Sharon Osbourne has issued the following "open letter" to IRON MAIDEN manager Rod Smallwood:
"I found your statement to be completely void of the facts that led up to Saturday's show. Your press release was written like an old-time '80s manager, trying to use every opportunity to try and sell the record and the upcoming shows instead of just dealing with the truth.
"These are the facts:
"You claim to have been in the business for 30 years and have been to hundreds of gigs, but can you tell me how many times you have heard of an opening band talking sh*t about the headliner during their set and getting away with it? Not only is Ozzy the headliner, but he is also the man who is paying your band $185,000 a night. We gave IRON MAIDEN a chance to play to the biggest audiences they have ever played to in the U.S.A. We accommodated them with their stage set and at the band's request we even scoured the audience for people wearing IRON MAIDEN t-shirts and brought them down front during their set to make them feel more comfortable. Tell me, what other headliner would do that? Unfortunately those gestures were completely lost on Bruce Dickinson who for over 20 shows continually berated Ozzy and Ozzfest during his set.
"Over the last 10 years of Ozzfest, we have worked with over 200 bands. None of them were ever disrespectful to Ozzy or any of the other bands on the tour. But for 20 shows we were forced to hear Dickinson's nightly outbursts from the stage: 'When we come back to America, we'll be back with a proper sound system,' or "We won't be playing the same old songs every night (like SABBATH),' 'We don't need a teleprompter (like Ozzy)' and 'We don't need a reality show to be legit (again, like Ozzy).' Night after night we heard his complaints from the stage about how 'corporate' the venues were and how 'outrageous' the ticket prices were. Strangely enough, if you want to get a general admission ticket to stand in a field to see IRON MAIDEN at Reading this weekend it's going to cost you over $120. I would say that's very pricey, wouldn't you?
"When an artist comes on stage and says he's not playing the 55 minutes that he was allotted and that he is going to play for as long as he wants (cutting into SABBATH's set), I'm not going to let that happen. Dickinson was under the delusion that the 46,000 people in San Bernardino had come only to see IRON MAIDEN. He even proclaimed 'This is not the Ozzfest, This is Maidenfest.' I guess no one told him that we have an audience of 45,000 to 53,000 people every year in San Bernardino.
"Here's another fact for you. Bruce Dickinson's own band was embarrassed by him. IRON MAIDEN leader, Steve Harris, even came to Ozzy's dressing room to apologize to Ozzy for Bruce's behavior before MAIDEN took the stage in San Bernardino.
"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. He certainly had the opportunity to do so every night. 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? Ozzy's only interaction with Dickinson was on the first night of the tour. Ozzy, being the true gentleman that he is, passed Bruce in the hall and said 'Good luck and have a great show.' Unfortunately Dickinson felt the need to turn his back to Ozzy and walked away. Frankly, Dickinson got what he deserved. We had to listen to his bullsh*t for five straight weeks. He only had to suffer a couple of eggs on the head.
"On closing, yes, I did cut IRON MAIDEN's sound. This is the way I look at it: Ozzfest is our tour. We built it into something that's lasted 10 years now. We've been responsible for breaking many new bands and resurrecting the careers of former superstars. Part of our success stems from the fact that when a band is on Ozzfest we treat them with nothing but kindness and respect just as if we had invited them into our home. You can ask all of the bands who have been on the tour. They all describe it as the 'ultimate summer camp.' It's like one big family. Unfortunately 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 (Ozzy, BLACK SABBATH and Ozzfest), otherwise you just might get your ass handed to you. Every action has a reaction. Was Dickinson so naïve to think that I was going to let him get away with talking sh*t about my family night after night? I don't think he realizes who he's dealing with. I will not endure behavior like this from anyone.
"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 twenty years, but let's move on, shall we?
"The 'Real' Iron Maiden