SHOWDOWN IN SAN BERNADINO
Hello, boils and ghouls. By now, many of you have heard and/or read about the incident regarding legendary British Heavy Metal band, Iron Maiden during their performance as part of 'Ozzfest 2005' in San Bernadino, CA (at the Hyundai Pavillion) on August 20, 2005.
For those of you that don't know, Iron Maiden's performance was sabotaged by a hailstorm of foreign objects as well as power to their equipment (and the house P.A.) being switched off several times. Also, before, during, and after their set, chants of "Ozzy" were heard over the P.A. in reference to Black Sabbath (headliners of 'Ozzfest 2005') and their singer, Ozzy Osbourne. In addition, a man wearing a shirt emblazoned with the phrase "Don't fuck with Ozzy" jumped onstage waving a United States flag while Iron Maiden were playing their song "The Trooper." Despite this, Iron Maiden refused to give up the ship, charged forward, and completed their entire set. Minutes after Iron Maiden finished their set, Black Sabbath's manager (as well as the organizer/promoter of 'Ozzfest 2005') Sharon Osbourne appeared onstage. She proceeded to pick up a mic and then told the audience that Iron Maiden and their crew are "great," but their singer, Bruce Dickinson, "is a prick!" She was recieved with a chorus of "boos" and reportedly, most of the crowd left in droves rather than suffer any more indignities.
Why the bad vibes towards Bruce Dickinson? Well, here you go, straight from the horse's mouth. Read Mrs. Osbourne's official statement here.
Since there's 2 sides to every story, read the official statement from Iron Maiden's long-time manager Rod Smallwood here.
Mrs. Osbourne's rebuttal to Mr. Smallwood's statement can be read here.
Of course shit like this happens all the time in rock n' roll, and has so for years. 2 of my all-time favorite artists, The Stooges and Alice Cooper, went through this left and right back in the 70's. Particularly being on the recieving end of foreign objects.
However, this was indeed a premeditated act personally masterminded by Mrs. Osbourne. She now admits to it. Participants involved were Mrs. Osbourne's daughter, Kelly Osbourne, members of the Black Label Society road crew, Ozzfest MC Big Dave, and their colleagues. Also, Mrs. Osbourne and Kelly were asking several of the other 'Ozzfest' bands to "join in on the fun" earlier that day. Whether they paticipated as well is not known at this time. What is known is that security did nothing about the situation. Matter of fact, they protected the perpetrators.
My take on the whole thing is this. The way I see it, Bruce Dickinson was taking aim at reality tv shows and the corporate takeover of the American concert circuit. Mrs. Osbourne took this as a personal attack on her and her family. Either way, it probably wasn't a good idea to criticize, and it certainly was the wrong time for said criticism. I will agree that it's not very professional to criticize a tour that you were invited on and during said tour no less. But in the long run, they're just words. Did the punishment fit the crime? Most fans say "no." I concur, and 1 thing I have to take issue with is that Iron Maiden are not trying to disrespect the USA by waving the British flag onstage. It is done during their song "The Trooper" which is about an unknown British soldier fighting and dieing in the Crimean War. They have been doing this since 1983, the year the song was released. Besides, the UK is 1 of the USA's strongest allies, so what's the problem? Also, if Mrs. Osbourne has a beef with any 1 individual in any band on the 'Ozzfest,' I suggest she keep it between the 2 of them, and keep it backstage. In addition, I suggest that she doesn't involve the rest of the band. Out of respect to the fans. Because the fact of the matter is, by screwing over Iron Maiden because of Bruce's actions; Mrs. Osbourne, her daughter, and their colleagues completely ruined the experience for the fans. Fans that paid their hard-earned money to enjoy 'Ozzfest 2005' and to escape the trials and tribulations of everyday life. Quite possibly, their actions could have endangered the fans' safety as well. Who's to say a riot couldn't have broke out? But more than anything else, you gotta give a lot of credit and respect to Iron Maiden for their tenacity and loyalty to their fans despite the situation they were put in. Their professionalism is to be admired.
Therefore, we definitely do appreciate the incredible artistry, tangible emotion, and deadly imagery Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath have brought (and still bring) to the table. As well as their proven ability to transcend genres and overcome obstacles. It goes without saying that, like many others, they are an inspiration to us. So, without their work over the past 35 years, this magazine probably wouldn't exist.
However, the same can be said for Iron Maiden, and for the entire band and their performance to have been deliberately fucked with (because of a dislike of 1 member) is inexcusable. Mrs. Osbourne continually claims that she doesn't have a problem with the other members of Iron Maiden, yet her actions proved otherwise. In case you don't know, Iron Maiden graciously covered for Black Sabbath on several dates due to Ozzy's health problems. They didn't have to do this. So, to Mrs. Osbourne and company; you owe Iron Maiden and their fans a most sincere apology. Yes, Bruce Dickinson is responsible for his actions. In turn, the fans and I hold you responsible for yours. It's a 2 way street whether you like it or not. C'est La Vie.
For questions, discussions, and comments about this article feel free to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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