Ozzy Osbourne Opens Up on Why He ’Didn’t Enjoy’ Black Sabbath Reunion, Explains How Tony Iommi Used to ’Intimidate’ Him

It all goes back to Black Sabbath and their blues-inspired early material. The original lineup that changed the landscape of modern music got back together for one-off reunions and tours after their initial breakup in the late 1970s. The final tour, which wrapped up in 2017, didn’t include Bill Ward, but Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, and Geezer Butler bowed out together as Black Sabbath’s final iteration.

BLACK SABBATH - "Paranoid" from The End (Live Video)

Of course, working in Sabbath and on his solo work have always been two completely different beasts to Ozzy Osbourne. And, needless to say, he preferred the latter and having the final say on everything. Osbourne reflected on his work with Iommi and Sabbath during a recent chat with Zane Lowe. He recalled (transcript via Ultimate Guitar):

“Well, there was a period of time where we were arch-enemies. But then, since I’ve been laid up with this surgery I’ve had, he’s been so supportive to me; he texts me all the time, we text each other. And we just ended the Commonwealth Games together. It’s really nice to be friendly with someone – he used to intimidate the shit out of me.”


Further on, Ozzy was asked to explain whether this was what caused the band to fold back in the day, to which he replied:

“I just felt like they were the musicians, and I was the singer, and I didn’t have that much to say what went down, you know? The only thing I did was try to put a melody on there. I couldn’t do it, because it was just too out of my range, you know?”

Recalling the breakup, he said:

“It was tough for a while, but in the end of the day, we’d been ripped off by the management, and then we tried to manage ourselves, and we couldn’t manage ourselves… It just folded in at the end.”

Symptom of the Universe, Live 1978 remaster.

As far as the final reunion tour goes, Ozzy said:

“The tours were like stepping back for me. It was the same old thing… Tony would say, ‘It’s not an Ozzy show, it’s not your band.’ And [there was] a lot of unsettlement. I didn’t enjoy [it], you know.”

Going back to the initial breakup, he said:

“When I left Sabbath, I did okay, I did good… The difference was, I was a singer with Black Sabbath; it was my own band now. If somebody got up my nose, I’d just get rid of them…

“If I don’t like a certain sound, I’ll say I don’t like a certain sound. But you couldn’t say that to fucking them. Oh yeah? Well, fuck off!”

When asked whether anything changed on the final run, he said:

“No, no. That’s what I meant when I said it was like reverting back… It was like, you have a relationship, and you go back to it, and it’s like starting the same again.”

Photo: Alberto Cabello (Ozzy Osbourne Azkena Rock festival 2011), Guy Evans (Tony Iommi HomeofMetal Fox 0659)


  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.