Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on May 17th 2007 5:00PM by Steve Baltin
What was different about making the new album?
I had a Pro Tools studio built in my guest house at our house in Beverly Hills. It was always my desire to own my own studio. When you have your own studio you can start, stop, start, stop and it's still the same studio. And if it takes a week to get one thing, fine. If it takes two hours, fine. Saying that, I also had to tackle it clean and sober. And I used to think, "I've lost my edge. I don't know how the f*** I'm going to come up with anything clean." I found a friend who's got over 20 years sober and he says, "Don't be afraid to ask. If you don't know what to do, ask someone."
Was there a turning point with this record where you realized you could do it clean and sober?
People often say to me, "Which is your favorite song? Which is your favorite album?" When they mention an album's name, I don't think of the album as such. I remember what kind of mental state I was in; whether I was happy, miserable, pissed off at the guy I was working with. Most of them have a stamp in my head, but some of them I was too f**ked up to realize. There was a time when drugs and alcohol were OK, but then I got out of control. And I wouldn't get a buzz. I'd just go nearly f***ing flatline before I'd stop. So I've now realized that making records is brave. The thing that most people have, believe it or not, who like to rely on drugs and alcohol is fear. I don't play an instrument so I have to go, like, "I thought of this riff last night." It's very humiliating.
Well, because one of the other guys would help me -- such as [Osbourne's late guitarist] Randy Rhoads. When I had the melody for 'Goodbye to Romance,' he was staying at my house for a while when we first got together, early, early '80s. I was walking around the house and I kept humming this melody, and he goes, "You keep singing that song and it sticks in my head. Is it someone else's song." I go, "No, it's just a melody I've got in my head." He goes, "Tell you what: Let's sit down and try and work it out." So we worked on it for a bit as I remember, and he says, "It would be better if you sang it in this key," and he played it. He helped me, whereas there are other people who go, "Oh, I don't know what you're trying to say," 'cause all they're interested is getting the rock stuff. They need the f***ing song and they'll kind of steal your idea and make it your own.
But going back to the 'Black Rain' album, people go, "Why do you call the album 'Black Rain?'" I was watching a documentary on the first atomic blast on people in Hiroshima, and when it all blew up and vaporized people it sucked all of the ashes up into the cloud, which then turned into acid rain and it came down black. I thought, "F***ing hell, that's a good name for an album." Watching TV now and these documentaries that I watch it's a good way to get depressed.
Ozzy in Pictures
What was the first song written for this record?
'Civilized Universe.' I didn't do all the lyrics. Kevin [Churko, 'Black Rain' co-songwriter, co-producer and engineer] and I were bouncing it off, and it was good. What really amazes me, is people go, "Oh, Ozzy, I guess the politicians are getting through to you." "Well, have you ever heard the album 'Paranoid'?" Half of that is about military madness. 'War Pigs,' and all this, 'cause in my Sabbath years, because we were called Black Sabbath, everything was about the devil and the dark side. There were a few things that used that reference, but we wrote about all kinds of things. Drugs we wrote about; cocaine and pot, 'Sweet Leaf,' 'Snowblind.' And we wrote about the Vietnam War, and people can't handle this thing about being called up to go and getting f***ed up by it. I don't go out much and I like to watch the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, A&E Channel, documentaries. So if something gets into my head, like, "Jesus Christ, I never knew that before," it'll get into my music.
How has the response to the album been?
I'm really psyched about the response to the album. It's been six years since the last album, and I really wondered not only if I could still deliver, were people really pissed off at me for doing the TV show? That TV show was totally unexpected. I was doing an interview with Greta Van Susteren a week or so ago -- I still at that point didn't realize or understand why it was such a success -- and she said to me, "Do you know why it was such a success?" I said, "Greta, I have got no idea." She said, "Because there was no bulls***." I thought, "Well, it's reality." You watch these reality things on the television, they ain't real. People used to think I was living in a f***ing mental asylum, which some days I feel like I am.
This is the first album since the TV show, which took you to a very different level of notoriety. How does it feel to be getting back to the music?
It really depends on whether they like my album or they don't, but everyone that's heard it loves it. But I'm the worst critic in the world. I have to let go at a certain point, because I'll be going, "F***, I should've done a repeat echo there or an extra line there." I'm still f***ing mixing the album every day. When I first finish an album I play it a lot, then I go, "F***, this is getting old." When I slow down the playing back to, like, one every three days, it's kind of like giving me a break from my head, 'cause I also suffer from perfectionism. But I have to let go, it's done, I've made the record, I'm happy with what I've done to a point. I have to start looking for the good bits instead of trying to find the bad.
How excited are you to have the new stuff to play on Ozzfest and also playing with all these young bands?
For a start, I think this is year 14 now, isn't it? Twelve or 14, I've lost count. When we first did it, Sharon tried to get me on Lollapalooza and they said, "It's across the board, but Ozzy's not viable anymore." And so she got pissed off and goes, "F*** them: We're gonna do our own festival." And I said, "Hang on, Sharon. Just slow down, babe." I said, "If you're gonna do that, fine. But let's just do a sample thing. If it does well, then we know what we're going to do." The first show just instantly picked up steam. I don't know what the magic was. I don't understand now, either. But it took off. And I said to Sharon last year, "What are we going to do for the next Ozzfest?" She goes, "I'm doing it for free." I said, "What?" She said, "Everyone gets greedy. Now it's got bigger and bigger fees." Plus, if you look at it realistically, it's a great launch pad for a band that wouldn't get any recognition. The success of the bands that played on Ozzfest and did good is quite a few now. I love it when I'll pass the torch on again.