From the first doomy chords of Black Sabbath's debut album 45 years ago to its Grammy Award-winning 13 in 2013, it has been certainly as long and strange a trip as any in rock 'n' roll. And the road goes on -- Osbourne's also performing at OZZFest Japan on Nov. 22 and Sabbath begins its epic The End farewell tour on Jan. 20.
In advance of his Halloween comeback, we spoke with the Prince of Darkness about how he's managed to keep it going strong for almost have a century.
New Orleans on Halloween -- seems perfectly appropriate for Ozzy Osbourne, doesn't it?
Ozzy Osbourne: I'm looking forward to it; the last time we played at Voodoo the atmosphere was fucking electric. Y'know, I'm English, so we've only been having Halloween since we've been living in America. My kids went trick or treating. I never did 'cause when I was a kid in England it wasn't around. But you can't get away from it here. It's a big night of the year. Back in the day, in the '70s with Black Sabbath, we did a gig [on Halloween] in Denver and they had this competition for who could come to the gig in the best costume, and some of these costumes were f---ing brilliant, really funny. America really embraces it; you guys are good at creating fun, y'know?
Do you dress as anything other than Ozzy Osbourne on Halloween?
Osbourne: It's for kids, really. Mind you, I have Halloween every fuckin' night of the week. So it's probably a night off.
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You have plenty of treats for the crowd at Voodoo, with Slash, Tom Morello and Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler joining you. What's that going to be like?
Osbourne: I haven't played with Tom Morello, but I've met him a couple times and he seems like a nice enough guy and I've heard nothing but good things about him, so I'm looking forward to seeing it. And Geezer and Slash...We all know Slash; I mean, Slash is an entity on his own. He's a great friend of mine as well. And Geezer I've known since were were fucking 12. It's not all these musicians on stage at the same time and they're all jockeying for position. At various intervals of the show certain people will come on with me and then they'll go off and someone else will come on. It should work well and hopefully the kids are all up for it.
Are you looking forward to getting back to doing Ozzy shows again? It's been a minute.
Osbourne: Yeah, it's been maybe three, four years now since I've done anything on my own. It's a completely different animal than [Black Sabbath], y'know? But them classic Ozzy songs, they're timeless. All I'm doing is going out there and having some fun. As long as the band plays well and the audience has a good time and I hope it sounds good, that's all I'm caring about.
Are you ready for The End of Sabbath?
Osbourne: Absolutely. I mean, it is the end of Sabbath, believe me. In December I'll be fucking 68 and it's time to call it the end of the day with Sabbath. It's been 45 years and it's been great. We started as kids and the greatest gift I have is the memory of the fact that we weren't a band in some London business mogul's head. We were four kids from a place called Aston, Birmingham, and it was a very fucked up, low-rent place and we said "We'll just form a band" and we started with nothing and our first album went straight to f---ing No. 2 on the British charts and we've never looked back since. I don't want it to dwindle and dwindle and just play for the sake of making another fucking sack full of cash. I'm really proud of Sabbath, but it's time.
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So not just the farewell -- until next time, then?
Osbourne: No, it really, really is the end of Sabbath on this tour. I'm not saying I won't ever get on stage with Geezer or Tony or any of them again, but officially, as Sabbath, we're done, and I'll go back to doing my own thing.
Are you still planning to do a Sabbath farewell album?
Osbourne: No, no. We were gonna do one before the tour, but it would take three or four years to write and record an album, by which time I'll be fucking 73 or 72 or something, so we decided just to do a farewell tour. Plus, after the last one [2013's 13, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200], if we did an album and it went to No. 2, people would go, "It's over," right?
You and your son Jack were recently spotted doing some TV filming in England. What's that about?
Osbourne: Jack and I are doing a thing for the History Channel, like a father and son spoof on history. We went to Stonehenge and met a guy who thinks he's the fucking reincarnation of King Arthur. And we went to Bletchley Park to see the machine [Alan Turing] used to break the [German] kind. We're going to Mount Rushmore, to the abandoned silos where America used to have their Minutemen missiles and all that. It's educational for me, actually -- history with an Osbourne slant.
And another twist in the Ozzy saga.
Osbourne: By all accounts I should be dead, right? I can remember laying in my hotel room a million years ago thinking, "I wonder how long this will last?" And low and behold here I am fucking 45 years later, back with Sabbath and I'm doing my own stuff as well. My career has been unbelievable, it really has. It's a gift, and believe me it wasn't planned like this, but somebody had a special place for me, I suppose.