OZZY OSBOURNE Says He's Been 'Suffering Terribly' From Illegal Music Downloading

Cameron Adams of Australia's Herald Sun recently conducted an interview with Ozzy Osbourne. A few excerpts from the chat follow:

On becoming an unlikely small-screen star and kick-starting the now ubiquitous celebrity reality-TV genre:

"The phenomenon that happened from the show was that a lot of people who watched it didn't realize I was still an active rock and roll singer.

"They thought I was an ex rock star, or they had no idea who I was. I'd be walking down the street and someone would say 'What are you doing in this town?' I'd tell them I was doing a show, and they'd say 'What kind of a show?' What the f---? 'A rock and roll show.' Idiots.

"I believe the trick of 'The Osbournes' was it was edited brilliantly. If you have a camera crew walking around your house from 6am to 3am the next morning, and hidden cameras as well, every single day, that's hours and hours of tape.

"People would stop me and say 'Who writes your scripts?' I'd say 'What are you talking about?' It was real. That's why it worked. But I have to say we had a bit of fun with it, trying to keep people guessing."

On whether he will write his own memoir:

"I've been offered a book deal, but I don't want to do a book. My memory isn't what it used to be. Since I had my bike accident (he broke several bones in 2003), the medication I'm on affects my short-term memory. But I can now remember the phone number of my ex-wife's mother.

"But, I mean, it's so lame now, the f---ing Alamo, the bat, that was 25 years ago. We all think 'Why the f--- did I do that stupid thing?' Life has a good way of kicking you in the balls when you least expect it."

On wife/manager Sharon's battle with colon cancer being the kick he needed to help him sober up:

"Looking back I think I had a mental and physical breakdown. The only regret I do have from the TV show is that my wife suffered terribly getting over the cancer, but whether we did the TV show or not she'd have still had the cancer.

"She's terrible at taking direction but great at giving direction. I can't control her. If I say don't, she does it twice as much. She's my wife, I love her to death. I was so happy for her. She got cancer, she fought hammer and tongs to beat it and she deserves whatever she gets.

"But I worry continuously about Sharon. Since she's got over the chemotherapy and got the all clear she's doing twice the work she's ever done."

On battling lower record sales with his new album, "Black Rain":

"I've been suffering terribly from people downloading it. If they don't find something to stop it, people won't be able to make records. There won't be any new bands. How are they going to survive?

"I'm an old-timer, I've been doing it 40 years now, but new bands are going to suffer. It's ridiculous, you could be doing it for nothing.

"Sharon said I'd be astounded to find out how many bands are touring because you can download a record but you can't beat a rock show.

"I've never done in a long time as many live shows as I'm doing now. This year I've done 90 shows.

"I mean, I ain't getting any younger. Sharon says to me 'Just stand there'. I can't just f---ing stand there! I'm a moving target. People would aim their can of beer at my head!"

On whether he's entertaining the notion of retirement:

"I did try that but I've still got life in my bones. I'm still selling lots of records. If there comes a day when I'm playing to empty clubs, what's the point after I've done what I'm doing? It seems to be getting bigger and bigger.

"I've been doing it at the level I'm at now for a lot of years. There have been ups and downs along the way, like any career, but I've survived it physically and professionally. All I know is I'm here today.

"I'm either incredibly lucky or a survivor. To survive you don't have to be strong. A lot drank and used more drugs than I did. Some are dead. Then there are some who didn't do as much drugs and alcohol as I did. Some lived, some died. I've always said that when I die it won't be from natural causes, it'll be some rare bird who's s--- on me and given me some disease no one's heard of."

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