Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I'm the Muthafucking Prince of Darkness!

Ozzy Osbourne fascinates me. He's metal's original anti-hero, a guy with long hair and funky glasses who somehow looks like a more decrepit version of himself from thirty years ago. He's got Black Sabbath god status, the solo career, the footage from Decline of Western Civilization II where he can't, for the life of him, pour his orange juice properly, The Osbournes, the feud between Shannon and Bruce (which always make me imagine Ozzy sitting in the background, looking confused as to what's going on), that whole speaking thing where you can't figure out what he's saying - and probably wouldn't want to anyway - and Ozzfest. Can't forget Ozzfest - the tour that launched a thousand careers.

This year Ozzfest gets a new wrinkle: it's free. According to, Ozzy made the announcement yesterday by spray painting FREE on a poster at a concert industry trade show in LA; confirmation is on the Ozzfest Website. The reason, according to Sharon, is to combat the rising ticket prices of summer festivals - Ozzfest sees itself to be a leader in this area and making the tour free for 2007 might reverse the trend.

From what my friend Seth tells me, Ozzfest was always pay to play for second stage and lower main stage bands; he worries that making every band play for free (except for merch sales) will kill the possibility of any major act besides Ozzy signing up to do the tour. I don't know for sure how the payment structure for Ozzfest works - whether or not being a high-profile band means you get paid instead of paying for the pleasure of touring and whether there's a scale depending on your manager/label's negotiating ability - but I think there's some validity to his point. My feeling is that either this year's tour will be Ozzy and a host of unknowns, or Ozzfest will end up paying for major acts to fill out the bill when necessary and add that as another small drop to the total revenue loss on the tour.

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