Ding Ding! Seconds out!
Let’s make no bones about it – Classic Metal Hawk is out there first and foremost to appeal to the hopeless nostalgia of Classic Heavy Metal fans like himself – reminiscing about those good old days of music. But that doesn’t mean we can’t feature the odd contemporary post with some more recent happenings if they are on topic. So, when the Hawk read about a years-old Classic Heavy Metal feud being reheated in the press, he couldn’t resist a comment piece on it. Let’s dive in. Yes, it’s the Sharon Osbourne feud with Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden.
We’re talking, of course, about the wonderfully petty interview by Sharon Osbourne, wife and long-time manager of Ozzy, given in November 2022 to Consequence Sounds, in which she piles in on Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson. The hate / hate relationship between the 2 appears to date all the way back to 2005, when Maiden were booked to appear on the Ozzfest heavy metal tour.
Needless to say, it all stems from that famous ‘D’ word that goes round so much in celebrity circles – ‘DISRESPECT’. We could come up with a whole new blog made up only of stories about someone in the news being DISRESPECTED by someone else in the news. Cristiano Ronaldo feels disrespected by Manchester United (and vice versa). Cardi B was DISPESPECTED by Nicki Minaj and threw a shoe at her in retaliation. The Kardashians are DISRESPECTED by each other by the rest of the world. You know the drill.
Anyway, according to Sharon Osbourne, Bruce Dickinson spent the Ozzfest tour making disparaging comments about Ozzy, about reality TV (Sharon was starring with her family in one, ‘The Osbournes‘ at the time), even about the sound system that seemingly wasn’t up to Maiden’s usual standards.
Taking all this personally, Sharon plotted revenge, and on the final night of the tour, she arranged for Iron Maiden to be pelted with eggs during their set and also made sure that the sound system was cut off during some of their songs in a pretend ‘technical malfunction’. Dickinson was suitably furious about this, encouraging fans to break the arms of any egg throwers caught in the act. After the show, Ozzfest put out a statement disparaging Dickinson for breaking the spirit of Ozzfest in various ways, and the ‘Eggfest‘ show duly went down in history.
Still, plenty of water has passed under the bridge since then, right?
The Hate Well Runs Deep
There’s nothing quite like the human capacity to hold a grudge, and in their Consequence interviews, both Ozzy and Sharon make clear the depths they are willing to plumb in that regard. To be fair, Ozzy is comparatively restrained, merely commenting that he thinks (for reasons unspecified) Bruce Dickinson ‘is not very nice.’
But it’s Sharon who gives it both barrels. Classic Metal Hawk encourages everyone to head on over to Consequence to read the whole thing for themselves, but here’s the meat of it where she really sticks the knife in.
‘Bruce Dickinson is a f***ing prick. Well, no, he’s not a prick because a prick’s nice. He’s a f***ing asshole. Because the situation is he was on a tour called Ozzfest. And Ozzy Osbourne was paying him every night to perform. He accepted the gig. He knew what he was doing. He accepted the gig. And every night he would go onstage and say bad things about Ozzy. And the crew and everybody in all the other bands would be like, ‘Are you letting him get away with it?’ And I’m like, ‘I sure am.’ But the last gig was [just outside of] L.A. And I thought, ‘You motherf***er, now you’re gonna get it.’ And so I had about 20 people in the audience and a lot of them were nurses from Cedars Sinai, because I had cancer at that time. And they were all my chemo nurses. And they all came down, and they f***ing pelted the s*** out of him. And my thing is, you play, you pay!
And the thing is, if you’re being paid to do a gig, but you don’t like the person, then f*** off. But don’t stay, take the money, take all the good that’s coming to your band through being on a festival, doing 24 shows and still slagging the person that’s paying you. It’s like, ‘No, that makes you a f***ing asshole.’ And he is. And he’s never apologized, he never even went up and said hello to Ozzy. The thing about him is that he is just so jealous. And always has been of Ozzy. And that’s his problem.
Because the thing is about Bruce Dickinson, he’s hugely successful. He’s got a great fan base, a great fan base that have been loyal. The band are great guys. All the band are great. And they do great. You know, they’re a great band, you can’t take it away, and neither would I take that away from them. But the thing about Bruce is, he is unknown to the public. Bruce Dickinson could walk into anywhere and nobody would know who the f*** he is. Do you know what I’m saying? He’s a faceless singer to the general public. People aren’t scrambling to get him for an interview. And the thing is, he’s not interesting. But the thing is, Ozzy is original and Bruce isn’t and that’s what eats Bruce away.‘Sharon Osbourne
At this point, the diatribe ends, leaving the rest of us scratching our heads. I mean, sure, sometimes managers like to deploy a bit of controversy to drum up publicity, so maybe it’s just that, although the bad feelings from back in the Ozzfest 2005 day seemed real enough.
Baracking for the Pot-Heads?
Classic Metal Hawk has also heard it suggested that it’s all connected to comments made by Dickinson at a recent Maiden show where he criticized fans for smoking weed during the performance. Maybe Sharon Osbourne is coming in on the side of the fans against some sort of anti-drugs snobbery on display from Dickinson? (And let’s face it, you couldn’t be married to Ozzy for all that time whilst being some sort of anti-drugs puritan). The Hawk is dubious about this.
Maybe the most surprising part of the interview is the out-and-out admission by Osbourne that she was the one who arranged the egg-pelting, having been a little more coy about that in the past. Beyond that, it’s just a hodgepodge. On the one hand, sure, no doubt more people recognize Ozzy on the street than they do Bruce. But, ya know, reality TV shows and all that – could have something to do with it. Besides, Dickinson has always seemed like the kind of guy who values his privacy off-tour – that’s the impression The Hawk gets from various books and articles, so it’s doubtful that not getting harassed in his local supermarket is eating him up particularly.
Look, The Hawk hasn’t met any of the characters in this triangle, has no clue what any of them are like in real life, who’s nice, who’s an asshole. And all of them are grown adults, perfectly capable of handling their own mudslinging.
Who really got Dissed?
But let me say this. Osbourne says she paid Maiden to do that original Ozzfest tour, so they shouldn’t have DISRESPECTED anyone after that. (The Hawk makes no judgement about whether the DISRESPECT was real or imagined, as it’s irrelevant to his main point). Now, it may be true that Sharon Osbourne was the one signing the cheques, but let’s be clear that in the end, all the money comes from the pockets of fans. The people who fork out for the tickets and the merch in the first place.
Classic Metal Hawk has no special connections in this business. He pays for his own tickets to shows. And for anyone who does that, the idea that a show’s promoters would sabotage one of their own acts as a way of settling a childish personal grievance is beyond scandalous. Way beyond.
So, Sharon Osbourne, you want to bitch about DISRESPECT? Maybe think about how the show you ruined may have represented quite some lay out of cash from some fans. People who just want to see a show and don’t give a crap about any bitching or bruised egos behind the scenes.
One thing about Iron Maiden is that they’ve always been a professional outfit who put on a show for the fans first and foremost. And if they care more about that than about being top dogs in some BS celebrity scene, then Classic Heavy Metal Hawk says fair play to them. Bruce Dickinson can be a Prick and an Asshole all he wants if he makes sure the paying fans get what they want.
Entertainment has its share of egos of course, and the Hawk suspects he’s paid to see any number of Pricks and Assholes over the years. He’s happy to live in blissful ignorance as long as the music is great. Rant over. Now let’s finish with a recap of the bad tempered scenes that still haven’t been forgotten after all these years.
Fake argument deigned to get press coverage or the real deal? And where do you stand on eggs debate? Is it permissible to pelt bands you don’t like? Or would you have been in the ‘arm breaker’ camp?
Share your thoughts in the comments below, or send feedback direct to The Hawk.