Ozzy Osborne, Alice Cooper? Nice guys, really... Sort of.
I remember hearing that Ozzy Osborne bit the head off a bat when I was in seventh grade. It was so horrible that it was whispered to me as if to say it louder might incriminate the teller of so horrible a tale. Junior high is like one long episode of TMZ. There is always something outrageous that is happening, about to happen, may happen or could (should the stars and planets align correctly) happen. Adolescence seems to be fueled by hormones and gossip. I believe it was in 6th grade when some girl told me that they had found a real live unicorn in England. Yup. Jr. High kids just emote what the rest of us just desire inwardly: the desire to believe.
But I digress.
Poor misunderstood Ozzy. Did he blow his mind on hard core drugs? Sure. Does he swear like a malevolent sailor? You bet. Is he messed up in more ways than you can count? Very probable. Did he mean to bite the head of that bat? Well...
I find it a fair turn of events that Ozzie was vindicated in my mind in the same place he was found guilty - junior high. I was teaching rock history and we had reached the seventies and eighties. One of my students piped up when we got to Ozzy Osborne. *Turns out Ozzy wasn't as wicked as he seemed (when it came to nocturnal creatures at least). The bat incident? A case of mistaken identity. Ozzy was supposed to have bit the head off of a rubber bat on stage for effect. There was a misunderstanding as to what was supposed to happen and Ozzie got a real one by mistake. So technically he meant no harm to bat-kind. So we could reduce the charge to batslaughter (how you cannot tell the difference between rubber and a live bat - it can only be explained by the massive amounts of drugs he was probably taking).
The case of Alice Cooper is even better. Alice Cooper was also said to have bit the head off of a chicken. In an interview for The History of Rock and Roll he explained that he thought it was a dove (OK - a dove and a chicken look NOTHING alike - but again drugs and perhaps the fact that he had probably never seen either might explain it a bit) he took the bird in his hands and released it over the crowd thinking it would take flight and it would be a cool addition to the show. The crazed fans tore the bird apart. Poor bird. The next day all the headlines read: "Alice Cooper bites the head off a chicken!" He was about to refute the whole thing until his friend stopped him - hey, free press.
Let that be a lesson to you. Don't believe everything you hear in Junior high. Actually, don't believe MOST of the things you hear in Junior high.
*My student's statement was verified by the official biography on Ozzy Osborne.