I was walking around downtown last week with some time to kill and popped into a Border’s store. There was a sale and I bought three books, all by artists that I have worked with in the past.
1. A mystery written by Steve Earle, with cover art by my friend Tony Fitzpatrick
2. Patti Smith’s autobiography
3. Ozzy Osbourne’s biography
Had to start with Ozzy, of course! This is one funny dude. His description of growing up, becoming a thief and spending 3 months in jail, starting a band and becoming world famous is hilarious- so much that while reading it I am glad the windows are closed, as the neighbors would think that I am crazy- laughing out loud every five minutes.
Having been around Ozzy many times in the last thirty years, I have seen him go from John Osbourne (a quiet guy sitting backstage) to OZZY as soon as I point a camera at him!
In 1982, almost entirely by accident, I took my biggest selling photo ever during one of his shows, after which I became friends with Ozzy and his wife Sharon (now a big TV star). Many years during Ozzfest, Sharon and I walked around the grounds with her introducing me to everyone she came across as “This is my friend Paul, who shot THE picture of Ozzy and Randy.”
That picture has been a passport to many great photo shoots. When the band I am shooting sees that picture, the usual response is, “You shot that? Of course, you can do anything you want!” The drummer of Mastadon even asked me for a JPEG so that he could have the picture printed on his bass drum. Recently the guitar player of The Civil Wars, a folk country band from Nashville, asked for a JPEG so that he could use it as a screensaver. This photograph has opened many doors for me, and I will be forever grateful for being allowed to hang around with one of the coolest couples in rock and roll history.