The latest artist announced to join Guitar Hero World Tour? Ozzy Osbourne. He and guitarist Zakk Wylde will appear in the game, due this fall, as will songs such as Crazy Train and Mr. Crowley. Those songs will be playable in a virtual Ozzfest venue. Osbourne chatted on the phone — just days before this year's Ozzfest Saturday in Dallas — with me about video games and technology.
Q: So you are going to be in a video game?
A: Yeah. I've been involved with it for quite a while. They (Activision) liked my music and I have a big young following, I've been told. I'm from the old school. I don't own a computer. I just got an iPod that I've organized. I have got to learn how to turn it on. That's about it, you know. I can't download. I can't do any load.
Q: So it's really you in the game, right?
A: I had to put on this black suit with all these little ping-pong ball-like things all over me, motion capture. I had to dance around like I'm on stage when one of my songs are on. I don't really know how it works, but I have seen a run of it. It is really interesting. The image of me, I wish I had the energy it has. The graphics are really, really good.
Q: What do you think of these video games as a way for music lovers to interact with music?
A: The music thing is OK, but there are so many other video games. Like I went "wow" at the one with carjacking and all of that. Some desensitize kids, you know. It's a changing time. Of course, I used to see horror films when I was a kid and to lie that you were over 16 to get in.
My son Jack, he won't return your call. You have to text him. I have a cellphone, but I can't say I'm in love with the thing. You have to be pretty bright to keep up with the changes, and just when you learn something, it's time to learn something else.
Q: Do you see video games as a good way for musicians to get their music heard?
A: I guess it is. The download epidemic has killed record sales. It's kind of like the new thing to do, I suppose, because it's one way of getting your music to kids and keeps the tours going. I used to make a record, and more or less it would sell a million and it would go a while, you know. Now, it's like you get 750,000 or 800,000 and it slows down. For every one you sell, 10 get downloaded. But it's technology. You ain't gonna stop it now.
Q: Anything new you can tell me about your upcoming Osbournes' TV project (a six-episode hourlong variety show on Fox)?
A: There's a word that scares me a little (used to describe the new show), the word "variety." If we do a Christmas show, believe me, I'm not going to be sitting at a cozy fire with a scarf on and singing, "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas." I'm making that perfectly clear right now. I'm not singing any (crappy) little f—-ing Christmas songs.
It's kind of like an unscripted (thing). I hope it turns out because Mama, Sharon, is kind of the TV person. She said it would be great if we could all get back together and put this thing on. You know what? OK. We nearly lost her a few years ago when she had cancer. So her passion is for TV. She loves it, so we all love it with her, you know. But I'm not going to become the weatherman or the next Larry King. I'm just going to check it out.
Q: Can you say anything about next year's Ozzfest? (This year's is a one-off concert with Metallica and System of a Down Saturday in Dallas).