Speaking with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe Ozzy explains how his friendship with the guitarist – who he has known since the pair were at school together – has changed over time.
The old pals recently reunited to play Sabbath classic Paranoid at the closing ceremony for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
“There was a period of time where we were arch-enemies" Ozzy admits. "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.
When questioned by Lowe as to whether his poor relationship with Iommi was "the root of distrust" that influenced his eventual firing from Black Sabbath, Osbourne replies: “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?”
The original line-up of Black Sabbath reunited for several tours from 1997 onwards, finally bowing out in 2017, although drummer Bill Ward was not part of their final tour, or indeed the recording of their final album, 13.
Speaking of the later reunions, Osbourne recalls the shows with little good feeling, and admits there were moments of hostility between himself and Iommi.
“The tours were like stepping back for me. It was the same old thing…" he says. "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.”
Fortunately, the Birmingham brethren are back being close buds these days. Iommi even appeared on two songs – Degradation Rules and No Escape From Now – on Osbourne's newly released solo album, Patient Number 9.