Fans lined up for the intimate iHeartRadio "ICONS" event. They were treated to exclusive details on the meaning of Ozzy's new songs, how his writing has changed over the years, his plans for the future, insecurity, and much more.
What was your initial reaction when your producer, Andrew Watt, played you the music that he and Duff McKagan (GUNS N' ROSES) and Chad Smith wrote?
Ozzy: My daughter, Kelly, came along, and she said, "A friend of mine is doing a record with Post Malone." I said, "Who the f*ck's Post Malone?" To cut a long story short, I ended up meeting Andrew, who produced the Post Malone song - one thing led to another, and before I knew it, it was a month later and on the album.
The album came together so quickly, do you remember the last time you made an album that fast?
Ozzy: I think it was the first Black Sabbath album. It was quicker than that.
You've had a tough year, how did that come out in your lyrics for this album?
Ozzy: This last year, I've been in a bad state, health-wise… I had surgery on my spine which has f*cked me up. Everyone thinks I've just discovered the Parkinson's. I've known about the Parkinson's since 2003. And it's not like the Michael J. Fox one, thank God. It's a milder thing that I have, but still - it's there. I can't let it stop me.
This last year, it all caught up with me. Staph infection in my hand, then I had pneumonia, then I fell over, then I had surgery. It's just been f*cking hell.
So, you're basically indestructible.
Ozzy: This last year, I paid for all the years that got away from me.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Black Sabbath's first album.
Ozzy: I cannot believe it! It's gone by so quickly. I can remember going to the studio for the first time with them. I remember thinking, "Oh, this will be fun for the next couple of years, wining and dining." And here we are fifty years later.
Did you expect that people would still be talking about Black Sabbath all these years later?
Ozzy: This is the biggest surprise of my life and the best gift that God ever gave me… or satan.
This year also marks the 40th anniversary of your first solo album, Blizzard of Ozz. You still perform a number of songs from that album, why do you think it has such a substantial impact on the fans?
Ozzy: Well, it is my first solo album. I've always said that the beginning of any project that I've been in, be it Black Sabbath or myself. First album is always the best one because you've got everything to gain and nothing to lose.
People say, "What advice would you give anybody?" I say, well, if you're really into it, then write as much as you can because there's never enough songs when you make it.
Tell us about the song, "Under the Graveyard."
Ozzy: We were talking about people who have lots of money and very often have a very tight fist…You can't take it when you go. That's what that means; you can't take it when you're in the ground.
Has your approach to writing songs changed over the years?
Ozzy: With this album, because I was so miserable the last year, it was a relief just to get and do something that I love to do. I had no deadlines. And I'm hoping that next month I'll go and do another album with Andrew. I might as well, while I'm not doing gigs.
So you canceled your North American tour so that you can go to Switzerland and finish your recovery. What's your message to the fans who have been supporting you through all your health issues?
Ozzy: I'm not stopping, I'm coming back, and I'm going to kick your f*cking a*s. Believe me; I cannot wait.
The song on the record, Scary Little Green Men, was inspired by a show on Aliens. Do you believe in Aliens?
Ozzy: If we think we're the only things in this Universe, then we've got to be mad. There's thousands of planets out there. There's got to be a worm or something.
Another thing, what would they want to come here for? We're always trying to kill each other.
Does it blow you away that there are so many generations of people listening to your music?
Ozzy: Absolutely. It keeps me thinking young. Because I'm 71 now, I've been doing it 50 years. I hope I've got another 50 years!
Nobody has lasted this long, putting out great music like you still are.
Ozzy: Believe me, I didn't think that I would last 5 hours. I should be dead!
What advice do you have for someone trying to start out and succeed in this business?
Ozzy: Be dedicated, be patient, and write as much as you can.
Tell us about "All My Life."
Ozzy: "It's about me. Believe it or not, I'm very insecure. When I make a record, I go, "Is this good enough?" I drive people around me crazy. So that song was about my insecurities. Letting go of an idea, or letting go of whatever I want to let go of. I'm finding it hard to do that.
I (Eddie Pappani) would have never guessed someone of your magnitude would be insecure about anything.
Ozzy: That's what makes people write songs, you know. Not all the time is everybody, "Hi, I'm happy." It's like, f*ck off!
Is there a song that you heard way back when that you wished you would have written?
Ozzy: Any of the Beatles songs… that Sergeant Pepper album. People always say to me, "What's my favorite album that I've made?" And I always say to them, "I haven't made my Sergeant Pepper yet." Meaning, that was a fabulous album, a great album. Because if I go, oh Bark at the Moon or any of my previous work, it means that I'm saying every album I did after that was no good.
So you're saying that you still haven't peaked yet?
Ozzy: Oh, no, no. Because once you peak, you're on the way down. I've still got a long way to go because I'm far from peaking.
Have you thought about retiring?
Ozzy: I've thought about it. I sometimes think crazy thoughts like that. I cannot retire. I love you guys (to fans).
Photo Credit: Wes and Alex