Originally published in Scene, December 1997. Scene was a gorgeous, luxuriant fashion magazine published by a multi-millionaire. I was contributing editor in the late 90s.
LEMMY: How did the black magic associations originally come about? Was it a fantasy of yours or Tony’s (Ozzy’s guitarist) – or was it just designed to titillate?
OZZY: There never was a black magic thing! We were called Black Sabbath purely because , at the time, there was just all this bullshit, flower-power, San Francisco shit and living in the industrial polluted town of Aston, near Birmingham, it was like ‘What the fuck are you on, mate?’ They were buying bells (bellbottoms) without enough money to buy a pint.
LEMMY: And you were wearing a kaftan, right?
OZZY: It’s all right to talk about peace and love, but people were making bells and kaftans and manufacturing flower power shit, making dough, and Tony turned round one day and said ‘Isn’t it amazing that people buy this stuff when they’re not really into it?’ So we decided to start writing scary music. It fucking scared me!
LEMMY: That dove biting thing that you did in New York backfired.
OZZY: It was never done as a publicity thing, it was actually done in pure innocence, I must confess. I’m 49 now and my epitaph is going to be ‘Ozzy Osbourne – the man who bit the heads off various creatures’
LEMMY The bat was bad news wasn’t it? (Ozzy had to get treated for rabies after eating the bat’s head) The audience even started chucking rattlesnakes on stage.
OZZY: It got kind of crazy. This policeman came to a gig and he said, ‘Which one of you is Ozzy Bourne?’ I said, ‘Me’, and he said, ‘Do you realise the effect you’re having on the population?’ I was like ‘What do you mean?’ That was when he showed me a polaroid of a guy in the audience wearing a cow’s head on top of his own head (There’s a prolonged silence on the tape while Ozzy and Lemmy remember just how crazy things got) I remember seeing Hendrix play at the Woburn Abbey Festival and I was fucking stunned because I thought he was faking how cool he was. Everyone else was smiling onstage and being all nice and everything and then on walks this weird guy with gypsy clothes on and he had the most awesome sound.
LEMMY: I was there too. I used to work for him.
OZZY:If you saw that now you wouldn’t believe it was fully legit. Him doing that with his teeth – I thought he was playing to tapes. Until then it was all this happy music. Even The Beatles and The Stones were playing happy music.
LEMMY: Yeah, The Stones, yeah. They tried to copy Sergeant Pepper on the Satanic Majesties record. Next question is did you have a particular sexual fantasy 20 years ago? And if so, has it changed?
OZZY: I wanted to screw my current wife in 1979 so I left my old wife for my new wife. In those early days I was out to lunch almost all of the time.
LEMMY: You’re out to breakfast now.
OZZY: I had lots of fantasies, but since this AIDS thing’s come out, and since I got older, sex isn’t such a big deal in my life anymore. In the old days the biggest fears we had were catching syphilis and herpes
OZZY:Do you know that across the road from here, when AIDS first came along, there used to be an advert for diet chocolate and it said ‘Lose weight with Aids’ The chocolate was called Aids!
LEMMY: I remember that quote of yours: ‘The only black magic is chocolate’ I was there to witness to the five monks who visited you on the Blizzard of Oz tour – they were chanting outside your room
OZZY: I don’t remember it really. I never realised there was black magic until we started getting letters inviting us to gatherings and ceremonies. I thought it was a fucking wind-up. They through I was the antichrist. If you start meddling with dark things, they come back to you. I don’t believe there’s a God sitting on a cloud playing his harp. I think we live in heaven ad hell. All the temptations are here on earth. Can’t fuck, can’t smoke cigarette, can’t get stoned, can’t drink, so what can you do ? Pray.
LEMMY: Do you think it’s important to have a fantasy to retreat into and do you think that’s dangerous or beneficial?
OZZY: I think more good constructive fantasies are needed. When I found out Santa Claus was rubbish I was devastated. As men we’ve all been through ‘I wouldn’t mind getting her in between the sheets!’ But then once you’re done, it’s over. My greatest fantasy has come true and that’s being a great rock n roll player, a better thing couldn’t have happened to me.
LEMMY: What was your expectation of stardom and is it as you though it would be?
OZZY When I was a kid the problems were all about money and that was what the arguments were about. Stardom doesn’t eradicate that. I was absolutely entrapped by Beatlemania. I wanted to be a Beatle.
LEMMY: I was in the fan club, me.
OZZY: I bought Beatle wigs, the whole nine yards.
LEMMY: John Lennon was shot because he failed to live up to a deranged fan’s vision of him. What do you think of that? Have you ever felt threatened by it?
OZZY: It’s an occupational hazard in this business and the media makes it worse. Lennon was one of my icons and the combinations of Lennon with McCartney was like sweet and sour. I wrote a letter to People magazine after they put the Lennon’s assassin on the cover. I said that when they do things like that, that’s when fantasies get dangerous. Violence is part of reality – we haven’t yet stopped wars. I do feel threatened, yes. But if you don’t wanna fall down, you don’t stand in slippery places. In the old days, I used to drink and get stoned, that pump of booze and drugs, I ended up doing crazy shit
LEMMY: You were anybody’s.
OZZY: You can do heroin and jaywalk on the M6 – the power of destiny will kill you when the time is right
LEMMY:Heroin changes you into a dog
OZZY: I’ve been into various rehabs (mainly for alcohol addiction) throughout my adult life and heroin people are different, once they give up they’re pissed off and they act like they’ve given their soul away. You and I have seen it a million times. The graveyard’s full of them. I don’t know many successful users.