Afternoon InquisitionScience

AI: Why Some Rock Stars Are Un-Killable

Apparently, heavy metal rocker and ever-befuddled TV reality show dad, Ozzy Osbourne, is a genetic mutant.

Now does this come as a surprise to anyone? Really?

I mean, in addition to fronting wild rock and roll bands into his 60s and running hardcore chemistry experiments on his body for decades, the guy once bit the head off a bat, he peed on the Alamo, and he once snorted a line of ants off the sidewalk, like it was blow off a stripper’s ass. This is nothing if not behavior of some sort of mutant, genetic or otherwise.

But it may surprise you to learn that Ozzy is apparently literally a genetic mutant, and the gene variants found in his genome might explain how he was able to consume so many illicit substances and . . . well, live.

The musician has several gene variants that “we’ve never seen before,” said geneticist Nathaniel Pearson, who sequenced the rocker’s genome, including variants that could impact how Osbourne’s body absorbs methamphetamines and other recreational drugs.

So, kids, it’s not enough to party like a rock star anymore. It’s more impressive to party like a genetic mutant. 

What do you think? Could there be a benefit to such variants? What might happen if a mutation like this was selected for? Do you have the super party animal gene variants? Or are the hard party mutations completely absent? In other words: Are you a Rager or Light Weight? And finally, was Ozzy better with Sabbath or better with Rhoads?

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 3pm ET.

Sam Ogden

Sam Ogden is a writer, beach bum, and songwriter living in Houston, Texas, but he may be found scratching himself at many points across the globe. Follow him on Twitter @SamOgden

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  1. Some people treat their bodies like a temple. I treat mine like an amusement park.

    Well, not really. All my genes are good for is a tendency towards cancer. Lots and lots of cancer. Scads, you might say. Gonna blow up like Tetsuo any minute now….

  2. Sabbath for sure! That band went downhill when he left, and his solo stuff never measured up to the garagey, psychadelic, blues metal that Sabbath pioneered. Ozzy was better as an everyman frontman of a ragged band of weirdos than as a superstar solo act with wanky pros backing him up.

  3. How plausible is it that his prodigious intake of “chemical entertainment” is the cause rather than the result of his genetics? One would think that such a self-induced environmental change would create some interesting selective pressures.

  4. I just realized that I thought I was responding to the quickies instead of the AI.
    It’s not my fault; I am a genetic mutant after all….


    SHARRON!! The typewriter with a teevee on it is not working! All I see is the weather..

  5. Hi there!

    I prefer the Randy Rhoads days. That kid could do some sick sick shreddin’. Although I did manage to appreciate Sabbath much more in my older years.

    Personally, I’ve never partied as hard as Ozzy, but I’m much less of a lightweight than some people I know. I think it’s the Irish in me. Or the Librarian in me. (Librarians know how to throw down) [nods]

  6. @Sam Ogden: I dunno, being a thirty story tall mutant blob of flesh could be fun! :)

    Re: Ozzy – I have no idea what genetic benefit being immune to overdosing could convey, but I think it would make him a more entertaining X-Man than Wolverine.

    You think you’re hard to kill? When was the last time you ate a bat?

  7. All of us are mutants, but some of us are more muticious than others.

    Actually, I saw Ozzy unexpectedly this past Saturday on a jumbotron at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear in DC, in a heaping portion of train food. That’s as close as I’ve come to him.

  8. Some people have all the luck.
    Eubie Blake: February 7, 1887 – February 12, 1983
    Famous African American song writer, composer, performer and four pack a day smoker for something like sixty years. I don’t drink. smoke or drug enough to need any genetic protections. But if someone invents a shot you can get to make bad habit X harmless I might be tempted.

  9. Heres a video of some alcoholic monkeys who are picked to be leaders acording to the website. (I don’t know how credible). But if the drunk ones get to be boss and presumably boss gets to breed than we may have selection for alcoholic behavior.
    Aliens looking down on us would probably see rockstars as leaders. My buddy says he learned to play guitar just to get girls to take off they’re shirts, (he says they do; im skeptical), but if there is anything to the rockstar steriotype than there may be some sexual selection going on… Alas mating rituals…
    Sabath all the way!!

  10. @James Fox: I once ate a fly. Still can’t fly and shit still stinks and is unenticing.

    George Burns, smoked 10 cigars a day til the day he died… at 100 years old.

    I have a rather high tolerance to alcohol despite not drinking hardly ever.

    I’m not partial to either, I liked both the Ozzy/Rhoades works as well as the Sabbath days. Seeing Sabbath perform (Ozzfest in 2001) was pretty damn cool even though everyone is ancient now and Ozzy moved about the stage like a drunken gorrilla.

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