(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — A war of words has been ignited between Sharon Osbourne, wife/manager of Ozzy Osbourne and founder of OzzFest, and Rod Smallwood, manager of OzzFest touring band Iron Maiden. This verbal war centers around the August 20 concert in San Bernardino, CA, where Iron Maiden was pelted with bottle caps, eggs, and lighters, and their power was interrupted several times during their final performance on the tour.
Smallwood posted the following statement on the band's official website:
"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 l do think the band deserve an apology from a number of people, and you know who you are." — Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner
Smallwood vs. Osbourne, Round 2
(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — In response to Iron Maiden manager Rod Smallwood's statement about Iron Maiden's treatment during their final OzzFest performance on August 20, in San Bernardino, CA (CelebrityAccess, August 25), Sharon Osbourne, wife/manager of tour headliner Ozzy Osbourne and founder of OzzFest, fired back the following missive:
"I found your statement to be completely void of the facts that led up to Saturday’s show. Your press release was written like an old time 80’s manager, trying to use every opportunity to try and sell the record and the upcoming shows instead of just dealing with the truth.
"These are the facts:
"You claim to have been in the business for 30 years and have been to hundreds of gigs, but can you tell me how many times you have heard of an opening band talking sh*t about the headliner during their set and getting away with it?
"Not only is Ozzy the headliner, but he is also the man who is paying your band $185,000 a night.
"We gave Iron Maiden a chance to play to the biggest audiences they have ever played to in the U.S.A.
"We accommodated them with their stage set and at the band’s request we even scoured the audience for people wearing Iron Maiden t-shirts and brought them down front during their set to make them feel more comfortable.
"Tell me, what other headliner would do that?
"Unfortunately those gestures were completely lost on Bruce Dickinson who for over 20 shows continually berated Ozzy and Ozzfest during his set.
"Over the last 10 years of Ozzfest we have worked with over 200 bands. None of them were ever disrespectful to Ozzy or any of the other bands on the tour. But for 20 shows we were forced to hear Dickinson’s nightly outbursts from the stage: “When we come back to America, we’ll be back with a proper sound system” or “We won’t be playing the same old songs every night (like Sabbath),” “We don’t need a teleprompter (like Ozzy)” and “We don’t need a reality show to be legit (again, like Ozzy).” Night after night we heard his complaints from the stage about how “corporate” the venues were and how “outrageous” the ticket prices were. Strangely enough, if you want to get a general admission ticket to stand in a field to see Iron Maiden at Reading this weekend it’s going to cost you over $120. I would say that’s very pricey, wouldn’t you?
"When an artist comes on stage and says he’s not playing the 55 minutes that he was allotted and that he is going to play for as long as he wants (cutting into Sabbath’s set), I’m not going to let that happen. Dickinson was under the delusion that the 46,000 people in San Bernardino had come only to see Iron Maiden. He even proclaimed “This is not the Ozzfest, This is Maidenfest.” I guess no one told him that we have an audience of 45,000 to 53,000 people every year in San Bernardino.
"Here’s another fact for you. Bruce Dickinson’s own band was embarrassed by him. Iron Maiden leader, Steve Harris, even came to Ozzy’s dressing room to apologize to Ozzy for Bruce’s behavior before Maiden took the stage in San Bernardino.
"It’s shameful that Dickinson felt he had the right to air his issues publicly onstage every night as a way to boost his own ego. Dickinson never once came up to Ozzy and me to voice any concerns. He certainly had the opportunity to do so every night. If he wasn’t able to show us that courtesy then why should I give him the respect to air my grievances with him in private?
"Ozzy’s only interaction with Dickinson was on the first night of the tour. Ozzy, being the true gentleman that he is, passed Bruce in the hall and said “Good luck and have a great show.” Unfortunately Dickinson felt the need to turn his back to Ozzy and walked away. Frankly, Dickinson got what he deserved. We had to listen to his bullsh*t for five straight weeks. He only had to suffer a couple of eggs on the head.
"On closing, yes, I did cut Iron Maiden’s sound. This is the way I look at it: Ozzfest is our tour. We built it into something that’s lasted 10 years now. We’ve been responsible for breaking many new bands and resurrecting the careers of former superstars. Part of our success stems from the fact that when a band is on Ozzfest we treat them with nothing but kindness and respect just as if we had invited them into our home. You can ask all of the bands who have been on the tour. They all describe it as the “ultimate summer camp.” It’s like one big family. Unfortunately Dickinson doesn’t have the manners to realize that when you are invited into someone’s home, are seated at their dinner table, are eating their food and drinking their wine, you shouldn’t talk disrespectfully about them (Ozzy, Black Sabbath and Ozzfest), otherwise you just might get your ass handed to you. Every action has a reaction. Was Dickinson so naïve to think that I was going to let him get away with talking sh*t about my family night after night? I don’t think he realizes who he’s dealing with. I will not endure behavior like this from anyone.
"I know you would love to keep talking about this because this is the most press that Iron Maiden has had in the U.S. in twenty years, but let’s move on, shall we?
"The “Real” Iron Maiden
"Sharon Osbourne" —
Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner