Ian Burrell of U.K.'s The Independent recently conducted an interview with legendary heavy metal singer Ozzy Osbourne. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.
On finally passing his driving test:
"The first test was about 1974, then '75, '76, '77, '78. I've lost count how many times. I remember one time I was doing the three-point turn and I passed out because I'd been to the doctor's earlier and got some Valium for my nerves. At the end they'd say 'You've failed,' and I'd be staggering around the car park. Some [examiners] would say, 'I'm not even fooking getting in the car with you.' Would you?"
On being sober and staying physically fit:
"I love the feeling of working out. I don't drink anymore; I don't smoke; I don't do drugs. I quite enjoy this sobriety because at least I can kind of remember what I did yesterday."
On the fact that he has driven illegally for years:
"I bought a brand new Mercedes AMG and took Sharon to Tramps. I drank a shitload of booze and then went down South Molton Street the wrong way. A 12-year-old cop said to me 'Have you been drinking?' I said, 'Is the Pope a Catholic?' We went to the nick in a black Mariah and I said to Sharon, 'It's not every day you go out in a brand new Mercedes and come home in a police van,' which didn't go down too well."
On the fact that he is not the monster of rock that some believe:
"I was the kind of nutter people liked to be around — I'd do anything. Basically I was the clown, I always have been. I was never a bad guy. When I got successful it gave me a ticket to be a lunatic, but I didn't do it with any malice, apart from whacking the wife round the ear now and again."
On meeting Tony Blair at an event in the wake of the invasion of Iraq:
"Tony Blair was looking at me. I was quite astounded when he said to me 'Do you know, I was in a rock 'n' roll band myself once?' Then he goes, 'We could never quite get the thing to [SABBATH's second single] 'Iron Man'.' I'm looking at this guy and thinking 'He's the fooking Prime Minister of Britain, and there's kids out there getting blown up and fooking landmines and the rest of it, and he's talking to me about 'Iron Man'. There's something wrong with this.'"
On whether he hankers to be an activist:
"I don't understand too much about politics and I don't want to. I could always phone Bono and see what he's got to say — he's a fooking political groupie now isn't he? That's one thing that pisses me off: when people in the entertainment game think it's cool to be a politician. "
On whether an Ozzy Osbourne could have emerged in the 21st century:
"I don't know. It's a completely different business now. They say, 'You look good, you look good; we'll call the band whatever.' There are new kids on TV for a month and then they disappear; it's manufactured now.
"If I was about to bite the head off a bat now, would people give a fuck? Remember [Sixties American singer] P J Proby when his nuts fell out on stage? They could walk on stage now with no gear on. When something's been done, it's been done."
On the potential for further autobiographical work, as further recollections emerge from the fug of his memory:
"Ozzy Osbourne in 350 pages? That's just the first chapter; my life has been anything but dull."
Read more from The Independent.