Winnipeg’s Anthony Ducharme looks like Ozzy Osbourne sounds like Ozzy Osbourne and has even perfected Osbourne’s on-stage mannerisms. No, his wife isn’t called Sharon (it’s Lorraine) and he has (so far) deferred from biting into live bats but Ducharme’s Black Sabbath/Ozzy Osbourne tribute band, Ozbourne is about as close as you can get to the original artist.
Set to tour Ontario this March with guitarist Neil McCarthy, bassist Tristan Rivers. Keyboardist Eric Nordquist and drummer Kevin Radomsky, Ducharme claims his band captures the essence of an Ozzy Osbourne concert because he and his players show respect for the original artist. “Every time we hit the stage we pay homage to Ozzy, we are honouring his music,” noted Ducharme. “Personally, I have to buy into the situation, by singing his songs and wearing his costumes and playing the role, it becomes a lot easier to hide behind that personae rather than to be yourself.”
“The idea of forming an Ozzy/Sabbath tribute band occurred in 2015 when Ducharme’s previous band, Little Nails played “War Pigs” and “Fairies Wear Boots” during a sound check. “Our bass player at the time posted the video clip on facebook and we got a major response back saying I sounded just like Ozzy so that prompted us to consider doing an Ozzy tribute,” Ducharme noted. “It was never in my wheelhouse to be in a tribute band but I thought, if we are going to do this, it has to be full bore all the way. We have to be the best out there.”
Which to Ducharme means finding musicians that can replicate not only the style of the original Black Sabbath (Osbourne, Tony Iomi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward) but of all the talented musicians who have also worked on Ozzy’s solo projects. “Just think, we have to have a guitar player who can not only play like Tony Iomi but also Randy Rhodes, Zack Wilde and Jake E Lee. Fortunately, this has never been a problem for me, Winnipeg has a lot of great guitar players.”
Ozbourne’s big break occurred last August when they headlined before 8,000 fans at the Timmins Ontario Kayak Festival after a coincidental meeting the year before with event organizer Guy Lamarche. “I was dropping off a car for a friend in Val d’Or, Quebec, so the night before, I stayed over in Timmins, The lady at the hotel front desk told me there was a local festival going on (Kayak Festival) and when I looked at the event poster, I noticed a Winnipeg band, Harlequin, was playing so I went to check them out” explained Ducharme.
“So I am talking to the wife of the guy who provided the event’s sound system, I told her I was in an Ozzy tribute band,” Ducharme recounted. “So she says I should touch base with the event organizer Guy Lamarche who is a big Ozzy fan. In my book, Guy is a total professional. He booked us to headline the following year and he insisted that we come and kick ass, and we did.”
Ozbourne is paying a return visit to Timmins when they play at The Working Class Tavern (Thursday, March 14th) as part of an eight-date in 11 days’ blitz of Ontario which also sees them performing in Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Kingston, Oshawa, Toronto, St Catherines and Sault Ste Marie.
Understanding that Ozzy has supposedly stopped touring, Ozbourne is intent to carry the mantle and keep Osbourne and Sabbath’s music alive and relevant. “So many people are now discovering Ozzy’s music that we feel we have a duty to fill that void and keep his music alive. What we can promise our audience is that from Black Sabbath’s earliest material to Ozzy’s latest hit list, we will present the ultimate Ozzy experience.”
Ozbourne Ontario Tour:
Wednesday, March 13th Thunder Bay Crocks
Thursday, March 14th Timmins Working Class Tavern
Friday, March 15th Sudbury Caruso Club
Saturday, March 16th St Catherines Warehouse Concert Hall
Wednesday, March 20th Kingston Overtime Pub
Thursday, March 21st Oshawa Music Hall
Friday, March 22nd Toronto Rock Pile
Saturday, March 23rd Sault Ste Marie Canadian Motel Upper-Level Lounge