Ozzy Osbourne Says Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi Still ‘Intimidates’ Him
Ozzy Osbourne went deep regarding Black Sabbath's early career on a recent episode of music producer Rick Rubin's "Broken Record" podcast. During the chat, the "Prince of Darkness" discussed Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi's enduring talent and said the musician's presence still "intimidates" him.
Ozzy's wife, Sharon Osbourne, appeared alongside the singer as he and past Sabbath producer Rubin recalled those early days. Elsewhere in the interview, the pair of rock icons listened to some of Ozzy's latest material, including the song "Straight to Hell" from the upcoming Ordinary Man solo album. Listen to the podcast here.
Most of the chat centered on talk of Sabbath's emergence in the late '60s and early '70s, however. And Ozzy had no qualms when giving praise to his bandmates in the pioneering metal act. To wit, he specifically cited the contributions of bassist Geezer Butler and early drummer Bill Ward while commending Iommi.
"Geezer's a great, great lyricist. [As a bass player], no one can touch him," Ozzy laid out. "Bill, in his day, was a great drummer. Tony, he's always gonna be the greatest — no one's touching him."
He continued of Iommi, "He was the band, really. We were all part of the band, but he was the most irreplaceable one."
Going back to group's genesis, Ozzy looked back on a time when an early iteration of Jethro Tull nearly grabbed Iommi from Sabbath's grasp.
"We played with Jethro Tull, and Tony got offered the gig," Ozzy remembered. "And then I remember thinking, 'Oh no, he's gone now.' Because Tony was something else — I mean, he still is. There's nobody on the face of the earth that can come up with them riffs like him. He's great."
But it wasn't just 50 years ago that Iommi could make Ozzy stand at attention. In fact, the singer told Rubin — the producer behind Sabbath's 2013 final album, 13 — that the guitarist could still intimidate him today.
"People will [ask] me, 'Why did you always sing on the side of the stage?'" Ozzy explained. "I don't fucking know. I don't know. It's just fear, I suppose. Because Tony, he's one of the few people who could walk into this room right now and I would fucking feel, like, intimidated. He intimidates the fuck out of me — and he knows it."
Summing up his early days in Sabbath, Ozzy marveled at the band's success.
"I've been out of Sabbath now 40 years," he said, "but the time I was with them seemed longer than I've been out of it. I don't know why that is."
Photos: Ozzy Osbourne Through the Years