From the time Black Sabbath emerged, Ozzy Osbourne solidified his legacy as a pioneering figure in the heavy metal genre. Despite often branding themselves as a hard rock ensemble during live performances, the haunting tunes from Tony Iommi’s guitar, coupled with Osbourne’s eerie voice, deeply influenced bands drawn to rock’s edgier, darker facets. Later, Osbourne aspired to be a part of a prominent modern metal band.
However, as Black Sabbath’s era waned, Osbourne’s alignment with the group seemed misaligned. His addiction to cocaine sometimes relegated him to the background during live performances, often leaving Iommi as the center of attention.
Post his exit from Sabbath in the early ’80s, Osbourne underwent a meteoric rise in the metal arena, collaborating with Randy Rhoads to produce iconic tracks such as ‘Crazy Train’ and ‘Mr. Crowley’. Rhoads’s untimely death was a setback, but Osbourne persisted, releasing powerful albums like Bark at the Moon and No More Tears.
Given the massive fanbase he amassed, a single concert seemed insufficient. With the guidance of his spouse and manager, Sharon, the inception of Ozzfest took place, spotlighting the next generation of hard rock and metal sensations.
An early notable entrant to this festival was Slipknot, known for their innovative sound and their eerie masked appearance. Corey Taylor’s dynamic vocal range, shifting effortlessly from guttural screams to melodic tones in tracks like ‘Wait and Bleed’ and ‘Spit It Out’, set them apart.
During their initial days, Taylor recalled the warmth and enthusiasm Osbourne extended to them. With their extensive nine-member lineup, Osbourne jestingly expressed his desire to join them on stage. Taylor reminisced in a conversation with Loudwire, recounting Osbourne’s words: ‘Slipknot! I’d love to be the tenth member.’
Yet, as the group’s popularity surged post-Ozzfest, Taylor commented on their burgeoning reputation, stating that following their next tour, audiences would often leave after Slipknot’s act, making it challenging for subsequent acts to perform.
Slipknot’s trajectory further soared with their second album, Iowa, placing them among metal’s elite. They even established their festival, Knotfest, in the subsequent decade. From their modest start, Slipknot reached a stature where they rivaled even The Prince of Darkness himself.