Ozzy/Iron Maiden feud continues

I thought the 2005 feud between Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne and Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson was so five years ago. But to Ozzy, those wounds are apparently still pretty fresh.

On Thursday, the good folks at Blabbermouth, reposted a recent interview Ozzy gave to The Quietus. If you don’t remember, Iron Maiden were co-headiners on the main stage along with Black Sabbath during the 2005 Ozzfest tour. At the last show of the tour, Sharon Osbourne allegedly arranged for Maiden’s P.A. system to be turned off several times during the band’s set, and also allegedly had people throw eggs at the band.

When asked about the incident, Ozzy told The Quietus: “You know what? Unbeknown to me, every night (Dickinson) was going on stage slagging me off. And that wasn’t fair. If he didn’t like the (expletive deleted) tour, he should have said ‘I’m jumping [off] the (deleted) tour,’ but to go on stage and (deleted) slag me off for no reason… I’d never said a (deleted) bad thing to him. The bass player [Steve Harris] came round at the last gig and said ‘I’m sorry about Bruce,’ and I’m like, ‘What the (deleted) are you talking about?’ Nobody had told me, you know. I said, ‘You know what? I don’t understand what the (deleted) you’re talking about here.’

“And so, I mean, Sharon got pissed off… it was nothing to do with me. I suppose Sharon got pissed off. I’ll back my wife up to the hilt, but I didn’t know what was going down. But you know what? [MAIDEN were getting] a few (deleted) quid out of that Ozzfest. If you’ve got something to talk to me about, be a man. Come to my face and say, “I think you’re a (deleted)a**hole.” Don’t be a (deleted) idiot. It’s so pathetically childish.”

I wasn’t at the infamous “egg” show, but I did see Maiden at the Ozzfest stop in Holmdel, New Jersey that summer … and I thought Dickinson was pretty damn surly that night. I remember Dickinson taking a not-so-oblique shot at Ozzy by telling the audience he (Dickinson) didn’t need a teleprompter to remember his songs. At the time, I thought Bruce was being a little unfair to the Oz, who put on a stellar performance with Sabbath later that night.

Bruce didn’t reserve his disdain for Ozzy, either. At one point, Bruce started mocking the people in the seats closest to the stage (the venue had a few rows of seats for the high-paying customers … and made the rest of us sit a few football fields away on the lawn). Bruce apparently got mad because the people in the seats weren’t standing up during the set, and started ragging them about how they were a bunch of lazy, jaded jerks, taking up the “corporate” seats while the “real” Iron Maiden fans were stuck on the lawn.

Since I was also planted on the lawn, I didn’t think Bruce was being unfair at the time … but in retrospect, if I’d paid good money to sit up front, I would’ve been pissed that the band I’d dropped hard-earned cash to see was giving me grief.

On a side note, can I tell  you I’ll never go to Ozzfest again? The tour itself wasn’t terrible – Sabbath, Maiden, In Flames, Mastodon and Soilwork all put on great performances – but the day was also crowded with mediocre or uninspired performances (Black Label Society, Rob Zombie)  and outright crappy bands (Mudvayne). Further, the stupid thing started so early that we missed Arch Enemy’s 15 minute set entirely.

And it was hot; one poor guy flopped down with heat exhaustion directly in front of us, you had to pay for autographs in the “meet the bands” tent and a large unattractive segment of the audience stripped down to their sweaty, stinky underwear. The weirdest thing I saw that day was a old geezer, who looked a lot an extra from a Hell’s Angels movie, pushing a maybe 15 year-old girl through the crowd in a possessive, “bad touch” sort of way. Classy.

Well, back to Bruce and Ozzy. I do love me some Iron Maiden. I’m a bigger Maiden fan than Ozzy/Sabbath follower … hell, I selected “A Matter of Life And Death” as one of my essential albums picks. But I have to side with Ozzy here; Ozzfest was Ozzy’s show and if Bruce didn’t want to spend the summer opening for Ozzy, he shouldn’t have agreed to do the tour.

Did he deserve a face full of eggs for shooting off his mouth? No. But maybe the experience taught him to tame his rock star ego a bit.

Anyway, the REAL Ozzy/Maiden face off is coming later this summer, when Maiden releases its new album, “The Final Frontier.” Ozzy’s latest disc, “Scream,” was not exactly a classic, but it was much stronger than I expected. The Oz, it seems, has some fire left in his career after all (and having guitarist Gus G on board also helps a lot).

Can Maiden outdo Ozzy – and outdo “A Matter of Life And Death”? From the tracks I’ve heard so far, I’m not optimistic. Stay tuned for a review when the album drops.

Compare for yourself (and start the battle in advance) with the videos for “The Final Frontier” and “Let Me Hear You Scream.”

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Pop in metal’s clothing (aka, “why is all the best-selling “metal” such trite junk?”)

The world seems full of “metal” fans who don’t really like metal.

That has been true at least since “hair metal” oozed its way out of L.A. in the 1980s, but I found myself thinking about non-metal “metal” fans today when I came across “Perfect Weapon,” a completely dreadful video by the ridiculously horrible Black Veil Brides.  This video will make you cry:

Black Veil Brides are the Motley Crue of today (notice how they shamelessly rip off the Crue’s “Shout At The Devil” leather-and-black-makeup look). But musically, these guys are so limp and “safe” they make the Crue actually seem dangerous. At least the Crue really did want to screw your girlfriend; all the Black Veil Brides want to do is cry on her shoulder and maybe share some makeup tips.

But, as Blabbermouth.net reported today, the Black Veil Brides have a Top 40 album, which means there are lots of kids plopping down dollars at Hot Topic and FYE stores all over the country for the weak, water-down pap BVB pass off as “metal.” That these guys are considered “metal” at all is an insult to metal’s true purpose and meaning.

This may sound like a “trver than thou,” elitist rant, but metal was never meant to be appealing to the broad masses. It’s not supposed to be sterilized to protect your sensibilities and safe for the radio and “TRL” audience. Frankly, metal is best when it’s dirty, scary and, most importantly, controversial.

The problem with BVB is they seem to be trying very hard to reach a non-metal audience by making their music as inoffensive and sanitary as possible. These guys are whining about their hurt high school feelings – a subject that has been a rock ‘n roll staple since the days of Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers. There will always be a broad, broad market for “hurt high school feelings” songs, but it’s low-hanging fruit … and it’s not particularly “metal.”

The best metal comes from bands with something to bigger say, and often what they’re saying disturbs the listener. That’s how it should be – The world can be a dark place with few happy endings and no guarantees. Metal is relevant because (when it’s done right) it doesn’t try to gloss over the harsh realities.

A quick glance at the news is enough to make my point that the world is an often unforgiving place. In recent years, we’ve seen the government being either incompetent (as the response to Hurricane Katrina), bumbling (like the failure of U.S. intelligence to gather accurate information during the runup to the Iraq war) or corrupt.

Religion hasn’t fared any better. The news media has kept Americans quite familiar with the Catholic priest scandal over the last few years. We’ve also seen news stories on the antics of the “religious right,” the shocking foot-and-mouth comments from television preachers such as Pat Robertson and the ongoing worldwide tragedy of religious terriorism, where men and women kill other men and women in the name of God. Using those examples, it’s not hard to conclude that most organized religions are either fascism, mind-control or a con job.

As for signs of failure in our corporate institutions and trusted industries, you only have to look as far as the feeble U.S. economy – which was brought down by excessive greed from Wall Street – and the oily dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Greed may not be a universal trait, but it’s the one that seems to guide most business decisions. To slightly twist a line from novelist Gustav Hasford, if the meek inherit the earth, the greedy will take it away from them

Those aren’t popular truths – most people would rather hide from them or put on a “don’t worry, be happy” veneer. It’s human nature to whistle past the graveyard and deny what’s unpleasant. But when people deny reality, they also guarantee those things will never change.

Metal is revolutionary in that respect; it takes courage to really look at horrible possibilities, like the potential for nuclear war, the hypocrisy of religious, corporate and elected leaders, environmental destruction and the mania of people who would dictate how others live, based on their ancient books and self-serving fables.

The best metal bands talk about real issues every day – and knowledge, as they say, is power. If you know injustice when you see it – or lies when you hear them – you’re less likely to stand aside, go along with the crowd or simply drift into indifference.

The only thing the Black Veil Brides are preaching is false empowerment to self-proclaimed Hot Topic “freaks.” That’s not revolution. It’s marketing.

That’s enough. Anyway, here’s something to wash the saccharine taste of BVB out of your mouth. This isn’t safe or pretty, but at least it’s interesting. Eat this, Black Veil Brides.

Interview: Soilwork vocalist “Speed” Strid talks about Peter Wilchers’ return to the band and flips the switch on “The Panic Broadcast”

When Soilwork guitarist Peter Wilchers decided to retire from touring and leave the band in 2005, vocalist Bjorn “Speed” Strid was determined to hold Soilwork together.

So Strid, who had co-founded Soilwork with Wilchers in 1996, hired guitarist Daniel Antonsson to fill Wilcher’s spot. While the band’s first album without Wilchers, “Sworn To A Great Divide” was worthy of respect, Strid felt there was a void in the band.

Meanwhile – even though Wilchers was in the U.S. and Strid lived in Sweden – the two began planning a side project. When Wilchers began sending demos of songs, however, Strid said he noticed a certain resemblance to Soilwork.

At that point, it was only natural that the two would discuss Wilchers’ return the band he helped found, Strid said.

“We did talk about having a band on the side, a studio project,” Strid said in a recent interview. “We started writing songs and he sent back one track that became ,’The Thrill,'” from Soilwork’s newest release, “The Panic Broadcast.”

That lead to discussions of ‘why don’t we do this together in Soilwork like we used to?'” Strid said.

Thankfully, they did – and “The Panic Broadcast” is welcome shot of adrenaline. Heavy and precise, yet melodic, the band’s new album shows why Soilwork has been studied, copied and plagiarized by hundreds of lesser followers of the “Swedish Melodic Death Metal” sound the band created.

On Aug. 11, Soilwork will play Headliners Music Hall in Louisville. Joining the band are Death Angel, Augury, Mutiny Within and Swashbuckle. The U.S. tour is only the beginning of the band’s journey across the globe to promote “The Panic Broadcast.”

Of course, constant touring was part of the reason Wilchers decided to leave Soilwork five years ago. Strid said the break was good for Wilchers, but said going on without him in the band never felt quite right.

“It was hard seeing him go, but after a while, we took it as a challenge,” Strid said. “I think we did great (with “Sworn To A Great Divide”), but when we started touring, I felt something was missing.

“It was pretty much our baby. We started the band back in ’96,” Strid said. “… I guess he needed to settle down and get some distance, since he’d lost the inspiration and the need to tour.”

With the band members spread across Europe and America, the complete band didn’t play the songs from “The Panic Broadcast” together until shortly before they began their current U.S. tour.

“It’s definitely going to be a challenge to play those songs live,” Strid said. “It’s a challenge on each album, because we always take it a step up.”

While every band says their most recent work is their best, Strid said he is especially pleased with “The Panic Broadcast.”

“It’s a really good summary of all of Soilwork’s career,” Strid said. “It’s all the albums. A lot of the playfulness of ‘Predator’s Portrait’ and ‘Natural Born Chaos’ is back and the songwriting is more mature.”

The album was also an opportunity for Strid to push his vocals in new directions. At times – especially on “Epitome” – Strid voice is darker and heavier with emotion. After listening to “Epitome,” Strid said he and others noticed an uncanny (and, for Strid, unconscious) vocal resemblance to Layne Stayley, the late vocalist of Alice In Chains.

“I’d never done vocals like that for Soilwork before,” Strid said. “It was a challenge; it feels wrong, but it’s right. It’s really druggy and trippy.”

Once the band finishes it’s U.S. tour, the reignited Soilwork will do stints in Japan, Austraila and Europe. Strid said the band is happy to be going back on the road.

“It’s going to be a great set,” Strid said. “With eight albums, it’s hard to pick a set list.”

You can purchase tickets for Soilwork’s Aug. 11 Louisville show at Ticketweb. To hear tracks from “The Panic Broadcast,” visit the band’s MySpace page here.

“Bonded By Damage!” Factory Damage to open for Exodus in Lousiville

That’s right: Owensboro’s own Factory Damage will be tearing up Phoenix Hill Tavern on Sept. 2, as the second-stage headliner for the Exodus, Malevolent Creation show.

This is a perfect opportunity for Owenspatch’s metal army to both see one of the legends of thrash live on stage AND to show your support for home-grown, organically produced, pure raw metal. The band is selling tix to the show, so drop guitarist Ed Young an email, at moofaster@hotmail.com, and he’ll hook you up.

If you’re unfamiliar, you can check out Factory Damage’s music on their Web Site, or at the band’s MySpace page.

Go to this show. That is all … except for this: Thanks Terry Harper, for continuing to bring great rock to Louisville. You rule.

Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer to play Louisville in October!

I was royally irritated when the Megadeth/Slayer Louisville show scheduled for February was cancelled because of Tom Araya’s bad back … and I nearly coughed up blood when the two hit the road after Araya recovered and left Louisville completely off the tour.

But now, I take back everything bad I said about those guys. Really. Give me the crow and I’ll eat it.

Why am I suddenly so forgiving? Because Slayer and Megadeth are coming to Louisville on Oct. 12 AND THEY’RE BRINGING ANTHRAX WITH THEM!

It’s a nostalgia tour, to be sure: Megadave will be performing “Rust In Peace” in its entirely and Slayer will be doing “Seasons in the Abyss” front to back. And the Thrax is back with Joey Belladonna, so you’d logically expect much of their set will be from “Among The Living” and “Spreading the Disease” with a dash of “Persistence of Time” thrown in … in other words, there won’t be much played on this tour that was written after 1992.

But so what? Three legendary bands on one stage, right in our back yard. That’s an offer that’s hard to refuse.

Presale tix go on sale Wednesday, June 14 at www.megadeth.com, www.anthrax.com and www.slayer.net. Some shows will even have $10 tickets (not for the L’ville show, but oh well). After that, tix will be available on www.ticketmaster.com.

Here are the complete tour dates.

SEPTEMBER

24        Verizon Wireless Theatre, Dallas, TX

25        AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

26        Verizon Wireless Theatre, Houston, TX

28        Lakefront Arena, New Orleans, LA

30        Civic Coliseum, Knoxville, TN

OCTOBER

 1         The Arena at Gwinnett Center, Atlanta, GA

 2         Hard Rock Live, Orlando, FL

 3         Bayfront Park Amphitheatre, Miami, FL

 5         Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, VA

 6         Mariner Arena, Baltimore, MD

 8         Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, Long Island, NY

 9         Toyota Pavilion @ Montage Mountain, Scranton, PA

10        LC Pavilion, Columbus, OH

12        Freedom Hall, Louisville, KY

14        War Memorial Coliseum, Ft. Wayne, IN

15        DeltaPlex, Grand Rapids, MI

16        Eagles Ballroom, Milwaukee, WI

19        E Center, Salt Lake City, UT

20        The Pearl, Las Vegas, NV

21        Gibson Amphitheatre, Hollywood, CA

Moby just doesn’t understand why you don’t like his crappy “metal” band

Oh great, another too-cool toolbag goofing on metal. Hoofreakinray.

Let me get my personal bias right out front; I have no use for Moby’s music. I guess some of it is pretty, in a “may cause drowsiness” sort of way … but it’s just not my cup of tea.

But here’s where Moby and I apparently differ: I don’t think everyone who listens to Moby’s music is stupid or completely devoid of taste. Hey, if people enjoy Moby’s music – or if they just have trouble sleeping and need some ambient noodling to help them nod off – more power to them.

The problem is Moby and his buddies think they’re way cool, and they want to have a little fun at someone else’s expense. Particularly, they want to have a chuckle at metal bands and audiences. Because they think it’s funny – and Moby should know, because he’s a “serious” musician, isn’t he?

Blabbermouth recently reposted a bit of an interview Moby did with the Los Angeles Times about his “metal” band, Diamondsnake. You can read the entire interview here, but here are a couple of quotes that capture Moby’s feelings toward metal:

“The music I make is quite personal and earnest, but there’s just something really nice about writing heavy metal songs. I leave myself out of it completely,” (Moby) says before adding a touch of erudition that’s bound to anger true metalheads everywhere. “I think about what a heavy metal guy would write.”

Moby tells the Times he was a punk in his early days, which, he tells the paper, was so much cooler than being into metal.

“Back in the bygone days, punk and metal didn’t mix at all. Metal people had long hair and were more working class, punk kids were a little more erudite with shaved heads.”

Oooh, “erudite.” Way to bypass the 35 cent words and go straight for the 50 cent ones. I’m impressed with your smarts, Moby. Now, I guess I’ll go back to the garage and change your oil while I blast some Mötley Crüe, you veritable Einstein.

With a name like Diamondsnake, you can imagine what they sound like (you don’t have to imagine, you can just click here). But if you want to avoid some pain, let me tell you that Diamondsnake sounds like nothing so much as W. Axl Rose having a dull butter knife castration and coat hanger/curling iron/drain cleaner abortion while a fifth-rate Trixter tribute band plays in the background. If that appeals to you, really, you don’t like heavy metal.

But I’m sure Diamondsnake is every ironic hipster’s fav-o-rite “metal” band. Can’t you just see the kids now in their skinny girl jeans and Diamondsnake T-shirts, sauntering across the campus of their high school or college – going on and on to their friends about how Diamondsnake is so funny because “it sounds like metal but it’s really a joke”? I suspect every beret-wearing fine arts major at the campus Starbucks thinks Diamondsnake is such a laugh riot. Hee hee, ha ha.

I do have a problem with irony. There are a lot of bands, metal and otherwise, that I absolutely do not like … but I try very hard not to disparage the fans of those bands. Look, I don’t like Mötley Crüe; they were interesting as a gateway band, but their best work was mediocre – and it was released 30 years ago. But that doesn’t make Crüe fans wrong or stupid. I don’t kid myself that my musical tastes are the only right tastes to have.

I have no use for Korn or Disturbed … but I know there are kids who only get through their crappy day because they can listen to those bands. Didn’t we all have a band like that when we were kids? My taste in metal is different from that of Korn fans, but I don’t think the difference automatically makes me better than those kids.

Moby’s different. He thinks he’s much better than you or any other metal fan, and he set out to prove it with his garbage can of a “metal” band. Look at me, the Moobster seems to say, I’m doing what you do, but I’m so much cooler and smarter than you. Don’t you wish you were like me, you pathetic bottom-dwellers?

Of course, Moby relishes his perceived superiority. He tells the Times: “We’ve gotten some attention from the heavy-metal community, and they hate us more than I ever thought was possible.”

It’s depressing that we’re saddled with stereotypes in metal – and that they’re constantly reinforced by boneheads like Moby who (very likely) couldn’t perform with serious metal musicians if he tried. I really don’t think Moby could hang on stage with a band like Opeth, or Exodus or Enslaved; frankly, all the musicians in those bands are far better musicians than Moby. I’d also like to hear a Moby composition that compares in complexity to, say, Metallica’s “One,” or “The Call of Ktulu,” or pretty much anything ever composed by Emperor or Agalloch. Maybe the fact that Moby can’t compete or compare with those guys is what makes him so bitter? Just a thought.

Anyway, I wanna be done talking about this guy, so let me wrap up with a personal appeal: Dear Moby, we’re sorry you don’t like metal and we don’t hold that against you. Now please take your oh-so-funny joke band and shove it. You don’t need it … and neither do we.

Nasty, rude song of the day: 45 Grave, “Partytime”

WHAT DO YOU MEAN THIS SONG ISN’T METAL??? Get out. Punk metal is totally metal.

Well, it’s time to get away from this computer for the long holiday weekend. Time to celebrate July 4th – the day we all blow up stuff with Chinese-made fireworks, because, well, that’s patriotic and the American Way. Or something. Whatever. Just hand me the Roman Candle, already, will ya?

I’ll be back next week with an interview from Soilwork vocalist “Speed” Strid and other assorted nonsense. Until then, go light fireworks to this: