MY FRIEND DAVE IS A human rabbit’s foot, extremely lucky and soft and fuzzy to the touch. I’d keep him on my keychain if I had big enough pockets.
Dave is also from my hometown of Darien, CT, and came to LA two weeks ago for an internship. Upon arrival, he won a radio contest for a free copy of The Cure’s Disintegration. Then he got a cheap package deal on seats for his whole family at an upcoming Dodgers/Yankees game. In between, he got us into an Ozzy Osbourne concert for $11.00.
I’m telling you, he’s a horseshoe wrapped in four-leaf clovers.
I was back in Connecticut last week when I got a text from him asking if I wanted to go to Amoeba Records – the world’s best record store chain, located in Hollywood – on the 20th to see Ozzy. I flew in Sunday afternoon, picked Dave up, and we headed over.
As it turned out, Ozzy wasn’t playing at Amoeba. He was there to sign copies of his new album for the first 600 people in line, all of whom got a pass to see him later that evening at the House of Blues on Sunset. We got to Amoeba late but made the cut, as the turnout was lower than expected, according to a lady who worked for Amoeba:
“We don’t know why so few people showed up.”
“Maybe because it’s Father’s Day,” I suggested.
“I’d bring my Dad to see Ozzy,” Dave said.
“My dad’s dead,” she replied.
We waited in line behind a short guy in a straw fedora and a bowling shirt who was a dead ringer for comedian Jimmy Pardo. It may have actually been him, but I didn’t ask because I couldn’t recall his name at the time. Dave said that “famous people don’t wait in line for stuff like this,” so it couldn’t have been him. I countered that if I – a former fan of his – couldn’t remember his name after standing next to him for hours, he’s not famous.
Behind us, a giggly Asian girl in an Ozzy t-shirt was joined by a fat goth chick with a black Chihuahua on a spiked leash and collar. The Chihuahua looked like a model from a “Hot Topic For Dogs” catalog (just like its owner).
I think these two were friends. God knows why. The first girl was enthusiastic and excited about everything, and the second would shoot her down again and again:
“I wonder who’s going to be in Ozzy’s backing band!”
“Probably just some no-name guys.”
“Remember when Zakk Wylde was in the band?!”
“I never considered him a real member of the group.”
While this went on, I watched the dog’s Chihuahua walk excitedly in circles near Pardo’s legs. Then it would try to climb its owner and go for her purse. She put the purse down on the ground and let it root around. The giggly Asian girl said, “What’s he doing in there?”
“He found food.”
Indeed, there were loose pretzels at the bottom of the fat girl’s purse. No word as to whether they were intended for her or the dog; I could easily imagine her sticking her own nose into her purse to hunt for snacks.
The line started moving. Soon we were inside. We bought Ozzy’s new album, Scream, and headed back out to wait in a much longer line which didn’t move on the sunny side of the street.
While we waited for our signatures, I looked at the CD. The first track on the album is “Let it Die,” followed by the single, “Let Me Hear You Scream.” I imagined the entire track listing rewritten as phrases beginning with the word, “Let.” For example, the album’s third track, “Soul Sucker,” becomes “Let Me Suck Your Soul.”
Ozzy’s road crew came out and laid down the ground rules: “Have your CD jackets out for him to sign. No pictures. Don’t try to talk to him…” Someone came out right after the signing started, all pissed off, “Man, I tried to talk to Ozzy and he totally wanted to talk to me but his stupid people got in the way.” Behind us, Fat Goth and Giggles conversed:
“That’s too bad about Ozzy! I wish his people would let him talk to us!”
“Wake up. Ozzy doesn’t care. Rock stars do not care about you.”
“No, man! A lot of them do! If we saw the Deftones, they’d sign our stuff and talk to us!”
“Yeah, because the Deftones suck.”
Aside from the girls and their ongoing crap, this guy astounded me. “Ozzy didn’t have me over to dinner with his family and engage me in a lively debate by the fireplace over a glass of brandy.” You realize you’re talking to people whose only hope of reaching the front of the line is that people like you don’t try to talk to Ozzy, right? Shut the hell up.
We got inside an hour and a half later. The line leading to Ozzy snaked through the reggae section. If they weren’t so anal about the signing procedure, I would’ve gladly had Ozzy sign a copy of Bob Marley’s “Legend.” I could’ve even smudged “Ozzy” to look like “Ziggy” (Bob Marley’s son). How much do you think you could get on Ebay for a copy of “Legend” signed by Ziggy… Osbourne?
We reached the front, a red carpet where Ozzy sat behind a low table on a beanbag chair. He signed CD after CD, using the hand with “Ozzy” tattooed on the knuckles. He looked up briefly and smiled. Let me tell you, the real reason Ozzy has all those tattoos, wears all black and dark makeup, and calls himself “The Prince of Darkness,” is that he wouldn’t be taken seriously otherwise as a bad guy. He has kind eyes and a smile that lights up a room. I’d bring him home to mom.
Actually, that seems to be the norm with these shock rocker types…
Iggy Pop was raised by school teachers, and recently “an established journal of classical scholarship, Classics Ireland, chose to publish Pop’s musings on the applicability of Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire to the modern world.” I once read an interview about his interests in Eastern philosophy and Yoga.
Marylin Manson has a second career as a watercolor painter.
Alice Cooper is known as witty and socially-conscious offstage, as well as born-again Christian, an avid golfer, and a registered Republican (though to many, that does make him evil).
I’d say the average shock rocker is one of the most thoughtful, intelligent, good-hearted folks you’d meet. I’ve already gone into depth about how I feel about Andrew W.K. Then again, The Insane Clown Posse are a pair of morons who contradict everything I just said.
But back to Ozzy, who took the stage later that night and was a joy to behold. I have never seen a grown man so happy, smiling and jumping up and down and clapping his hands. Between songs, he said three things and three things alone:
1. “I love you guys.”
2. “God bless you all.”
3. “I can’t fucking hear you.”
The third thing was either a showmanship tactic or a result of the hearing damage Ozzy has sustained during his career. Maybe both. I pity the audience that has to face an artist whose hearing is fully gone, as the show would never get a chance to progress past this point: “I can’t hear you. Guys, I can’t hear you. Seriously, I cannot hear you.” I wonder how Beethoven handled crowd work.
The other “banter” Ozzy did was take a huge bucket of water and douse people who had the audacity to want to watch from the front row. I guess when they said to leave cell phones and video cameras at home they weren’t screwing around.
The music itself? Fantastic. Even though this was a concert to promote his new album, Ozzy was wise enough to know that nobody gave a shit. He played the hits. And even though his bandmates were probably just a couple of no-name guys, they rocked, and had huge hair that looked like it was being constantly blown around by giant fans.
After the show Sunday night, my ears rang all the way through Monday. The album came out yesterday, and I hope for my new best friend Ozzy’s sake it sells well. I did my part.
On an unrelated but amusing note, I googled “Ozzy Osbourne” and found this gem, from an LA Times Blog Article:
[Ozzy wants to have his genome sequenced, because he] hopes that it may help explain why he’s held up so well despite decades of drug and alcohol use and the famous bat-biting incident.
Finally, we note that Ozzy now writes a health column for Britain’s Sunday Times. The newspaper’s June 3 announcement:
“It’s no joke. Ozzy Osbourne really is our new health columnist. Given his colourful medical history, The Black Sabbath star considers himself an expert on all things medical – as anyone who’s abused his body for 40 years and been declared dead twice – has the right to. Now, he wants you to learn from his mistakes.”
I hope he calls himself “Dr. Ozz,” mainly to piss this guy off:
I don’t know how living a lifestyle that would kill most people gives you the authority to tell others how to live, but Ozzy’s just a lucky guy. Like someone else I know. God bless you, Dave. Dave? I can’t fucking hear you.