Ozzy: Booze, Not Politics, Prevented Israeli Gigs

Ozzy Osbourne said that alcohol, not politics, has stopped him from playing in Israel until now.

Osbourne was in Israel this week as part of this year’s international tour, along with Soulfly and Korn. Tuesday’s performance will be his first ever in the Holy Land.

Asked why he hadn’t played in Israel before, the heavy metal rocker, known for decades of decadence and substance abuse, told reporters in Tel Aviv on Sunday: “I guess I was drunk for so many years.”

He said politics had nothing to do with it. “I try to stay away from politics. They don’t understand me and I don’t understand them,” he said, sitting next to his wife Sharon.

On Monday, Osbourne and his wife toured Jerusalem, including the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum, Israel’s Tourism Ministry said in a statement.

Pro-Palestinian activists in Europe and the U.S. have urged artists to boycott Israel to protest the country’s policies toward the Palestinians.

A number of performers, Elvis Costello and the Pixies, recently canceled shows here, angering local fans. Other artists, including Metallica, Elton John and Rihanna, have resisted boycott calls and played in Israel this year.

Osbourne, 61, pioneered heavy metal as front man for the band Black Sabbath.

Photo: AP Photo
Performing in Tel Aviv.

Songs like “Paranoid,” and “War Pigs,” with their dark lyrics and heavy guitar riffs changed rock and roll and inspired many bands. Osbourne left the band in the late 1970s and has been performing solo since.