Ozzy Up for Ozzfest

By | February 13, 2004 at 12:00 AM

Ozzy Osbourne may be famous for biting a head off a bat, but he’ll never bite the hand that feeds him-that is, his fans.

Chomping at the bit to get back onstage again since his near-fatal ATV crash late last year, the Prince of F-king Darkness has confirmed plans to headline this summer’s Ozzfest, the monstrously successful heavy metal touring festival he founded in 1996, Billboard.com reports.

Details are still sketchy but the bill is also said to include such other headbangers as Slayer, shock-rockers Slipknot and enduring British metal mavens Judas Priest, who recently reunited with vocalist Rob Halford after a 12-year hiatus.

The latest Ozzfest trek will kick off in early July, more than six months after Osbourne nearly killed himself after wiping out on a quad bike at his Buckinghamshire estate.

The Dec. 8 accident left the 55-year-old singer with several broken ribs, a fractured collarbone and a broken vertebra in his neck. He purportedly had no pulse in the moments following the wipeout and had stopped breathing, but a quick acting security guard managed to revive the rocker.

In the days following the crash, Osbourne underwent emergency surgery to restore blood flow to a major artery and alleviate bleeding in his lungs. He was laid up for two weeks in intensive care before being released.

The former Black Sabbath frontman suffered no paralysis. However the severity of his injuries forced Ozzy to scrap a 20-date British tour and issue a heartfelt mea culpa to fans, in which he vowed to hit the road again as soon as “the doctors tell me I am fit and ready.” His physicians say the rocker, who made a comical cameo at last weekend’s Grammys, will need about six months of physical rehab, which would put him right at the start of Ozzfest.

With the heavy metal icon feeling crazy enough to perform again, Ozzfest will likely continue to be a behemoth on the summer concert circuit. All told, the traveling festival has raked in more than $146.5 million and played to 3.8 million metalheads at 236 shows over the past eight years.

Last summer alone, Ozzfest grossed a tidy $23.5 million and attracted more than 481,857 fans-impressive considering it was facing tough competition from the likes of Metallica’s Summer Sanitarium stadium tour, the double-bill of KISS and Aerosmith and a resurrected Lollapalooza.

This summer is likely to be just as cutthroat, with plenty more rock acts yet to be announced and another Lollapalooza currently in the works.

Ozzy will also be a subject Friday (the 13th, natch) on wife Sharon’s The Sharon Osbourne Show. The missus will muse on the couple’s Valentine’s Day history on the syndicated daytime talker (which recently was not renewed for a second season due to low ratings).

The couple’s real-life exploits, meanwhile, can still be seen on MTV’s The Osbournes, which is currently airing its third season.

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