The Story Behind Ozzy Osbourne + David Lee Roth’s Great Alabama Cocaine War
David Lee Roth's partying days are long behind him as today he's pretty much a fitness guru. Ozzy Osbourne, on the other hand, has spent his life notoriously half-conscious and seems to pretty regularly relapse.
Despite where the two are today, one thing is certain. In the 70s, both were pretty insane in the drugs and booze department.
Case in point: "The Great Alabama Cocaine War." As detailed in author Greg Renoff's new book, Van Halen Rising: How a Southern California Backyard Party Band Saved Heavy Metal, a tour stop in Birmingham, Ala., resulted in both Roth and Ozzy sniffing up a ridiculous amount of cocaine as part of some sort of bizarre competition.
How much coke, exactly? "Easily enough to kill an elephant," Renoff said.
So much, in fact, that Ozzy vanished for 24 hours. The police were called and everyone feared that he had been kidnapped. As it turns out, Ozzy was just passed out -- in the wrong hotel room.
The Boston Herald also asked Gary why, after so many years, do people still romanticize the legendary decadence of the classic Van Halen lineup?
"I think because as responsible adults, we know that living that sort of way is incompatible with our careers and family lives. But these guys got to throw TV sets out the windows, snort big piles of cocaine, and lay waste to hotels across the country all while becoming wildly successful. I'd be divorced and unemployed in weeks if I tried any of that stuff," Renoff said.