Tag Archives: Ozzy Osbourne

Money’s Too Tight (To Mention)

Arguably the biggest cohort of people who attend concerts—which seem to be the means by which a number of performers are finding to be the means, perhaps the only means, by which they are able to make a sufficient amount of money to keep the lights on—are students, and directly after them are those who have recently been students.

According to FinanceBuzz the average ticket price for classic rock acts between 2017 and 2021 was $119.14. Pop: $100.65. Rock: $85.94. Then within those categories, the performer with the highest average ticket price during a single tour for Classic Rock was Bruce Springsteen, at $508.93. Pop, Lady Gaga: $337.43. Rock: Metallic: $229.31.

These numbers are enough for one to shout Jesu!

Which then might lead to a solid financial move, in that the least expensive musical genre is Christian, with the average ducat going for $39.38.

That’s a third of the average price of a ticket for Classic Rock.

The Christian performer with the highest average ticket price was Laurent Daigle, at $58.64.

That’s about 12% of the price of a ticket to see the Boss on Broadway.

Which brings me back to students and those who have recently attended organizations of higher learning.

A recently conducted survey by Morning Consult based on the fact that the federal student loan payment moratorium is going to disappear in 2023 found that 30% of the respondents said that they would “probably not” be able to afford their student loan payments and another 28% said that they’d “definitely not” be able to pay.

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Ozzy Osbourne – Scream

Ozzy Osbourne - ScreamOzzy OsbourneScream (Epic)

What happened? At one point, he was an adorable, self-proclaimed “Prince of Darkness” shuffling around his home for public consumption, releasing forgettable solo albums that took the bite out of any horrorshow he conjured up in earlier days. Then next, he’s a puppet to his wife’s celebrity and a slave to her authority, shuffling around in a goddamn variety show while firing longtime guitarist Zakk Wylde, giving him the pink slip during an interview in a magazine.

Scream is Ozzy Osbourne‘s 10th album and the first with thirty-year old guitarist, Gus G. It has a thoroughly modern sound with lots of compression and heavily processed vocals that usually find Osbourne yelling some anthemic phrase like “Scream!” or “I’m Fearless!” or “Let It Die!” or “Soul Sucka!”

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A Fucking Outrage: Ozzy Ripped Off Big Time

ozzy_burgled.jpgIron Man. . .or Is That Goldfinger?

This would have been an episode of The Osbournes worthy of the TiVo. Ozzy and Sharon had their fuckin’ mansion in Buckinghamshire knocked off by some daft punk. Despite the fact that Oz tackled the brute, he reportedly escaped by jumping out of a window 30 feet above the ground of the £5-million mansion. Off he went with such things as a 24-carat sapphire, a 10-carat diamond, a passel of pave diamonds, a South Sea pearl necklace with diamond clasp. . .and other assorted knickknacks valued at some £2-million. Think on that for a moment: The whole fucking pile of bricks (I now realize that I’ve not been using the fucking word “fucking” a sufficient number of times here such that you’ll get the fucking sense that this is fucking authentic) is valued at £5 mil and the fucking cutpurse walked off with £2 mil. All I can say is: fuck me, that’s a lot of fuckin’ bling.

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Ozzy: That’s the Way It Wasn’t

You remember Winston Smith, don’t you? Sure, he’s the protagonist of George Orwell’s 1984, but do you remember what he did for a living? He worked in the so-called “Ministry of Truth,” changing history by rewriting newspapers and books and any other media that needed updating to reflect the prevailing mindset of Oceana’s totalitarian regime.

Not unlike Ozzy and Elvis.

By now you’ve probably heard about the “reissue” of some of Ozzy Osbourne’s back catalog earlier this year. Problem is, they are not reissues at all. These new versions of the old albums have had the original Bob Daisley bass and Lee Kerslake drum tracks removed; the remastered songs now feature members of Ozzy’s current touring band. Apparently this was done because of ongoing legal disputes over royalties among these former bandmates.

Regardless of motive, this transgression of history is wrong, for reasons that shouldn’t need explaining.

As is what was done to the documentary, Elvis: That’s the Way It Is when it was re-edited and released on DVD about a year ago. While the Ozzy debacle is annoying and typical of the corporate entertainment industry, the new Elvis movie is even more disappointing because its ruination was carried out in the name of the fan. Yeah, you and me and every other music geek were catered to when they unearthed the extra thirty minutes of footage and remastered the sound to create this concert film. Only problem is, the original movie was a heck of a lot more than a concert.

That’s the Way It Is was a strange document of a strange time, something of a foil to Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. It was a true documentary—of the entire process of putting post-Comeback Special Elvis Presley into the Las Vegas show scene, a fascinating idea for 1970, especially considering E’s only other appearance there, in the late-1950s, had bombed. (Remember too, this was long before a stint in the desert on the road to eternal life in Branson, Mo., was the natural washed-up pop star progression we think of now.) Sure, on outward appearances That’s the Way It Is was a concert flick, but there was a lot more to the goofy film and its oddball interviews with unnamed and frequently creepy fans and hangers-on. Most of this fell to the cutting room recycle bin for the digital release in favor of more concert footage, little of which adds much of anything to the film as a film. No, the new footage amounts to more rocks for the fan cum crackhead, while eliminating much of what worked in the original film—the reflections of Elvis in the eyes of all who beheld him. The effect leaves Elvis looking as two-dimensional as his postage stamp.

The most important legacy of my much-played VHS dub of That’s the Way It Is is that even the non-Elvis fanatics I’ve shown it to have come away with a better understanding of why this era of Elvis’ long and tumultuous career was perhaps his best. As the availability of the original version of the film wanes, as old videotapes get eaten by dirty players or thrown away after garage sales, this very real historical document will disappear. Sure, we’ll have many more copies of a fancy new DVD to replace it, but without the historical context of the original edit there will be little to learn from it.

Reissues, remastering, lost footage, unreleased tracks—they’re all worthy endeavors, but full-scale revision leads us down a dangerous path indeed. Remember Winston Smith?


Reality Television, Reality Music, and the fight for Real Rock and Roll

Johnny Loftus

MTV’s “The Osbournes” has become a flashfire, no-brainer money-maker. Its unlikely success has granted rocker Ozzy Osbourne a second career as a strung out, British Leslie Nielson. And not surprisingly, the show’s runaway popularity has driven some notable exposure whores into development overdrive. But as this scary new twist on reality television escalates, there’s a chance it might bleed all over rock and roll.

By now, millions of watercooler people have recounted with hilarity the antics of Ozzy and his family, as they flounder helplessly in the face of such domestic challenges as extricating a housecat from behind a large mirror. Ever the dumfounded straight man, Osbourne never seems to grasp the finer points of his every precocious whim being broadcast for the bong-loading entertainment of cable audiences everywhere. Indeed, in the rogue cat episode, the only thing funnier than Ozzy in sweatpants was he and his family’s sheer inability to hatch a proper cat-removal scheme. Nevertheless, the bickering bunch will be back for more domestic debauchery next season. And they’ll likely be joined by Sean Combs, Kato, and Courtney F’ing Love. These are only a few examples of the repeat publicity offenders who have rutted their truck tires in the gross mud of the reality television series. In the near future, we will still have “The Osbournes.” But we’ll also be sprayed with the muck of reality shows like “Love Hurts” and “P. Diddy’s Posse Goes to Starbucks…Again.” It seems that real is where it’s at, even if your particular reality is about as unreal as it gets. Rock stars have always wanted to be actors, and thespians have always dreamed of a rock and roll heaven. But all of a sudden everyone just wants to keep it real. And this ugly new strain of celebrity reality – there’s an oxymoron – has a chance of mutating into something even greasier than Courtney Love skinny dipping in the La Brea Tar Pits.

As M2 overtakes its larger sibling as a barometer of cool, rock and roll bands that actually rock are being thrust to the forefront of pop music. The gone-native production, elephant gun riffs and defiant anti-style of The Strokes, The Hives, and The White Stripes (to name only the principals) has begun to dismantle the Nu-Metal golem, and replace much of the bombast with at least a little substance. But how is the deceptively simple music made by bands like these perceived by keepers of the bottom line? The visceral rock and roll that is coming back into fashion might be in danger of being co-opted into “reality music,” sent by the Big Five to save their bottom line, just as reality television has lowered the production headaches of network executives from Belgium to Burbank.

The music made by the aforementioned groups arrives ready to eat. It has been developed and test-marketed on the band’s own dime, in shitty rock clubs and cramped practice spaces over the past few years. Comparatively, the music of many of rock’s largest recent money-makers – Linkin Park, Creed – resounds with the sheen of producers with diamonds on the soles of their shoes. While LP and Creed certainly had talent enough to rock the mic at their local Sizzler, it took big money to convince people that there was more to the music than production winks and a few good-looking cheekbones. Now, don’t misunderstand. There’s a physical element to the Strokes’ success, beyond their furiously simple New York City rock and roll. But their popularity proved to the Stuffed Shirts that rockers can be cool without the guiding hand of Glen Ballard. Rockers that have come to the table without a promotional budget and T-shirt sponsorship are now proving to the industry that the public’s craving for “reality” doesn’t end with watching Ozzy bitch at his children. The “reality” of unwashed hair, touring Austria in a Nissan Sentra and name-checking Nuggets on MTV is created largely without anyone’s help but the band, and its fans.

But who says the music industry can’t make money off of that?

Reality TV is successful because it’s cheap to produce, eminently viewable, and there’s a never-ending supply of talent – i.e., all of us. That’s the same formula that’s been creating Pop music at least since the inception of the blues. But there’s nothing simple anymore in a music industry that circles its wagons around whatever is currently driving revenue streams. And right now, it’s “real” rock and roll that’s doing it. So the DIY ethic, and the punk rock ethos, and the International Pop Underground, and every other independent network that has given life to and supported bands like The Hives or The White Stripes (again, to cite only a few examples) is the new template that will be embraced by the Endemol of the music industry, in an attempt to create more “reality music.” Because the kids want their music, television, and music television real. And in the end, it’s always about what the kids want, right?

The inside joke with reality television is that it’s not actually real at all. The perception is that, yes, this really is where P.Diddy hangs out. But if Sean Combs is the executive producer of the reality show that portrays his life (which, assumingly, he is also the exec producer of), then can’t he simply show you what he wants to show you? There’s a built-in capacity in rock and roll that should be able to counteract this quandary, if in fact the real rock gets co-opted by Evil Brain and His Men of Morda. The thing about much of this first wave of rock and roll that’s currently breaking in American music is that many of these bands didn’t ask for the exposure they’re receiving. It’s too idealistic to suggest that they’ll all shun it; indeed, the signing frenzy that followed Nirvana’s explosion destroyed a lot careers. But there’s no question that this new color of reality in media is going to have its effect on music. Let’s hope rock and roll never forgets.


“I Am Lucre Man”

The easy take on the report that Ozzy Osbourne is to attend the annual White House Correspondents Association dinner would be, in effect, nothing more than Beavis-and-Butthead-like sniggering at the fact, replete with comments related to whether he’d be biting the heads off of any live animals (his relationship with PETA, notwithstanding). Ol’ Iron Man in the company of G.W.B. Seemingly more amusing than Tipper Gore’s alleged appreciation of the Grateful Dead. Sure, there is something funny about this. A kick—at least when we think of Ozzy as outcast, which is precisely what he evidently isn’t. After all, the man has a family to think about.

This isn’t about Ozzy. Its really points to a more pervasive issue, the issue of how entertainment has become so inextricably entwined with the political/industrial structure. Rock and roll and rebellion? Apparently not. In this specific instance, Osbourne is reportedly going to be at the dinner as the guest of Greta Van Susteren, of Fox News Channel. Van Susteren, perhaps now best known for having had an eyelift procedure, made her rise to visibility during the O.J. Simpson follies, when the viewing public seemingly could not get enough information related to a double-homicide involving famous people. Homicides, of course, occur on an all-too-regular basis involving those who are not fodder for People magazine. About these, the less we know, the happier we are (unless, of course, there is some bizarre twist, which would then make it “news.” As for the others: Put a toe tag on ’em.) Van Susteren, an attorney, and her then-partner, Roger Cossack, broke it all down for CNN viewing public. Yes, the legal maneuverings and posturings and famous faces were the best thing to happen to all-news coverage since the Gulf War. Only the political imbroglios of (1) Clinton’s sexual escapades and (2) the 2000 election ballot-counting mess achieved the same kind of talking-head blather.

So now Van Susteren, with the eyes being an old story, undoubtedly wants to get some additional attention. Why, then, pulling out an aged metal rocker who now has a show on MTV is just the ticket! Hell, her name would have undoubtedly never appeared on this site otherwise, and I wouldn’t have been aware of it unless it had been brought to my attention by the MSN homepage that I see, which picked up the report from MTV. Run, run, run. And in that sphere, more run turns into more ad dollars.

Whether it is an issue of an “edgy” record label covering up the association with a multinational or something like this, it is all to abundantly clear that much of the “entertainment” that we hear and see is based on economics. I’m not suggesting that any one of us would be so naïve as to think otherwise (although I think that many of us would, ideally, like to think that it is not so), but I do maintain that it is all too dismaying.

By the way: I’m available for the next White House Correspondents Association dinner… after all, GloNo needs run, too.


Who do we have to thank for the current climate of Rap Rock trash, wrestling home videos, and baggy black jeans on the great unwashed teens of America? Good Morning, Vince McMahon…

Vince McMahon’s burlesque football wet dream is mercifully over.

The XFL officially disbanded yesterday, with its backers NBC and McMahon’s WWF both admitting over $30 million in after-tax losses. That’s a lot of loot to buy a few dates with some washed-out strippers (X-strippers?). But that’s always what the XFL seemed like, even in its youth (4 months ago). It seemed like the league’s only purpose was to procure more face time (and more action) for its blustering, precocious demagogue. If McMahon wasn’t the face of absurdity already, showing up on a WWF program greased up like King Vaseline and barking insults at his audience, his appearance on Bob Costas’ “On The Record” was the end of the line. The comically inflated McMahon sat on the edge of his chair, jabbing his finger and spouting bizarre rhetoric at the diminutive, cool-as-a-cucumber Costas like Colonel Arthur “Bull” Simons on steroids and horse pills.

Now that his attempt to make up for getting cut from the Frosh football squad is over, I assume McMahon will return to what he does best: dumbing down America in new and ever-exciting ways. And with a little help from his friend Ozzy, things’ll go smashingly, mate.

Vince McMahon revolutionized the wrestling industry by infusing his WWF with heaping helpings of violence, titillation, and the live-action equivalent to Mick Mars’ talk box screed intro to the Crue’s “Dr Feelgood.” It was like watching a live feed into the mind of Josh, your 14-year-old neighbor. Josh may like boobs and power chords (not to mention Samsonite chairs across the neck), but he doesn’t know a thing Real Rock. And as the WWF picked up steam, its popularity fueled the like-minded antics of Rap-Rock and the OzzFest Nation. Like Monsters of Rock before it, OzzFest by the late nineties had become the standard bearer for limp-haired quartets with names like Saliva, Fist In Face and SupraNought. The shit-core plied by these groups was really not that different from the WWF’s turnbuckle pulpit ranting and flash pot bombast. Rap Rock had its Ozzy, and wrestling had its McMahon. Two guys who made a career of out shocking people just enough, and letting the rumors take hold like a cheetah taking down a gazelle.

But McMahon lost his shirt on this XFL jazz. After all, $30 mil buys a lot of Stacker-2. And Ozzy? Well, his fest is rolling through a town near you this Summer, with its usual array of sweating, angry men in black, red, and tattoos. And that’s just the audience. On stage, you’ll see the musical stylings of MuDvAyNe, Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society, and the too appropriately named Pure Rubbish. Even ol’ Marilyn Manson is getting out the vinyl jodhpurs and evil white makeup for a very special, even evil-er appearance. Ooh, scary. So OzzFest 2001 fighting the good fight while the WWF tries to recover from its fearless leader’s excess. It may not go away anytime soon, but even these genres’ biggest supporters have to sense the inevitable. Whether it’s He Hate Me or Hatebreed, the tide has to eventually turn away from the extreme in sports and music. The gazillion-dollar failure of McMahon’s XFL goes a long way toward proving this. And if this Summer’s OzzFest ticket sales aren’t as lively as they could be, there’s a good chance Mr Record Label Man’ll start thinking about putting his money elsewhere. Besides, the Rap-Rockers are running out of evil-sounding names. And Krokus: The Sequel doesn’t really have staying power, you know?

The cyclical nature of pop music is a proven fact. And keep in mind that the current, blowhard version of the WWF is the league’s second incarnation (note to Hacksaw Jim Dugan: you were my favorite). So let’s hope that The Man is as sick of Vince McMahon as I am, and stops giving him airtime/seed money/support.

Same goes for you, Ozzy. There’s a hole in the sky.


Six Major Concert Announcements

Ugh! So I get this e-mail today, from the Palace. You know, the “entertainment” company that owns the Palace of Auburn Hills (home of the not-so-entertaining Detroit Pistons) and Pine Knob Music Theater (the one big outdoor music venue in “Detroit” that’s actually a lot closer to Flint) in my former town of Clarkston. Now I signed up on its Web site so that I might get notified of new shows and not miss getting tickets to see Neil Young next time he’s in the area. Ditto The Boss and any other big name acts that I still foolishly spend more than $30 to go see. (Okay, more like “more than $50.”) So today’s e-mail says “Six Major Concert Announcements.” Here, look at it for yourself.

So you looked, didn’t you? All I have to say is $78.25 to see Ozzy, and that’s the only damn show that would be tolerable to sit through. That is, if you were drunk enough. (I will be out of town for Oasis/Black Crowes, so that doesn’t count.)

Oh, and by the way, the DTE Energy Music Theatre isn’t some new venue, it’s just what they’re calling Pine Knob these days. I wonder when Three Dog Night (no word on when their annual performance at the Knob will be) is going to rename itself “Seven Up Three Iams Pet Food Dog La Quinta Inns Night.”