There’s another clip from Penelope Spheeris’ movie that offers a hint of the feeling in the air as their presence became ever more obvious in the world. It shows a chorus line of all nine members walking in the National Mall area of Washington D.C. to the bemusement of onlooking tourists, national guardsmen and the excitement-cum-fear of fans giggling and screaming as they suddenly realise the band are in their midst. The director asks one of the kids’ parents if she knows who the band is.
“Yeah, Slipknot,” she grins, “they have taken the imagination of all the children, young people, the eighth graders who are not really human anyway…” before the camera cuts to one of such fan who can barely contain himself. “Slipknot rules and I cannot wait to go to Ozzfest!” he yells.
It was Slipknot who would ultimately make Ozzfest ’99 such a legendary event. In their emergence at the very moment the genre’s progenitors were apparently bowing out, it felt like a symbolic passing of the torch and the scene had unwittingly crowned worthy new keepers of the flame. Looking back on the experience in 2016, Slipknot vocalist Corey Taylor acknowledged its life-changing impact.
“When Ozzy hugged me for the first time, it was like being blessed,” he gushed. “We learned a lot on that tour because 1999 was the first time we really stepped onto the national stage. We had no idea that word-of-mouth was really getting around about us.
“In West Palm Beach, Florida, this sea of people came towards us and we were like, ‘What the hell?!’ and from that second, we were the band to see,” Corey added. “We didn’t really understand what was going on. We would’ve been okay with just making albums, touring, having fun, but that day we knew that there was something crazy going on – something special.”