Half a century after Ozzy Osbourne launched his career with Black Sabbath and four decades since he went out on his own, the Prince of Bloody Darkness will embark on his final world tour.
"Will it really have been 40 years that I've been solo?" Osbourne ponders aloud. "Yeah, I guess that's right. It's gone so quickly."
Dubbed "No More Tours 2" – a cheeky throwback to his ill-fated retirement bid called "No More Tours" in the early Nineties – Osbourne will kick off the two-year victory lap this spring with dates in Mexico, South America and Europe. The jaunt's first United States leg, which will feature Stone Sour as the opening group, starts in Allentown, Pennsylvania in August and wraps in Las Vegas in October. Tickets for the North American dates are on sale February 17th, with pre-sales beginning Valentine's Day.
While the trek has all the markings of a farewell tour, Osbourne says that it's not the end for his career. "I'm not retiring," he tells Rolling Stone on a call from his Los Angeles home. "It's 'No More Tours,' so I'm just not doing world tours anymore. I'm still going to be doing gigs, but I'm not going on tour for six months at a time anymore. I'd like to spend some time at home."
The way he sees it, he's simply achieving balance in his life. "I've experienced fantastic things; it's been an incredible journey," he says. "I just need to slow it down a little." And, he adds, after years of missing out on his children's milestones, he wants to be there more for the rest of his family. "I enjoy being a grandfather," the singer, who recently became a granddad again, offers. "I don't want to go through another generation of Osbournes without seeing them grow up."
That said, he's lost no passion for performing. "If you know an Ozzy Osbourne concert, you know I don't stand there with my thumb up my butt," he deadpans. "I'm rock & roll. The more fun that [the fans] have, the more fun I have." The band that will be backing him on the road includes his longtime guitar foil, Zakk Wylde, bassist Blasko, drummer Tommy Clufetos and keyboardist Adam Wakeman. "Believe it or not," Zakk is the guitar player I've played with the longest since Sabbath," Osbourne says. "I don't know what it is about him that works so well, but I'm very glad it does."
He's already thinking about the songs he wants to play on the No More Tours 2 trek. "I haven't really sat down and written it down, but of course I have to do 'Paranoid' and 'Crazy Train,'" he says. "I want to do 'Mama, I'm Coming Home' and 'No More Tears.' I have a lot of songs to choose from. I was thinking about doing [Bark at the Moon's] 'Waiting for Darkness.' That's quite a good song to do. I've never done that onstage."
Did he learn anything from Black Sabbath's recent farewell tour? "No," he says. "Black Sabbath is a completely different thing. When I was in Black Sabbath, I was just a singer with a band called Black Sabbath. Now it's Ozzy Osbourne, and I have more control over what's going on than I did with Sabbath."
When the tour's done, he'll turn his attention back to possibly making a new album – he has "eight or nine good song ideas," he says – and will do gigs as they come.
"It's what I do," he says matter-of-factly. "It's my job. And when I say, 'It's my job,' I mean it's a passion for me. It's the greatest love affair I ever had, being in a rock band and playing for the people who come to the shows."
Ozzy Osbourne Tour Dates
4/27 - Jacksonville, FL @ Welcome to Rockville*
4/29 - Fort Lauderdale, FL @ FortRock *
8/30 - Allentown, PA @ PPL Center
9/1 - Syracuse, NY @ Lakeview Amphitheater
9/4 - Toronto, ON @ Budweiser Stage
9/6 - Boston, MA @ Xfinity Center
9/8 - Wantagh, NY @ Jones Beach Amphitheatre
9/10 - Holmdel, NJ @ PNC Bank Arts Center
9/12 - Camden, NJ @ BB&T Pavilion
9/14 - Bristow, VA @ Jiffy Lube Live
9/16 - Cuyahoga Falls OH @ Blossom Music Center
9/19 - Clarkston, MI @ DTE Energy Center
9/21 - Tinley Park, IL @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
9/23 - Noblesville, IN @ Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center
9/26 - Dallas, TX @ Starplex Pavilion
9/28 - Houston, TX @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
9/30 - Albuquerque, NM @ Isleta Amphitheater
10/2 - Denver, CO @ Pepsi Center
10/4 - Salt Lake City, UT @ USANA Amphitheatre
10/6 - Mountain View, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre
10/9 - Chula Vista, CA @ Mattress Firm Amphitheatre
10/11 - Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl
10/13 - Las Vegas, NV @ MGM Grand Garden Arena
* Festival dates