Ozzy Osbourne & the Bat Incident


Greater than 40 years after one among metallic’s most controversial moments, individuals nonetheless ask, “Why did Ozzy Osbourne chew the top off a bat?” Turns on the market’s a facet of the story you’ve got in all probability by no means heard earlier than, which explains precisely why a bat was thrown onstage at that ill-fated Ozzy Osbourne live performance.

The notorious bat-biting gig occurred at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Des Moines, Iowa, which is now named Group Alternative Credit score Union Conference Middle. It was January 20, 1982, on Ozzy’s Diary of a Madman tour, simply weeks earlier than guitarist Randy Rhoads would die in a horrific airplane accident.

Ozzy Osbourne has defined his facet of the story many, many instances. He thought a fan had thrown a pretend rubber bat onstage, and it wasn’t till he chomped into the flying mammal that he realized it was actual. Ozzy even claims he felt the bat twitch in his mouth as he bit down on its neck.

The photograph above shouldn’t be the unique bat-biting second.

“I get a whole lot of bizarre individuals at my concert events, it’s rock ’n’ roll,” Ozzy informed David Letterman in 1982. “Any person threw a bat onstage and I believed it was one among these toy bats, so I picked it up, chew the factor’s head off and abruptly everyone is freaking out … I can guarantee you the rabies photographs I went via afterwards aren’t enjoyable.”

Ozzy was rushed to the Broadlawns Medical Middle after the live performance, and in response to the Des Moines Register, who caught up with Ozzy in 2001, the musician needed to bear three weeks of rabies photographs on the street. “Each evening for the remainder of the tour I needed to discover a physician and get extra rabies photographs: One in every arse cheek, one in every thigh, one in every arm,” Ozzy stated. “Each one harm like a bastard.”

Pam Culver was the nurse supervisor on responsibility that evening when Ozzy performed Des Moines. Although Culver didn’t deal with Ozzy herself, she claims that because the bat-biting information started to unfold throughout the nation, she acquired acquired calls from England, Canada and everywhere in the United States (probably from journalists) in regards to the incident.

“For per week that was in all probability 50 % of my job,” Culver stated. “Individuals needed to understand how a lot did it value to try this, and did it harm, and the way could photographs did he need to have, what a part of his physique did we’ve got to assault.”

Come October 1982, the auditorium administrators formally amended their guidelines “to ban live performance performers from utilizing, presenting or in any means making stay animals part of a program at Vets with out the consent of administration.” Humorous sufficient, when Ozzy returned to the Iowa venue in 2007, the metallic legend wrote “No extra bats. Love, Ozzy Osbourne,” on a poster there.

About six months after Ozzy talked in regards to the incident on Letterman, he made a now-classic look on the USA Community present Evening Flight. After repeating his “rubber bat” line, Ozzy gave some extra intimate particulars of what he skilled that chilly January evening.

“The style of bats may be very salty,” Ozzy defined. “It tastes of salt.” After the host requested if it tasted like anything, Ozzy replied, “Properly, sure, however I can’t actually say that on the air, can I?”

Don’t ask Ozzy that query in 2023, although. In one among his most up-to-date interviews with Billboard, Ozzy named, “What do bats style like?” as his least favorite interview question.

Ozzy Osbourne in ‘Little Nicky’

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Ozzy Osbourne in ‘Little Nicky’

For die-hard Ozzy Osbourne followers, and even the informal metalhead, the fundamental particulars of the bat-biting story are well-known — unfold far and extensive as items of iconic twentieth century folklore. However the questions that by no means appear to be requested are:

“Who truly threw the bat onstage?”
“Why didn’t the bat simply fly away as soon as it had been thrown?”
“How did an Ozzy Osbourne fan sneak a stay bat previous safety and into the venue?”

These questions appeared to stay unanswered for many years. Even in Rolling Stone’s fortieth anniversary retrospective of the bat-biting incident, printed in 2022, the enduring zine claimed, “The Des Moines bat thrower has by no means come ahead publicly.”

That is unfaithful.

“Who truly threw the bat onstage?”

Based on the Des Moines Register, the bat thrower revealed himself in 1982 — the identical 12 months the live performance occurred. The person’s title? Mark Neal.

Neal was 17 years outdated when he tossed the bat onstage that evening. It was one thing he’d deliberate to do, and even informed his shut buddies about earlier than embarking to the Ozzy Osbourne live performance.

“We have been telling everyone earlier than the live performance that we have been bringing a bat,” Carmen Martin-Kelly, a buddy of Neal’s, revealed. “Hell or excessive water, we have been gonna get it in and throw the bat up onstage. We introduced a complete bunch of buddies who used to take a seat collectively in Part 22, so when Mark was headed up in the direction of the stage, I informed him to attend a couple of minutes so I may stand up there and inform everyone that Mark’s on the point of throw the bat up onstage.”

Mark Neal himself added, “We acquired proper down in entrance, proper in entrance of Rudy Sarzo, the bass participant. I tossed [the bat] up onstage and it landed in entrance of him. He kinda checked out it a few instances and motioned Ozzy over. Ozzy came visiting, picked it up, and the remainder is historical past.”

“Why didn’t the bat simply fly away as soon as it had been thrown?”

The reply to this one is easy — as a result of the bat was lifeless. Though Ozzy Osbourne believed he felt the bat twitch in his mouth, the creature had been lengthy lifeless by the point it was smuggled into the present.

Based on the Des Moines Register, two weeks earlier than the Ozzy live performance, Neal’s youthful brother had come dwelling from college in the future with the bat. He deliberate to maintain it as a pet, however the bat didn’t final lengthy and died. (A later Des Moines Register article claims the bat was already lifeless when Neal’s brother discovered it.) Neal says his buddies satisfied him to place the bat’s corpse into his freezer, put it aside for the Ozzy gig, and throw it on the metallic madman stay and in individual.

Thus, when the bat was tossed throughout the evening sky and landed onstage earlier than Rudy Sarzo’s ft, it didn’t fly away or transfer as a result of it was two-weeks-dead, semi-rotted, and thawed out.

“If the bat was alive, it certainly wouldn’t have simply laid there on the stage,” Martin-Kelly stated. “The subsequent day, everyone’s asking in regards to the stay bat on the Ozzy live performance. I guarantee you, we didn’t hurt any animals. It was positively lifeless after we introduced it.”

“How did an Ozzy Osbourne fan sneak a stay bat previous safety and into the venue?”

Neal claims those self same buddies who satisfied him to place the bat into his freezer additionally urged he seal the bat’s stays in a dishevelled and sneak it into the present inside his coat. We’re unsure how lax safety was in Eighties Iowa, however you possibly can apparently sneak a lifeless animal into the venue with no challenge.

“It actually freaked me out,” Neal informed a Des Moines Register reporter in 1982. “I will not get in any hassle for admitting this, will I?”

Ozzy Osbourne Bat-Biting incident w/ thrower Mark Neal

Ozzy Osbourne would go on to seem within the Adam Sandler traditional Little Nicky, saving the day by biting the top off the film’s most important villain, who simply occurred to have reworked right into a bat. Ozzy has additionally taken press pictures of him with a rubber bat in his mouth, offered bat plushie toys with a removable head and bat-shaped makeup kits, and even began an NFT challenge referred to as CryptoBatz.

Something involving Ozzy Osbourne and bats has instantly develop into a information story over time, like when bats residing on Ozzy’s land stopped a renovation to the Osbourne dwelling in England, or when the Osbourne household introduced they’d set up bat boxes at their dwelling.

The reality about Ozzy Osbourne, Mark Neal, and the bat-biting incident was recognized from the start, however the mysterious lore of a stay bat and an unknown fan in the end triumphed on this recreation of storytelling. In the course of the pre-Web age, Ozzy Osbourne and the bat was the right storm of metallic lore, and within the new century, there’s nonetheless completely nothing unsuitable with having fun with the legend.

Ozzy Osbourne Talks Concerning the Bat Incident

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