Today's New York Post reports that everyone's favorite mumbler Ozzy Osbourne has filed a lawsuit against his old Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi for what he claims is Iommi's illegal filing of solo ownership of the Black Sabbath name with the US Patent and Trademark Office. The Oz man wants a 50 percent interest in the "Black Sabbath" trademark, along with a portion of Iommi's profits from use of the name.
No question this comes at a difficult time for the patriarch of the Osbourne clan, what with daughter Kelly recently emerging from yet another rehab stint (for what were described as "personal issues"), and the family's Osbournes Reloaded variety show being cancelled after a single episode.
Then again, maybe it was wife Sharon's idea for the Osbournes to be the suer rather than the sueee for once. After all, she herself has just gotten hit with a lawsuit for "battery, negligence, and infliction of emotional distress" by former Rock of Love: Charm School contestant Megan Hauserman after an ugly (and wet) hair-pulling incident on Osbourne' s TV show.
We must admit, though, that is a bit disheartening to have Ozzy, in the lawsuit, assert in writing that his "signature lead vocals" are largely responsible for the band's "extraordinary success," noting that its popularity plummeted during his absence from 1980 through 1996. Perhaps this all happened because Ozzy happened to read (or maybe Sharon read to him?) a recent interview that Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler gave to Decibel magazine in which they noted how much "easier" it was working with their new band Heaven And Hell's vocalist (and onetime Ozzy Sab frontman successor) Ronnie James Dio.
"Ronnie's a songwriter in his own right--he's got tons of ideas," said Butler. "Whereas Ozzy...in the old days, he'd come up with a vocal line and I'd write the lyrics. If we were with Ozzy 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...That's why it was so bloody hard to write anything."
Where the Sab suit will go is anyone's guess, of course. Late Friday, Osbourne released a statement defending his actions and saying that, even though he was suing for 50 percent, "Morally and ethically the trademark should be owned by the four of us equally"--meaning him, Iommi, Butler and drummer Bill Ward.
It is significant, though, that Geezer Butler did use the words "Ozzy" and "thinks" in the same sentence. If I were Ozzy's lawyer, I'd jump all over that one--at least until Stan Lee decides to sue all of them for "Iron Man."