Todd McFarlane and Ozzy Osbourne are reuniting again — and all in the name of rock and roll. On Friday, Osbourne released the official music video for "Patient Number 9", the long-awaited first single off of the Black Sabbath frontman's highly-anticipated upcoming 13th album of the same name. The music video for "Patient Number 9" features illustrations and concept designs from McFarlane, the legendary comic book creator and action figure entrepreneur. McFarlane and Osbourne previously worked together on two official Ozzy Osbourne action figures — the first in 1999, and the second in 2004.
"As part [of that collaboration], I got to spend some time with Ozzy and Sharon," McFarlane told ComicBook.com in an exclusive interview. "That was when their kids were small, which was cool, watching them grow up on TV. Then a call just came in — I don't know what the motivation was on their side, but Sharon remembered our working relationship and enjoyed it, and thought that I might be appropriate. We had a conversation, and if nothing else, we just sort of caught up from years past when we sort of had hung out. It seemed like not that much time had passed, even though a lot had, but it was like, 'Hey Sharon, what are you doing? Cool. Hey, what are you doing?' Then it was like, 'We got a gig. Do you want to do it?' We just ended up moving forward with it."
McFarlane is no stranger to the realm of music videos, with McFarlane Entertainment previously producing videos for Pearl Jam, Disturbed, and Korn, with the latter band's "Freak on a Leash" video ultimately winning a Grammy for Best Short Form Music Video. As McFarlane put it, "Patient Number 9" was a unique challenge compared to those previous experiences, especially on an aesthetic level.
"Every music video has its own sort of box that you can move around in, so when, years ago we did Pearl Jam, they didn't want to be in it, so that had to be animation," McFarlane explained. "But and the majority of music videos are live, performances or lip sync by the talent. This one, at the beginning, everybody sort of conceded that it was going to — because we were dealing with Patient 9 who was maybe insane — the way to get there and make it the craziest, would be to add the animation element. Mostly because of budget, because you can draw whatever you want and it costs the same amount of money. If you're trying to film all that, it gets big and expensive. We just went, 'Hey, once we go into his head, we go into his mind. Why don't we go animate it — and given that we knew that we were going to have a limited amount of time filming Ozzy himself live, let's just keep that to the performance, and not worry about sort of the acting part of it. We'll just get there.' Everybody was on the same page from the very get go. Let's just make this as rambunctious and illogical as possible, and let's just see what happens when we sort of pour it out to the public."
"I would say that the Korn video, that ended up winning a Grammy, was way more linear," McFarlane revealed. "You could sort of follow what it all meant in the straight line. We still had to do the live performance of it and mix in the animation. This one was not worrying about it having any structure. As a matter of fact, in the editing bay, that was my constant note — the less it makes sense, the better. Every time it sort of fell into what I would call a linear, my suggestion would be take all five of those scenes, cut them, shake them up, and spill them out so that they're actually out of order. I think that will service better. I think there's a little bit of head scratching from some people in camp. They're going, 'Todd, then it won't make sense.' Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. That's what we all wanted. Sharon wanted it, the label wanted it. We were all going for something that is just talking about the patient, Patient 9. He's not a sane human being and here's what it looks like in his world."
McFarlane reiterated that he hopes fans walk away from the "Patient Number 9" video confused, but with "a bit of a smile" on their face.
"They're not going to get a story, in the truest sense, like you get in some music videos. What will happen, I'm hoping, is that when it's over — forget the visual too, the song is catchy. I mean, you haven't heard it all, but it's one of those ones that you go to sleep and you're singing it again. I wasn't sort of aware of all Ozzy's music, but I was really surprised that how catchy the tune was. Even my wife was like, 'Man, I didn't know that was Ozzy Osborne. That's pretty cool.' You've got a song that I think is really, really good and has catchy phrases to it. Then we put the visuals on it. I think the win [will be] if people watch it and they go, 'I don't even know what the hell that meant, but sh-t, that was cool.' If I get that, ding, ding, ding for me. I won, because that's exactly what we're going for. Just give them a cool thing and say, 'Man, I like that song,' and walk away with a bit of a smile, and hopefully they'll watch it again."
And for those who are wondering if this new collaboration between could lead to more Ozzy-themed McFarlane figures, McFarlane indicated that the answer might soon be revealed at next month's San Diego Comic-Con.
"Yeah, we've talked about a couple things outside of this and we're going to be making an announcement on an add-on, if you will, to all of this at San Diego or just before San Diego," McFarlane revealed. "There's still a couple surprises still to come down the pipeline. We've got a couple things brewing."
What do you think of the music video for "Patient Number 9"? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
The Patient Number 9 album will be released on September 9th.