Date: April 2108
Released: 2002, Thundermouth Press
File this under the ‘unnecessary but fun’ book review category. While on my quest for books I came across this book about the Madman himself, Mr. Ozzy Osbourne. I’ve got more than enough books about Ozzy but it was used and cheap so I grabbed it.
DIARY OF A MADMAN is a type of oversized glossy photo-book that appear with regular frequency. Produced by Thundermouth Press and written by Carol Clerk, this 143 page, photo-intensive book has a discography and time-line. The book spans from the start of his career up to 2002 or so. The format is era- by-era, album-by-album with lots of quotes and facts. The sub-title is ‘The Stories Behind The Songs’ and there is not too much of that preferring to focus on the celebrity aspects of his life. Each album does have three or four songs that have a bit more of an in-depth analysis but it is not really a song-by-song format. From a strictly technical point of view, is not horribly done, nothing really new or interesting for long-time Ozzy fans, a nice overview of his storied career. It actually mentions Joe Holmes and Steve Vai so that was kind of cool as they often get left out of the narrative of Ozzy’s guitarists.
It is a fast, easy, read written for a mass-market which might have just discovered Ozzy. As cliché as it seems, DIARY OF A MADMAN is a book to be bought at a mall bookstore, as a gift from a well-intentioned grandparent to the 14 year-old rocker kid of the MTV generation. Each chapter starts with a quote from mostly grunge or Nu-Metal people from bands like Nirvana, Staind, Sum 41, Slipknot, Smashing Pumpkins, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie etc. The choice of those who were quoted demonstrates that this is playing directly into the youth market, fans of The Osbournes TV show, and the people who went to see Ozzfest. I would not be surprised if this book was commissioned by Sharon Osbourne and sold at a booth at Ozzfest.
There are countless of these pop culture books, churned out quickly to cash in on celebrity popularity and culture. This one is no better or worse than any of the other glossy photo books designed to make a fast buck while said celebrity still has cache. It would be too easy to skewer this book but what the point of being deliberately negative and critical that was published 15 years ago? That would give this book too much credit. However, it is about old man Ozzy and by extension Metal, so it made the cut for my library.