Ozzy Osbourne Believes Being Ripped Off Saved His Life
Ozzy Osbourne said he’d be dead by now if he hadn’t been ripped off during Black Sabbath’s early career, and compared his feelings over lost money to those of former bandmate Bill Ward.
Ward dropped out of the group’s final album, 13, and took no part in the subsequent farewell tour, saying he wasn't offered a “signable” contract. He later accused Osbourne with being involved in his ousting.
Speaking on producer Rick Rubin’s Broken Record podcast, Osbourne noted that Ward was a “great” drummer “in his day." “The only sad thing about the album was Bill wasn’t playing," Osbourne said. "We would have been still doing the fucking album now. … He takes so much time over everything.”
The singer added that guitarist Tony Iommi said "one day, ‘You know Bill’s trouble – he still thinks everybody’s gonna rip him off,’ which I get. I ain’t no better than Bill or any of ‘em, and I’m lucky to have a wife [Sharon Osbourne] that’s on my side. ‘Cause those fuckers, man, they come in and they give you all this bullshit, drive you round in a flashy car, show you a bit of money. And you can sue them, but it takes you a fucking lifetime to win. The lawyers win. Sharon’s father [Sabbath manager Don Arden] was a renowned fucking ripoff artist.”
Osbourne claimed the band was “stung for a lot of cash” but added there was an upside: “I said to Bill Ward one day on the phone – a while ago now – I said, ‘You know what? In a way, as far as I’m concerned, it was a blessing that I never got all that cash upfront, ‘cause with what cash I had, I’d done a good job of nearly killing myself.”
He added that he "wouldn’t be sitting here, and that’s for sure. If I had got all the millions upfront, [I] would have been fucking dead.”