Ozzy Osbourne Talks New ‘See You on the Other Side’ Box Set – Rolling Stone
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Fetus Jars and Werewolves: Ozzy Osbourne Looks Back Ahead of Box Set Release

The vinyl-only collection See You on the Other Side puts some of the former Black Sabbath frontman’s deleted solo catalogue back in print

British singer-songwriter Ozzy Osbourne during a photoshoot for the 'Blizzard of Ozz' album cover, June 1980. (Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns/Getty Images)

Ozzy Osbourne discusses his new 'See You on the Other Side' box set and his early album covers.

Fin Costello/Redferns/Getty Images

When Ozzy Osbourne launched his solo career with his 1980 debut album Blizzard of Ozz, he didn’t have the same support he had as a member of Black Sabbath. “That was in a warehouse in London,” Osbourne says of the album sleeve featuring him in a cape holding a cross with skull on the ground and a black cat behind him. “Because of funds, we had to do it ourselves. I think the cat was just there.” Then, with a laugh, he references one of the record’s more gothic songs, “Maybe the cat was a message from Aleister Crowley.”

With the release of a new vinyl box set, See You on the Other Side, the singer, who is recovering from a nasty fall earlier this year, has been reflecting on each chapter of his career lately. The collection, named after a psychedelic single off his Ozzmosis album, contains each of his studio albums on multi-color splattered, 180-gram vinyl, as well as otherwise out-of-print rarities like his Mr. Crowley and Just Say Ozzy EPs. It also features a collection of rarities, Flippin’ the B Side, a seven-inch flexi disc containing the previously unreleased “See You on the Other Side” demo, 10 posters, 12 augmented-reality experiences that allow fans to interact with the singer, and an autographed certificate. The collection is due out November 29th and is available for pre-order now.

“It’s like a trip down memory lane in a lot of respects,” Osbourne says. “Especially the album sleeves. That’s the thing I miss now with albums; you used to have a double sleeve with something you could read.”

Osbourne still gets a kick out of seeing his Diary of a Madman sleeve because it features his eldest son, Louis, giggling in the background. “Oh yeah, he’s having fun,” Osbourne says. “He’s now forty-fucking-three or something. That’s how long I’ve been doing this.”

“We found a fetus — a fucking baby — in a pickle jar there.”

And he still itches when he looks at the cover of 1983’s Bark at the Moon. His wife and manager, Sharon, came up with the werewolf concept and hired Oscar-winning makeup artist Greg Cannom, who worked on The Howling and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” clip, to turn Ozzy into a hairy, lycanthropic dog-man. “It took eight hours to put that fucking thing on,” Ozzy recalls. “It was all real hair.”

He had to keep it on for the “Bark at the Moon” video shoot, which was filmed “in this disused Victorian mental hospital somewhere in fucking England.” Ozzy loved how macabre the setting was and remembers finding patients’ files strewn about the floor. “It was fuckin’ weird,” he says. “It was like one of them old movies. We found a fetus — a fucking baby — in a pickle jar there. And it was all fucked up and dark gray. It was fucking vile.” He pauses. “And no, I didn’t drink it. The very thought of it makes me feel sick.”

But mostly, he remembers the shoot as being “fucking freezing, ’cause I had all this human hair stuck to my body and the fingernail extensions and the fucking werewolf thing.” It was a vivid scene and he still laughs about watching people freak out when they saw him acting casually around the set. “I went to the canteen after we did the makeup test, and these kids were in there and they were freaking out when they saw me,” he says. “I’d fucking drop dead if I were to see me. It was so real. The contact lenses they had in make you look demonic.”

UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 01: Photo of Ozzy OSBOURNE; posed, studio, dressed as werewolf during 'Bark At The Moon' album cover shoot (Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns)

Ozzy Osbourne dressed as a werewolf during ‘Bark At The Moon’ album cover shoot. Photo credit: Fin Costello/Redferns/Getty Images

Asked why his look at the time and songs like “Mr. Crowley” and “Diary of a Madman” were so dark and gothic, Osbourne at first says he doesn’t know. Randy Rhoads, the first guitarist he wrote songs with as a solo artist, had a bright personality and dedicated himself to music. “He wouldn’t lie there getting fucked up like the rest of us,” Osbourne says. Looking back on it now, he says, “Mr. Crowley” was really just him asking, “Mr. Crowley, who the fuck were you?” “I knew the name more than I knew what the guy was about,” he says. “I think it was Jimmy Page who had this fucking thing about Aleister Crowley; he bought his house and this and that. So it was questioning. I just knew [Crowley] was some macabre guy in the Twenties or Thirties.”

As for the pervading darkness, he says it wasn’t a conscious decision. “Coming from a band called Black Sabbath, it would have been fucking weird if I was going around like, ‘We’re all going on a summer holiday,'” he says. “It was Sabbath, but more accessible. It was just a natural thing.”

“What the fuck does that mean? ‘Ang on, ‘What does ‘augmented reality’ mean, Sharon?”

Osbourne’s torn between his first two solo albums as his favorite, but asked his least favorite, the reply is swift: 1986’s The Ultimate Sin. Although it’s currently out of print physically (but available on streaming services), the LP contains one of his biggest hits, “Shot in the Dark,” and has been certified double platinum. “[Producer] Ron Nevison didn’t really do a great production job,” he says. “The songs weren’t bad; they were just put down weird. Everything felt and sounded the fucking same. There was no imagination. If there was ever an album I’d like to remix and do better, it would be The Ultimate Sin.”

His mood shifts when thinking about the collection’s rarities, which include a few tracks from the Randy Rhoads era such as “You Looking at Me, Looking at You” and “You Said It All.” The latter was a one-off live cut recorded with the Rolling Stones’ mobile recording studio, and the former was one of the first songs he wrote as a solo artist with Rhoads, who died in a plane accident in 1982. “I can’t remember why that wasn’t on Blizzard of Ozz,” he says. “It’s been a million years since I last heard either of them. People keep asking me, have I got things that never got released with Randy. Unfortunately, he was with me such a short amount of time.”

The only thing he’s iffy about on the package is the box set’s “augmented-reality” component, which ostensibly, would allow someone to use their phone to see or experience something that wouldn’t otherwise be there. “What the fuck does that mean?” he asks when he hears the phrase “augmented reality.” Then he puts the phone down. “‘Ang on, ‘What does ‘augmented reality’ mean, Sharon?” He comes back and says, “I just asked my wife and she went, ‘What?’ If I find out, I’ll let you know.”

See You on the Other Side Contents

Blizzard of Ozz (1980)
Mr. Crowley (1980)
Diary of a Madman (1981)
Bark at the Moon (1983)
The Ultimate Sin (1986)
Tribute (1987)
No Rest for the Wicked (1988)
Just Say Ozzy (1990)
No More Tears (1991)
Live & Loud (1993)
Ozzmosis (1995)
Down to Earth (2001)
Live at Budokan (2002)
Black Rain (2007)
Scream (2010)

Flippin’ the B Side Track List

Side A

“You Looking at Me, Looking at You”
“One Up the B Side”
“Spiders”
“Hero”
“The Liar”
“Don’t Blame Me”

Side B

“Party With the Animals”
“Living With the Enemy”
“Voodoo Dancer”
“Back on Earth”
“No Place for Angels”
“Walk on Water”

Flexi Disc

“See You on the Other Side” (unreleased demo)

Newswire

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