.
Ozzy, will you ever retire? I hope the answer is no!
Why should I? Not right now. I stopped before and came back, and learned that when you retire, you have to have something to retire to. I don’t want to do anything but music. My dad retired early. I hardly have a job that I hate.
Is there anything else different on ‘Scream,’ other than Gus G?
No. I was mainly in the studio and [producer] Kevin [Churko] likes being in the studio. I am not a studio rat. I don’t like being cooped up in a box. Kevin is a clever guy. I didn’t think you could make a heavy album on Pro Tools. Some tracks are heavier than others, though.
Will you reunite with Black Sabbath again?
I am hoping. Tony [Iommi] and I spoke a few days ago. It was, ‘Let’s get together? Sure, mate!’ I talk to Bill Ward every week. He is one of my dearest friends. We did a song. We are trying to do an album. It might not work out, but I’ve learned to never say never anymore.
Famous last words?
Thank you for being loyal, and see you on the road. Feel free to contact me if you need any more info from this interview!