After 10 years of avoiding Salt Lake City, Ozzfest finally brings its extravagant headbanging musical tour to Utah.
The USANA Ampitheatre will turn into an all-out heavy metal circus Aug.16. One of the nation’s biggest touring festivals features mainstage bands that include Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, In Flames and Shadows Fall.
There are 14 on the second stage, including Rob Zombie, The Haunted, It Dies Today, Arch Enemy, Soilwork and Killswitch Engage. Heavy music fans should be out en force for this momentous visit from the Ozzman and metal cohorts; this is the tour that once pushed major label crap down fans’ throats. Who remembers supposedly cutting-edge bands such as Puya, Pushmonkey, Flashpoint, Taproot, Slaves on Dope, Reveille, Shuvel, Primer 55, Deadlights, Methods of Mayhem, Beautiful Creatures, Union Underground, No One, Pressure 4-5, Crazy Town, 3rd Strike, Grade 8, Twisted Method, not to mention metal posers such as Papa Roach, Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, Coal Chamber, Disturbed, Godsmack and Drowning Pool?
Starting in 2004, the tour became more diversified, bringing a little bit of the underground and, for the most part, heavier music back to both stages. The second stage was dominated by mostly hardcore fare from the likes of Throwdown, Bleeding Through, Every Time I Die and Darkest Hour. Growing record label Century Media sported two bands on the second stage, adding a much-needed diversity, especially with the likes of Lacuna Coil.
On the main stage there was Nuclear Blast Records’ rapidly growing Dimmu Borigir, as well as the reunited Judas Priest and of course, the original lineup of Black Sabbath headlining.
SLUG had the chance to catch up with Rich Casey, bassist for the relatively unknown Bury Your Dead and Matt Heafy of the young Trivium, to talk about their presence on Ozzfest, their bands and more.
Bury Your Dead’s Rich Casey:
SLUG: So in the beginning, the band broke up and got back together; when you got back together did you imagine things would get as big as they have for you now?
Bury Your Dead: I knew we had a pretty good shot at it, just because of our work ethic and just because of learning from past band experiences like Ground Zero and Pictures of Gabriel for me, Blood has Been Shed and Hamartia for Slim and Mark. I had a good feeling. To be on the largest summer tour right now and things looking the way they are, I can honestly say I didn’t think it would go as fast that it has, but I had a gut feeling that we would make some headway.
SLUG: How did the band get hooked up with Ozzfest this year?
Bury Your Dead: We were on tour with Walls of Jericho and Premonitions of War and we were all in California playing at the Troubadour. The day before the show, we got a call from Victory Records, saying hey, we need you to do us a favor, to put somebody with a plus one on your guest list, and we were like yeah, sure, no problem. Victory was like, John Fenton is coming out to see you; I said, why does that name sound familiar? And they said, you know, Sharon Osbourne’s management. I thought, are you kidding? Sure enough, we put him on the list. None of us knew what he looked like. That night we were all kind of nervous, we checked back at the window to see if he had checked in and he had. None of us had a clue who he was and we just played the most powerful, energetic show that night, stirred the crowd into a pretty ridiculous frenzy, and I guess he was super into it. A week and a half later we’re still in the van touring, and we get the call for the invite.
SLUG: Last year the tour was somewhat dominated by hardcore bands; this year you guys are kind of the black sheep—Killswitch and It Dies Today don’t count as hardcore in my book. How do you feel about being pretty much the lone hardcore act on the tour?
Bury Your Dead: Well, it’s a lot of metal, and you look at all the other bands and how they’re traveling, and we have a wrap on our bus that says our name and Victory’s name all over it. Everything we do right now, even sound-wise, I feel we stick out more so than some of the other bands and I think it’s going to benefit us in the long run. Our merch, our backdrop, everything, is just one big package; so far the response has been amazing. I don’t think we’re the outcasts though, per say.
SLUG: The band at the moment isn’t all that known right now, so when you get up on stage at Ozzfest, what is the crowd like; what kind of response do you usually get? I picture you surprising the shit out of everyone and massive pits as you sit up there and slay the hell out of everyone.
Bury Your Dead: It’s weird, changeover is so quick the crowd really doesn’t even have time to turn around and look at their friends; it’s band after band. When that backdrop becomes visible, every time so far, the crowd seriously is in an uproar; their hands go up and everyone starts cheering, I never expected that. For the people that are not too familiar with the band, I think the way our stage show is, is a shock, and the crowd has no other option but to respond with movement and actually getting into the music.
SLUG: How did the band get hooked up with Victory Records and how do you feel about being part of the Victory team?
Bury Your Dead: When I first got involved in music, I was definitely listening to a lot of Victory Records bands. I’ve always said I would love to have the bulldog on the back of one of my records later in life. It all came together when we played Hellfest as a surprise; well, it wasn’t a surprise because weren’t big enough to be a surprise band. It was the last day of the three-day festival, and On Broken Wings were supposed to close the second stage under a tent. We just hung out for the weekend, just saying, if you can fit us in, we’ll play for nothing, wherever you want to fit us. It took about half the day, but everyone at Hellfest finally said, you can play after On Broken Wings. Sure enough, everyone starts making cardboard signs and handing out flyers. We didn’t expect half the tent to stay because we were playing against Every Time I Die. We’re getting ready to play and just swarms of kids come over; they couldn’t even fit under the tent, they were beyond the soundboard, I bet some of the kids couldn’t even see the stage. We started playing and kids were like swinging from the bars on the top on the tent and I guess Victory caught all this. Basically, the process started a week after that—it took a while to get the ball rolling. We finally decided to try Victory; we know what their work ethic is and we’re not slowing down ours, so we want somebody who is going to be working just as hard as we are.
Trivium’s Matt Heafy:
SLUG: Ozzfest has already started. How are things going so far as far as crowd reactions, things like that?
Trivium: It is going really good, completely packed shows and everything like that. Everyone seems to know who we are now, when the banner goes up, everyone starts screaming, kids know the words and they’re freaking out for the whole set. It’s great.
SLUG: From what I understand, the band is pretty young, age-wise; I think you’re 19. How does it feel to be up against the older, so to say, more experienced bands on the second stage?
Trivium: I don’t really consider it being up against other bands, it’s just that we start earlier and happen to be younger. I’ve been in Trivium since I was 12 years old, so it’s not like we’re really that new. Some people look at the age thing as a disadvantage; I look at as an advantage. It is just more time we are going to put in the game now and have more lasting power because 10 years from now, shit, some of us will only be 29.
SLUG: For people who have never heard Trivium, how would you describe the band’s sound?
Trivium: Metal, nothing more, nothing less, in the vein of old-school Metallica, Pantera, Megadeth and Iron Maiden.
SLUG: When and how did you learn to play the guitar, and how did you get so good so quickly? There are some amazing guitars on your new album, Ascendancy.
Trivium: I started playing guitar at 12. Initially with everyone, unless they’re naturally gifted, I sucked in the beginning. It’s really just a matter of practicing anywhere from three to five, six hours a day and not doing anything else but dedicating myself entirely to the instrument for so many years of my life; that’s really what got me good. Everyone wonders, how did you get so good so fast? I was like, well, practice your ass off for hours and hours a day and every week, and you should be OK.
SLUG: Do you feel there is an insurgency within the underground? This summer you have tours like the Sounds of the Underground tour, the Gigantour, and of course, Ozzfest. Do you think the tours are sporting heavier, more “underground” bands now? If so, how important do you think this is to the metal scene in general?
Trivium: I think since there are those tours with all those bands, it’s great for the scene. Only time will tell what it does for everything. Metal has always been around; it just varies back and forth from year to year. It’s good; this kind of stuff needs to stay and keep going.