After spending much of the last half-century on the road with Black Sabbath and as a solo artist, Ozzy Osbourne will embark on a final trek around the globe beginning this spring. He's dubbed the jaunt the "No More Tours 2" tour – a silly callback to his 1992 retirement tour, which lasted all of three years – but this time he says it's not meant to be goodbye for good.
"I'm not retiring," the singer told Rolling Stone last week. "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." When he spoke to Rolling Stone, he had plenty more to say about the tour as well as his history on the road.
What should fans expect from your final tour?
[Deadpans] I hope a good show.
Do you still get a thrill out of performing live?
Oh, absolutely. Otherwise, I wouldn't do it. I'm a perfectionist in a lot of ways. If I drop a note, I'll get pissed off at myself. But I've got to try to get over that.
You were very anxious the night of your first solo show in 1980, but were happy with the response.
Every night before I go on tour, I get terrible stage fright until I cross that invisible line. Once I'm on, it's shit or bust.
This tour will be ending in 2020, which is the 40th anniversary of your first album. Would you consider doing Blizzard of Ozz in full at any of these gigs?
That was the thing for a while, to play the whole album, but I don't write albums that way, so no. When I make an album, I specifically record songs that I'll never do on the stage. Like on Blizzard of Ozz, there are songs that I wrote never to play live, because the production was too heavy. I always do a ballady song, I always like to do a rock song and I like to do what I call album tracks. And I'll do the ballady songs and the rock songs onstage, but the album tracks are just too over the top. But I suppose I could do one.
How are you preparing for this tour?
Well, I'm talking to you, ain't I? [Laughs]. I don't want people to get misled. It's not a retirement tour; it's 'No More Tours.' I just don't want to be on the road for the rest of my life. I'm married, and I hardly see my family. I go out one door, and my wife comes in the next. I just don't want to be that guy. When I'm on tour, I don't go out, because I'll get hassled. I'm not there to sightsee; I'm there to do work. And the best part of it is the gig, but then you've got to wait a few days to get that gig.
It seems you just want to slow down a little more and enjoy life.
That's exactly what it is. I'm blessed that I'm still doing it. I'm blessed that I still have a fanbase. And I'm blessed that I'm still passionate about what I do. Paul McCartney still tours. The Stones still tour. That's their choice. I don't want to be on the road all the time.
What are your plans for when the tour is done?
I'd like to make an album. I'll be doing gigs from time to time. I just know I won't be touring anymore.
You've said you've got eight or nine song ideas. What kind of shape are they in?
I've just got to sit down and work them out. There's never enough time in this house.
And there's no time to do it on the road either.
When I'm on the road, when I take a day off, I should try to rest my voice, so it's not a good idea to go and start singing and writing songs. But I've done that in the past.
Over the last 40 years I'm sure you've seen some remarkable things at your concerts. What is the most memorable?
There was one night when I saw that a bunch of people were not moving to the rock & roll – and if someone's not moving in the audience and not doing anything, I'll do the show just for that person and I'll start throwing buckets of water at these people. Then someone told me the reason they're not moving or getting into the concert is because they're all deaf. And I felt like quite an idiot at the time, lashing them with buckets of water and hosing them down [laughs]. They were just standing there. Why does a deaf person want to go to a rock concert? I couldn't understand that. But I was told they feel the rhythm. It was quite interesting.
I'm sure crazier things have happened.
At every concert, someone gets arrested, I suppose. But I just get up there to give them the best night out I possibly can if I can do it.