How does it feel to be back with Black Sabbath?
It’s the cherry on the cake for me. I’ve been bowled over by the success of the last record [13, released in 2013], we’re touring all over the world. It’s been a remarkable couple of years.
Does it feel like an opportunity to look back and think about how far you’ve come? The whole ‘not bad for a boy from Aston’ thing?
I don’t do that, but I guess I should a bit more. Because I know when I had my first successful album with Sabbath I thought: ‘Oh, this is great, this will last a couple of years.’ And here I am, 45 years down the road and I’m doing better than ever. I haven’t always been on top of the world, there have been bad times as well, but you don’t just give up at the first sign of choppy waters, you carry on rowing.
Have you seen that there’s a petition going around to get you a knighthood?
I’ve heard about that. Getting knighted? I can’t imagine anything better. And my wife would become a Lady, which would be pretty cool. But I’m not gonna get upset if it doesn’t happen. I never thought I’d get further than Aston.
Heavy metal is an underground movement, but Black Sabbath were playing huge shows alongside bands such as the Eagles in the ’70s. Did you feel like you were part of the mainstream?
Sabbath never thought about the mainstream or the underground. Our success came from word of mouth: no critic wrote anything nice about us. In those days, if parents didn’t like it, their kids would.
How responsible do you feel for the huge number of heavy metal bands that have come in the wake of Sabbath?
Some of them I look at and think: Yeah, I can see Sabbath in them, but then others I look at and think: where are we in that lot? In all these breakaway things like death metal or industrial metal.
Let me ask you about ‘The Osbournes’. Are you happy you did it?
It was an experiment. Looking back, I’m glad we did it but I’m glad we jumped off when we did after three years of feeling like laboratory rats. We went from being a relatively normal family to this family that was just blown apart. That’s why when Sharon says so-and-so wants to do a pilot for another TV show, I say, ‘Sharon, I’m a rock ’n’ roller. I didn’t join a band in 1968 to be a weather reporter on the six o’clock news. I don’t want to know. Leave me out of it.’ The only good thing about the show is that Sharon got a career out of it. (Sharon Osbourne announced that The Osbournes will be returning to our TV screens on VH1 in the