Ozzfest Celebrates Life On Top At Tour Launch (7/3/2000)
Three years ago, Ozzfest's entry into the
then-overpopulated festival tour landscape was met
with snickers and forecasts of failure.
But, as Phil Anselmo barked during Pantera's
co-headlining set at Ozzfest 2000's kick-off on
Sunday, "Yesterday don't mean sh**."
With Lollapalooza, Lilith Fair, and H.O.R.D.E. indrydock, Ozzy Osbourne and his metal-minded
cohorts seemed to be heartily enjoying the last laugh
when the now reigning summer festival champ
unveiled this year's edition in West Palm Beach,
"Metal never dies," Static-X frontman Wayne Statictold MTV News of the tour's staying power.
"Sometimes it's not on the radio and sometimes it's
not at the forefront, but heavy rock or metal or
whatever the hell you want to call it has always beenaround and will always be around. Metal fans are the
most hardcore, loyal fans. There's always going to be
an audience for this kind of event."
Bolstering that point, a sell out
crowd of some 19,000 braved
searing sun, stifling humidity and
a brief but very heavy downpour
at West Palm's Mars Music
Amphitheater for the first date of
the annual metal trek, which this
year offers Ozzy, Pantera,
Godsmack, Incubus, Static-X,
P.O.D., Soulfly, and 12 others.
What those fans found were a
collection of heavy music's finest celebrating their
success on the main stage, and a new breed of
up-and-comers optimistic about turning their second
stage spots into career-making gigs.
"This is a great opportunity for us to play in front of asold-out big packed house with a lot of great newbands," Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul said of why
his band decided to book its first U.S. dates insupport of its recently released "Reinventing The
Steel" as part of Ozzfest 2000. "Obviously we've got
a new album out, and it would be an easy choice for
us to go headline, but having been part of Ozzfest inthe past, we know how much fun it is, and there was
no way we were going to pass this up.
"It's the easiest tour in the world, and the funnest
tour in the world," added Paul, whose band has
logged countless gigs with Ozzy. "We call it the golf
tour because every day off I get to play golf or I get to
Of course, Pantera was all
business during its opening night
set, coming across like men on a
mission in serving up the
bare-knuckled, straight-up metal
found on "Reinventing The Steel" toa U.S. audience for the first time.
"God damn it feels good to be
playing Florida right now," frontman
Phil Anselmo declared as the sheer
force of new tracks like "Hellbound,"
"Goddamn Electric," and "Revolution Is My Name"
seemed to beat the rain away.
Such was the sentiment for much of the day on the
main stage as the Ozzfest 2000 crop settled in for a
two-month party. "I'm so happy to be here playing to
you lovely Floridians instead of sitting in some f***ing
jail somewhere," Tommy Lee declared duringMethods Of Mayhem's set.
Of course, no one seemed to get a bigger charge outof Ozzfest 2000's coming out party than Ozzy
himself, who lurched, hopped, and swayed his way
through an hour and a half of material, smiling like aCheshire cat the entire time. Ozzy slammed together
plenty of Black Sabbath nuggets ("N.I.B.," "War
Pigs, "Paranoid"), solo hits ("Crazy Train," "Suicide
Solution," "Flying High Again"), and the latest in
water gun technology for a set that was part heavy
metal karaoke, part water park attraction.
"It's always to cool to see Ozzy,"
Soulfly frontman Max Cavalera
noted. "I don't know what it is, but
the man is the bomb."
While Ozzy and other big metal
names consistently bring fans to
the gate, Ozzfest has become just
as well known as a launching pad
for new talent. The tour has helped
bands like System Of A Down,
Static-X, and Slipknot find gold and platinum sales
success, a fact not lost on the fresh faces playing
this year's second stage.
"It's gained a reputation of having awesome bands on
the main stage, and the second stage where you can
see up and coming acts so I think that there's a nicebalance," Kittie singer Morgan Lander said. "There's
been some bands that have broken straight out of
Ozzfest, like Slipknot for instance. They came right
out of the gate and now look where they are. It's
definitely kind of a breaking point. If you do Ozzfest,
you're destined to do at least somewhat well in the
The band seemed to follow throughon that with its first day
performance, using its prime 5 p.m.
slot to whip the thousands of fans
congregated at the second stage
into a churning pit, and no doubt
converting some new fans as well.
"I think that Ozzfest, as much as it
is a big concert, it's a showcase for
up-and-coming bands," said Wayne
Static, who credits Ozzfest with helping his band
break through to the masses. "I think people come to
see Pantera and they accidentally wind up seeing
Deadlights or Slaves On Dope or whatever because
the side stage is out there with all the booths and the
food and you can't help but accidentally see some
bands. Metal fans like anything as long as it's hard
and it rocks and it crunches, so if you're good and
you're there, you're down, man."
"You still have to deliver," Slaves On Dope frontman
Jason Rockman said. "As great of a slot as it is and
as much of a push as we're getting, being the first
band on Ozzy's label, it doesn't mean that we're
going to have an easy ride of it because with these
kids, if you suck, you suck. It doesn't matter who the
hell backs you."
TapRoot, who have made the trek
from Ann Arbor, Michigan to
Ozzfest's second stage, are also
well aware that opportunity andexecution are two different things.
"It's a huge opportunity for us, andwe know that, so every day you go
out whether you're sick and tired
and want to go to bed or you want
to throw up or what have you,
you've got to dominate out there,"
TapRoot guitarist Mike DeWolf said. "You've got to
fight for it and take all these kids way with you
feeling what you feel. That's the opportunity that's
there for us, we just have to take it."
The band held true to that ethic on day one, fighting
mid-afternoon high temperatures that almost wilted acouple of band members to deliver a set that saw
several in the crowd already singing along and
hundreds of others grinding along for the ride.
So as the summer rolls on, Kittie, TapRoot, Slaves
On Dope, and the rest of the second stage back will
rub elbows with Ozzy, Pantera, and other members
of metal royalty and will continue to look for their bigbreak in the least likely of places... a tour that many
said wouldn't make it past 1997.
(MTV News is also working on a half-hour Ozzfest
special that will air on Tuesday, July 18 at 4:30 p.m.,and we are looking for your input. Tell us what you
want to see in our online "Total Request Ozzfest"
poll.) -- Robert Mancini