New York — Heavy metal vocalist Ozzy Osbourne is dressed in a blue pinstriped suit with his eyes ghoulishly covered in black mascara. It's a look that crosses business with shock rock.
"If I want to wear a pinstriped suit, I wear one. Nobody tells me how to dress," the 51-year-old singer said.
Osbourne was one of the original members of Black Sabbath. During the early '70s, the band's exploits became synonymous with the hard-rock lifestyle of all-night parties, groupies and exhausting tour schedules. He left in 1978 to form his own band.
One of his most notorious stunts was biting off a bat's head during a 1982 concert in Des Moines, Iowa. It wasn't planned. Osbourne thought it was a rubber toy a fan had tossed onstage.
"No matter what achievements I make in my career, I will always be known as the guy who bit the bat's head off," he says. "Even the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame considers my career a joke because of it."
In 1996, Osbourne launched Ozzfest, heavy metal's answer to Lollapalooza. The bands on this year's tour include Pantera, Godsmack, Static-X, Incubus, Methods of Mayhem and P.O.D.
What they play is not necessarily music to Osbourne's ears.
"There's nothing wrong with the stuff they play, but I could never sing like that," said Osbourne, referring to the singers' growling tones. "I like some melody in my music."
Ozzfest's final date is Sept. 2 in San Bernadino, Calif. The questions below came from an interview with Osbourne:
How have you maintained your success?
I can't explain it, I'm not the greatest singer in the world. ... The fans have always supported me all these years. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't have a career.
How would you describe Ozzfest?
Ozzfest is the alternative to alternative music. It's where heavy bands can get recognition. It's the meat and potatoes of all package tours. I try to put together a show that's entertaining to the kids. They work hard to save for the tickets, and I want to give them the best performance I can.