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.”