Ozzy Spins His Case For Vinyl On Record Store Day
Record Store Day, I love it. And my fav headbanger of all time, Ozzy is the Ambassador. I think he should give a speech don’t you? Of course after you edit out all the Fbombs, about all you’d have left is “Thank You”. Congrats to Ozzy, congrats to Record Store Day, I’m off to listen to Crazy Train.
Since 1970, Ozzy Osbourne has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, roughly half with heavy metal’s pioneering Black Sabbath and the rest as a solo artist. Loads of those early headbanger discs were vinyl, a format Osbourne still favors.
Ozzy Osbourne is the ambassador for Saturday’s Record Store Day, even if he’s unsure of the title’s obligations.
“I’m very honored,” he says. “I just wish I could find a record store.”
They’ve grown scarce in the digital age, but plenty of devotees of vinyl and music’s other physical forms are expected to flood the nation’s remaining 700-plus record shops Saturday for the fourth annual Record Store Day and its trove of exclusive releases and free performances.
The Osbourne inventory will include a vinyl single of Flying High Again, with B-side I Don’t Know, and full vinyl editions of 1980’s Blizzard of Ozz and 1981’s Diary of a Madman.
“If you don’t listen to vinyl for a while and you hear it again, it sounds much better,” says Osbourne, 62.
“It’s exciting that young bands are making records on vinyl,” he says. “The big corporations make everything so miniaturized. And when you buy the iPod or the iPad or the i-whatever, six months later it’s obsolete and you have to buy a new gadget.”
Osbourne’s concern about vinyl’s comeback: “Can you still buy a record player?” he wonders.
The godfather of metal misses rummaging for albums in racks and booking gratis engagements in jammed stores.
“The only chance I get to see my fans at close proximity is at meet-and-greets backstage at my gigs,” he says. “I used to do in-stores and sign albums and have a chat with them.”
After being weaned on his older sister’s Chuck Berry records, Osbourne bought his first 45 in 1963. It was The Beatles’ She Loves You. Next was The Kinks’ You Really Got Me. The first album he bought: With The Beatles.
“In the early ’60s, England was still recovering from the war and The Beatles brought this magic,” he says. “I still listen to them. I always go back to Pink Floyd. I do try to listen to newer stuff, but it’s not really new. The original stuff was written by cotton pickers in the ’30s. If it tickles my spine, I listen. When I’m writing, if the hair on my arm stands up, I think, oh, it’s good. I don’t work it out mathematically.”
Osbourne has been bouncing between tour dates and the studio, where he’s working on a new album. He’s also the focus of God Bless Ozzy Osbourne, a documentary produced by his son, Jack. It premieres at this month’s Tribeca Film Festival.
“I’ve had a wonderful time in my life, but I’ve made a bunch of mistakes,” Osbourne says. “I told Jack not to make me look like the saint of rock ‘n’ roll.”
He certainly wasn’t canonized by former Sex Pistol John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten, who recently attacked Osbourne as a “senile delinquent,” telling a British newspaper that the metal god’s public persona promotes “drug abuse and catatonic stupidity.”
Osbourne is mystified.
“I’ve never met him,” Osbourne says. “He seems to have an issue with anger, and he needs to check his facts. Before I give advice, I make sure my house is in order. I’m not defending myself because I don’t know what he’s talking about.”
Spoken like an ambassador.