Ozzy and Slash bring hard rock and fine wine to the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa this Friday

I’ve always been a big fan of hard rock / heavy metal. In my high school years I avoided the disco/pop dominated craze like the plague. Well, there was that one Debby Boone album, but that was just for the cover.  My record collection included bands like Van Halen, Iron Maiden, Motorhead, AC/DC, Ted Nugent, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Rush. I even learned to play guitar listening to Eddie Van Halen and Ted Nugent, and devoted myself to the whole “sex, drugs and rock & roll” hard rock mantra. As the years have passed, I’ve tried to ignore the fact that I’m getting older, reserving a portion of my music collection for my old heavy metal favorites.

has always been a favorite. Even when I was forced to watch him on reality TV, he was still “Ozzy”. The same mumbling, bat-eating, gothic “Prince of Darkness” that I’d followed since the days of Technical Ecstasy. I guess that it was this state-of-mind that made news of his latest tour so difficult to understand. When I received the press release indicating that Ozzy would be hitting the road with former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash, I was excited. This excitement was quickly squashed by words like wine, cabernet sauvignon and winery sprinkled throughout the release.  What the hell was I reading? Had the publicist accidently mixed up press releases for Ozzy and Tony Bennett? Apparently not.

Conceived by Randy Rhoads’ sister Kathy Rhoads D’Argenzio, the Randy Rhoads Cabernet Sauvignon wine was introduced by the D'Argenzio Winery in December 2010 as a tribute to the late guitarist. Bottles of the 2005 vintage were initially introduced on December 4th and 5th at the winery’s Burbank tasting room as a celebration of Rhoads’ birthday.  A Randy Rhoads VIP Wine Room was also set up at Ozzy’s February 1st tour stop in Los Angeles. For the remainder of the tour, VIP ticket holders will be eligible to win one of two bottles of the 2005 vintage given away nightly. For those who don’t win, bottles of the wine can be purchased from the D'Argenzio Winery. According to the winery’s website “A generous portion of our sales will be donated to the “Randy Rhoads Charitable Trust” to carry on his legacy.” Bottles of the wine are available for $53.00 each, plus shipping. (Ozzy pic courtesy MSO)

While I’m still slow to admit that I switched from tequila shots to red wine many years ago, I guess that having wine associated with Ozzy’s tour isn’t really that bad. Afterall, it’s still an alcoholic beverage isn’t it? Besides, like many of Ozzy’s longtime fans, I’m getting a little older too. Oh, what the hell, long live occasional marital sex, Xanex and rock & roll!

Ozzy / Slash roll into Tampa’s St. Pete Time Forum on Friday, February 18th, then wrap up the tour with dates in Ft. Lauderdale and Jacksonville. (Slash pic by Robert John)

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