By Carol Anne Szel
He is the man behind the curtain we’re not supposed to see. The man who will give us the heart, the brain, the way home. The mystic, the all-knowing, all-powerful Oz. Talking about everything from Jesus on the mountaintop to a woman’s obsession with shoes, Ozzy Osbourne takes us on the yellow brick road into his home, his mind and, at times, into his soul, as I settle in for the journey of my life.
“I’ve never spent that much time on any record I’ve ever made,” Ozzy says of his latest release, “Scream,” his first album in three years. “We started it about a year and a half ago. I mean, we didn’t do it for a year and a half every day. We’d go in. Do a bit. Then do something else and go back to it.”
This notorious prince of darkness has recorded 10 studio albums with Black Sabbath, sold upwards of 50 million records worldwide as a solo artist, sold out record crowds around the world, several times over. He has played at the Moscow Peace Festival, the Us Festival, Live Aid, and performed at Queen Elizabeth’s 50th Jubilee celebration at Buckingham Palace. Furthermore, he has dined with President Bush at the Washington Correspondents Association Dinner, won multiple Grammy Awards, had his own MTV reality show “The Osbournes,” was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and launched the first national music festival dedicated to hard rock music called OZZfest.
On “Scream,” Ozzy relates that with his songwriting style, “I find it hard to write about boy meets girl and they fall out and the rain comes down and the sun shines and they’re up in the cloud of bulls**t.” He explains, “I go for the melody. One thing I got from The Beatles: they always had great, great melodies and great harmonies. You’re like ‘what the f**k is that about?’ But it fits the song, you know.”
Produced by Ozzy, along with Kevin Churko, who also worked on Osbourne’s 2007 platinum selling “Black Rain” release, Ozzy explains that with “Scream” they enmeshed old school with current technology. “In the past we’d find a place to go and start to play with my band and just jam when we feel like jamming,” Osbourne says. “But on this one, (with) Kevin Churko, we laid the foundations and my band played against the foundations. So I kind of lose a spiritual charge kind of thing, when you build it the way they do it now. I’m not disappointed. I’m really pleased with the way it turned out. But to me, I like to get the band thing, you know, rather than put the band on afterwards.”
He is adamant, however, when he says “It’s an Ozzy album, but he (Churko) worked the buttons and pushed the knobs and got the sounds. With Kevin, I was under the impression that you can’t get a heavy sound on digital. But that’s bulls**t because the stuff on this album is very, very heavy.”