Osbourne was speaking, along with his wife Sharon, about his career on Rick Rubin’s Broken Record podcast, which you can hear here.
Towards the end of his interview with Rubin, Osbourne reflected on the success of Black Sabbath — who bowed out for good in 2017 following a farewell tour — and took time to appraise his bandmates.
“Geezer’s [Butler] a great, great lyricist. [And as a bassist], nobody can touch him,” Osbourne said. “Bill [Ward], in his day, was a great drummer. Tony [Iommi], he’s always gonna be the greatest — no one can touch him.
“And actually, to this day, I still don’t understand how he plays guitar, ’cause he’s got no fingertips; he plays with plastic fingers.”
Continuing to speak about Iommi, Osbourne praised the guitarist for how he dealt with the early stages of his lymphoma diagnosis shortly after Black Sabbath announced their reunion in 2011.
“I mean, there is a man,” Ozzy said about Iommi. “When he got diagnosed with cancer, he just dealt with it. That’s him. I’m going [imitates crying sound], and he’s, like, ‘Whatever I have to do.’ He’s like that. He’s always been like that. Very calm.
“He was the band, really,” Osbourne added. “We were all part of the band, but he was the most irreplaceable one out of all of us.”
Osbourne then revealed that he still feels “intimidated” by Iommi.
“People will say to me, ‘Why did you always sing on the side of the stage?’ I don’t fucking know. I don’t know,” he said. “It’s just fear, I suppose. ‘Cause Tony, he’s one of the few people who could walk into this room right now and I would fucking feel intimidated.
“He intimidates the fuck out of me — and he knows it.”
Last week, Osbourne fronted a new campaign for PETA which is urging cat owners to not declaw their pets.