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1.2b Ozzy in Approach


This article is from the The Osbourne FAQ, by Mike L. with numerous contributions by others.

1.2b Ozzy in Approach

An old aquantaince of Ozzy's named Jeff Hibbard sent me his story on his
time spent with Ozzy. I'm reprinting the article as it was published from
"Swinging in the 60's" by Dave Reeves. Jeff has a webpage here where you
can find the article too. http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Aegean/4974/

Unfortunately Jeff doesn't have any recordings with Ozzy, I already asked.

"Alright mate?", I said to this mechanic who has come from another
garage to collect some spare parts from us. He used to come on a
regular basis for parts. He said he played in a band. He played bass
guitar and there was also a lead guitar and a singer. "We practise in
a cellar below this church up the road from Witton Island."

"Oh, really" said I, "I've got a guitar. Don't play much really , but
I like it though." "What guitar you got ?" said he. "Oh it's a Vox"
said I. "Fancy joining our band? Said he "Yeah! " said I. That was
it, I was in a group.

The next time I meet him is in the concrete cellar. "Alright mate ?"
"Alright Jeff ?" "Yeah!" "This is the lead guitarist." "Alright mate?"
"Alright Jeff?" "Yeah!" "And this is the singer, Ozzy." "Alright Jeff
?" "Alright Ozzy?" They both have smart guitars; Ozzy just has a
michrophone and they all play through one amplifier. A small
combination guitar amp. There isn't a drummer or a P.A. system.

The lead shows me how to play bar chords. I pick them up pretty quick,
and we are soon playing as one, all those soul songs, but still
drummerless. I think the idea
is to get a drummer when we get somewhere larger to play. This place
is OK. It has a concrete floor and ceiling and square supporting
columns with a wider square at the bottom which could serve as
seats. The winter draws closer though and there's no heating in
here. Some nights I can hardly play because my fingers are so
cold. We play away as Ozzy launches into Midnight Hour, and sings for
all he was worth, and worth all he was singing for. My fingers are
hurting and Ozzy's breath is freezing as it leaves his mouth.

Last time we practiced here, we shared our cellar with another group,
probally to cut the cost. The one guitarist works at Music Exchange at
Snow Hill; he's the one who sold me this amp, and guitar I've
bought.When I tried them out at the shop, I asked him if he played. He
said "Oh no, I don't play." And there he is playing in a
group. Bleeding liar! Why do they do that?

Anyway, we picked Ozzy up tonight in the van from his house in Lodge
Road. Yeah! Our van with the name of the group, The Approach,
written on both sides. Funny that, Ozzy lives in Lodge Road and we
live in Witton Lodge Road. That kid lives next door but one to me,the
kid who taught me my first guitar piece. And over the road lives
another kid who plays the drums. I think his name is Bill Ward.

We have fun in that van. We were driving through Erdington on Saturday
and the lads were shouting to the girls "Drop your lingerie!". I
shouted "Drop your laundry!" "What did you say?" says Ozzy. "Drop
your laundry" said I. I think I get the words mixed up sometimes! Ozzy
has a funny way with words too. "Go on Ozz, make us laugh."
"OK. Brass Boots, Hot pumps, Brass Boots, Hot Pumps." We all laugh. We
trundle up Perry Common Road then in our van, drop me off first, then
I say "OK, lads, see you at the next practice".

Moms quite proud. She tells everyone, "Oh, our Jeff's in a group, you
know." She likes to see the van with The Approach written on the
sides. Ozzy's Mom always waves us off from their house. She stands on
the doorstep. "Hey Mom! Did I tell you what Ozzy did the other night?"
"Whats that, Jeff ?" says Mom. "Oh, he got drunk at the Aston Hotel,
upstairs, and fell down the stairs and nearly crashed through a
stained glass window.""The kids drink too much today" says Dad. Well,
he came to practice the other week with his arm in bandages.`Must have
been fighting.

"Hey! Guess what? We've got a better place to play." "Where's that,
Jeff ?" Underwood School, in their hall, on the Lyndhurst
Estate. It's quite new. If we're gonna play louder, Ozzy's gonna need
a P.A. system. So me and Ozzy went up town today, to George Clays on
Broad Street. I bought a Vox Conqueror, a piggy back amp, and a
speaker on chrome swivel stands. Ozz bought a Vox P. A. system and
microphone. 0zzy doesn't use a stand.

Along with the new place of practice, came a drummer. He left after a
while and was quickly replaced. Ozzy looks smart, standing there, out
front, microphone in hand, with his shiny suit on and short hair. He
launches into Knock On Wood.

"Hey lads! Did I tell you about that kid? He came to our house on
Saturday night." "Oh, him." "Yeah! He only wanted to borrow me new
amp." "Who for?" said Ozz. "For that new group who play in
Erdington." "What group?" "I think they are called The Idle Race" "Oh,
them! Yeah! The singers called Jeff Lyne. Anyway, did you lend it to
him?" "No" said I, "I axed Dad and he said "No, son, it's not paid

Here we are again practicing. The surroundings are better but this
group thing is becoming more like a job. My hands aren't cold anymore
and there's Mom and Dad standing in the doorway. I told them to drop
by. I look across and they smile and wave, I smile back. Ozz doesn't
bat an eyelid. He always looks straight ahead,
microphone in hand. Gone are the days and nights at the little church
where we began with one amplifier, one microphone, and three
guitars. Gone are the nights outside the Curry Shop after practice,
standing there under the street lamp with a carton of Chinese curry

We start to learn a new song tonight, it's called Purple Haze, by that
coloured guy. It's a strange song-strange words, strange sounds from
that guitar. Its sticks out like a sore thumb amongst all the soul
songs we play. I find I can play some of the lead, the bass doesn't
like it. "You're the rhythm, play rhythm" says he. People are coming
into the hall to ask us to play at their weddings and parties. The
bass tells them "No! We're not ready yet". I have to stand next to
this guy through each and every song. We should be playing to
people. That's why we do it. There's no applause. Things are changing
or is it me?

I sense some rebellion in them veins again. We finish the set we have
worked on for months. I take my guitar off, place it against the amp,
and walk towards the toilets. The bass follows me. He stops me, looks
me in the eyes and says, "The groups splitting". Ozzy follows the
lead. He must be telling him. I couldn't believe it. "Don't cry" the
bass says. It's alright for you I thought, you're almost out of these
teenage years . I ain't too bothered about you, the drummer ain't been
with us too long, the leads a lot older than me, but I'll miss the
singer, he's dedicated.

I'll probably never see him again, that Ozzy Osbourne.


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