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OZZY OSBOURNE'S WORDS OF WISDOM.

Byline: Rocker takes 'a giant leap from the bat-biting maniac'

By Fred Shuster Daily News Music Writer

While Mariah Carey encourages us to "Daydream," Ozzy Osbourne wants you to "Bark at the Moon."

Judging by ticket sales to tonight's Osbourne outing at the Forum, plenty of people are willing to take him up on the suggestion.

Osbourne, of course, has been called barking mad before. As a founding member of notorious metal merchants Black Sabbath, Osbourne began churning out slightly silly hard rock for the T-shirted, beer-swilling masses more than 25 years ago.

And, yes, he really did bite the head off what he thought was a toy bat on stage in 1982 in Des Moines. Unfortunately, the very live bat bit back, and Osbourne underwent a painful series of precautionary rabies injections.

With all the vindictive bats, plane crashes, alcohol problems, lawsuits and hassles from the religious right any self-respecting sinner could stand, it was no wonder Osbourne hung up his shroud and announced his retirement three years ago. It didn't last long.

"I wanted to quit because I had lost focus of what I was doing it for," Osbourne, 47, said from a tour stop in Cleveland. "I felt like a mouse on a wheel forever going 'round. Where was I going? Making music is an art form, believe it or not. You don't clock in and out like a 9-to-5 job. I was going through a transitional period and vowed never again to do music with dark overtones like 'Speak of the Devil' and 'Diary of a Madman.' All that stuff got old for me."

True to his word, Osbourne's latest album, "Ozzmosis" (Epic), isn't going to put Hootie & the Blowfish out of business anytime soon, but it is devoid of the sort of devilish nonsense that got him into hot water in the '80s. It still rocks.

So, just who's listening?

"Now that he's touring again, I'm finally getting my chance to see him," said Sherman Oaks fan Jay Fremed, 24, who works in retail sales. "I've never seen Ozzy live. I wanted to go a couple of years ago, but I chickened out because it was a venue I didn't know and I don't blend real easily into the heavy-metal crowd."

The earliest indications the old, crazed Ozz might be headed for the pasture were found on the surprisingly melodic 1991 disc, "No More Tears," which reached No. 7 on the charts.

"I'm really proud of that album," Osbourne said. "It was a giant leap from the bat-biting satanic maniac of the past. I felt like I was actually singing for the first time."

Well, speak of the devil! Ozzy reborn as Phil Collins.

"I'm not putting my old music down, because I owe everything I have in the world to it," Osbourne continued. "I'm not saying, 'Poor me, I have to sleep in a luxury hotel suite.' But I had to stop and reflect. I've been around the world more times than an astronaut, and I've never seen anything of it. People have this misconception that it's a great life. But spend two days on a tour bus."

No thanks. Not even old Geezer Butler, Osbourne's bass-playing pal who helped start Black Sabbath in 1970, could take the lifestyle any longer. Butler quit the Osbourne tour last month to return home to his wife and kids after 13 months on the bus.

"It compelled me to be away from my kids for far too long," Butler explained. "It was great fun to be out with Ozzy again. I look forward to us working together again and wish him much success with the remainder of the tour."

Osbourne can grasp Butler's reasoning.

"When I quit drinking, the bus journeys became even more boring," he said simply.

So what exactly is life like for Osbourne when he's off the grind?

"I don't watch MTV, I don't buy newspapers," he said. "I'm not one of those rockers who buys the music papers every Thursday. When I'm not doing it, I stay as far away from it as possible."

Good advice. But what does he think of the Pearl Jams and Smashing Pumpkins of the world?

"These new bands always sound like they're complaining about everything," Osbourne said. "I joined a band to achieve something, to go home with a record and show my mum and dad. And it was an extra bonus if it sold a million. With success comes certain luxuries. Instead of one pair of boots with a hole at the bottom, I've now got 50 pairs of boots with holes at the bottom.

"What's so uncool about being successful? Why are you involved in something that will put you in the public eye if you want to be a hermit? I mean, go buy a cave or something."

THE FACTS

Who: Ozzy Osbourne, with Korn and Deftones.

Where: The Forum, 3900 W. Manchester Blvd., Inglewood.

When: 7 tonight.

Tickets: $25.

Information: (213) 480-3232.

CAPTION(S):

PHOTO

Photo "I'm not putting my old music down, because I owe everything I have in the world to it," says veteran rocker Ozzy Osbourne.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:L.A. LIFE
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Feb 29, 1996
Words:856
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