In an interview with Decibel (via Blabbermouth), former Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler and guitarist Tony Iommi dissed their former frontman while describing the differences between the original Black Sabbath and Heaven & Hell, a group that has performed on and off as Black Sabbath, but with Ronnie James Dio singing: “If we were with Ozzy [Osbourne] and I came in with the killer riff of all time, Ozzy wouldn’t even think of doing it because I’m not the guitarist and that’s the way he thinks,” said Butler, adding, “Because I’m not a guitarist, he felt I shouldn’t be playing guitar. That’s why it was so bloody hard to write anything.”
We can think of a couple other reasons it’s hard to write a song with Ozzy, but let’s let Tony Iommi jump on the pig pile first: “With Ozzy, we didn’t really know,” he said. “It was touch and go sometimes on some of those early shows, whether he was gonna turn up, if he’d be able to sing, if his voice was gone, or what… We’d have to cancel shows, which Geezer and myself really hated. But with Ronnie [James Dio], we’ve never cancelled a show.”
I don’t think anyone has ever claimed Ozzy is easy to work with, so that takes some of the edge off their comments, but it’s kind of funny how older rock stars still squabble like teenagers in a garage band.
They’re probably just trying to market the group as “Black Sabbath, only better” to promote their forthcoming debut The Devil You Know. Ozzy’s got that variety show and a gazillion dollars, so he probably won’t mind being upstaged by Dio for a bit.