'99 OzzFest Puts Pedal To Metal Beginning In May

Ozzy Osbourne's reunited Black Sabbath set to headline 28-date outing.

The 1999 OzzFest will bring its heavy metal noise to the masses in May in West Palm Beach, Fla., as the popular festival kicks off a two-month, 28-date tour headlined by reunited metal legends Black Sabbath.

This summer's OzzFest -- which opens May 27 and closes shop July 24 with a show in San Bernardino, Calif. -- will offer the most eclectic bill in the 3-year-old festival's history. Capped with swan-song appearances by Sabbath, the tour's main stage also will showcase rock trio Primus, industrial act Rob Zombie and heavy-metal artists the Deftones, Slayer, Godsmack and System of a Down, according to Michael Guarracino, assistant to OzzFest founder Sharon Osbourne, wife and manager of heavy metal icon Ozzy Osbourne.

"We were just trying to keep it interesting and not repeat the same bands we had last year," Guarracino said.

Completing the hard-rock slate of bands will be such heavy rocking second-stage acts as Fear Factory, Pushmonkey, Drain STH, Static-X, Apt. 26, Hed(pe) and Puya. While Judas Priest was expected to headline the second stage for the whole tour, Guarracino said both that veteran metal band and Grammy-nominated hard-rockers Nashville Pussy recently dropped out of the tour due to previous scheduling commitments. The second stage will now be headlined by Fear Factory with the rest of the second-stage acts rotating into the first slot on the main stage daily.

Sabbath's OzzFest shows are the final dates by the recently re-formed outfit, featuring lead singer Ozzy Osbourne himself, before it disbands again to work on solo projects.

Primus bassist/singer Les Claypool -- whose band is best known for such quirky

avant-rock songs as "Shake Hands With Beef" (RealAudio excerpt) -- said he's likely to be in the wings during Sabbath's performances.

Claypool said he doesn't see anything odd about his decidedly metal-free band's participation in OzzFest. "I could play [Sabbath staple] 'Iron Man' (RealAudio excerpt of live Sabbath version) from start to finish when I was 16 years old," Claypool said. "I know more ... Butler [bass]lines than any of those guys."

Claypool said the slot on OzzFest completes a kind of summer festival trifecta for his group and officially makes them "summer tour whores." Primus played Lollapalooza in 1993 and H.O.R.D.E. (Horizons of Rock Developing Everywhere) in 1997.

Last year's 18-date OzzFest did impressive business in its second outing, averaging 23,700 attendees per show for a bill that featured Megadeth, Tool, Motorhead and the Melvins, in addition to Ozzy Osbourne.

This year's OzzFest will head to Europe in late July or early August, according to Guarracino.

'99 Ozzfest Tour Dates:

May 27; W. Palm Beach, Fla.; Coral Sky Amphitheater

May 29; Atlanta, Ga.; Lakewood Amphitheater

May 31; Nashville, Tenn.; Starwood Amphitheater

June 2; Charlotte, N.C.; Blockbuster Pavilion

June 4; Washington, D.C.; Nissan Pavilion

June 6; Philadelphia, Pa.; Entertainment Center

June 8 & 10; Holmdel, N.J.; PNC Bank Center

June 12; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Starlake Amphitheater

June 14; Columbus, Ohio; Polaris Amphitheater

June 16 & 18; Mansfield, Mass.; Great Woods Amphitheater

June 19; Hartford, Conn.; Meadows Music Theater

June 25 & 27; Detroit, Mich.; Pine Knob Amphitheater

June 29; Indianapolis, Ind.; Deer Creek Amphitheater

July 1; Minneapolis, Minn.; Float-Rite Amphitheater

July 3; Milwaukee, Wis.; Alpine Valley

July 5; Chicago, Ill.; World Music Theater

July 7; St. Louis, Mo.; Riverport Amphitheater

July 9; Kansas City, Mo.; Sandstone Amphitheater

July 11; San Antonio, Texas; Retarna Park

July 13; Dallas, Texas; Starplex Amphitheater

July 16; Vancouver, B.C.; Thunderbird

July 17; Seattle, Wash.; The Gorge

July 20; Shoreline, Calif.; Shoreline Amphitheater

July 22; Phoenix, Ariz.; Desert Sky Amphitheater

July 24; San Bernardino, Calif.; Blockbuster Pavilion