“Wanna play Ozzfest?”

Dave's True Stories
11 min readMar 30, 2020

These were three words I thought I’d never live to hear. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I was a lifelong, card carrying, die hard metal fan since I was a kid. A back patch wearing, cassette collecting, fanzine subscribing, stage diving lifer at heart. But Ozzfest? The Foo Fighters? The mother of all metal festivals, the meeting of all Marshalls, the most tyrannical thrash-apalooza known to man was requesting…the “Learn to Fly” guys? The smiley, smirky, candy commercial dorks? The rock and roll “Revenge of the Nerds”? Shit, some of us even had hair ABOVE our collars! This made no sense. This must be some kind of practical joke. Candid camera? Punked? Was Ashton Kutcher going to jump out of my hotel closet and find me shivering in my soiled pair of 90’s long underwear? This was the greatest mismatch of all time. This was Tyson vs. Ghandi. David Copperfield and Claudia Schiffer. George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley (Okay, I take that one back…) Disaster waiting to happen!

Seems that the legendary American kingpins of Nu Metal, Korn had to pull out of their appearance, and the promoters thought that our brand of jangly, radio friendly, 70’s AM Gold would be the perfect fit. Who knew? How the sweet, crooning chorus of “Walking After You” could replace the bludgeoning stomp of Korn’s almighty “Blind” was beyond me. But hey, I’ve never been one to back down from a terrible idea. I’d practically made a fucking career of it up until that point! Why the hell not?

“You’ll be going on after Pantera….”

Silence. Dead air. My throat closed. My stomach dropped. My butthole turned into a Star Wars trash compactor. An audible “gulp” and whimper were the only sounds I could manage to produce. No. Fucking. Way. AFTER Pantera? The absolute heaviest, tightest, grooviest, most badass metal band of all time? The kings of cro-magnon carnage? The motherfucking COWBOYS FROM HELL??? Are you out of your goddamned mind??? There’ll be nothing left once they play their final chord, believe me. Stage, gone. Minds and P.A. blown. Nothing but a muddy field of shattered eardrums and melted brains strewn across the littered lawn. And then…us? No. Fucking. Way.

“They’re offering $***,***…..”

“See you at Ozzfest!” I chirped.

Milton Keynes Bowl was no stranger to rock and roll spectacles. From Michael Jackson to Metallica, Queen to Green Day, Status Quo to The Prodigy, the venue had hosted decades of massive shows within its natural surroundings (a former clay pit for…