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Ozzy Osbourne: On the Road With the Prince of Darkness

The former Black Sabbath frontman helped define heavy-metal menace. Now, as he nears 70, he just wants to make his fans happy
Jake Chessum for Rolling Stone

O zzy Osbourne will never forget the terrible tremor that overtook his body in the early Nineties. “It was like having my skeleton ripped out of my body every day,” he says, looking surprisingly serene given the subject matter. “It hurt really deep inside. I thought it was due to my lifestyle: drinking, booze and doing all that other shit. I was literally buckled up, and Sharon would be crying in the other room.” They went to a doctor, who diagnosed him with “a little bit of MS.” “She said, ‘That’s it. He’s got MS. We’re done,'” the singer recalls, and they announced that his next tour, in support of 1991’s No More Tears, would be his last. They called the trek the No More Tours Tour.

But then Sharon had a realization. “She said, ‘A little bit of MS? That’s like saying I’m a little bit pregnant,'” he recalls, drawing his face into disbelief. “So I found another guy who told me I have a hereditary Parkinsonian [disease]. I didn’t have MS. I’m now on a real low dose of medication, and I’m fine now.” He holds his hands out in front of him. They’re not shaking. He announced his Retirement Sucks Tour in 1995, and he’s been on the road ever since.

For the past 50 years, Ozzy Osbourne has been heavy rock’s MVP. He gave metal a sense of menace during his first 10-year tour of duty with Black Sabbath, approximating the sound of a nervous breakdown on songs like “Paranoid” and “Iron Man.” Then as a solo artist, he redefined the genre in the Eighties, picking up the pace of his songs and injecting them with baroque noir. He introduced the world to a pantheon of guitar heroes, including Randy Rhoads, Jake E. Lee and his longtime foil, the blond-maned dynamo Zakk Wylde. He became a concert draw and provided crucial stages for everyone from Metallica to Korn in their infancies. In the mid-Nineties, he concocted Ozzfest, hard rock’s answer to Lollapalooza.

And he’s reaped the rewards. All but two of his studio albums — which contain anthems like “Crazy Train,” “Flying High Again” and “Shot in the Dark” — have been certified gold or platinum, and he’s won a Grammy for “I Don’t Want to Change the World.” When Rolling Stone picked the 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time in 2017, the list contained more recordings by Ozzy than any other artist. And don’t forget, he was able to translate his success into reality-TV megastardom on The Osbournes.

“I never thought I’d make it this far,” he says. “Fifty years is a lot. I don’t understand why I’m alive still after the hell-raising days. I guess whoever the man is upstairs, if there even is one, wants me to stick around.”

So far, his current tour has taken him to South America and Europe. When he meets with Rolling Stone, Ozzy is in suburban Allentown, Pennsylvania, where he’s kicking off the North American leg of the tour. A month and a half later, the whole tour would be in question as Ozzy underwent surgery for a freak infection on his hand. But today, it’s around 6 p.m., and he already looks stage-ready. He’s wearing a knee-length striped blazer over a black shirt embroidered with crosses. He has on thick black guyliner and his nails are painted black. But even if he’s ready to go, he’s relaxed. He leafs through magazines on a plush brown couch and says he generally prefers it to be quiet backstage these days. Still, he speaks forcefully and likes to hit words with a certain oomph for emphasis, and he shifts from serious to silly with ease.

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Photograph by Jake Chessum for Rolling Stone. Jake Chessum for Rolling Stone

He’s dubbed the trek the No More Tours 2 Tour, since he says it will be his final full world tour. He’s adamant that he’s not retiring — “In essence, what I’m trying to do is slow my lifestyle down to a more comfortable way of living,” he says — and he’s reserving the right to do short runs that focus on one particular continent in the future. He’s turning 70 in December and wants more time with his grandkids. But at the same time, after spending the past half-century on the road, he’s not ready to give it all up either. “I’m no good at anything else,” he says earnestly. “I literally can’t do anything else.”

“What are you supposed to do when you’re 70?” Wylde asks on a day off. The guitarist, 51, has a big, bright personality and a thick New Jersey accent. Conversations with him usually divert into the hysterically scatological, but he’s serious right now. “If you can still do it, like B.B. King, why retire? What are you gonna tell him, no? With sports, I get it, ’cause you have a shelf life. But music’s a different thing. And with blues artists, you actually get more credibility the older you are.”

So far today, Ozzy has fulfilled his commitments to VIP fans (“When I meet my fans, I tell them, ‘Don’t ask me for advice, for fuck’s sake. Give me advice,'” he says with a laugh) and he’s unwinding in his dressing room while openers Stone Sour warm up the crowd. Sharon comes in holding a tiny, eight-year-old Pomeranian, shaved to look like a snowball with a tongue, named Bella. They sit down for a snuggle on the couch, and just watching how Sharon and Ozzy tease each other shows the deep love they still have for each other. Even when Ozzy turns his attention to Bella. “She hates me,” he says of the dog. “Watch this.” He opens up his mouth as if he’s going to bite off its head. “No, no, no,” says Sharon, adding that Ozzy “used to act like a ventriloquist” with the canine. They laugh hard.

Three hours later, inside the PPL Center, it’s also one for the dogs. About 10,000 or so headbangers, who look to span three generations, howl along with Ozzy as he sings his 1983 hit “Bark at the Moon.” For a man staring down 70, Ozzy looks rejuvenated the second he hits the stage, scrambling from one end to the other — carefully dodging Wylde, inexplicably clad in a kilt — as he riles up the audience by pantomiming “I can’t hear you.”

During an instrumental break, he pulls out a fire hose and douses the front row with a white foamy substance (“There’s always some guy in the front row I want to zap,” he says). At another point, just before Wylde’s solo break, where he takes his instrument into the audience for a mind-bending display of six-string pyrotechnics, Ozzy pours buckets of water on the crowd. As he sings hits like “Crazy Train,” “I Don’t Know” and a rousing rendition of “Shot in the Dark” that gets the whole arena singing along, he seems like a young man, prowling the stage as he always has. He beams with excitement. By the end of the final song, Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” (natch), he waves goodbye and streamers pour out over the audience. It’s a victory, and a great start to the tour.

He knows it, too. “I’m very hard on myself these days,” he says later. When he kicked off the tour, he got a staph infection and had to take antibiotics. Then he got bronchitis twice, back to back. “My fucking lungs were full of crap, and it never really leaves you,” he says. “Sometimes my voice goes out, but you get on with it.” He’s in good health today, and it shows. “I want to go out there and give them the best show ever,” he says. “For a 70-year-old guy, I ain’t doing too bad.”

Ozzy had a markedly different set of priorities when he launched his solo career. After a decade in Black Sabbath, where his offstage to-do list consisted of getting laid, drinking and doing drugs, the band decided he’d become too much to handle — in spite of their own Herculean drug use — and kicked him out in 1979. It was the latest in a string of bad luck Ozzy was dealing with at the time. “My father had died, my ex-wife threw me out ’cause I was fucking insane and then my band fired me,” he says on a call from his hotel room, somewhere in the Midwest, a couple of weeks after the Allentown concert.

His manager’s daughter, known then as Sharon Arden, helped him manage his addictions and assemble a band of his own. He found a kindred spirit in a young guitarist named Randy Rhoads, who would help him develop his musical ideas in ways his Sabbath bandmates never did, and they recorded his solo debut, 1980’s Blizzard of Ozz. The music was harder hitting and more classically inspired than anything he’d done with Sabbath, and with flashy hits like “Crazy Train” and the gothic-sounding “Mr. Crowley,” it laid a blueprint for heavy metal that bands have been aping ever since.

Ozzy went back to basics on the road, wearing his trademark frilly shirts and complementing his new sound with a stripped-back stage production that showed off the band. It worked, and the record climbed the charts. Meanwhile, Black Sabbath carried on with former Rainbow frontman Ronnie James Dio as their lead vocalist, and Ozzy embraced the competitive spirit. “I started a war with them and they just got all fucking pissed off,” he recalls. “I admired Ronnie Dio at the end of the day. He had a great voice and was a good singer. They should have had a go at me, but they all just got pissed off. It was more like a divorce, really.” Within a few years, he was seriously outpacing his former bandmates in sales.

Ozzy’s band rushed back into the studio and recorded 1981’s Diary of a Madman, a darker and heavier album than its predecessor, and went out with a bigger, more theatrical stage production. Ozzy dressed in red chain mail and a codpiece, and drummer Tommy Aldridge sat atop a pyramid. At one show, they tried thrilling the audience by using a catapult to fling rotting meat at them. “We had this sling full of offal, meat and testicles, whatever; it was shaped like a big hand,” Ozzy remembers. “Sharon says, ‘We’ll push the thing on, flames will come out of the fingers, you press the lever and the offal will fly into the audience.’ But it had been there all day. I pushed it out and the hand got caught on the carpet and she says, ‘Push the fucking thing.’ I go, awww — ” and he makes a splat sound and gives a world-weary glare. “I sat there with eight tons of fucking testicles and guts on me.”

Around this time he also developed the reputation of being a wild card, after news got out that he’d bitten the head off a dove at a record-company meeting and then did the same with a bat while on tour. It was great for publicity. But all the momentum came to a halt on March 19th, 1982, when Rhoads died in a freak airplane accident. The guitarist had decided to take a joyride with some other members of the tour, but when the aircraft clipped the tour bus, its wing broke and it crashed into a nearby mansion. The tragedy was and still is devastating for Ozzy.

“I said to Sharon, ‘I can’t do this anymore,'” he says now, his voice growing deeper with the gravity of the subject. “And she went, ‘If you fucking quit now …’ If it wasn’t for Sharon, I’d still be in that fucking field, looking at the house as it was burning. It was a bad scene, man. She said, ‘We are not stopping now.'” She found him another guitarist, an Irishman named Bernie Tormé who’d been playing in Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan’s eponymous solo band. They were back on the road on April 1st.

“My most vivid memory, the one I still have nightmares about, is an emotional one,” Tormé says now of replacing Rhoads. “[There was] the huge sense of dark shell shock around the whole thing. As an outsider dropped in, I was very aware of that, but I wasn’t a part of it. It was just so sad, heartbreaking. It was not fun.”

It was at this point that Zakk Wylde first saw Ozzy live at Madison Square Garden. “I remember being 14 or 15 years old, and we had tickets to see Randy,” he remembers. “They opened with ‘Over the Mountain,’ which is the ultimate guitar one and from what me and [Black Label Society bassist] J.D. remember, it was Randy’s tones. It was phenomenal.”

Ozzy remembers that show, too. “[Bernie] did as good a job as anybody, but he was getting people shouting, ‘Bloody Randy’ at him,” he says. “It was a fucking hard gig for him.”

Tormé remembers the show differently. Right before “Over the Mountain” started, a fan threw a firework onstage just as Sharon was going to kiss Ozzy good luck before the show. She toppled over — “There was just a pool of blood left, and I seriously thought she was dead,” Tormé says now — and he was the only one who saw; Ozzy didn’t know. “I was more than a bit distracted for the first half of the show until one of the crew signaled to me that she was OK,” the guitarist says. “But it was a good gig. I played pretty OK. It was made very bittersweet by the fact that I knew Randy had really wanted to play MSG. He really should have been there. I wasn’t entitled to be.”

Ozzy recently had a chance reunion with Tormé on a Swedish stop of the No More Tours 2 Tour. “I haven’t seen him for a fucking thousand years,” Ozzy says. “Someone told me he was outside my dressing room. I went, ‘No.’ He said, ‘I’ll never forget the time I played with you, Ozzy. It was a lot of fun.’ I couldn’t remember what he looks like. It had been that long.” (“I appreciated seeing him,” Tormé says. “It was a nice closure for me on a terrible time.”)

Thinking back to Rhoads’ death, Ozzy says, “To this day, as I’m talking to you now, I’m back in that field looking at this fucking plane wreck and a house on fire,” he says. “You never get over something like that. You’re in shock.” He pauses. “It’s funny,” he says. “In this game, somebody gets killed or dies, and they become a fucking hero. I’d like to have a few more years on this planet.”

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Photograph by Jake Chessum for Rolling Stone. Jake Chessum for Rolling Stone.

Tormé left the group after a few months, but Ozzy kept his momentum. He married Sharon Arden, and his next album, 1983’s Bark at the Moon, which featured guitarist Jake E. Lee, charted in the Top 20. The Ultimate Sin, released in 1986, did even better, and after Lee’s departure, he recruited Wylde for a streak of platinum and multiplatinum albums, including No More Tears. Through it all, Ozzy struggled with addictions. Now that he’s clean and sober, he has perspective. “I should have been dead fucking 10 times,” he says dramatically. “I’m not saying that to be funny. I had a quad-bike accident [in 2003]. My heart stopped twice. I’ve overdosed on drugs a few times, which I ain’t fucking proud of.” Now things are different: “I don’t smoke tobacco. I don’t drink booze. I don’t do dope anymore.” His focus now is on the show.

“I’m a terrible insomniac,” Ozzy says backstage in Allentown. He widely opens his eyes for emphasis. “In the past month, I haven’t slept more than an hour and a half a night.”

His neurologist has told him he needs to exercise more in order to wind down, but it’s hard after show nights when the adrenaline is still pumping. He’ll do an hour or two on an elliptical on days off — “I just sweat it out,” he says — and, now that he no longer plies himself with illicit substances, he finds other ways to occupy his mind.

He pulls out a brown leather notebook. Some pages are filled with writing in block capital letters, others have doodles of identical devil heads and some have drawings with pastel colors on them. “If I’m alone in my head, it’s a bad area,” he says. “It’s always, ‘Dead. You’re gonna die. There’s gonna be a war. Donald Trump’s gonna send us all to hell.‘” He pauses. “He probably will.”

In addition to his notebook, his dressing room has a TV, assorted rock magazines and a portrait of his beloved Rocky, a brown, longhaired Pomeranian. “That’s my baby,” he says, grinning. “He’s like an angel. He calms me down.” So why isn’t he here on the road? “He hates flying,” Ozzy says. “He shits all over the place.”

Even though he’s critical of his performances, Ozzy has found a rhythm on the road. On show days, he gets to the venue in time for a private soundcheck for fans who have purchased VIP packages. After a Black Sabbath song with Wylde on vocals (in addition to the out-and-out heavy-metal crew Black Label Society, the guitarist fronts the tribute group Zakk Sabbath in his spare time), Ozzy comes out and does one of his. In Allentown, nearly 100 fans watch him run through “Bark at the Moon”; one woman in the front row whips a long ponytail along to the rhythm.

Although five other guitarists have come and gone in various capacities since Wylde first went his own way after the first No More Tours Tour, he’s rejoined the lineup several times. “When I first met Ozzy, he was like, ‘Zakk, just play with your heart,'” the guitarist remembers. “‘Then make my ham sandwich and go light on the mustard.’ So I’ve been going light on the mustard for 30 years now. It’s all good.” He laughs boyishly.

“He’s like a member of the family,” Ozzy says of the guitarist. “When I had my quad-bike accident, the first person I saw when I came ’round was Zakk sitting outside my hospital room. He’s so loyal. It’s beyond friends with him.”

The rest of the lineup features bassist Rob “Blasko” Nicholson, who’s been with the band since 2006, keyboardist-guitarist Adam Wakeman (son of Yes keyboardist and Black Sabbath associate Rick Wakeman) and drummer Tommy Clufetos. Wakeman and Clufetos were also part of the live lineup for Black Sabbath’s farewell trek. “Tommy is fucking great,” Ozzy says. “He never plays the same solo twice. When you’ve got a good band behind you, as a frontman, you don’t have to turn and give them signals. It’s one machine, and it’s getting better every gig.”

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Photograph by Jake Chessum for Rolling Stone. Jake Chessum for Rolling Stone

After the soundcheck, Ozzy poses for photos with about 50 people who purchased meet-and-greet passes (“Don’t crack his ribs,” a burly security guard warns them before Ozzy arrives). At a recent show, one fan used his photo op to propose to his girlfriend. “He goes down on one knee and goes, ‘Darling, would you marry me?’ and she started crying,” Ozzy says. “I’m like the third man, just standing there like a jerk. But it was lovely.” (“Ozzy’s staff was amazing,” says now-fiancé Jason deYoung. “They even surprised us by making the video that went viral on Facebook.”) After the photos, he meets with a smaller group in his dressing room, who ask him any question they want. These inquiries have run the gamut from ones about Rocky to “my fucking favorite flavor of ice cream.” (For the record, it’s Häagen-Dazs’ coffee and vanilla.)

Before he goes on, he warms up his voice using some exercises a vocal coach taught him, and prays. “I say a few words to my higher power, which if you want to call him God, I don’t care,” he says. “I have to hand it over to someone else, because it’s too much a problem for me to walk around with. If something goes wrong, it was His decision, not mine. Otherwise, I’ll take it to bed with me.”

Wylde says they have another tradition, too. “We get in a huddle, and I go, ‘All right, let’s rock this show and let’s do the best rock we can,’ and Ozzy goes to me, ‘Oh, fuck off,'” he says with a laugh. “I’m like, ‘What, Oz?’ ‘Shut the fuck up.’ And then we go do the show.”

Ozzy doesn’t remember how some of his stage antics  — such as hosing down the audience, which he’s done for decades — came about. Others he credits to Sharon. The giant light-up cross in the middle of the stage was her idea. “My wife loves crucifixes,” Ozzy says. “Being that she’s half-Jewish, I don’t know how that works, but she loves them and I don’t know why. It’s part of the Sabbath legacy, I suppose.” Another idea of hers was the “laser cage,” an array of lights that surround him during the moody middle section of “No More Tears.” “She’s got a really theatrical mind, my wife,” he says. “Apparently, it looks good. When that thing comes down, everyone goes nuts. Sometimes I wish I could be in the audience to watch me.”

Recently, the lasers got the better of him. During “Mama, I’m Coming Home,” the stage sends an array of beams over the audience, projecting colored speckles on a wall behind it. Ozzy became transfixed by them midsong at the Holmdel, New Jersey, show. “I go, ‘We’re not in Kansas anymore, Oz,'” Wylde says. “I left a breadcrumb trail to take us back to the verse.”

When it was done, Ozzy was not pleased. “I wanna do that song again, because I completely fucked it up,” he told the audience. “Is that OK with you?”

“That was the first time in 30 years we’ve ever done songs back-to-back like that,” Wylde says.

“I fucking zoned out,” Ozzy says a few days later, sounding annoyed. “I was all in them red and green and blue sparkles. Zakk comes over and goes, ‘Mama, I’m coming home,’ and I’m going, ‘What the fuck am I thinking?'” Ozzy lets out a big laugh. “I was hypnotized.”

When a show goes well, Ozzy feels electric, and the insomnia kicks in again. “I don’t sleep for fucking hours,” he says. “I’ve got so much adrenaline whizzing around.” It’s the day after the tour’s stop in Indianapolis, and he’s feeling especially good about the concert. “It was 22,000 people going nuts,” he says. “After last night’s show, I’ve slept an hour and 35 minutes. That’s why I work out. It gets rid of the buzz. I have to exhaust myself.” He intends to spend the rest of today drawing or watching documentaries on TV. “I’m fucking not interested in TV soaps and all that bullshit,” he says. “That show would be my life.” (And, for the record, he’s still on TV with his road-trip series Ozzy & Jack’s World Detour, the brainchild of his son.)

At the New York City–area concerts, the fans were abuzz before and after the shows. At Jones Beach, a chorus of men sang “No more beers” in the men’s room, and in the ticket line in Holmdel, two men were optimistic about the show. “The gods of rock are smiling down,” one said. “It’s not raining. They just said, ‘Ozzy is 70, let’s give him a good one.'”

A huddle of men outside one of the bars are swapping stories, and one named Steve is wearing a meet-and-greet laminate. “This is, like, a hundred-dollar beer right here,” he tells Rolling Stone. “My wife got into a conversation with him for about 30 seconds and they had to kick her along. It was a good experience. It was worth the money.” Nobody seems to believe that Ozzy is retiring, but at the same time, they say they wanted to take advantage of seeing him live in case it’s their last chance; Steve’s friend Anthony regrets missing Black Sabbath’s farewell tour because he had to work. Later, groups of fans will be chanting “Ozzy” as they walk back to their cars under a highway underpass, as other fans in cars scream “Ozzy” back at them.

Ozzy himself has made a point on this tour to thank his fans for sticking by him. “How can I retire from you fuckers?” he asks the Holmdel crowd.

Although he seemed to enjoy Black Sabbath’s farewell tour when it was happening, Ozzy says now it wasn’t the case. “With Sabbath, all I am is a singer with a band,” he says on his day off. “This is a different thing. I’ve got a lot of freedom and I have fun with it.

“It’s not allowed to have fucking fun with Sabbath,” he continues. “It’s too serious. Tony [Iommi] was trying to have a go at me, saying, ‘Don’t fucking talk over my solos.’ I go, ‘OK, are you sure? ‘Cause most of the fucking song is solos. The intro to the song is fuckin’ five minutes and then I sing for about two seconds and then it’s another one.’ With my own thing, I’m looking to have fun, and that’s what music’s about for me. I’m not a serious fucking singer. I’m just a frontman who’s trying to get the crowd going in front.”

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Photograph by Jake Chessum for Rolling Stone. Jake Chessum for Rolling Stone

Another thing that’s been getting the fans excited on this tour has been an especially bombastic, elongated guitar break for Wylde. In Allentown, the guitarist left the stage for the audience and played a solo halfway into the nosebleeds on either side of the arena, along with a stop in the middle, when he plays the main riffs and solos to a few Ozzy classics not in the main set: “Miracle Man,” “Crazy Babies,” “Desire” and “Perry Mason.” He does the same at the outdoor venues in New York and New Jersey. “He plays with his teeth, he plays behind his head, he’s got the neck up his ass,” Ozzy says after the Indianapolis gig, excitement in his voice. “He’s really come up over the years.”

“I just go out and take drink orders,” Wylde jokes. “Everybody tips really well, so it’s really cool.” More seriously, he says he started playing a riff medley because it’s more interesting than “blasting through scales.” And he enjoys seeing the looks on people’s faces up close. “Just before we got into ‘Desire,’ in Camden [New Jersey] the other night, two little berserkers, probably eight years old, were just hanging there watching,” he says. “They were all high-fiving me, so I stopped right there and started playing with them. I try to high-five or fist-bump as many people as I can when I’m going by. I try to make eye contact. It’s always cool.”

“This band is really good,” Ozzy says of his whole touring ensemble. “I’d like to do another album with Zakk if I could.” Ozzy currently has a handful of song ideas that he’s just sitting on for the right time. “There’s one called ‘Mr. Armageddon,’ which is gonna be a good song,” he says. And what will it be about? “What do you think? It’s not about Christmas. It’s a nice, sweet little song about a man called ‘Mr. Armageddon.'” Ozzy laughs.

Ozzy was in a good mood when he was in the Midwest, but that changed drastically a couple of weeks later. After an early October gig in Salt Lake City, he noticed something was wrong with his right hand. Ozzy regularly wears a thumb ring when he’s not onstage, and when he tried putting it on, it didn’t fit. He shrugged it off, went to bed and the next day the digit was “the size of a fuckin’ lightbulb,” he says on a call from his Los Angeles home in mid-October.

He showed it to Sharon and she said, “Get a coat. We’re going to the emergency room.” “I went, ‘What’s all the fuss about?'” Ozzy says. “I wasn’t feeling sick. But when we got there, my blood pressure went through the fucking roof for some reason.” After running some tests, the doctor told him he’d contracted a staph infection, likely through a torn hangnail on his thumb. “The doctor said to me, ‘Can you remember talking to someone and shaking hands?'” he recalls. “‘Well, I do that meet and greet at the gig and I must shake fucking 200 hands a day.’ He said, ‘That explains it.'”

At first, Ozzy wondered what the big deal was. “I wasn’t scared,” he says. “I was cracking jokes. And the doctor said, ‘I don’t know if you realize, Mr. Osbourne, this is a very serious problem you have.'” He ended up getting surgery on his thumb and middle finger to treat three separate staph infections, which could have turned deadly if they were left untreated. “I didn’t realize the severity of it,” he says. (He likens the operation to when he had to get rabies shots after he bit the head off a bat. “I said to Sharon then, ‘If you see me sniffin’ the dog’s butt, divorce me.'”)

The surgery, he says, was agony. He was laid out in the hospital — knocked out on antibiotics — for close to a week before he could go home. He ultimately had to postpone the final four gigs of the tour, one in Las Vegas and three in California, until next summer. “I haven’t been able to do anything,” he says. “I’m right-handed. You can’t wipe your own ass. I didn’t have many fucking volunteers who would do it for me.”

When he recounts the story, he says he’s feeling 85 to 90 percent better. Once he was on the up and up, he decided he should be getting back onstage, so he booked an Ozzfest for New Year’s Eve. The gig, which will take place in L.A., will also feature performances by Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson and Korn’s Jonathan Davis. After that, he’ll be bringing No More Tours 2 to England and Europe; the trek is scheduled to run through 2020.

For now, Ozzy is just excited to have gotten through his health scare. “It could have been a lot worse,” he says, his voice drawing deeper with importance. “I could have been dead.”

Throughout the tour, one of the most significant songs each night has addressed his mortality. It’s one he’s been performing ever since the first No More Tours Tour: “Road to Nowhere,” in which Ozzy sings, “Through all the happiness and sorrow, I guess I’d do it all again.” It’s a lyric that means something different to him now that he’s on his second final world tour.

“People have often said to me, ‘If you could go back and change anything, would you do it any different?'” he says. “I go, ‘No, I wouldn’t change a thing. If I changed anything, I wouldn’t be where I am now.’ ‘Road to Nowhere’ is about how none of us know where we’re gonna go.

“I had no idea when we did our first Black Sabbath album, 50 years up the road, I’d be doing all these shows in front of 20,000 people like we had last night,” he continues. “I thought, ‘This will be good for a couple of albums and I’ll get a few chicks along the way.’ I left Sabbath and I did a great thing on my own. I met Randy Rhoads. He was a phenomenal guy. My life has just been unbelievable. You couldn’t write my story; you couldn’t invent me.”