Ozzfest 1999: Where Are They Now? Looking Beyond The Limelight
Ozzfest 1999 is often remembered as the debut of the heavy metal freight train Slipknot. While this nine-piece juggernaut is still dominating stages around the world, they weren’t the only band on the festival to reached stratospheric levels of popularity. Godsmack, System of a Down, and Static-X soon became household names, while groups like Rob Zombie and Deftones are still drawing massive crowds today. With all of the focus on such prominent bands, it’s easy to neglect a few of the groups that didn’t reach such levels of success. Let’s look at three of the acts that may have played in Slipknot’s second stage shadow and see if any of them are still rocking today.
Hailing from Puerto Rico, this Latin metal band brought a mix of heavy metal, funk, jazz, and Latin grooves to Ozzfest’s second stage. Originally a three-piece named Whisker Biscuit, they rebranded themselves Puya after relocating to Fort Lauderdale in 1992. They released a self-titled album and continued touring for years, making notable appearances at the Billboard Latin Music Conference and the CMJ Convention in 1995. This lead to a surge in popularity. In ’97 they released Fundamental which won them the Billboard Award for Best Spanish Rock Album. They toured relentlessly around North and Central America, released a third album Union in 2001, and eventually went on a hiatus in 2002. Guitarist Ramon Ortiz would return for another Ozzfest run a few years later with the band Ankla.
Ozzfest continued to showcase diversity within the metal genre with the inclusion of Puya on the second stage. Listening to a few of Puya’s songs for the first time, you don’t know whether to mosh or salsa dance. Many of the songs lead you in with a groovy bass line and a rhythmic verse that gets sledgehammered by a heavy chorus. If you haven’t heard them, you're missing out.
With ten studio albums under their belts, (hed) p.e. has cultivated a huge underground following since their formation in 1994. It’s hard to put a label on the group, with their music incorporating elements of rock, metal, reggae, and punk, among others, but nonetheless, their sound is both familiar and unique. Over the years, (hed) p.e. has delivered fresh music that’s kept both fans and critics pleased. Although vocalist and founder Jared Gromes is the only remaining original member, the new lineup has done nothing to slow the band. Their latest album, Forever, is proof that this band still has a lot of miles left on their run.
Fronted by Geezer Butler’s son, Biff, Apartment 26 fits snugly into the mainstream metal/rock scene of the early 2000s. They would make a second consecutive appearance at Ozzfest 2000 and delivered a sound that was on par with many of the middling acts of the day. Apartment 26 released two full length albums (Hallucinating and Music For The Massive) before disbanding in 2004.
Ozzfest 1999 was another solid entry to the annual festival. Fans were treated to a crop of emerging bands like Slipknot and Godsmack as well as groups returning to the Ozzfest stage like System of a Down, Fear Factory, and Black Sabbath. The tour helped catapult some bands to success, but others unfortunately did not find the same fate. Texas band Pushmonkey released a total of five albums before hanging up their instruments. Kudos to Flashpoint for getting on the tour without a label (even more for getting Ozzy to personally invite them back for Ozzfest 2000, which they did not play due to injury) but if anyone has any information regarding the whereabouts of the band, I’m sure fans of On The Verge would like to know where they’ve disappeared to. All in all, Ozzfest 1999 did everything but disappoint, keeping the metal community wanting more.
Here are some live clips from '99: