'No Saint' Ozzy Osbourne Nearly Falls Off the Wagon
Recovery hasn't come easy for Ozzy Osbourne, the king of heavy metal debauchery whose life story boils over with tales of drunken escapades and popping pills, lots and lots of pills. The rock god is off the hard stuff, but tells PopEater that he has slipped on occasion, like about two months ago when he cracked open a beer. "I'm not a saint," he says. "But that was the first time I drank a beer in I don't know how long."
But the man that spent his reality TV days "out of my face" drunk tells us that he found the strength to stop himself. "As soon as I tried it I thought, 'Oh that's it, pull the brakes lad.' In a very short time I'd be having bottles of vodka along with the rest of the crap."
In our full chat, Osbourne, 62, talks candidly about his kids and their own substance abuse issues, the bad taste that 'The Osbournes' left in his mouth and his surprising sense of humor, which is all over his memoir 'I Am Ozzy,' now in paperback.
Sharon's a saint for putting up with all your years of addiction.
It's a two-way street. Everybody thinks I was a useless piece of work and never did anything and Sharon did it all. She did a great deal, but I still maintained my gigs. I still made recordings.
I don't know -- with the amount you drank, you must be pickled by this point.
I am. At the end of the day if you can't stand being in a certain way you either die or get out of it and get some help. It took me a long time. People go to rehab and say it didn't work. It's not that it didn't work; it's that you didn't take the advice they gave you. I was still thirsty, so I carried on drinking.
What was the final straw for you?
I got sick and tired of being sick and tired. There was a time in my drinking career where I never used to get hangovers. I could drink a bottle of booze, have a sleep for an hour and wake up OK. To be perfectly honest I get kind of pissed off that I can't have a beer but that's the way it starts because I've never had one of anything.
I just drank myself to oblivion and then did drugs on top of that. At one point they reckon I was drinking four bottles of Hennessy a day. I'm not bragging about it. At a certain point in drinking you don't care, you can't see. I used to drink myself unconscious every day.
When was the last time you had a drink?
I think I had a beer about eight weeks ago. What I don't do now is not tell anybody. I have to tell somebody because if I don't I'm down that pipe hole again. I'm not a saint. But that was the first time I drank a beer in I don't know how long. When you're on the road and stuck in some foreign country ... the best part of touring is the gig. The rest is hanging around in a hotel room, and I just thought, "Oh, I'll try it," and as soon as I tried it I thought, "Oh, that's it, pull the brakes lad." In a very short time I'd be having bottles of vodka along with the rest of the crap.
Do you regret doing 'The Osbournes?'
I believe that everyone's life is planned to a certain degree. I don't regret because it was fun for a while, and it got bad. It was mine, my wife and kids' five minutes of mega stardom. After it, I said to Sharon that I'll do the occasional interview but I don't want to be the next anchorman. I don't like doing TV. To be honest I've watched very little of the show, maybe less than half of one show. I don't like to see myself on TV.
You were portrayed a little bit as a doddering, slurring fool.
I was out of my face. You have a camera crew living in your house any length of time, you'd start drinking, too. At first it's fun, but it gets old very quickly. It was the editing. One day I'll probably sit down and watch a few episodes and I'll probably sh*t myself.
Do you blame yourself at all for Jack and Kelly's problems?
I don't blame myself. If I was a vicar they still would have found drugs. Jack got clean before I did. If you ask me, nine out of 10 families these days have problems with drugs. Every kid is going to try booze and drugs.
I gotta say your book is really, really funny.
Humor is a big part of my existence. I didn't want to write a book about how fabulous I was and my rock-and-roll lifestyle. I mean we're blessed doing what we do. I don't have to get up at 7 and go straight to work to a job I don't like. Singing is a passion of mine, and I'm very fortunate at my age to be able to still do it, you know. I've had a great career, I'm not always happy, but humor has helped me get out of my darkest places.
You seem to worry a lot.
I worry about my family, I worry about my health. I worry about the world. I suppose I worry a bit too much because whatever's going to happen is going to happen. It's just my makeup.
How's your health these days?
My doctor said to me that I'm a testament to what the human body can go through. I'm not boasting; I'm just very lucky. They tested my genes, and they found out I'm allergic to alcohol, and I said, "I could have told them that before!"
Are you tired of always having the bat story brought up?
Next question. That f**king bat's got more publicity than me.
So it pisses you off?
What gets me is I've been doing what I've been doing for 42 years and there's more to me than biting the f**king head of a bat.
That infamous incident came two years after Ozzy released his signature song.
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