Christa Titus of Billboard.com conducted an interview in February with BLACK SABATH's Ozzy Osbourne and Tony Iommi about their reaction to the band's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. A few excerpts from the chat follow:
Q: What did you think when you heard the band would be inducted?
Tony Iommi: "I couldn't believe it [laughs]. I mean, we've only [been up for it] eight times, and finally, we're in. I'm really thrilled with it, to be honest. I mean, you can't say you're not thrilled for any award, especially something like that."
Ozzy Osbourne: "We'd been put up for it every year, I think, forever; for a long time, we were up for it, but BLACK SABBATH never got through. I don't know why, because, I mean, so many kids in these new bands... at the Ozzfest, when I'm walking down the street or whatever, they say, 'I owe my life to you and SABBATH.'
"I didn't get kind of upset, because you're either in or you're not, you know, and it's a nice feeling to be accepted."
Q: Ozzy, after the hall did not accept BLACK SABBATH in 1999, you called for the organization to take you guys off the ballad.
Osbourne: "You build yourself up, then you get knocked down, then you build yourself up, then you get knocked down, and I'm thinking in one of my interviews I said something about the fact that, why should the Hall of Fame be judged by people in the industry? But I was just saying that because I was pissed off because I kept getting [kept out. I said that] the fans should vote, the people or whatever. I can't really remember."
Q: Why do you think the Hall of Fame accepted BLACK SABBATH now as opposed to before?
Iommi: "God, that's a good one. Maybe they've been pestered to death, I don't know. I mean, I feel we should be in there, because without blowing our own trumpet, I think we've done a hell of a lot for the music, for what we've offered to the music industry."
Osbourne: "I suppose that eventually they would have had to. I heard a response that had to come from someone who said something which was so f***ing pathetic: 'Oh, why do you [give] a f***ing award for the man who bit the head off a bat?' And I thought, 'Lame, how lame can you get if you have to use something stupid like that? Or if you have to say something bad about me, say it with a bit of a more f***ing interesting thing.'
"Everybody in the world, their No. 1 question for f***ing ever and a day is, 'Oh Oz, did you really bite the head off a bat?' And so, it's not for me anyway, it's for BLACK SABBATH. Tony owns the name BLACK SABBATH, so it could be any f***er up there, ya know."
Q: For years people told BLACK SABBATH its music was not going to amount to anything. After hearing that, is there any kind of satisfaction now that you are being inducted?
Iommi: "Oh, without a doubt. I mean, we've probably heard that from day one, you know, that 'You're never gonna be any good, you're never gonna last' and all this stuff. But it has, and it's stood the test of time, 38 years now."
Osbourne: "All through the early days of BLACK SABBATH we never got a good review for a concert, we never got a good review for an album, and we kind of liked it that way back then, because we didn't want to be liked by the f***ing media or anybody because we were a people's kind of band.
"After my departure in '79 from BLACK SABBATH I thought, 'That's it, I'll probably be back on the f***ing unemployment line.' Then they go and do two great albums with Ronnie James Dio, and then at the end of that, people come up to me when I started the Ozzfest, I hear all the time, 'I'm not worthy,' and all this f***ing stuff, you know. And at first I was going, 'Are you joking? You're pulling my leg.' They would say SABBATH was their biggest influence, and I must say, I do believe that Tony's been underestimated for coming out with the riffs.
"It was really my big f***ing mouth in the first place I think that we didn't get in in the first place, you know? I don't know what the fucking reason was... It's kind of like when JETHRO TULL won the heavy metal thing [the 1989 Grammy Award] and METALLICA didn't. I didn't f***ing get that... It's like, 'How the f*** can you say JETHRO TULL's heavy metal? It's like saying f***ing James Taylor's a great lead guitar player.'"
Q: People have been asking for years if the four of you will ever record another album as BLACK SABBATH.
Iommi: "We talked about an album and we've talked a couple of times on and off, you know, but I just now go with the flow. If it looks [good,] I'd love to do another album, but it's got to be right and you can't just do an album for the sake of it. We wouldn't do that. It's got to be a very good album. But we haven't gotten any further with it, and it seems to have gone very quiet on that side."
Osbourne: "Well, we have tried. I guess it will happen or it won't happen. I mean, I could probably go in the studio tomorrow with 'em and come out with an album written by Tony Iommi, Bill Ward, Geezer Butler and myself, but if it wasn't up to the standard where we used to be, what's the f***ing point in doing it?
"Because it's called 'BLACK SABBATH,' because it'll be Ozzy, Tony, Geezer and Bill. It's a pretty heavy thing to take on, because we're all different people now; we've all gone our own ways and got our own families, we're not four angry guys anymore. But I'm sure we could do one, but if it's not up to the standard, then I wouldn't do it. We did try to write, some of it's OK...
"I've read a few things in some of these magazines that say, 'Hey guys, you should get rid of Ozzy; you got no intention of doing an album.' You've gotta be f***ing mad. If you think that I wouldn't do a BLACK SABBATH album if the material was great, you gotta be stoned."
Read the entire interview at Ozzyhead.com.