22 December 2011

Ozzy: Rock Legend or Just a (Old) Man?

I have just watched the documentary "God Bless Ozzy Osbourne" which was apparently directed by his son Jack Osbourne. It has been characterised from monumental to insightful and generally received good reviews.

While watching it, I couldn't help but feel proud of myself for choosing to (still) listen to and admire such great rock legends as Ozzy, Lemmy, Keith Richards and many others. I don't know what it is about, but I have realised through the years what all heavy metal documentaries portray as the "heavy metal family" pride (well sort of). I mean, if somebody asked me, after watching the documentary with me, what I found fascinating and remarkable about the story and the rock legend in question, I would honestly go mad! Especially if they started arguing with me about the standard clichés of drug addiction in Rock N' Roll. Really, you can't see it?!
Still! Despite me going me(n)tal toward an unsuspecting bystander with probably a more objective critical view on things (and probably a keen interest in the "oh-so-mainstream-and-fashionable-pop-music" as well.....come on, you know I can't help it!), I kind of see it. I see IT! I see the great Ozzy Osbourne pissed by drugs and alcohol, a walking zombie and can't stop questioning my judgement. Are these the people I wish to call my "idols"?

(And just about now, all metal fans reading this would want to kick me in the head! But bear with me and my long train of thoughts!)

This epiphany surprised me and my overly critical mind which is narrow in terms of music. Although I hate drugs and generally whatever alters what it is a shitty yet beautiful reality, I can't just abandon my "metal family"! Mr. Osbourne was presented as a regretful rock legend, family man, human being.

And here comes my big Eureka moment! Ozzy Osbourne is actually an old man. Isn't he? Of course he is the Prince of Darkness, the Voice, the father of metal etc etc. But he is an old man. He's been a naive teenager, with low self-esteem, with family and personal issues, could not handle fame and fortune, a dysfunctional human being throughout his lifetime... Just like all of us?

My psychological background taught me that different people cope through different adaptive or maladaptive ways. He chose the second. And apparently he is still alive for some strange reason (genetics mostly!). He is portrayed as a winner, someone you should admire because he survived and is now sober. As soon as my other critical self turned to ask me (the musically narrow-minded self) "so what? there are lots of non-famous people out there overcoming the same issues" I nearly kicked me (my critical self) in the head too!

Sure there are people out there deserving great admiration. On the other hand, rock legends are ought to be happy and grateful right? They are wealthy and better off than a "normal" person. Not quite. Rock legends were led to believe they had money, led to believe they owned their music and the reasons for the ones that actually do have money are stupendous deals such as the Osbourne family reality show (something I wish not to get into!). My point is, Heavy Metal doesn't give the wealth that pop "music" provides it's puppies with.

I, therefore, feel proud to say I admire Mr. Osbourne and the gang. Because my dear friends, Ozzy and the gang are  just old men. Old men who overcame their maladaptive behaviours while still managing to work, while still creating rock history, while still entertaining with (a)live shows, all under the public eye, as openly and as honestly as they could, only to become the legends they are (and deserve to be) today. And the great thing is that they are still alive to tell their story!
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