When Ozzy Osbourne watched the mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap he sat down stock still and didn’t laugh once. He believed it to be real, the exaggerated happenings of band life were too close to his everyday existence for him to even consider that it was fiction. After all, this is a man who bit the head off of a live bat and remarked: “It was like eating a Crunchie wrapped in a chamois leather.”
One story that perfectly indicates how his own life eclipsed the madcap inventions of the comedy minds behind This Is Spinal Tap, comes courtesy of musician and yachtsman Tommy Lee. The hell-raising pairing were on tour together back in 1984 as Mötley Crüe teamed up with Ozzy for a solo run of shows. Ozzy recalls, if that’s the right word, that it is “one continuous alcohol and drug-induced tour. I don’t remember the shows to be honest with you.”
Naturally, high jinks, sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll were bountiful amid the heady mix of the tour bus, but this escalated a little further than usual on one occasion. As it happens, Lee and Ozzy embarked on what would become known as a gross out competition. Such a battle was, of course, unadvisable and this tale comes with a ‘don’t try this at home warning’. “It was simply a tour of who could out-gross the next man you know,” Ozzy states.
“One night we’re all drinking, doing a tonne of cocaine,” Lee recalls, “the sun is coming up. We pull into some resort-style hotel in Florida. Ozzy sees a popsicle stick on the ground and there is a long trail of ants going towards it.” See his chance to seal the coveted title of the grossest man on the tour, Ozzy dropped down to his knees in an instant and snorted a line of ants.
Interestingly, this is one story from the tour that Mr Osbourne actually remembers well. Perhaps it was the sobering effect of the sunrise, but he happily says, “I was snorting ants on this tour,” almost bewildered by his own actions, “crazy stuff,” he adds. All the while, Lee and the rest of the crew watched on in disbelief, unable to summon any other words aside from “Dear God, this man is actually crazy.”
It goes without saying that there is a dark side to such antics (aside from the slaughter of a family of ants on their way to enjoy the sweet nectar of a discarded ice lolly). This is something that Ozzy is happy to admit. As he once said himself: “Occasionally, I go off the rails. I once nearly killed someone once—it wasn’t funny. I am a lunatic. The pressure of work the pressure of… everyone has a stop valve, and I don’t have one.”
Fortunately, he has since clearly cleaned up his act and he is still with us today. As he concludes regarding his cleaner future: “I know that I’m here, I believe that I’m here for a purpose. I believe in forces of fate.”