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Ozzy Osbourne Bit the Head Off a Live Bat and Snorted a Line of Ants

Nikola Budanovic
PHoto by Focka. CC BY-ND 2.0
PHoto by Focka. CC BY-ND 2.0

Ozzy Osbourne, the Godfather of Heavy Metal and the Prince of Darkness of Rock’n’Roll has been a controversial figure of the music scene, known for unpredictable stage gimmicks and even more unpredictable off-stage disasters.

Often accused of promoting Satanism, inciting suicides and violence through his music, and generally being a bad influence on kids, Osbourne had built a reputation which followed him throughout his career. This rock and roll “enfant terrible” attracted criticism of various parents and religious groups.

Ozzy Osbourne, Prince of Darkness, at the I Am Ozzy book signing at Changing Hands, Tempe Arizona, February 20, 2010.

Ozzy Osbourne, Prince of Darkness, at the I Am Ozzy book signing at Changing Hands, Tempe Arizona, February 20, 2010.

Even though the singer has led a more quiet lifestyle during the past decade, confirming his retirement through an MTV-produced reality show, The Life of Oz, some of his all-time weirdest actions have gone into legend, spawning a number of other, hard-to-believe stories involving Osbourne in situations which would make your stomach turn.

During their height of popularity in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the members of Black Sabbath were well-known for consuming incredible amounts of narcotics and alcohol, while playing never-ending tours across the world.

Osbourne (bottom left) with Black Sabbath in 1972.

Osbourne (bottom left) with Black Sabbath in 1972.

Fueled by drugs, while being exhausted by lack of sleep and stress, they’ve become a sort of a rock’n’roll stereotype of the era ― constantly shifting between drunkenness and hangover, and above all involved in eccentric and ludicrous endeavors. They attracted fans all over the world who were hungry for more of their exploits in trashing hotel rooms or simply partying really hard.

Lead guitarist of the band, Tony Iommi, mentioned for the press on one occasion that during the hell raising days of the band, Ozzy brought a real shark corpse to his hotel room.

Black Sabbath in 1970. From left to right: Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi, Bill Ward, Ozzy Osbourne.

Black Sabbath in 1970. From left to right: Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi, Bill Ward, Ozzy Osbourne.

“With drugs always you get bored, so you must do something to one another. Like Ozzy hauling a shark through a window, dismembering it and soaking our room in blood.”

If this doesn’t justify various the sinister nicknames which the singer acquired during years of continuous debauchery, another anecdote dating back to a 1982 concert in Des Moines, Iowa certainly does. During those years Osbourne was probably at the height of his drug abuse, often losing contact with reality.

Tony Iommi and Ozzy Osbourne on stage at Kooyong Stadium in Melbourne, Australia on 13 January, 1973. Photo by Padgett22 CC BY-SA 3.0

Tony Iommi and Ozzy Osbourne on stage at Kooyong Stadium in Melbourne, Australia on 13 January, 1973. Photo by Padgett22 CC BY-SA 3.0

In such a fragile state, however, he was still able to deliver a rocking performance. At one point someone from the audience threw a real, live bat at him. The singer caught the bat, believing that it was, in fact, a toy or some kind of replica.

Well, needless to say, Ozzy was wrong.

He realized what he had done just moments after he bit off the bat’s head, just as the helpless animal reacted in desperation by biting Osbourne’s tongue. Afterward, the singer was treated for rabies, while coping with the idea that he accidentally chewed off the head of a live bat on stage.

Ozzy didn’t realize it was a real animal until the bat bit his tongue.

Ozzy didn’t realize it was a real animal until the bat bit his tongue.

However, this wasn’t the first time that Black Sabbath frontman showed such vicious behavior. Just a year prior to this particular incident, Ozzy Osbourne bit of the heads off two doves ― this time intentionally ― during a promotion of his solo album, Blizzard of Ozz, released by CBS Records.

Apparently, the mixture of alcohol and boredom were the cause of this violent excess, as a CBS PR woman had irritated the singer during the promotion. Drunk and obviously displeased with the way his promotion was going, Ozzy asked the woman if she likes animals.

Abandoned Aerosmith tour van

After she replied “Yes,” he grabbed a dove that was there to add to the dramatic effect, and bit its head off. He then proceeded to spit out the head and grabbing another dove, beheading it by using his teeth as well.

The PR woman was of course appalled, and Ozzy once again confirmed his aggressive and unpredictable nature. His cooperation with CBS, unsurprisingly, ended due to this incident.

Osbourne performing in Cardiff, Wales, in 1981. Photo by Andrew King CC BY-SA 2.0

Osbourne performing in Cardiff, Wales, in 1981. Photo by Andrew King CC BY-SA 2.0

Rating his actions from downright sinister to completely hilarious and insane, one might say that Ozzy had done it all.

Another example of his eccentric and mischievous behavior dates back to 1984 when he toured as a solo performer with Mötley Crüe.

Mötley Crüe had their own reputation of living the rock and roll high life and regularly raising havoc on tour. While Ozzy was a veteran, Mötley Crüe were still on their rise to fame ― or infamy.

Osbourne’s Diary of a Madman LP (bottom) on display at the Home of Metal Exhibition held at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery in his home city Birmingham, England. Photo by Greg Neate CC BY 2.0

Osbourne’s Diary of a Madman LP (bottom) on display at the Home of Metal Exhibition held at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery in his home city Birmingham, England. Photo by Greg Neate CC BY 2.0

When Ozzy approached Nikki Sixx, the Mötley Crüe bass player, asking for cocaine, Sixx replied he had none. Outraged and surprised, Osborne somehow managed to form a row of ants, to simulate a line of cocaine, and snort them into his nostrils, all to spite of Nikki Sixx, who simply observed the Prince of Darkness at work.

Since this story is mentioned in both the Mötley Crüe biography, The Dirt, and Ozzy’s own autobiography, I am Ozzy, it probably did happen. It sure sounds like something Ozzy Osbourne would do.

Osbourne’s star at the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles April 27, 2012.

Osbourne’s star at the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles April 27, 2012.

Nevertheless, people change with age. Among his most famous quotes there is one which directly refers to his controversial past, as the singer grew tired of his excessive lifestyle: “It’s all part of my journey ― I’ve done a lot of stupid things, but you learn by your mistakes.”

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Still, he will forever be remembered by what he considers “stupid things,” as they were the ones that launched him into the cult status which he enjoys today.