Sober Ozzy Osbourne Honored By Metallica, Joe Walsh at MusiCares Event
"It's really a battle to get sober," Walsh tells Billboard at the 10th annual MAP event. "Ozzy has his set of demons, but he's stacked up some days of consecutive sobriety here and he's never been better"
Ozzy Osbourne and the Village CEO Jeff Greenberg were honored for their sobriety last night in Los Angeles at the tenth annual MusiCares MAP Fund Benefit, a night that saw performances from Osbourne, Metallica, Beth Hart and Keb Mo.
For a few reasons MAP is one of the purest celebrations of music during the year (it helps it is not televised so there is a real flow to the two-hour show). But the main reason the night always feels so much about the music is because it helps and commemorates artists.
That was a theme that was repeated throughout the night. During his speech Greenberg said, "We're all here because we love music, music is the center core of our lives. And this is where we take care of the people who make the music."
It was a sentiment echoed by Metallica frontman James Hetfield during his band's remarkable four-song set of covers. "Music does care," he said, following a surprisingly tender and true-to-form cover of the Beatles 'In My Life." "I am grateful for music and grateful for everyone who comes out and supports music."
For Osbourne, who was feted by Hart performing "Changes" and Metallica's closing "Diary Of A Madman," as well as a speech by the Eagles Joe Walsh, he was on hand to support musicians.
"Addiction is a disease that a lot of people suffer from, so by getting involved in this it's my way of putting back and helping other musicians who can't afford treatment," Osbourne told Billboard before the show.
Asked if he hopes his sobriety was inspirational for other musicians, he replied, "I hope so."
Daughter Kelly Osbourne may be biased, but her father's successful battle with addiction was motivational for her. "I can definitely say that 100 percent. And I'm your daughter and I'm saying that. I could not be more proud of my father regardless of sobriety or not I've always been proud of my father because I adore him," she told us. "But seeing him today and everything that he's achieved it blows my mind and I'm so, so proud of him."
Walsh, who recalled running with Osbourne when the former was in the James Gang and the latter was fronting Sabbath the first time, was equally proud. "It's really a battle to get sober. It's the hardest thing I've ever had to do and Ozzy is a real buddy and he has his set of demons, but he's stacked up some days of consecutive sobriety here and he's never been better," he told Billboard. "He's a new guy and I'm just so happy he hasn't fallen on the side of the road. He's still up and going, nobody knows why or how, but power to him. He's got a clear head and he's a powerful guy when he's sober."
Ozzy Osbourne affirmed Walsh's assertion that sobriety was an incredibly tough battle. "It's really hard [to get sober]. It took me 35 years to get my head around sobriety," he told us.
As hard as achieving over a year's sobriety was for the man of the night, this evening was a chance to celebrate the struggle with a rock show. "I'm gonna try and have some fun tonight, if I'm having fun other people will have fun as well," he told us.
He then backed that up with a five-song set of greatest hits that saw him joined by Dave Navarro and Billy Morrison among others, for a mix of solo songs and Sabbath classics. Opening with "I Don't Know" Osbourne quickly exhorted the crowd on with his trademark enthusiasm. "Let me see your fucking hands," he yelled.
"Here's a song about my drug addiction days," he said, introducing "Suicide Solution." While the crowd, including Metallica, Slash and more, stood and rocked out (with Hetfield even throwing in some air guitar) Osbourne egged them on for even more. "Don't get too crazy, you might enjoy yourselves," he quipped.
He then made them enjoy themselves with a one-two punch of "Iron Man" and "Crazy Train." For the rocking finale of "Paranoid" he brought up special guest and former MAP honoree Slash.
"Thank you, goodnight, god bless you all," Osbourne said as he left the stage, ending one of the most rocking MAP nights in the event's ten-year history.