During a recent appearance on Icons, METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett looked back when band was promoting their third studio album, 1986’s Master of Puppets, and touring as Ozzy Osbourne‘s opening act.
Focusing on Ozzy tour, Kirk said: “To me, at that point, BLACK SABBATH was the ultimate, and even to this day I still feel that. And to be touring with the lead singer, the former lead singer of BLACK SABBATH was just a huge thing.
“And being a huge Randy Rhoads fan and Blizzard of Ozz fan too, that definitely played into it. For Cliff [Burton,], it really, really meant a lot — I think more to him than anyone else. 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 ‘Hole in the Sky’ or maybe ‘Symptom of the Universe,’ or something during soundcheck,” Hammett continued. 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.
“And there’s one time where our bus stopped at a truck stop, and Ozzy‘s bus stopped at a truck stop, and we were told by Sharon [Osbourne] the entire time that we can’t drink around Ozzy. ‘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. 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 sh*t! 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,” he added. “And there are actually a couple of situations where we thought we were going to get kicked off the tour, but we weren’t.”