The legend of Black Sabbath runs deep. From biting off bat's heads to snorting lines of ants to pissing on the Alamo, the band's frontman Ozzy Osbourne has some of the craziest stories in the history of rock and roll. Perhaps one of his funniest drugged-out moments just came to light in the new issue of Classic Rock, which revisits Black Sabbath's chaotic heyday and the making of the 1972 classic Vol. 4. In the interview, Osbourne also opened up about the time he realized he had to give up LSD: After having an hour-long conversation with a horse, Louder Sound reports.
It wasn't during the Vol. 4 sessions, but this moment also occurred in the early '70s. Osbourne remembers: “At that time in America, people were very fond of lacing your drinks with acid," says Ozzy. "I didn’t care. I used to swallow handfuls of tabs at a time. The end of it came when we got back to England. I took 10 tabs of acid then went for a walk in a field. I ended up standing there talking to this horse for about an hour. In the end the horse turned round and told me to fuck off. That was it for me."
The members of Black Sabbath were fond of psychedelics and have opened up about their experiences with them. In 2017 drummer Bill Ward told Metal Hammer, "It’s interesting to talk about the phenomena of LSD when you’re playing in front of 25-30,000 people, but in hindsight I was taking huge risks with not only my performance but the entire performance."
Then, in 2020 bassist Geezer Butler told Metal Hammer about his first trip, saying, "I thought I was a skeleton. I got in the van and they all went ‘What’s wrong with you?’ I said ‘Can’t you see? I’m a skeleton!’ We were driving along and there was a park on the side of us with all these flowers in it, and I thought the flowers were trying to get into the van. I went onstage and thought it was on a boat and the crowd were waves. It was horrendous. I was watching my hand playing the songs and I thought it wasn’t connected to my body. Scary."
Guitarist Tony Lommi also had an acid revelation to share. He told Classic Rock that he had the worst time on LSD. "I hate being out of control. With cocaine, I felt I was in control, I knew what was going on. But acid… I was in America in the early 70s, and I had a terrible headache, and this girl said she had a couple of pills for it. And she gave me some acid. Bloody hell, I didn’t know what hit me! Thank God the rest of the band came and sat in my room and calmed me down. I was gonna jump out the window!"
LSD is great! It's one of the best drugs around in moderation. But drugging someone who doesn't understand how powerful psychedelics can be is evil. Drugging someone — period — is wrong. If the members of Black Sabbath can barely handle being drugged, then no one else can. So don't do it — and don't peer pressure your friends to take psychedelics if they don't want to, either.
The '70s were wild. LSD was new, and psychedelics were having their first renaissance. And Black Sabbath was undoubtedly a part of it. The making of Vol. 4 will always be a part of the psychedelic rock history canon. How could it not be? As Osbourne recalls, "We lived together in a house in Los Angeles, rehearsed there, did loads of drugs, and made an album: simple," says Ozzy. "Those were good times."
Good times and good tunes, indeed.