Sunday, Jan. 21, 2001
Ozzy Osbourne has been performing heavy metal in front of live audiences for over thirty years. Ozzy was at Sundance to promote the latest documentary by Penelope Spheeris, a two year ride chronicling the 30-city spectacle that is OZZfest, which is billed as “an insiders look at the contemporary American rock culture peppered with zealous religious protestors, freak shows, and outrageous fans.” It was the goal of Spheeris and producer Sharon Osbourne (Ozzy’s wife and manager) to “capture the spirit of a generation.” The film was shot on High Definition and Digital Video before being transferred up to 35mm, and features performances by Rob Zombie, Slipknot, Godsmack, Primus, Slayer, and many other opening acts.
Sundance 2001 Coverage
Sundance Glance: festival overview
9 Capsules: Sundance 2001 capsule reviews
Kim Ki-Duk and Jung Suh: an interview with the director and leading lady of the Korean film The Isle
Christopher Nolan: an interview with the promising director of Memento
Ozzy Osbourne: an interview with the lead singer for Black Sabbath
Penelope Spheeris: an interview with the versatile director of We Sold Our Souls for Rock 'n Roll
PK: Do you feel that there is a strong prejudice against heavy metal fans?
OO: Absolutely, if you were to see a heavy metal crowd they do tend to intimidate, what with their tattoos and piercings. And you’re always going to have some people there that are extreme in their behavior.
PK: Every generation manages to do something that will shock their parents and the establishment. What will your kids need to do to shock you?
OO: Apart from having their limbs amputated I’m not sure. My son’s got a heart condition that’s not too serious but it’s weak enough that the doctor has said “you can’t have any tattoo’s, and before you go to the dentist you have to have antibiotics,” and so on.
PK: So no amputated limbs for him.
OO: Apart from that, as long as the kids aren’t harming themselves… My father would turn over in his grave if he saw my arm (gestures to his arm which is covered with an explosion of tattooed shapes and colors).
PK: So your kids can’t shock you – even by listening to Britney Spears?
OO: But they do! My daughter has even memorized the lyrics!
PK: Any parenting tips?
OO: My father never set me down and told me the facts of life, sex, the dangers of alcohol, tabacco, whatever. And I’ve survived a lot of alcohol and drug abuse so it’s my duty to sit my son down and say things like “if you’re going to have sex, don’t go out in the rain without a rain coat. Wear protection. Don’t be stupid.” I mean, sex is as natural as breathing. But I’ll tell you, I wouldn’t want to be a teenager these days with the HIV virus going around. A lot of people think these things will never happen to their kid. “Oh my kid won’t get caught behind the wheel drunk,” and so on. But at the end of every show I ever do I say “If you’ve been drinking or using dope, please make sure you get somebody around to drive you home, or leave your car and get a cab, ‘cus I want to come back next year and do this again.” And that’s the last message I leave the kids with, because some of these kids really go over the edge – at any concert – it’s a party atmosphere.
PK: Your official website (ozzy.com) recently was acquired by TheThreshold.com to develop online and offline programming. Can you tell me what kind of live-action and animated programming people can expect to find there in the future?
OO: That’s a question for my wife. Websites are simply the way to go. Kids are so amazing with these things – my kids got each hand on separate keyboards.
PK: Where do you stand on the great Napster debate?
OO: The record industry should have done something to protect itself long ago. If they stop Napster there will be another one and another one and... it’ll be the decline of music as we know it.
PK: What’s your favorite album?
OO: It’d be between the Beatle’s “Sergeant Pepper’s Band” or “Revolver.”
PK: What’s your favorite horror film?
OO: I really liked Silence of the Lambs and I must have watched The Exorcist eight billion times. When that first came out in the 70’s I can remember going to the movie theater in Philadelphia with Black Sabbath. And Black Sabbath is, of course, this satanic band of rock and roll – and yet we were that scared that we all spent the night in the same room. Up until that point it had been strings and fishing lines when the bat flies out, but that one was so real. And my daughter, Amy, gets into it. She loves horror films. It disturbs me... I know it sounds kind of weird for me, Ozzy Osbourne, to say that those movies make me so uncomfortable. But I like to watch pleasant things.
PK: Such as?
OO: I’ll tell you one of the best films I’ve seen last year was Meet the Parents. And Best of Show was really good. When it comes to horror films I like the goofy ones. Like Reanimator. And have you seen They Saved Hitler’s Brain?
OO: Oh you’ve got to see that one! Hitler’s brain is like this golfish ball in the back of a Nazi limousine in South America and it’s giving out orders to all these Nazi’s. It’s so hokey! And in the end it self destructs itself.
PK: You just ruined the ending for me.
OO: You’ll still crack up laughing. You’ve got to see They Saved Hitler’s Brain. This golfish ball thing barking out orders (imitates Hitler’s brain barking out Aryan-ish sounds – laughs).