News Segment


February 20, 2004

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Apparently invincible, heavy metal rocker Ozzy Osbourne said on Friday he would resume performing in the summer, even as he recovers from a near-fatal accident that left him in a coma late last year.

Osbourne, 55, will headline the ninth annual Ozzfest touring festival, which features more than a dozen hard rock acts, he and his wife/manager, Sharon, who organize the profitable event, said at a news conference.

Sporting a neck brace, Osbourne denied wild reports that a team of paramedics and a mobile surgery would be standing by at the side of the stage should anything happen.

“Number one, I’m not gonna die; I’m gonna make the tour,” he said. “I’m not dead. I’m ready to rock, man.”

Asked what medications the famously pharmaceuticals-friendly rocker was taking, his wife interrupted to say, “As much as he can.”

Osbourne crashed his four-wheel all-terrain vehicle, or quad bike, on Dec. 8 at his estate in Buckinghamshire in southern England. The bike flipped over and landed on him, leaving him with fractures in eight ribs and a vertebra.

He had expressed fears, as recently as this week, that he might never perform again, but seemed a little taken aback when reporters asked about his health.

Ozzfest, which will play 26 venues across the United States, begins in Hartford, Connecticut on July 10 and wraps in West Palm Beach, Florida on Sept. 10.

The main lineup features such headbanging favorites as Judas Priest, Slayer and Slipknot. Representatives of several of the acts were at the news conference, all dressed appropriately in black.

“It’s harder than hard, and my God, is it ugly,” Sharon Osbourne said of the testosterone-fueled lineup.

Asked about the absence of more melodic, alternative rock acts, she said, “We’re not gay!”

As the laughter died down, Rob Halford, the openly homosexual frontman for English heavy metal veterans Judas Priest piped up behind her, “I am.”

“And proud,” Sharon Osbourne said amid the renewed merriment.

The roster does include one female, Cristina Scabbia, the seductive singer with Italian metal band Lacuna Coil.

“I will keep my femininity, but I will be happy to share the energy and the passion,” Scabbia said.

Brooke Donald courtesy of Reuters