Sharon Osbourne and IRON MAIDEN’s longtime manager, Rod Smallwood, have issued separate press releases regarding the incident last Saturday in which MAIDEN were humiliated by certain members of the Ozzfest crew/entourage during their final Ozzfest appearance in Devore, CA.
Here is Sharon Osbourne’s statement on behalf of Ozzfest:
“IRON MAIDEN were chosen for the Ozzfest tour because the Ozzfest committee felt they were a good band, plus the fact that they had not done shows in the U.S. for some time. From day one, Bruce Dickinson started berating Ozzy and belittling the Ozzfest audience. He stated he “didn’t need a reality show to give him credibility”; “we’re not just some f*cking reunion band”; and continuously complained about the sound system, saying that when he comes back to America he’ll have a better one. I understand he hasn’t toured in the U.S. in these size venues in a while and no longer understands the political structure of things. Out of 200-plus bands over the last 10 years, he has been the only person who hasn’t had the Ozzfest spirit. He thought he was at a battle of the bands, always making other comments about the other artists.
“Might I say, the rest of the band are gentlemen and have a great professional attitude. The crew are absolutely great. But how sad it was, after 10 years, that this little man tried to ruin it for everyone. The bands of Ozzfest don’t even look at Ozzfest as touring, but as its heavy metal summer camp. Bruce is in fact a jealous prick and very envious. None of his tirades were directed at SABBATH, only Ozzy. Steve Harris [IRON MAIDEN’s bassist] personally came to Ozzy in San Bernardino and apologized for Bruce’s behavior this summer, stating that he and the rest of the band were “embarrassed” by their own singer.
“It also offended me every night how he took out the English flag in America. There are American boys going to war alongside the English boys every day. How dare he forget the American troops on their home turf. He has had no respect for the American audience he has been playing for, stating in an interview, “When you do the ‘hits’ tour here [in the U.S.], the audience is smug, and there’s a sense of self-satisfaction, like, ‘We got what we wanted…I’m looking at an audience that is self-satisfied and happy and fat, and getting what it wants and isn’t prepared to get off its ass..’
Before there was SAMSON there was SABBATH!”
Here is Rod Smallwood’s statement regarding the incident:
“MAIDEN are currently returning from America and preparing for UK festivals this weekend and don’t wish to waste time giving Sharon Osbourne’s statement the dignity of a reply. Considering the disgraceful nature of the events that occurred they feel it’s a pretty dismal effort at self justification and they don’t think Metal fans are at all gullible and that they will easily see through it. They want no more to do with this sorry incident and are very much looking forward to headlining Reading and Leeds Festivals this weekend.
“I would however like to add my own comment on this.
“In 30 years in this business and after attending hundreds of gigs l have never seen anything anywhere near as disgusting and unprofessional as what went on that night. I was standing on our sound desk out front as usual but ran to the stage as soon as the hail of missiles began and from then on watched from the front of the stage right next to Bruce’s walkway. The scale, viciousness and concentration of the throwing made it obvious that this was a premeditated and co-ordinated attack. Assaulting musicians while performing by throwing bottle tops, lighters and eggs at them from just a few yards away is vile, dangerous, criminal and cowardly. It is incredible that Ozzfest security apparently did nothing about it - aren’t they there to protect the bands too? Especially when the band is concentrating on a performance in front of 45,000 people and the missiles are coming out of the glare of the spotlights. And to spit at a band on stage is unforgivable.
“IRON MAIDEN, like all the bands on Ozzfest, had to sign quite onerous legal documents part of which was promising not to throw anything into the audience, even wristbands!!! Ironic isn’t it.
“It is well documented on the web who was responsible for planning and participating in this attack and for musicians to join in this assault on other musicians is a shocking disgrace akin to treachery. You should all be thoroughly ashamed of yourselves.
“We know who authorised the making of the ‘Ozzy - Ozzy’ chant tape the day before and how it was played secretly through the PA at the very beginning and end of our set.
“We also know who continually turned off the power interrupting our set at crucial moments. It is a good thing that the power was turned back on before there was a riot as you could sense on stage a lot of the huge audience were getting totally pissed off at this continual onslaught on the band.
“The great majority of the Ozzfest crew throughout the tour were terrific and we thank them. Those who participated or stood idly by and watched as this all went down should also be ashamed of themselves and l would certainly hope they never come near a tour with which we are involved.
“There is little point in my commenting on the chap with the flag or their trying to hold up Eddie or Sharon’s speech as the audience made their feelings very clear on each occasion.
“And in the end what was all this about?? If l had any sort of problem or misunderstanding with a band working on a tour we were involved in l would go and talk to them or their manager - not wait until the end of a tour and assault and ambush them. Or was that really it?
“I find it staggering that this ambush would take place in front of any audience, let alone in San Bernardino, the biggest audience of the tour. Didn’t that audience merit any consideration? They pay an awful lot to be there in terms of prices for tickets, parking, food, beer etc. Surely if they spend this sort of money they deserve to watch the bands they paid to see be able to put in a full unhindered performance. Free of danger and intimidation. If I had paid I would ask for my money back!
“And this audience really were outstanding, giving the band incredible support and many voting with their feet in disgust after the set and the speech, which to many was the final insult.
“I have to say l was immensely proud of MAIDEN who stood up to it all and showed great courage and just got better and better through the adversity. Their heads never dropped, instead they went on the offensive. It was a truly memorable moment when Bruce went to the very front of the stage during “Trooper” - something which he never normally does as he is usually on the ramps - waving the flag whilst avoiding the hail of missiles and yelling ‘This is a fucking British flag, and these colours don’t fucking run!’. The imperturbable attitude and ability of the band shone through and in the end made this a truly remarkable rock and roll event, even if for all the wrong reasons.
We will have no more to say on this matter except that I do think the band deserve an apology from a number of people, and you know who you are.”