Rudy Sarzo recently gave an interview to Yahoo Entertainment, in which he recalled his time working with Ozzy Osbourne. The bassist also talked about the well-known dove incident and said it happened by accident.
As you probably know, Ozzy Osbourne has had a troubled history with animals as he grabbed front-page headlines with several infamous incidents. He once bit a bat’s head off while on stage and even snorted a line of ants when he ran out of cocaine in another incident. Another infamous one was the dove-decapitating incident at CBS Records in March 1981.
Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne were there to attend a meeting. The rocker had actually planned to release doves in the air as a symbol of peace, but instead, he grabbed one of the doves and bit his head off. Osbourne was completely drunk at the time when he did that. The rest of the people at the meeting were quite shocked by his unexpected behavior.
During the interview, Rudy Sarzo talked about this incident in detail and said that the tradition of throwing animals on stage started after it. Sarzo explained that Ozzy got tired of waiting to do the photo opp they had scheduled. As it turns out, he put the dove in his mouth after one of the assistants eventually came in and exclaimed how sweet it was that Ozzy had doves. Osbourne hadn’t planned it in advance but waiting and being called ‘sweet’ seem to have really triggered him.
Rudy Sarzo speaking on the dove-decapitating incident:
“Yeah, that was the very beginning, but that happened by accident. I had just joined the band that day. Things happened really quickly back then; by the time that I got the audition and joined the band, we had 10 days to hit the road. So, the story is that Ozzy and Sharon, they go to the CBS/Columbia Records office in Los Angeles to do the promotion.
But Adam Ant was like the big thing then, and he was in the building at the same time, so nobody was paying attention to Ozzy at all. So, Ozzy had brought a couple of those doves for the photo session, just as a gesture of goodwill. This is what goes on in Ozzy’s mind! He’s got the doves in his jacket — he had two, and he forgot about the second one, but that’s another story.”
He continued saying:
“He’s sitting there and nobody is coming in to do a photo opp with Ozzy in this office, so Sharon goes out there. Again, this is 40-years-ago Sharon, not the Sharon that we know today. This is Sharon-in-the-making. So, she goes out there, grabs one of the assistants, and brings her in for the photo opp with Ozzy. Ozzy is sitting right next to her on the edge of the sofa, and you see — there’s a series of about four photos of this — the reaction of this lady to Ozzy holding the dove.
She’s like, ‘Oh, that’s sweet, he’s got a dove.’ And then he puts it in his mouth, and she’s going, ‘Oh, no, he’s not going to do that…’ And then it’s Ozzy ripping the head off of this poor bird, and she’s like, ‘I can’t believe this!’ It’s like a sequence of emotions that she goes through. It was not really planned to happen that way, but it did. And it just started the whole ball rolling for Ozzy.”
Later on, during the conversation, Sarzo also revealed what happened to the second dove. Apparently, it couldn’t avoid sharing the same fate with the other one. Sarzo recalled that Ozzy bit the bird’s head off again in front of him, which left him speechless.