Man In Black

Mojo, February 2017

Dave Grohl on the impact of a master frontman

"It's fascinating that the singer of the band that's known for being so dark and so evil could be so loveable. When I think of Ozzy I think of the famous photo of him on a toilet with a cigarette in his hand, his pants around his ankles, having a drink and, on his bare knees, are tattoos of smiley faces (laughs). This is the man who sings Sabbath Bloody Sabbath! Ozzy's personality and charisma shine through the darkness. His singing voice is very distinctive. His signature sound is a doubled vocal. He sings the line once and then sings it again and that creates the effect, almost like a phase or a flange. When he sings the line the second time they match up perfectly - not something everyone can do. He has this laser, crystal tone that can cut through the incredibly heavy music behind him.
  Ozzy is a huge Beatles fan and the amount of melody he included in this dark music was incredible. This sweet outer layer for something so explosive and sinister. His twisted, demonic teenage smile and the hair and the acne - all these things were important. The first time I heard Sabbath and saw a picture of them, I felt I knew them. I knew people exactly like them.
Kurt [Cobain] really liked Ozzy. Growing up in a town like Aberdeen [in Washington state] and hearing a band like Black Sabbath - it's a sweet release. Suddenly there's something outside your small-town world you can relate to - when you can hear that alienation in someone else's music. The first Nirvana record, Bleach, which I don't play on but I love, you listen to some of those songs and it's a guitar line, a bass line, a vocal and thundering drums. There's a lot of Black Sabbath in that, for sure."

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