The music for Ozzy Osbourne’s upcoming album is quite epic, according to producer Andrew Watt. “There’s some songs on there that are like eight or nine minutes long that are these really crazy journeys,” he recently told Guitar World. “I’m really excited about it.”
Watt helmed Osbourne’s 12th solo album, Ordinary Man, which came out in February. That record came together quickly over 2019, as Osbourne recovered from surgery related to a late-night tumble and grappled with a new diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. The producer is taking more time with the follow-up, partially due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and estimates that the record is about half-done.
“It’s been hard with Covid and everything to keep him safe,” Watt said. “We all test every day before we work and it’s just me, Ozzy, and my engineer. So it’s taken a little longer this time, but it’s cool because the last one was made in this, like, swift love affair of passion, like, ‘Oh my God, this is incredible!’ But this time everyone’s moving a little slower and we’re taking a little more time.” (News broke earlier this week that Sharon Osbourne tested positive for Covid-19, but she said that Ozzy doesn’t have the virus and the couple is quarantining separately until it passes for Sharon.)
Ordinary Man featured a star-studded cast of musicians backing Osbourne. The core band consisted of Watt on guitar, Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan, and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith. Guests included Elton John, Slash, Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello, and Post Malone, among others.
Watt said the new album will feature a similar supergroup supporting the Prince of Darkness. Smith will share drum duties with the Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins, and Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo, who played in Osbourne’s solo band from 1996 to 2003, has participated in the sessions. “There’s a bunch of people involved,” Watt said. “I can’t say for sure until the end, but I started doing a bunch of basic tracks with Chad and Robert Trujillo, who used to play in Ozzy’s band. And Taylor Hawkins also came in and played a bunch on the record as well, which adds a different flair — it kind of harkened back to Ozzy’s Eighties era, in a great way. And I think it’s so cool for a rock fan to be able to listen to half an album with Chad Smith on drums, and then you flip it over and you get to hear Taylor Hawkins.”
Other than the comment on the Eighties sound, Watt wouldn’t describe the music they’re working on since some of the songs might not make the album. “In the end, it’s all Ozzy’s decision,” he said. “When he tells me we’ve got the album, that’s when I’ll stop.” But he said the record will build on what they did with Ordinary Man. “There was no point in Ozzy or me doing this again unless we thought we could bring something new to the table,” Watt said. “And I feel like we’re achieving that.”
Earlier this year, Osbourne told Rolling Stone that he was optimistic about the progress he and Watt were making on the record. “With Andrew, it just comes out in the moment,” Osbourne said. “He’s a good guy and a good producer.”