Friday, February 20, 2009

No More Tours: R.I.P. Ozzfest 1996-2008

Posted By on Fri, Feb 20, 2009 at 6:45 AM

click to enlarge Ozzy weeps.
  • Ozzy weeps.
Do you remember the "even Steven" episode of "Seinfeld"? You know, one door closes another one opens. Last week I told you about the return of Limp Bizkit--one door closing. Well it looks like they might not have a tour to go on because guess what's not coming here this year? Ozzfest. You know why, because it's not coming anywhere--one door opening, as it was announced last week on that:

The two-time Grammy Award winner has decided that he will not be touring until he has a new album in-stores (currently projected to be Thanksgiving 2009). Thus, OZZY has decided to put his namesake festival OZZFEST on hold this year. In the meantime, if you need an OZZY fix you can watch him with Sharon, Kelly and Jack on the "first family of rock's" return to television. THE OSBOURNES: RELOADED is set to launch this spring on Fox TV.

Where are neo-heshers going to go now to show off their cheek spacers, tribal tattoos, baggy black jeans, double-chins and underage girlfriends? Where are bikers gonna get their annual fix of Zak Wylde's Black Label Society. How are spikey-necklaced-sweaty-vapid-bumblefuck-know-nothings gonna find out about the next Disturbed, Static-X, Avenged Sevenfold, Taproot, Adema, Otep, Apex Theory, Staind, Hed (PE) or P.O.D.? For the first summer in over a decade Ozzy Osbourne will know where he is at all times: home.

click to enlarge All dressed up and no place to go
  • All dressed up and no place to go

When I was 11 years old I saw Ozzy Osbourne at the Pacific Amphitheater in Costa Mesa, Ca. The opening acts were Black Sabbath (featuring Rob Halford on vocals!) and Sepultura--who hit on my mom backstage. At the time, this show was notable as it was the final date of the 1992 No More Tours tour. That's right, Ozzy was hanging it up. I remember the show ending in a fireworks display that spelled out Ozzy R.I.P. or something. So who would have thought that a mere four years later the prince of darkness would return to the stage. And with a vengeance: his own package tour.

The story goes something like this, Ozzy's machiavelian wife/manager Sharon was so smote by being excluded from 1996's Lollapalooza--the festival deeming him too irrelevant or metallic in the same year they had Metallica as a headliner--that she wanted to show the alternative rockers who's boss and paint an endless heavy metal parking lot shed to shed from coast to coast. The end result was 13 years of second-tier nu-metal bands providing the soundtrack to a day of tailgate anticipation for a performance by either Ozzy Osbourne or a reunited Black Sabbath. Do you guys remember those table hockey games where you move the players down their own little track by a stick up their ass. That's pretty much how Ozzy moves onstage. Baby stepping, frog jumping and throwing buckets of water on people going "fucking crazy" like a home-schooled 5-year-old attending his "normal" cousin's pool party.

Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme described Ozzfest as the worst summer job he's ever had: "[We] won't be playing Ozzfest again--they treat the bands like shit... This year you get to play for free under the guise of, 'We're doing it for the fans!' But it's really for the people who fan Sharon and Ozzy with palm fronds at their house." You see the business model for Ozzfest was all about using Ozzy (or other metal marquee headliners) as a catalyst for providing a launch pad with which to heave nu-metal turds at the wall to see which ones stuck. Preferably ones managed by Sharon Osbourne. Take for example Wicked Wisdom. Yes, some people laugh and others need an explanation. Wicked Wisdom was the ill-fated musical endeavor featuring none other than Nutty Professor supporting actress Jada Pinkett Smith. The history of 20th century music is replete with stories of actors and actresses subjecting us to their stabs at a career in music, but few are as stupifyingly insipid as Wicked Wisdom. Just take a look at this 2006 clip of them performing on Late Night with David Letterman.

Is something inside of you feeling better now? Is your jaw on the floor? Have you caught your breath yet? Do your loins hurt from uncontrollable rippling laughter? They fucking should. That was TERRIBLE. It was also terribly hilarious. When it comes to music, I'm a glutton for punishment. Some people cut themselves, I suffer through bad music videos, and Wicked Wisdom really hits the spot. Few people have done as much to perpetuate the art form of bad music as Sharon Osborne, who managed Wicked Wisdom and had them as featured act on the Ozzfest second stage in 2005. (As a side note, they were also an opening act on Britney Spears' "Onyx Hotel" tour that same year. I'm sure all the parents chaperoning their kids to that show must have loved it.)

So where were we? Oh yeah. Ozzfest. It's done. Over. Kaput. At least for now. And that's a good thing, as it drastically reduces the probability of the next Drowning Pool being launched with soul-gouging velocity into our cultural consciousness, like a wad of gelatinous ejaculate from Sharon "Satan" Osbourne's cock. My one big fear is that we will this summer see the return of Metallica's Summer Sanitarium tour, which has previously featured Ozzfest run-off the likes of Kid Rock, Korn (my backwards R key is broken, but I'm talking about the band with the bad childhoods), Powerman 5000, System of a Down, Mudvayne, and last but least Limp Bizkit--who were famously pelted with bottles and booed offstage at a show in Chicago. Metallica is in the midst of a record cycle and have twice proven their love for the package tour model. Let's hope they don't feel a need to fill the void created by Ozzfest's demize. Fingers crossed. Oh, and Warped Tour. I've got you in my sights!

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