I am not a metal head by any means, but that doesn't stop me from looking forward to Ozzfest every year. It's a photographer's dream. Between the people and bands, Ozzfest always delivers. This year was no different in that aspect, but it was different in others. The most obvious difference was the price of a ticket, can you afford FREE? Hello? Are you kidding me? Sharon & Ozzy's decision was not only ground-breaking, but bloody brilliant. I am still wondering how many people were able to experience it this year, because of this. Then again, maybe it just meant more green to spend on other items, such as merchandise, beer and those funny smelling cigarettes.
The second difference, which was the most disappointing, was the restrictions that were placed on shooting. I was not allowed to wander through the sea of fans and take pictures. All of my crowd shots were taken from the pit. This is one of the things I look forward to the most, and it was vetoed. The people are what make Ozzfest, there is no denying that. I was hoping to capture that again this year. So between no Ozzy photo's(a standard rule unless you're with Rolling Stone) and no candid people pics(outside of the pit), I was a little bummed.
Last but not least, and my favorite difference this year, was Circus Diablo. I was in the pit doing my thang, when I noticed the music did not have the typical screaming, headbanging rhythm. It was edgy, it was raunchy, it was PUNK ROCK!!! After realizing this, i was like Whoa! What? Who are these guys? I watched their whole set side stage and desperately wanted to pogo, however my old lady back said "No". Instead, I sported a shit eating grin, and gave my loudest "WOO-HOO's" when they did their cover of The Sex Pistols. They were absolutely fantastic and a refreshing addition to Ozzfest's line-up. Seeing them play made me forget about any disappointments I had about not shooting Ozzy or the crowd. Yeah, they were THAT good.
"The band consists of Billy Morrison (Member of Camp Freddy, former member of The Cult) on vocals, Billy Duffy (Member of The Cult) on lead guitar, Ricky Warwick (former member of The Almighty) on rhythm guitar, Brett Scallions (former frontman and Lead singer of Fuel) on bass guitar and Jeremy Colson (formerly worked with Steve Vai) on drums."
Interview with lead singer, Billy Morrison;
(click here to go to photo gallery)
1) What does Ozzfest mean to you?
Onstage at noon, in the boiling hot midwest sun, covered in beer and playing a punk rock 20 minute set, loving every minute of it. It’s a chance to play our music to a bunch of kids that love good rock music - what a way to spend the summer.
2) What made you decide to join the tour?
When Ozzy Osbourne calls your cell phone and asks you if you wanna do the Ozzfest -ESPECIALLY a groundbreaking year like this years “FREE” fest - you don’t say ...."hold on Ozz, let me check my schedule.” You say - FUCK YES!!!
3) What do you hope to gain from the tour?
24 Ozzfest shows and 24 Club shows in two months? I hope to make sure my life is still there when I get back!! Gain? I gain something every time I walk on a stage. Connection with kids that understand what its like to wanna blow your own brains out. To live in shit and want to get out. To identify with someone, something, anything!! That kind of connection is the greatest gain of all.
4) What are your plans after Ozzfest?
Shag my wife nonstop for 48 hours on a beach in the West Indies. Oh....shit....I forgot....we have a new album. So that probably means I'll get off one tour bus and get on another one.
5) How would you describe Circus Diablo ?
Old School work ethic, dirty sleazy rock and roll, music to fuck to, sex, fast cars, loud guitars etc blah blah.
6) How do you feel about Ozzfest being free this year?
Absolutely groundbreaking. Hats off to Sharon and Ozzy for even attempting something like this, let alone pulling it off with such huge success. Fuck the people that say the business is dead, or that Rock is dead. Come to one of the free Ozzfest shows this year and tell me that face to face!!
7) Would you do it again?
In a heartbeat.
8) Tell me something unique about Circus Diablo that people might not know.
Five different band members from five different bands, with successful and continuing careers elsewhere getting on a bus together to make even more great rock and roll...that’s pretty unique if you ask me.
9) Are there any younger bands out there that you really admire?
Wolfmother, The Bangkok 5...you know what? Anyone taking initiative in this day and age and NOT moaning about how hard it is gets my vote.
10) What are the band's other side projects?
NOTHING is a side project in ANY of our lives. But if the question was - What are the other areas of your musical careers? - then I would answer...
Billy Morrison runs LA covers band, Camp Freddy, acts, writes, tap dances and farts in Spanish.
Brett Scallions has left his previous band, Fuel, behind and now sings with Riders On The Storm.
Ricky Warwick is the lead singer in The Almighty and has a successful solo career.
Billy Duffy is responsible for some real Rock History - by being one half of rock legends, The Cult.
© Jennifer J Dohner