“I got rabies shots for biting the head off a bat but that`s OK – the bat had to get Ozzy shots.”
- Ozzy Osbourne
As I listened to Ozzy Osbourne’s classic metal anthem Crazy Train blaring over the speakers at my 7 year old’s baseball jamboree (complete with cake walk), all I could think was: what a difference a couple of decades can make.
When I was in my teens Ozzy Osbourne 1 was public enemy number one for parents and “family” groups that littered the country. He was a junkie who almost killed his wife, a public menace that bit the head off a bat (and a dove) and was on trial in 1985 because he was accused of pushing a teen to suicide after hearing the lyrics from his song “Suicide Solution.”
He could incite near riots at arenas full of jacked up teenagers all with O-Z-Z-Y written with sharpie on their fingers. There were protests at shows and rumors of devil worshiping, animal abuse and massive amounts of drugs. He was a walking pharmacy and just his breath would have gotten you high.
Thanks to reality TV, now he’s America’s lovable, bumbling dad. We play his music at kid’s baseball games and there’s even a Honda Pilot commercial where the kids in the car are humming and singing Crazy Train in the ultimate “family” moment only a sanitized advertiser could create.
It blows my mind. And the worst part is that I don’t know if it’s good or bad. It’s great because those censoring assholes in the 80′s made life rough for musicians — although the parental warning stickers did sell a lot of albums. Everyone should be exposed to music that could change their life, and make up their own minds. Especially 13 year old boys stuck in the suburbs.
It’s bad because there’s no danger in rock n’ roll anymore. It was something we could use to rebel, find ourselves and have a hell of a lot of fun. Our parents hated it and we loved it. They weren’t in the club, and we didn’t want them. It was just the little bit of freedom we needed. The guys playing the music lived these lives we couldn’t even imagine.
I went and saw Van Halen last month and Kool and the Gang opened. Yes, that Kool and the Gang. It was embarrassing. The same crowd that was there in 1983 would have rioted. Turns out they were there in 2012, they were too busy texting the babysitter to care.
Either it’s just our generation righting a wrong from the 80′s or things are just too corporate and boring now.
I still don’t know, maybe the answer lies somewhere in the middle.