The Austin Chronicle

Memoir Suite

Rock & roll books from Austin to Beijing

Reviewed by Richard Whittaker, December 16, 2011, Music

Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven & Hell With Black Sabbath

by Tony Iommi
Da Capo, 416 pp., $26

Trust Me, I'm Dr. Ozzy: Advice From Rock's Ultimate Survivor

by Ozzy Osbourne, with Chris Ayres
Grand Central Publishing, 304 pp., $26.99

What kind of damn fool asks Ozzy Osbourne for medical advice? Somehow, heavy metal's imp of the perverse has penned a health and relationship column for Rolling Stone. Why? Because his failure to OD, explode, or get beaten to death by Shaaaaaron! makes him an expert – or at least a fascinating freak of nature. For the most part, his baffled charm shines in this collection, even if you can mark to the word where researcher/co-writer Chris Ayres knocks the keyboard out of his hands. But this is just one more volume in the ever-expanding Ozzy library: While the Prince of Darkness is a regular navel-gazer, his taciturn once and future bandmate Tony Iommi has rarely talked about his personal life. Even though the Black Sabbath story has been told to death and resurrection, no one knows it like the man behind the riffs. Cornerstone and constant default leader, his love-hate relationship with the original doom act and its revolving lineup is graced with a delicate ghostwriter's touch, as T.J. Lammers lets those soft Birmingham tones resonate. Both metal icons seem to have made some peace with their chaotic past. Ozzy has the good humor to know he's a terrible role model, but the unabashed hypochondriac has enough common sense to recommend seeing a good doctor once in a while. Iommi admits to being the asshole: the motivator who gave everyone a boot up the backside or out of the band as time and drugs required. As Ozzy proudly displays all his pain and neuroses, Iommi grits his teeth about his mutilated fingers, failed marriages, and broken bands.

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