Columbia Records’ Crazy Town, Portrait/Columbia Records’ The Union Underground and American Recordings/Columbia Records’ American Head Charge have all signed on-board on what just might be the heaviest Ozzfest ever.
Following a big British blow-out at the Milton Keynes Bowl in England on May 26, Ozzfest 2001 opens full-force stateside at the World Amphitheater in Chicago, Illinois.
Launched by the heavy metal pioneer and visionary Ozzy Osbourne, the first Ozzfest, a multi-band festival held in 1996, hit only two markets-Los Angeles and Phoenix-but paved the way for a full-on touring extravaganza the next year. Since then, the Ozzfest has become a Mecca for metalheads, an annual hard rock day’s night packed with the hottest acts-from the classic to the underground-the genre has to offer. While the main-stage is a showcase for the biggest names in heavy metal, the Ozzfest second stage has developed a reputation as a both launching pad and proving ground for the hard rock superstars of tomorrow.
CRAZY TOWN (MAIN STAGE)
Crazy Town, a six-man band led by lyricists/vocalists/producers Epic Mazur and Shifty Shellshock, combines rock’s sonic rage with hip-hop’s lyrical attitude and rhythmic sass. The roots of Crazy Town lie in Southern California, where Epic and Shifty grew up listening to the likes of The Cure, Beastie Boys, and N.W.A. Epic began in the music business working as a producer for the likes of MC Lyte, Bell Biv Devoe and MC Serch while Shifty strove to establish himself as a rapper. It wasn’t until Epic and Shifty hooked up that they either felt they could really pursue careers as professional musicians. Initially working together about six years ago, the pair recorded plenty of music, but never completed a full album because they kept getting involved with other projects.
Realizing that the time was ripe for their individual sound, Epic and Shifty decided to cease all their respective outside ventures concentrate solely on their own group, Crazy Town. Rounding out the Crazy Town line-up is Faydoedeelay (bass), Squirrel (guitar), Trouble Valli (guitar), and JBJ (drums).
Released to stores on November 9, 1999, The Gift Of Game’s first week’s sales were modest, though by mid-November 2000, according to SoundScan, Columbia had sold more than 100,000 copies of the album. Three months later, that number had increased ten-fold. In November 2000, The Gift Of Game entered the Billboard album chart at #198 as sales began to escalate exponentially. During the week of February 18 alone, The Gift Of Game sold more than 96,000 copies as the album reached #9 on the Billboard album chart. The Gift Of Game was certified platinum by the RIAA as of February 9, 2001, and is moving quickly toward the double-platinum mark. More than a year-and-a-half after its release, The Gift Of Game is still nestled in the top half of the Billboard album chart continuing to sell upwards of 20,000 copies per week.
THE UNION UNDERGROUND (SECOND STAGE)
The Union Underground was formed in San Antonio, Texas in 1996. Guitarist Patrick Kennison and vocalist/guitarist Bryan Scott met in junior high school and, upon graduating high school, opted against entering college, instead investing their money in a 24-track studio. Working solely in the studio, the two musicians released their songs on free hand-out cassettes, eventually selling more than 5,000 copies of an EP showcasing their harsh industrial rock and attracting the attention of major labels. Drummer Josh Memelo joined at the end of 1998, and bassist John Moyer followed soon after they signed a deal with Portrait (a subsidiary of Columbia Records). Unlike many of their contemporaries who signed with an indie label and worked their way up to one of the larger record companies, the Union Underground took a different approach; vocalist Scott explains that “we just didn’t want to do the indie thing, because it wouldn’t have done us any justice.” In 2000, the band released their major label debut An Education In Rebellion, which Brian Stillman in the January 2001 issue of Guitar World proclaimed: “Loud, abrasive and completely rock and roll…harder than-hell production chops found in today’s best heavy metal…” The Union Underground has been headlining shows in America’s clublands after a successful run on the SnoCore Rock and supporting Marilyn Manson in the fall of 2000. Lina Lecaro of the Los Angeles Times (January 22, 2001) raved about the band’s live show and said “…the Texas band proved to be as visual as they were aural, even if the Palladium’s bass-heavy sound didn’t do much to show off their grooves….the band has the material and the grand stage presence to make them the next heavy hitters.” The group’s ever-growing fan-base obviously agrees: An Education In Rebellion has sold more than 300,000 copies in the U.S. alone.
AMERICAN HEAD CHARGE (SECOND STAGE)
American Head Charge is: Martin Cock – vocals, Chad Hanks – bass, David Rogers – guitar, Wayne Kile – guitar, Christopher Emery – drums, Aaron Zilch – keys/samplers, J. Fouler – keys/samplers.
After consistently headlining sold-out brilliant, disturbing yet compelling shows in the Midwest (with attendance often topping 1,500), then moving on to play mega-festivals and gaining regular Twin Cities radio rotation (with their self-produced/self-released “Trepanation”and regular appearances on 93X’s radio shows…), American Head Charge were granted virtual “ownership of Minneapolis/St. Paul” according to heavy-hitting KXXR DJs Patrick and Nick Davis. Seamlessly blending the organic and the technological, American Head Charge is breathing new life into the genre of music that has embraced them. A surprising balance of brutal power and melody combined with tight musicianship, American Head Charge’s thoroughly chaotic live show incorporates spliced/live video feeds which partially accounts for audiences arriving in larger and larger numbers.
Subsequent to the band’s conquest of the Midwest, American Head Charge found themselves courted by numerous national labels including Rick Rubin’s American Recordings, who became intensely interested after AHC opened for System Of A Down in Des Moines, Iowa in 1999. After turning down other offers, American Head Charge signed to American in August 2000. Leaving behind the thriving Twin Cities’ millennial hard rock scene they helped to create, American Head Charge moved to Los Angeles to live at the notorious Houdini mansion and to record with legendary producer Rick Rubin. The group’s anxiously awaited debut album is currently being mixed and is slated for release in summer 2001.
June 8 – Chicago, IL – The World Amphitheater
June 9 – East Troy, WI Alpine Valley Amphitheater
June 12 – Indianapolis, IN – Verizon Music Amphitheater
June 16 – Somerset, WI – Float-Rite Park
June 18 – St. Louis, MO – Riverport Amphitheater
June 19 – Kansas City, MO Sandstone Amphitheater
June 21 – Denver, CO – Mile High Stadium
June 25 – George, WA – The Gorge
June 27 – Sacramento, CA – Sacramento Valley Amphitheater
June 30 – San Bernardino, CA – Glen Helen Blockbuster Amphitheater
July 3 – San Antonio, TX – South Texas Verizon Music Amphitheater
July 5 – Dallas, TX – Smirnoff Music Theater
July 7 – Atlanta, GA – Hi-Fi Buys Amphitheater
July 13 – West Palm Beach, FL – Mars Music Amphitheater
July 14 – Tampa, FL – Zephyr Hills
July 17 – Charlotte, NC – Verizon Wireless Amphitheater