Rich Casey remembers getting the call from his band's manager not long after the August 20 date on this summer's Ozzfest. The bassist, a member of Massachusetts second-stage act Bury Your Dead, was asked if he'd had a chance to check his e-mail, but Casey hadn't — not for days. When he finally got around to it, it took awhile for the shock to subside.
"I had hundreds of e-mails from upset Iron Maiden fans who were pissed about this whole thing," Casey explained. "A lot of them included death threats," especially those originating from Maiden's U.K. homeland. "They said things like, 'Come over here and we'll bury you' and 'Your band doesn't deserve' this or that, or 'You'll pay for disrespecting Maiden' — all when we had no part in this whatsoever."
Of course, Casey's referring to the now-infamous night in Devore, California, where Iron Maiden, revered and respected in metal circles of metal worship, were pelted with eggs, lighters, ice and bottle caps at the start of what was to be the band's final Ozzfest performance (see "Iron Maiden Pelted With Eggs At Final Ozzfest Performance").
Several reports have surfaced on heavy-metal messageboards and Web sites suggesting that some members of Bury Your Dead or their crew helped egg-beam the Bruce Dickinson-led legends. The assault involved more than a dozen people stationed inside the main stage's general-admission area, according to several sources.
Casey said Bury Your Dead are the unfortunate, yet innocent, victims of Internet rumor. He claims his band did not touch one egg that night, and now, he wants to set the record straight.
He claims he was sitting backstage, in Ozzfest's catering area, enjoying some late-afternoon nosh, when all of a sudden, "people are being asked to be part of an egging of Iron Maiden, for whatever reason," Casey recalled. "At first I thought, 'Is this a last-show, let's have fun with Maiden sort of thing?'
"But it didn't sound right," he continued. "Everyone I was sitting with declined the offer to be a part of it. I don't know [what] set off this entire thing of our band's name being dragged into this, but I assure you we were not involved."
In fact, Casey claims Bury Your Dead even have video footage, shot during Maiden's set, proving that most of the band "wasn't even near the main stage." That's because for the last few weeks a camera crew's been following them around at the behest of actor Will Smith, who's been tagging along on this summer's Ozzfest with wife Jada Pinkett Smith and her band, Wicked Wisdom (see "Ozzfest Gets Jiggy? Jada Pinkett Smith's Band Added To Lineup"). Smith hopes to take the footage and convert it into reality-television gold.
At first Casey thought the egging was a joke. But then, during Maiden's intro music, "I run up to the center of the soundboard," he recalled, "and then all of a sudden, as soon as the band comes out on the stage, eggs are being thrown at them. And here we are two days later, getting a call from our manager asking us if we've read our e-mail."
Casey said he respects both Maiden and the Osbournes for the contributions they've made to the heavy-metal genre. He also says he's worried that, in this post-Dimebag world, someone might make good on one of those death threats. In the meantime, Bury Your Dead's lawyers are exploring the band's legal options. Casey said there's a possibility the group could take action against some of the Web sites that posted the rumors of his band's involvement.