Ozzy still screaming out loud

Ozzy Osbourne (WENN.COM file photo)

Ozzy Osbourne (WENN.COM file photo)

JANE STEVENSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:18 AM ET

It really should come as no surprise that British heavy metal kingpin Ozzy Osbourne -- aka The Prince Of Darkness -- takes on Jesus Christ on a new song called Diggin' Me Down.

The track, featured on Osbourne's new studio album Scream, which goes on sale Tuesday, finds Ozzy singing:

"You're just a self-made messiah, selling brimstone and fire,

"So c'mon Jesus, don't keep us waiting just for you,

"How will I know you Mr. Jesus Christ? Have you already been here once or twice?

"The son of man or obsolete facade. How will I know that you're the son of God?"

For his part, Osbourne says he has never backed down from controversy over his 40-year career with Black Sabbath and as a solo artist. This is the guy who bit the head off a bat in concert and publicly urinated on a cenotaph opposite the Alamo, after all.

"That's what I've always done, and why should I change it now?" said Osbourne, 61, in a recent chat with QMI Agency at a Toronto hotel.

"What that (song asks) is, 'How bad does it have to get before (Jesus returns)? If he's not coming now, what the f--- have we got to do? A nuclear war every hour? I mean, how many people have died for their religion and how many still are? I'm going to Israel this year. I'm quite interested to go because (there are) Christians and Muslims and Jewish people all in the same area. And if they can't get on, what chance has anybody got? Too many religions but only one God."

In Birmingham, England, Osbourne was one of six children raised Anglican.

"I wasn't religious in the sense that I went to church all the time," he said. "I'd go now and again ... But Sundays were boring back then, there was nothing to do. So I could go to the Sunday school, just to do something. But most of my friends were Catholics and I used to get pissed off 'cause they'd have holidays from school when I had to go. And I used to get really upset about that."

Controversial subject matter aside, Scream gets a lot of energy and vitality from Osbourne's new guitarist -- Gus G, a Greek-born, fast-fingered player who replaces longtime on-off Ozzie guitarist Zakk Wilde, of Black Label Society.

"Zakk was just helping me out for a while, he's got his own band, he doesn't need me," said Osbourne, who will headline Ozzfest this summer, for which there are no Canadian dates so far.

"He's got Black Label Society. He's a road dog. He's on the road all the time. When I told him I wanted to get a permanent guitar player, he said, 'Go.' We haven't fallen out, at all."

Osbourne says he attended the auditions for a new guitar player once it got down to about 10.

"He's a great little guitar player," said Osbourne of Gus G. "He just stood out. What really impressed me about him is he plays all the old stuff as it was. You get guys come in, and go, 'It'd be better if you played it in this key.' People get too clever and they give themselves a boot out of the position. You get Gus along and he played as it was. I think he did a good job on this album but I think on the next album I'm really excited to work with him. Because (Canadian producer) Kevin (Churko) and I basically put the foundation down, and he just filled the holes."

It sure sounds like Osbourne is ready to make another record with Gus G, but he says the proof will be how the guitarist works out on the road.

"You never know," Osbourne said. "You live with them more than you do your family when you're touring. I've had some wild (experiences). I've had people suddenly found God halfway through the tour. 'Oh, God, here we go.' 'I don't like inverted crucifixes on a T-shirt.' And I go, 'Are we a fashion show or what?' I've had it all over the years. I've had a lot of crazy stuff."

In an interview with USA Today in 2008, Osbourne said he would retire after making two more records -- which would mean Scream is his penultimate studio album -- but that's something he now regrets saying.

"You've got to be careful what you say in this world, because it'll come back to kick you in the pants," he said.

"Sharon gave me the year off and when I retired before, you've got to have something to retire to. You can't just go, 'I'm wealthy, I've got a house here, and a house there, and a car here, and a car there.' And you drive around the house and you drive around the streets, you drive around a few things, and then what? One thing I learned was, you've got to have something to retire to. My father got early retirement, he died a year after. The routine that we build ourselves into is our mechanism, and once you throw a spanner in the works, you throw it off."

Ozzy inspired by Latimer story

Ozzy Osbourne says he was inspired by the real-life 1993 mercy killing committed by Saskatchewan farmer Robert Latimer on the song Latimer's Mercy, from his new studio album Scream.

Poisoning

Latimer was convicted of killing his cerebral-palsy-afflicted teenaged daughter by carbon monoxide poisoning. Ozzy found out about the case from his Canadian producer Kevin Churko, who hails from the Prairie province.

"He was telling me about him one day," Osbourne said. "(The song's) not saying anything, really, but I was reading a thing about it one time and I asked myself, 'What would I do?' I asked myself the question. 'If I had something like that happen, what would I do as a parent?'

"It's a very tough decision ... You're actually killing your own child... I'm glad I'm not in that position. I'm not saying he's innocent. I'm not saying he's guilty. It's a very, very tough one."


Videos

Photos