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Five Questions With Ozzy Osbourne

August 23, 2000

NEW YORK (AP) _ Heavy metal vocalist Ozzy Osbourne is dressed in a blue pinstriped suit with his eyes ghoulishly covered in black mascara. It’s a look that crosses business with shock rock.

``If I want to wear a pinstriped suit, I wear one. Nobody tells me how to dress,″ the 51-year-old singer said. ``When someone tells me I can’t do something, that just gives me the drive to want to do it.″

Osbourne was one of the original members of Black Sabbath. During the early ’70s, the band’s exploits became synonymous with the hard-rock lifestyle of all-night parties, groupies and exhausting tour schedules. He left in 1978 to form his own band.

One of his most notorious stunts was biting off a bat’s head during a 1982 concert in Des Moines, Iowa. It wasn’t planned. Osbourne thought it was a rubber toy a fan had tossed onstage.

``No matter what achievements I make in my career, I will always be known as the guy who bit the bat’s head off,″ he says. ``Even the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame considers my career a joke because of it.″

In 1996, Osbourne launched Ozzfest, heavy metal’s answer to Lollapalooza. The bands on this year’s tour include Pantera, Godsmack, Static-X, Incubus, Methods of Mayhem and P.O.D.

What they play is not necessarily music to Osbourne’s ears.

``There’s nothing wrong with the stuff they play, but I could never sing like that,″ said Osbourne, referring to the singers’ growling tones. ``I like some melody in my music.″

Ozzfest’s final date is Sept. 2 in San Bernadino, Calif. The questions below came from an interview with Osbourne:

1. How have you maintained your success?

Osbourne: I can’t explain it, I’m not the greatest singer in the world. ... The fans have always supported me all these years. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have a career.

2. You look much healthier now than you did years ago. What’s the secret?

Osbourne: I don’t drink or do drugs anymore. I used to drink a couple of bottles of Dom Perignon, lines of coke and bags of pot, then fall down the steps of the tour bus when I arrived in the next town. I just got tired of waking up in my own urine or with a cold pizza stuck to my face. ... I’m not perfect, you know. I have a glass of wine once in a while or a joint to relax. ... If you walked in my shoes, you would be doing smack.

3. How would you describe Ozzfest?

Osbourne: Ozzfest is the alternative to alternative music. It’s where heavy bands can get recognition. It’s the meat and potatoes of all package tours. I try to put together a show that’s entertaining to the kids. They work hard to save for the tickets, and I want to give them the best performance I can.

4. In 1998, you reunited with your former Black Sabbath bandmates at Ozzfest to do a set with them in addition to your own band. This year, it’s just you and your band. How do you feel?

Osbourne: I’m getting too old to sing and run around the stage for 3 1/2 hours a night with two different bands. Now, I’m just playing with my band every other night to give my body and voice a rest.

5. How are your kids?

Osbourne: Being a parent to teen-age girls is a life-changing experience in itself, but my kids know I’m still out of my mind.

___

On the Net:

Ozzy Osbourne’s official home page is: http://www.Ozzy.com.

Ozzfest 2000′s official home page is: http://www.Ozzfest.com.

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