Ex-OZZY OSBOURNE Bassist PHIL SOUSSAN Recalls Headlining Over METALLICA On 1986 Tour: 'We Just Saw Them Explode'

March 6, 2023

Back in 1986, Ozzy Osbourne embarked on "The Ultimate Sin" tour, with METALLICA in tow as the opening act. After supporting Ozzy for six months, METALLICA began a headlining tour in September of that year, but the trek was cut short due to the tragic death of METALLICA bassist Cliff Burton (the tour resumed in November 1986 after Jason Newsted joined the band).

During a new appearance on the "Scars And Guitars" podcast, bassist Phil Soussan, who was a member of Ozzy's band during "The Ultimate Sin" tour, reflected on the experience of sharing the stage with METALLICA. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I was familiar with [METALLICA], being a Brit, because they broke in Britain a long time before they broke in America, and so they were frequently in England. And at the time, I'll be honest with you, I was, like, 'Wow. This is kind of very out of left field'; it's very extreme compared to the sort of stuff that was mainstream. But it was cool. My friend, actually, a guy I grew up with in England, was Cliff's roadie; he was his tech. And we actually did a radio show together. Anyway, so later on there we are in the States.

"Ozzy had a reputation at the time that if you could open on an Ozzy tour, that was pretty much a guaranteed slam-dunk success move — whether it was going to be MÖTLEY CRÜE, whether it was going to be… And in this case, it was METALLICA," he continued. "And we just saw them explode. But we definitely had different audiences. If you went out there during the METALLICA show, then you'd see all these denim jackets in the front few rows. And then, all of a sudden, they stopped playing and the whole crew goes out on stage and they start changing all the gear around. And correspondingly, the audience, the entire first three rows would change to completely different-looking people. And it was, like, girls. I mean, it was undeniable what was going on."

METALLICA toured as an opening act for Ozzy while supporting its breakthrough album, "Master Of Puppets".

Back in 2008, METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich stated about Osbourne: "In 1986, Ozzy gave us our first break by taking us out on tour here in America, so whenever we get the call to play or hang together, of course, our response is, 'Fuck yeah! Just tell us when and where, and we'll be there."

During a recent interview with Gibson's "Icons", METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett said that touring with Ozzy nearly four decades ago was "huge," especially for Burton, who was also a huge SABBATH fan. "It really, really meant a lot — I think more to [Cliff] than anyone else," Kirk said. "And all he could talk about the entire time was BLACK SABBATH. During soundcheck, he was always playing SABBATH riffs in the hopes that he'd get Ozzy's attention. And I remember one time — what were we playing? Maybe [BLACK SABBATH's] 'Hole In The Sky' or maybe 'Symptom Of The Universe' or something during soundcheck. And all of a sudden, out in front of the stage there's Ozzy with a big ole smile, going, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah!' And oh my god, it was amazing for us to be acknowledged by Ozzy during that soundcheck. And I remember looking over at Cliff, and Cliff just had the biggest smile. Whenever he's happy, he'd do the slow-motion walk. But whenever he could, he'd always mention BLACK SABBATH to Ozzy and he would always try to get Ozzy to talk about SABBATH. And Ozzy was always happy to talk about the SABBATH. And so Cliff and Ozzy, they had quite a few conversations."

Kirk also recalled how he and the rest of METALLICA were told by Ozzy's wife and manager, Sharon, that at no point were they to drink around him. "'Can't drink. If you're gonna drink, pour in a solo cup, but don't give them any booze, don't be seen drinking around him.' Just like none of that," Hammett said. "We're like, 'Fine, Sharon.' So both buses stopped at a truck stop, and everyone on our bus gets off except for Cliff, and everyone on Ozzy's bus gets off except for Ozzy. Ozzy gets off his bus, and walks over to our buss, and goes onto our bus, and sees Cliff, and the first thing he says to Cliff is, 'Got any beer?' And Cliff is like, 'Yes, right there, help yourself.' And so after about 20 minutes, all of us go on, and there's Ozzy on our bus, and he's drinking. Now we're like, 'Holy shit! What are we gonna do?' We did not know what to do. We were whispering: 'He's drinking! What are we gonna do?' And we had no idea what we were gonna do. I remember at one point, our tour manager went off the bus, went on to Ozzy's bus, grabbed their tour manager, and said, 'We're in a real situation here. Got to get Ozzy off our bus!' After about 10 minutes, their tour manager came on and said, 'Oz, we're about to leave!' And Oz was like, 'Oh... But I want to ride with them.' And the manager going, 'Ozzy, we need to ride, we need to be together.' And Ozzy left. And it was a bit of a situation because we thought that the whole thing that just went down might have gotten us kicked off the tour. And there are actually a couple of situations where we thought we were going to get kicked off the tour, but we weren't."

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