Though music beefs are typically confined to the hip-hop game, metal is not immune to the sport. A venomous verbal battle between Ozzfest founder Sharon Osbourne and Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson has been escalating since last Saturday's Ozzfest stop in Devore, California — where Maiden were pelted with eggs, lighters and ice during their final performance on the tour.
But in a statement released Thursday night, Sharon says she's done.
"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 20 years, but let's move on, shall we?" Osbourne wrote in an open letter to Maiden's manager, Rod Smallwood. She signed the letter "The 'Real' Iron Maiden," and accused Smallwood of fueling the tension "to try and sell record[s] and the [band's] upcoming shows."
During Maiden's set Saturday, the venue's public-address system was cut on at least three occasions, as was the main stage's power, rendering Dickinson's microphone and the band's amps silent (see "Iron Maiden Pelted With Eggs At Final Ozzfest Performance"). When power was eventually restored, Dickinson accused the festival's organizers of deliberately interrupting the band's performance, and proceeded to launch a verbal attack on Sharon's husband, Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne.
As soon as Maiden left the Ozzfest stage, Sharon grabbed the microphone and hit back at Dickinson. The following evening, she issued an official statement taking further jabs at the singer. Smallwood evened the score in a statement of his own, which read, "The scale, viciousness and concentration of the throwing made it obvious that this was a premeditated and coordinated attack."
Bury Your Dead, one of this year's Ozzfest bands, were caught in the crossfire of the battle as several reports surfaced online that they'd been involved in the egg toss; the band denies the allegations but has received numerous death threats from incensed Maiden fans (see "Bury Your Dead Get Death Threats Over Ozzfest Egging, Swear They Weren't Involved").
In Sharon Osbourne's most recent statement, she admits to disrupting Maiden's set.
"I did cut [the band's] sound," she wrote. "Ozzfest is our tour. 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. Otherwise, you just might get your ass handed to you. Every action has a reaction. Was Dickinson so naive to think that I was going to let him get away with talking sh-- about my family, night after night? I don't think he realizes who he's dealing with."
Osbourne took offense to remarks she said Dickinson made concerning the quality of the tour's sound system and criticisms he's made about Sabbath and Ozzy, including, " 'We don't need a teleprompter' (like Ozzy)" and " 'We don't need a reality show to be legit' (again, like Ozzy)," she wrote. "Night after night, we heard his complaints from the stage about how 'corporate' the venues were and how 'outrageous' the ticket prices were."
"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. 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? Frankly, Dickinson got what he deserved. We had to listen to his bullsh-- for five straight weeks. He only had to suffer a couple of eggs on the head."
Whether this latest missive will be the beef's last remains to be seen, but there's been no response from the Maiden camp so far. Ozzfest fans have been turning to the Internet since the first reports of last Saturday's egging incident began to surface, flooding several heavy metal Web sites' message boards to vent about the situation, with many calling on the so-far-silent Ozzy Osbourne to tell his side of the story.