It was supposed to be just another concert at the Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium. Yes, the show was performed by a rock star with an active drug problem at the time who was known for being unpredictable while intoxicated. Even he couldn’t have predicted just one bite of what he thought was a rubber toy would end up being the thing he was more known for to many than his music.
This wasn’t the first time Ozzy Osbourne decided to bite the head off an animal in a public setting . In 1981, he bit the head off a dove while in a meeting with CBS record executives in Los Angeles. His plan going into the meeting was to release the dove as a sign of peace. Unfortunately, Ozzy was highly intoxicated during the meeting and he grabbed the dove and bit it’s head off and spat the head out leaving his lips covered in blood.
On January 20, 1982, Ozzy Osbourne performed at the Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium for a crowd of about 5,000 people. Veterans Memorial was no stranger to having big acts like Ozzy. This venue had presented acts like Elvis Presley as it’s first performer in 1956 who would come back two more times to perform there. James Brown, Janis Joplin and the Who also held concerts there.
There aren’t many details of how the concert was going that night or how intoxicated Osbourne was. What we do know is a bat was thrown on the stage. Ozzy grabbed it and bit down hard onto it’s head thinking it was a toy. He stopped thinking it was a toy once the bat started flapping it’s wings. The concertgoer who threw the bat later came forward and revealed the bat was dead before he came to the concert and he kept it in a baggie until he threw it onstage.
But whether the bat was dead or not, he had a bat’s head in his mouth and was now in danger of getting rabies and any number of other diseases carried by bats. Osbourne was rushed to Broadlawns Hospital where he received rabies shots. After his concert, Veteran’s Auditorium decided to prohibit live animals during any part of a performance for all future concerts.
On February 19, 1982 Ozzy Osbourne did yet another act that he would become infamous for. He was charged with public urination and intoxication at the Alamo and was reportedly released on a $40 bond. The urban myth that he urinated on the Alamo’s walls was later to be found incorrect and he had actually urinated on a 60 foot cenotaph statue to honor the 189 Texan’s who died there.
Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium was renovated and renamed in 2010 to Community Choice Credit Union Convention center but to Ozzy Osbourne fans, it will forever be the place where Ozzy bit off more than he could handle.
For more quirky Des Moines, click here to read about Tiny Tim’s life and times in Des Moines.