Seven Potential Heirs To Ozzy Osbourne’s “Prince Of Darkness” Throne

Oct 31st, 2008 // 17 Comments

When Ozzy Osbourne declared himself “the prince of fucking darkness” on a 2002 episode of The Osbournes, he may as well have simultaneously relinquished the title. The MTV hit quickly dissolved 30 years’ worth of mystique and danger as it revealed him to be in reality a doddering old family man. But when Ozzy rose to fame in the ’70s, every other rock star had an interest in the occult (or at least Hobbits), and heavy metal was still genuinely thought of as the province of Satanists, not nerdy gearheads. But who could be pop music’s reigning prince of darkness in the era of rock star transparency, when every famous musician has a whiny MySpace blog? Since it’s Halloween, we decided to think of a few options:

7. Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance
In one sense, Way is a no-brainer; he’s the closest thing to a goth rock star we’ve got these days, someone who dresses in skeleton-themed outfits and writes rock operas about death. But he also comes off a bit too much like the wholesome kid from New Jersey he probably really is to have any real mystique. And when the British press denounced his band and the emo movement as a whole as a “death cult that encourages kids to self-harm,” Way vehemently disagreed with that assessment, which speaks well of him as a person, but kind of blows his P.O.D. credentials. Plus, the photo at left clearly states that he is a princess.

6. David Draiman of Disturbed
He’s got creepy facial piercings, makes sounds like a rabid monkey when he sings, and fronts a hugely successful metal band. And yet, I have to admit, he still kind of comes off like a schlubby dork.

5. Rihanna
Three years ago, Rihanna was an adorable little Caribbean pop princess, but as she’s gotten more successful, her image has unexpectedly evolved from long wavy hair to asymmetrical Aeon Flux bob, from summery booty shorts to leather dominatrix outfits. And you get the feeling that no one at Def Jam told her to look more androgynous or make videos like “Disturbia,”. She just really wanted to make a creepy video full of zombies.

4. No. 8 of Slipknot
Just kidding! We all know that under the mask your name is Corey and you look like this.

3. Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath
Let’s face it, even if Ozzy was the Prince of Darkness, it was Sabbath’s guitarist who always exuded a much darker aura. C’mon, the guy looks like a freakin’ supervillain.

2. Nick Cave
Sure, Cave is only moderately famous, and he has a bit less mystique now than he did in his Birthday Party days. But he’s been on a roll lately, career-wise, and is as committed as ever to looking totally creepy.

1. Lil Wayne
Whether or not he ever becomes the guitar-slinging rock star he seems to want to be lately, Lil Wayne is perhaps the most archetypally kooky, drug-addled superstar in the Ozzy mode on this list, a guy who has tattoos all over his face and says increasingly bizarre shit every time there’s a microphone in front of him. All he has to do to cement his title now is bite the head off of a bat. What is a goon to a goblin, anyway?


  1. Poubelle

    Man, Blingees will never not be awesome (although that Gerard Way one is pretty subdued).

    Also, is that a flashing nametag on his vest? WTF?

  2. Al Shipley

    @Poubelle: It’s hard to tell on the shrunken image, but the flashing word on his chest is “sexy”: []

  3. MickFNS

    Where’s Danzig?

  4. Al Shipley

    @MickFNS: He’s over here: []

  5. 10:02am

    Nick Cave only moderately famous? I’d say more people know who he is than anyone in the list, with the possible exception of Lil Wayne. But Cave is king of all media at this point; a 30-year music legacy, scoring and writing major motion pictures, even his casual side project is Letterman material. Personally, I think the guy is showing restraint in his dabblings, and that he is capable of even more media domination should he so choose.

  6. spankyjoe

    I’m not sure we’ll ever see a “prince of darkness” that achieves the mainstream success that Ozzy has both with Sabbath and as a solo artist. Sabbath’s differentiation from other bands of that era came from their embrace of sonic heaviness (thanks to tuning guitar strings down to accommodate Iommi’s missing fingertips. this heavy sound was a relatively new and unexplored concept from a mainstream standpoint), lyrical focus on the negative side of life (as opposed to the Age of Aquarius outlook of many of their contemporaries), and the fact that they used a lot of tritones, minor keys, and harmonically “evil” sounding stuff. Sure, Ozzy was a big part of that, but the choice of Iommi as an architect of that is spot-on.

    Unfortunately, in today’s modern context, the things that set Sabbath apart are pretty commonplace. High-gain amps, down-tuned guitars, and fuzzboxes are available at your local Guitar Megamart. Everyone sings about the end of the world. Everyone, including mainstream hip-hop producers (Bomb Squad!) has embraced dissonance and minor keys as a musical foundation. Thus, as audiences, we’re more jaded, and if Ozzy and Sabbath were just starting out today, we’d think Ozzy’s schtick (and that’s what it is now) was lame and hokey, not evil and disturbed. Throw a rock at a metal show, you’ll hit someone that does what Ozzy did at one point, but taken to the Nth degree. Look at metal today – it’s faster, louder, slower, more terrifyingly, and quite tellingly, more out of the mainstream of modern music as compared to Sabbath.

    Now, I say this as a huge Sabbath fan – they found the rich musical vein and tapped the hell out of it. Everything since is just shades and subtleties of the territory they staked out first. Ozzy gave us the devil in all the glory suggested by Heironymous Bosch – the black side of Evil. Out of the 7 deadly sins, Ozzy covered Wrath, Gluttony, Lust, and Greed. If we’re going to get a new musical Prince of Darkness, it’s going to have to be from territory staked out by Milton and Dante – Lucifer, the light-bringer, and Lucifer, the seductive. The Deadly Sins of Pride, Sloth, and Envy.

  7. 10:02am

    @10:02am: Oh yeah, not to mention his novels.

  8. Maura Johnston

    @10:02am: In Australia maybe. But he is, sadly, not more well-known than Rihanna or even the Disturbed dude here.

  9. spankyjoe

    @Maura Johnston:

    I try to counterbalance the average American’s ignorance of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds by avoiding all awareness of Rihanna or Disturbed to the extent possible. I couldn’t hum you the hook from “Umbrella” even if someone put a gun to my head, and I take some strange pride in that.

    (Of course, if someone did put a gun to my head, all that would come out would be the humming part to “O’Malley’s Bar.” Decidedly Not Helpful.)

  10. Dickdogfood

    @spankyjoe: Wait…you detest Rihanna so much you refuse to know anything about her? This kinda doesn’t make much in the way of sense.

    You know, your boy Nick Cave isn’t exactly the Puritan you are bout such matters, considering the Kylie thing and all.

  11. Al Shipley

    @spankyjoe: It’s always a strange experience for a blogger when a commenter puts more thought into your post than you did.

  12. spankyjoe


    I’m being a bit tongue-in-cheek. I have pretty broad tastes, but generally speaking, I live in a bit of a heavy metal ghetto. I don’t have anything against Rihanna, I just don’t listen to radio, nor do I spend a lot of time in clubs. Hence, zero exposure. My pride (or whatever it is) is more a reflection of that fact. Call it laziness or what have you, but I just get more fulfillment by seeking out new music in particular genres.

    @Al Shipley:

    Ummm, my bad? As I said – heavy metal kid. You post something related to the subject, I’ll probably have something to say. Personal failing and all that.

  13. Al Shipley

    @spankyjoe: No, no, it’s cool! I just felt almost inadequate when you posted an earnest three-paragraph response to my silly list. You made some really interesting points, though, I appreciated it.

  14. spankyjoe

    @Al Shipley:

    Cool. I’m just doing my part to live up to the sterotype of metal kids taking stuff way too seriously by rattling off articles of the faith at the drop of a hat.

    PS – a case could be made for Britney Spears as the Sexy Princess of Darkness. Pride? Check. Sloth? Check. Envy? Check.

  15. westartedthis

    my friend met david draiman. and based on his account, let’s just say “schlubby dork” might be a tad insulting, but he’s closer to “schlubby dork” than “prince of darkness”. i’d say, “normal dude in his spare time” is about right.

    i think i like nick cave for this one. a reality series about his daily grind(-erman…ha) is just close enough to a sign of the apocalypse to seem plausible.

  16. Dan Gibson

    I don’t want to make judgment calls about Draiman, but I will say he was somewhat upset when I asked if I could rub his head for luck.

  17. Anonymous

    Nick Cave is a good call.

    But no Jaz Coleman? Really?

    He’s still wears the boiler suit and face paint on stage, can both sing and bellow with the best of them, and spouts all kinds of bizarre, offensive things in interviews. And, he really is a member of several occult organizations.

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