Cameron interviews Black Sabbath’s one and only Ozzy Osbourne for this 1972 interview for the San Diego Door. Ozzy is at his talkative and entertaining best here, so do check it out.
Black Sabbath Interview
You mentioned a few minutes ago about how tedious is to be on the road for as long as Black Sabbath has.
Yeah. And as soon as you go home, you’ve got to start thinking about the next tour, so you’re not getting any rest. It’s not that the physical work is so tiring, it’s the mental work. You’ve got new albums to think about. You got to worry about whether you’re overexposing yourself, whether you’re not doing enough. You’ve got all this bullshit to think about.
Y’know before we went on this tour, I had an infected throat. I had a very bad throat that I noticed three days before we came (to America for the tour), which wasn’t any fault of ours or our management because we were going through this big change-around in the business-side. We didn’t know whether to go on the tour or not. So we just came over anyway… I couldn’t work the first week. My throat gave out completely. This is… what… our seventh tour of America. Major tours, too. We all feel very, very tired. We’ve done seven tours in just over a year, now. We’ve worked so much in this country it’s driving me loopy.
Are you happy with the new album?
The new album is very much… I know I sound like I’m blowing my own trumpet, but… our new album to us, is our first album. It is the most truthful album we’ve made. I mean a lot of our albums had a lot of truth, lyrically, but this album is a more truthful representation of Black Sabbath musically. It’s also alot more personal lyrically. In the past our lyrics have said what other people feel, but the words of our new one is what we feel. We’ve gone through alot of changes.
We first started recording it last January we finished it two months ago.
I hear there were plenty of title changes for the album.
One week I’m up on stage saying “We’re gonna do a track off our new album, Snowblind.” Then they tell me “The name’s been changed. It’s called Volume Four“. So I announce it on stage, then the next night they tell me it’s been changed again. At this point I have no idea what the name of the album is. It’s either Snowblind or Volume 4. Take your pick.
Do you and the band’s being tired affect the quality of the album at all?
Not particularly, no, because I think when a guy in a band is tired he gets alot more emotional. He starts feeling sorry for himself… well, I do at least. I get to saying to myself “What the fuck am I doing here… what am I killing myself for”? But, when I go on stage, I love it. I’m pissed off 24 hours a day, but as soon as I get on that stage, I love every minute of it. Some nights I’m off, though, but generally I try my hardest. There’s no cards being pulled… if there’s somebody out there, we going stage and play. Considering the last album (Master of Reality) was finished twelve months ago, we haven’t been doing too bad attendance-wise.
Do you ever plan on doing a live album?
Yeah, the next will probably be live. We’re thinking of trying to get the Stones’ Mobile Recording Truck, but whether that’ll come off or not, I don’t know.
There’s a track on the new album resend with the piano and strings…
Yeah. Tony was playing around on the piano and I started to sing, so we thought it would be interesting to get it down on tape. So we did and it sounds really good. It breaks the album up so much and it’s so effective as, like, a departure from the hard stuff. I don’t know about you, but when I buy an album which contains heavy, rowdy, driving beats and things… it tends to all sound like one, long song. But when you have something to break up the heaviness so it won’t be the same thing from start to finish… it’s more of a contrast on the album. That’s not to say that we’re going acoustic or soft, but that we’d like to do a tune that’s different from our usual material. We used to do that tune onstage actually, but we couldn’t get a Melotron this tour.
Do you feel uncomfortable with the black Sabbath stereotype of hard rock?
I don’t know really. I think Black Sabbath has made its name playing hard, heavy rockin’ stuff, but I think it’s nice to show people that you can do a different thing… but not overdo it. There are, personally, things outside the band that I’d like to do myself. I’d like to do mellower stuff… but when I’m with Black Sabbath, I’m the fourth part of a jigsaw puzzle. We couldn’t do an Elton John type thing… it just wouldn’t work. It’s like Elton John going heavy. We just record what we feel is worth recording. If it’s a soft album… tough. In the case of our new album though, there’s alot of rockin’ to it. There are only two tracks on it that are different. There’s one called “Laguna Sunrise”, which is Tony playing guitar with some strings. It’s a really beautiful thing. Sad and beautiful. Then there’s a kind of a slow thing that I sing called “Changes”. Tony plays piano, Geezer plays Melotron and bass guitar.
Will you ever be doing a solo album?
I’d like to, but I haven’t got the time. I’m too hung up on Black Sabbath. I think about doing an album when I’m only sitting alone… when I’m alone. The only time I’m sitting alone is when I’m having a shit. I often wonder if someone’s in the bathroom with me then. When you’re a working band on the road, I don’t think you time to think about a solo album. Not unless you record and compose it during your time off… but when I’ve got my time off, I just want to I just don’t want to think about it. I just relax and rest.
Up to this point do you think your albums have been an accurate representation of the band?
At the time of the recording, it was… but time passes and your thoughts change. At the time of writing we were really into… we weren’t actually into the black magic thing, but we were into the awareness of what’s going on. Paranoid was another thing we were into and Master of Reality was just, personally I was a bit disappointed with it. It was a rush job. We had to write as quick as we could and record it even faster. Luckily it isn’t as bad as it could’ve been. Compared to the standard of the new one isn’t quite that good, though.
We worked rather hard on the new album, we recorded the tracks, listened to them and threw out what we didn’t like… and replaced them with better musicianship. We had alot of time to work on it which is a deciding factor. Alot of time, alot of trouble, alot of worry and alot of money went into the album.
Master of Reality was very messy. We recorded it in a week it was out in about three weeks. It’s funny too, that has been our biggest selling record. I really don’t know why. It didn’t have half the strength as Paranoid.
When you went into the studio to do the new album, did you know pretty much what you wanted to do?
We wrote “Changes” in the studio. We had a few that were already together.
Can you write on the road?
No. I’ve got one thought in my head when I’m on the road. To get home to my kids and wife, that’s all I’ve got in my head. That and trying to make the tour the best possible. That’s what it’s all about for us.
How important do you think Black Sabbath’s rapport with the audiences is?
I love the audience. I get high off the audience and I like to think the audience gets high off me. Sometimes I’m so spaced out anyway from things I… no comment (laughter). No, I just go on and float around and enjoy myself. I hope I radiate those good vibes to the people.
Where do you think Black Sabbath will be five years from now?
At this rate, six feet under and pushing up daisies. Or in a lunatic asylum. We’re all just simple, ordinary people who became… this. I think it’s just started to affect us, what actually’s happened to us. Once the whole band was a giggle… I still enjoy it, don’t get me wrong. I love it. I wouldn’t change it for the world. But, we’ve covered alot of ground. We’ve been in alot of places and met alot of people. I’m glad to say that at the end of it all… when the day comes when Black Sabbath is no more… if it’s kept up as good as it’s kept up to now, even if the popularity drops off, I can’t complain. I’ve had a good time. If it ends tomorrow or five years… ten years from now, I can just turn around and say that I’ve had a good time and have enjoyed it. It’s been one hell of an experience for me, I’ll never forget it as long as I live.
Courtesy of The Door (aka San Diego Door) – Cameron Crowe – December 2, 1972 – December 17, 1972