On the fiftieth anniversary of the release of Black Sabbath’s debut album, Ozzy Osbourne has revealed that he was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease way back in 2003.
The original Black Sabbath frontman appeared on ‘Good Morning America’ last month to tell the world about his condition and has now told the LA Times:
“I’m not dying from Parkinson’s. I’ve been working with it most of my life. I’ve cheated death so many times. If tomorrow you read ‘Ozzy Osbourne never woke up this morning,’ you wouldn’t go, ‘Oh my God!’ You’d go, ‘Well, it finally caught up with him’.”
Ozzy is aiming to resume his solo farewell tour with dates in North America scheduled for late May through to the end of July before twice postponed dates in UK and Europe begin on 23rd October with Judas Priest in support. As well as the tour being the end of the road for Ozzy, it will also mark forty years since the release of his debut solo album, ‘Blizzard Of Ozz’, and a half century since probably the most defining debut album of all-time, the aforementioned ‘Black Sabbath’.
“It’s been a pretty incredible, interesting career. People have written me off time and time again, but I kept coming back and I’m going to come back from this.
“When? I don’t know,” he says. About performing, he adds, “I don’t want to go back out there until I’m ready.”
While his touring schedule has been interrupted by his well-publicised fall at home, a bout with pneumonia, ongoing complications from a 2003 neck injury, plus the Parkinson’s diagnosis, Ozzy has been active again as a recording artist, with a Top 10 single with Post Malone and Travis Scott last year, ‘Take What You Want’, and the coming February 21st release of hais first new solo album in a decade, ‘Ordinary Man’.
This unexpected creative regeneration happened when Ozzy was at his lowest, convalescing at home and bedridden most of the time. Walking was difficult and he rarely left the house but then he got an invitation to appear on a song with chart-topping rapper Post Malone.
“My response to that was, who is Post Malone?” he recalls. “What kind of a name is that?”
“It got me out of my misery,” Ozzy says now of the recording session. “It saved my life.”
Osbourne asked ‘Take What You Want’ producer Andrew Watt to produce a full album for him, and the guitarist-producer quickly lined up Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith and bassist Duff McKagan of Guns N’ Roses for the project. The three musicians wrote and recorded all the music for the album in four days.
“I got those guys over to the house the next day and we made an album’s worth of music in a blur. Everyone was on fire,” Watt recalled.
“I was coming up with a song a day,” says Ozzy, noting that on past albums, the creative process was often drawn out, jamming with his band and sketching out ideas. “Normally, we would go, ‘Let’s just live with this track for a few hours,’ which ended up being days, which ended up being weeks. This was just bang, bang, bang.”
The first song written was the title track, which includes the autobiographical lyrics: “Yes, I’ve been a bad guy / Been higher than the blue sky / I’ve made momma cry / Don’t know why I’m still alive.”
“If anyone has lived the debauched rock’n’roll lifestyle,” Ozzy admits, “I suppose it’s me.”
And apparently he’s already planning the next album. Watch out for the release of ‘Ordinary Man’ next Friday, 21st February 2020, a decade on from his last offering, ‘Scream’.