Earlier this year, Black Sabbath released 13, their first album in 35 years to include Ozzy Osbourne. Since springtime, they've been touring a mix of new hits and old classics, all of which will be included on a new concert DVD, Live…Gathered in Their Masses out Tuesday. Here, Sabbath's infamous front man shares some of the secrets to his success, including a surprising revelation: being sober on the road isn't so bad.
You can bring the band to water…
Writing music with other people is about having the right chemistry, and if it isn't working, you can't fake it. We [Black Sabbath] tried to get together and write something about 10 years ago and for whatever reason, it wasn't the right time. When it does happen, it's wonderful. One of the things that's nice about being older is that we've got that experience and we can sort of tell what's good. When we were writing music [back in the seventies] stuff would come out, and you'd think – is this real
A happy marriage is about hanging on
If a hundred people jump out of the ship into the ocean, some of them are going to make it to the shore and others won't. Sharon and I have been together for 30 years. I'd love to meet the person who wrote "And they all lived happily ever after" because he's a liar. I believe you don't get off after the first wave. You have to hang in. Some days my wife and I look at each other and we think, 'Oh why did I even bother?' but then we have a great day and we have a great life together. We now have a granddaughter. She's the light of my life and I adore her.
No drugs and rock 'n' roll
When Black Sabbath started, we were a rock band meddling with drugs. By the end of it we were a drug band meddling with rock. It took a long time, but when you get old enough you realize you're better off without alcohol and all of that crap. I'm not saying I haven't had trouble as an adult, but this time touring we are all sober, so we are able to focus on enjoying the music, enjoying the audiences. I don't need any lessons in how to be on stage – it still comes naturally.
The reality of reality
There are so many rumours flying around about me and my family and my wife. I hear and read all the time that I said things that I never said. The paparazzi have taken over the world. Since the computer age it's gotten so much worse. [The Osbournes TV show] went totally out of control. Some good things came out of it – Sharon got a career, Kelly got a career, Jack got a career, but would I do it again? I don't know. We had our five minutes of megastardom. When I look back on it, I'm just glad we all survived. Toward the end the kids were all doing drugs and using alcohol and I was getting pretty messed up myself. You can't imagine what it's like to have a camera in your face for three years. I don't care who you are – it gets to you. You go crazy.
This interview was condensed and edited.