So, it’s been official for about a week or so now. Iron Maiden is playing Ozzfest. The press says co-headlining. Fist of all, co-headlining is a bunch of crap. Either you play last, or you don’t play last. Kind of like what Eddie Murphy said about men being bi-sexual – there is no such thing – either you…but I digress.
When I first heard this news I was pretty psyched. Ozzfest could be a great time, but the more I think about it, the more I think this is not such a great idea. Some of the problems with Maiden playing Ozzfest are obvious. First, it looks like some of the other acts are pretty crappy (the usual American nu-metal/industrial/trash crap that has been churned out for the last couple of years) and the other decent acts (Arch Enemy and In Flames) are on the second stage and will probably go on 5 hours before Maiden. Second, Black Sabbath headlining is a joke. I mean how much longer can these guys go out and look ridiculous. Sharon Osbourne pushes those old gleeps on stage to make fools of themselves and she cashes in. I really hope Steve Harris and Rod Smallwood know when to pull the pin on Maiden. Based on what I have seen recently, they are still going strong, as Dance of Death was a brilliant album and the concert from that tour was one of the best Maiden shows I have ever attended, and I have seen them every tour since The Beast on the Road in 1982.
The more subtle problem with Maiden playing Ozzfest is the clash of cultures. This does not apply to the casual Iron Maiden fan, the one who will list Maiden among his favorite metal bands, but really doesn’t get it. The clash will be between the younger nu-metal/industrial fans and the hard-core Maiden fans. The hard-core Maiden fans are a different breed. To be quite honest, we can be best described as snobs.
We expect a high standard in terms of music and performance. We are intelligent, so we don’t care for songs with lyrics about sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll. We want epics. We want history, books and movies. Furthermore, we look down upon those that do not live up to that standard. The hardcore Maiden fan will laugh at the Black Sabbath show with its ridiculous audio track in the background. We will notice the chords behind Iommi’s solos even though he is the only guitarist on stage. We scoff at moshers and silly tattoos and piercings. We ridicule everything Ozzfest represents in terms of MTV and the media. We are intolerant of metal bands that do not conform to the standards of quality and integrity that Maiden have set.
I don’t think these differences will result in fisticuffs. In addition to all those things I listed above, we believe that any miscreant that would participate in a fight probably has a knife, so we would most likely back down from a fight, but be able to insult the snot faced youth with out him understanding it anyway.