Ozzy blames former "ripoff artist" manager for failed Black Sabbath reunion

Publish Date
Thursday, 6 February 2020, 11:10AM

Co-founding Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward famously backed out of the iconic band's final album and farewell tour over a contract dispute.

On a new edition of the Broken Record podcast with Rick Rubin, Ozzy Osbourne recalled a conversation between himself and Tony Iommi regarding Ward's departure from the band — the drummer was wary of getting scammed again.

Ozzy recalled Iommi telling him, "'You know Bill's trouble — he still thinks everybody's gonna rip him off,' which I get."

He continued: "I ain't no better than Bill or any of 'em, and I'm lucky to have a wife that's on my side. 'Cause those [music industry] f---ers, man, they come in and they give you all this bulls--t, drive you round in a flashy car, show you a bit of money. And you can sue them, but it takes you a f---ing lifetime to win. The lawyers win."

Black Sabbath was perhaps the most famous victim of mismanagement in the history of rock and roll, going from one corrupt manager to another, with way too many hands in the band's collective pocket in its early years.

Sabbath was paid a pittance in royalties during its prime, despite being one of the biggest-selling rock bands in the world. One of the chief offenders, Ozzy notes, was Sharon Osbourne's father Don Arden, who managed Sabbath from the early-'70s through much of the '80s.

"Sharon's father was a renowned f---ing ripoff artist," Ozzy added.

While Sharon definitely inherited her father's ruthless business acumen, Arden's ethics ultimately led to his downfall and a sad falling out with Sharon that lasted from when she married Ozzy almost until his death.

Sharon has said that the most valuable thing she learned from her father was how to ruin a business, which he had done to his own company by the '90s after his gangster methods caught up with him.

Looking back, Ozzy says it's not all bad that Sabbath was screwed out of so much cash. He recalled a phone call with Ward "a while ago" in which he told the drummer that "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 [with drugs]."

Ozzy is currently preparing for the release of his eleventh studio album, Ordinary Man, due out February 21.

This article was first published on iheart.com and is republished here with permission