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Black Sabbath

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BLACK SABBATH

Founded October 24, 2005

History by Year – October 24, 2005

©  2005 – 2014  Joseph Paul Anthony Angel

(All written historical input and opinion on this information page is property of Joseph Paul Anthony Angel, unless cited otherwise.  If you wish to use any information herein, please contact me or at least cite me and the page. )

 

*** ALTHOUGH THIS TEDIOUS, INFO-PACKED PAGE IS NOT RUN BY ‘BLACK SABBATH’ (OR ANY OF ITS MEMBERS) AND IS NOT AN ‘OFFICIAL BLACK SABBATH PAGE’, DO NOT BE FOOLED BY OTHER FACEBOOK PAGES CLAIMING TO HAVE OR SUPPORT A “COMPLETE HISTORY” OF BLACK SABBATH. ALMOST ALWAYS, THAT INFORMATION IS COPIED AND PASTED OFF OF WIKIPEDIA AND IS EITHER INCOMPLETE, BIAS IN FAVOR OF THE ‘OZZY CAMP AND ERA’, OR FULL OF INACCURACIES OR ERRORS. MANY TIMES, THERE ISN’T EVEN A SENTENCE OF INFORMATION BEYOND JUST THE WORDS ‘BLACK SABBATH’! ACCEPT NO IMITATIONS!

This page is run by a huge Sabbath fan and completist with contributions by many other die-hard Sabbath fans, and is dedicated to talk about ALL ERAS of Black Sabbath (beyond just the Ozzy years and four main known songs that made it to the radio) – one of the most important heavy rock/metal bands (alongside Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin) to come out of the late 60’s UK heavy rock movement.

~ “With the death of Jimi Hendrix, the climate and sounds of music were rapidly changing . Blues-influenced rock seemed to be drawing to a close. Slide guitar was drowned out by fuzz-tone and feedback. Stagnant rock was now cranking it’s way towards the monster that would be called ‘Heavy Metal’…Black Sabbath…Deep Purple… Iron Butterfly.. and hosts of other often formulated bands emerged…inspired by the proto-types of Cream, The Who, and Led Zeppelin.” ~ History of Rock N’ Roll – Summer 1995 ~

Let’s talk about the original line-up but also the other Sabbath incarnations starting in 1979, the other hall of famers the band had behind the mic (Ronnie James Dio, Ian Gillan, Glenn Hughes, Tony Martin), some of the most versatile blues-and-rock influenced low-enders (Geezer Butler, Neil Murray of Whitesnake and Brian May fame, and Dave ‘The Beast’ Spitz of Great White, White Lion, and Nuclear Assault), and last but not least…some of the most respected hardest hitting drummers who sat in the boiler room (Vinny Appice of Derringer and Axxis fame, Cozy Powell of Whitesnake and Rainbow fame, Bobby Rondinelli also of Rainbow, Scorpions, Quiet Riot, and Blue Oyster Cult fame, and Eric Singer of Kiss and Alice Cooper fame).

And of course, some of Sabbath’s Ozzy-less classic but often looked over albums (Heaven & Hell, Born Again, Seventh Star, Headless Cross, Dehumanizer, Cross Purposes to just name a few).

This is for BLACK SABBATH talk, not just OZZY SABBATH talk. Understandably so, I have sometimes received emails asking why there isn’t more information dedicated to the original Sabbath line-up, and/or, ‘just Ozzy.’ I am focusing on Black Sabbath as a whole rocket ship, from 1968 to the present day, not just 1968-1978 and the few original (and yes, very important and perhaps most loved) line-up reunion gigs. Let’s give the band and these other tremendous musicians the credit they truly deserve.

 

OFFICIAL BLACK SABBATH TIME-LINE AND DISCOGRAPHY (EXCLUDING BOOTLEGS, VARIOUS UN-OFFICIAL GREATEST HITS PACKAGES, AND SO ON):

****** BLACK SABBATH BEGINS – 1968/1969 ******
* FORMERLY WENT BY THE NAMES OF MYTHOLOGY, POLKA TULK BLUES BAND,  POLKA TULK, THEN EARTH, AND FINALLY BLACK SABBATH *

 

BLACK SABBATH  (RECORDED OCTOBER 1969 – RELEASED FRIDAY THE 13TH, 1970 AND JUNE 30, 1970 IN THE USA).

 

~ ‘Some might claim that this 1970 debut is the definitive Black Sabbath record. While the gothic overtones of the opening track, “Black Sabbath” (thunderstorms and foreboding church bells introduce Ozzy Osbourne’s howl and Tony Iommi’s sludgy guitar), and the raucous defiling of Cream on “N.I.B.” were thrilling then (and remain so now), there is too much wanking here to really qualify the collection as the must-have Black Sabbath record. (That prize would have to go to Paranoid.) But the blues-heavy riffs of “The Wizard,” the soon-to-be-famous chord-progression stylings on “Wasp,” and the grunge-boogie of “Wicked World” allow it to stand as a solid testament to the deep and lasting influence the band has had over the years.’ — Lorry Fleming ~
* The UK release has the cover song ‘Evil Woman’ (originally performed by a little-known band called CROW), and the USA release had the song ‘Wicked World’. Future re-masters and re-releases had both songs.

(Wicked World, in my opinion, is by far a MUCH better song. Probably one of the best on the album – has a sound reminiscent of Zeppelin material).

 

* The song N.I.B, originally thought to stand for ‘Nativity in Black’, was actually a spoof about Bill Ward’s beard.  He was often told it was in the shape of a “Nib”, a small pointy triangle.
** Fun fact – during this time, another band conjuring the devil (not literally..) in late ’69-ish was a progressive rock act entitled BLACK WIDOW. Black Widow formed in Leicester, England in September 1969. The band was mostly known for its early use of satanic and occult imagery in their music and stage acts (even before Sabbath was rumored to). They were also often confused with Black Sabbath, but the bands were only superficially similar and possessed much different stylings of music. Widow’s one big staple was the song ‘Come to the Sabbat’, and would mostly remain an underground type of act with cult following (no, not an actual ‘cult’, but cult meaning many types of die-hards) for years on and off, while history would see Sabbath take off and go mainstream. Black Widow member Clive Jones recently contacted me and stated that during the first few years, both Widow and Sabbath had the same management, and that it “was fun.” Thanks for the info, Clive.
Mark I Black Sabbath line-up (1968-1978 – not including post 1975 keyboard players):

Ozzy Osbourne – Vocals  (sometimes misspelled ‘Ossie Osbourne’)

Tony Iommi – Guitar

Geezer Butler – Bass

Bill Ward – Drums

 

 

PARANOID (1970 (SEPTEMBER – UK) – RELEASED JANUARY 1971 IN USA)

 

 

~ ‘Though most of Black Sabbath’s classic material from this album (“War Pigs,” “Iron Man,” “Fairies Wear Boots,” and the title track) can also be found on the collection We Sold Our Soul for Rock & Roll, Paranoid is essential for the completist. One of the best albums from one of the bands to define heavy metal, this album is chock-full of the best stuff from Sabbath’s Osbourne years. (Where else will you be able to hear “Rat Salad?”) The music isn’t exactly complex, but it doesn’t need to be; its importance lies in its evocative power, with which any teenager will be able to identify.’ ~ — Genevieve Williams
–           Original title, according to Bill Ward, was supposed to be “War Pigs’, a sort-of “play” on the Vietnam War and the corrupt politicians and world leaders happening at that time. However, the record label rejected that as the title, and soon settled on ‘Paranoid.’   Ozzy Osbourne has been quoted in saying that the band actually knew little about the goings-on about the actual Vietnam War, but were simply against war-mongers and crooks in general.

 

–           The ‘Paranoid’ song was almost not to be, it was recorded as a ‘filler song’ to help make the album more complete, and according to Tony Iommi, was written and put together rather quickly. Nobody imagined it would become a hit, let alone one of (if not THEE one) Black Sabbath’s most memorable songs.

 

–           Certain original pressings of the album (especially on old cassettes and LPS) in the USA have the additional song titles of “Luke’s Wall” attached at the end of “War Pigs”, and also “Jack the Stripper” tacked on before the song “Fairies Wear Boots.”  There are no differences in the actual songs, and these are just unofficial intro/outro titles.  As mentioned, these only seem to appear on older, USA editions (newer cd prints and re-masters do not include the extra titles) – but there have been some exceptions.  There is also un-official word that the additional titles to these two songs were purposely left off of many of the UK (and rest-of-the-world) releases at the time due in part because of some guff involving ‘extra royalties being paid out because of faux-additional songs.’ (i.e. ‘War Pigs’ would be more economical instead of ‘War Pigs/Luke’s Wall’)  If I ever get further confirmation of this, I will report it here.

 

–           The Castle Communication edition (1986) featured a live version of “Wicked World”.

 

The following bits of information come from Wikipedia:

 

  • The song “Iron Man” was originally entitled “Iron Bloke”. Upon hearing the main guitar riff for the first time, Ozzy Osbourne remarked that it sounded “like a big iron bloke walking around”. The title was later changed to “Iron Man” as bassist and lyricist Geezer Butler composed the lyrics
  • The album was originally intended to be called Warpiggers which was a slang term for a black magic wedding.  It was then shortened to War Pigs and eventually Paranoid after the record company became convinced that the song of the same name had potential as a single.

 

MASTER OF REALITY (1971)

 

~ ‘Black Sabbath’s first two releases, Black Sabbath and Paranoid, were more than groundbreaking, they were earth-shattering, exposing the public to a brutal new form of noise pollution termed heavy metal. But it was the band’s third album, Master of Reality, that cemented the group as blackened wizards of doom and gloom…. Just listen to the echoing cough and sludgy guitar riff of the opening track “Sweet Leaf” and compare it to anything that existed at the time. Not only were Black Sabbath heavier than Deep Purple, Iron Butterfly or Vanilla Fudge, they were also more experimental and controversial, exploring themes of darkness, drugs, and depravity that others dared not address. The heaviest and most influential disc of Black Sabbath’s career, Master of Reality featured proto-metal sludge like “Children of the Grave” and “After Forever,” which served as a blueprint for a legion of musicians including ’90s Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Smashing Pumpkins.’ — Jon Wiederhorn ~

 

–         The opening song, ‘Sweet Leaf’, is obviously a song about marijuana and was also supposedly named after a brand of cigarettes available in Ireland.

 

–         The ‘cough’ at the beginning of the song is a take of Iommi actually coughing on tape after inhaling a joint.  The band thought it sounded ‘neat’, added a slight echo-effect, and decided to keep it as the intro!

 

–         Some early pressings were said to incorrectly list the album title as Masters of Reality – this was promptly corrected.  If anybody has ever seen (or owns?) an error version of this, please let me know.

VOLUME 4 (1972)

 

BBC Review

~ Sid Smith2007 ~

“Working on the commercially astute basis of not fixing something that’s not broke, the Sabbs offer up yet more riffs of doom and associated heaviness. Hugely popular with the punters, particularly in America where their years of unrelenting touring were now paying top dividends, Vol.4 is careful not to tamper with what was now a successful formula and therein lays the problem.

Originally slated to be called Snowblind, this is the sound of Sabbath taking no chances with the music because they were famously too busy taking enormous quantities of marching powder. Whilst Sabbath albums have never been particular high on the subtlety stakes, none of their previous records sounded so lazy or dull, their recreational intake causing them to take their eye off the business in hand. Cranking the volume up can’t quite mask the shortcomings. The intro to “Wheels of Confusion” briefly alludes to a bluesy vibe before it slips into a grinding motif that represents guitarist Tony Iommi‘s comfort zone.

The difficulty with this approach is that producer Patrick Meehan occasionally relegates Osborne to bystander status. “Cornucopia” suffers largely from being two separate songs clumsily bolted together and a frankly ludicrous chorus that has Ozzie bleating ‘You’re going insane/I’m trying to save your brain.’ Yeah, right. Only the sprightly hard rock basher, “Supernaut” manages to reach escape velocity from concrete-set mould in which they’d encased themselves.

The only significant contrast to the wall of sound is Iommi’s superficial Library Music instrumental “Laguna Sunrise” and the obligatory ‘sensitive’ track, “Changes.” Who’d have thought that all these years later that it was destined to be covered as an amiable country-soaked amble by The Cardigans, a dance remix or even a saccharin-coated duet by Ozzie and daughter Kelly? Originally recorded long before she was a twinkle in his bleary, red-rimmed eye, with its ever-so-slight twinge of gospel piano and chilled Mellotron strings, it’s proved to one of their most durable songs.

After this, an itinerant Rick Wakeman would add some much needed texture on Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, but it’s Vol.4 where you can hear the rot setting in.”

 

–     Original album title was rumored to be ‘Snowblind’, but then changed.

 

–         The album cover features a monochrome photograph of Ozzy with hands raised, taken   during a Black Sabbath concert.

 

–         The song (unofficial intro to Supernaut) ‘FX’ is two parts:  The first 35 seconds or so is Tony Iommi tuning/playing around with his guitar strings – he is said to have used his crucifix necklace. The second part of the song – which sounds like some evil banging and echoing was rumored to be sound effects made by Bill by throwing rocks into a barrel.

 

–         A subsequent version of Vol. 4 was said to be released with different cover art under the title “Children of the Grave“. This alternate version of the album contained the same tracks as the original along, with a live version of “Children of the Grave” as a final bonus track. (If anybody has original-type photos or owns one of these, let me know!)

 

–         Bill Ward is on record stating he was in ‘time out’ for most of the recording of this album, meaning his drug dependency was so bad that he felt he was about to be ousted from the band.  He said, “Yes, Vol. 4 is a great album, but listening to it now, I can see it as a turning point for me, where the alcohol and drugs stopped being fun.”

 

–         Geezer Butler:  “Yeah, the cocaine had set in. We went out to L.A. and got into a totally different lifestyle. Half the budget went on the coke and the other half went to seeing how long we could stay in the studio… We rented a house in Bel-Air and the debauchery up there was just unbelievable.”

 

–         (Many critics/historians and fans, including myself, have labeled this perhaps the heaviest, and best all-around Sabbath album put out by the original line-up. Tony Iommi handles the piano and keys for the classic song ‘Changes.’)

 

SABBATH BLOODY SABBATH (1973)

 
~ ‘As if their dark lyrics and wall-of-sludge sound didn’t already have an epic sweep, Black Sabbath braved an even more ambitious approach on Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, adding synthesizers and even strings to tracks such as “Who Are You?” and “Spiral Architect.” But even without them, the Sabbath classics “Killing Yourself to Live,” “National Acrobat,” “Looking for Today,” and the title track pack a thunderous sonic wallop. “Fluff,” a bit of ponderous musing on acoustic guitar and keyboards, adds variety to the disc but brings the headbanging pleasure of the rest of the album to a screeching halt. Beyond that misstep, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath is as slow and deliberate as a lava flow, and just as powerful.‘ — Daniel Durchholz ~

 

A masterpiece, essential to any heavy metal collection”, while also displaying “a newfound sense of finesse and maturity”.  – Eduardo Rivadavia –

The following is a Rolling Stone magazine review by Gordon Fletcher done on February 13, 1974:

Black Sabbath

Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath

Warner Bros.5 0 0

By Gordon Fletcher

February 13, 1974

“Though they are best known as the planet’s premier heavy-metal band, Black Sabbath’s major contribution has been to successfully capture the gist of specifically Seventies culture through their music. They relate to this impersonal, mechanical decade much as Delta bluesmen and their Chicago spin-offs related to their eras — by synthesizing collective feelings and giving their contemporaries hope by revealing the disaffection that units all of them. In that remote but real sense, Black Sabbath might well be considered true Seventies bluesmen.

Many will no doubt laugh, but I can think of no other group that has so consistently spoken in the musical language of its times. The power chord, that brief but brutal third-generation staple, has always been Sabbath’s major medium, the aural twin of the metallic age surrounding us. And, as such technical advances as the mellotron and Moog have risen to the musical fore, they’ve been incorporated into Sabbath’s sonic setting, the computerized musical counterparts of a cold, programmed world.

But it’s Sabbath’s lyrics that have been the instant conveyor of their message, accompanying a dedicated cadre through a multiplicity of emotions and worldly experiences. Ossie Osbourne possesses an eternal teenager’s tones, voicing the vicarious existence of youth “lost in the wheels of confusion.” On songs like “Iron Man,” “Wicked World” and “Children of the Grave” he’s blended with the band in a well-nigh perfect vocal/instrumental portrayal of the violently schizophrenic emotions of the ostracized elite, riddled with ridicule for their latter-day Cassandrian visions.

Through drugs (“Sweet Leaf” and “Snowblind”) and religion (“After Forever”) Sabbath have stayed with the quest for an answer, culminating their search in such heavy-metal odes as “Into The Void” and the spectacular “Supernaut,” the latter revealing in its final verse their belief that sanity is assured only through dogged belief in one’s self to the exclusion of all else.

Which brings us to Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath, on which the band both fully accepts this dictum and grows comfortable with it. Through enough solid heavy-metal to satisfy even the staunchest metallurgist (“Sabbra Cadabra,” “Looking For Today” and the title tune lie firmly within the band’s accustomed format — a logical extension of the Who’s classic mid-Sixties formula) they search for peace in the eye of the hurricane of life. In fact, this record transcends third-generation rock in that it possesses a degree of internal intricacy that belies popular conceptions of heavy-metal. The use of tempo changes and electronic keyboards to cast liquid emotions makes Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath an extraordinarily gripping affair.

The blues oughta make you wanna cry one minute, and make you wanna get up and dance the next.” That’s what Black Sabbath have always done for this believer, and in doing it again, Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath is nothing less than a complete success. Call it the blues of the decade, or heavy-metal — whatever the name for their music, Black Sabbath are a true Seventies band.”

 

–         Rick Wakeman (of Yes fame) contributes keyboard and synthesizers to some of the tracks on this album, including ‘Sabbra Cadabra.’  Previously, the few songs and keyboard parts in previous Sabbath albums were played by either Tony Iommi or Ozzy, and weren’t really credited.

 

–         ‘Killing Yourself to Live’ was written by Geezer while he was in the hospital for kidney problems caused by his heavy drinking at the time.

 

 

SABOTAGE (1975)

 

 

– Rolling Stone“Sabotage is not only Black Sabbath’s best record since Paranoid, it might be their best ever.”

 

– The band toured in support of Sabotage with openers Kiss, but were forced to cut the tour short in November 1975, following a motorcycle accident in which Ozzy injured himself.

–  KEYBOARDIST GERALD ‘JEZZ’ WOODROFFE IS BROUGHT ON BOARD DURING THE SABOTAGE ALBUM AND TOURING DAYS (1975), AND REMAINS WITH THE BAND THROUGH 1977.  JEZZ CLAIMS HE WROTE A LOT OF THE MELODIES FOR THE LP THAT FOLLOWED, TECHNICAL ECSTACY, BUT WAS NEVER GIVEN FULL CREDIT, THOUGH HE STATES HE DOES NOT MIND. (Source for the info comes from an email Jezz wrote to Joe Siegler’s Black Sabbath site).

 

  • This would be the first time period Black Sabbath would actively tour live with a keyboardist/organist.  Jezz would tour with Sabbath between the release of Sabotage (1975) and thru the Technical Ecstacy release and tour (late 1977, early 1978 give or take – it is unknown exactly when Jezz exited).  Technically, he may have even been ‘in camp’ for the short-lived Dave Walker era of Sabbath and the one-off performance!

 

  • (On some pressings of this vinyl album and cassette, there is a short track tacked on at the end called ‘Blow on a Jug’. The track is not listed as a song title and is tacked on to the ending of ‘The Writ’, and it appears on some copies of the album, but not all. It is just a few seconds of Ozzy and Bill playing around in the studio. It is unknown why this extra ‘song’ only seemingly appears on some copies).

 

 

  • The following is an article taken from Classic Rock Magazine in January 2004 which talks a bit about Jezz Woodroffe:

 

WHEREARETHEYNOW?: JEZZ WOODROFFE (ROBERT PLANT/BLACK SABBATH)

Classic Rock Magazine January 2004

 

 

BEST-KNOWN FOR BEING BLACK Sabbath’s offstage keyboard player, Jezz Woodroffe was hired to fill out the sound on their 1976 album ‘Technical Ecstasy’, and also toured extensively with the band. He also co-wrote Robert Plant’s 1983 solo hit ‘Big Log’ with the ex-Led Zeppelin singer and his guitarist Robbie Blunt.

“Everybody had gone off, and I had two days all by myself, and I was messing about with the TR 808 drum machine and came up with the drum pattern and hand claps,” Woodroffe says, from his 16th-century farmhouse home in the Welsh mountains. “Robbie [Blunt] arrived, liked the groove, and very quickly we had the main chords.

The middle eight came from my Godwin string synth machine, and Robbie came up with the haunting theme.”

Woodroffe happily explains the moody song’s title, stating: “‘Big Log’ was written the middle of winter. We’d run out of fuel for the fire. We found the remains of an old tree lying outside which was about 15 feet long, but had nothing to cut it with. So we put one end in the fire and slowly burnt it till it was hollow.”

He played on Plant’s first three solo albums, from ‘Pictures At Eleven’ onwards, co-writing songs and touring with the singer’s band for first half of the 80s. Today Jezz records his own solo records, the most recent of which is ‘Still Got Those Piano Blues’. “I’m very pleased with it,” he says. “It’s become a very personal creation.” The keyboardist is working on an R&B and hip-hop crossover album featuring guitar samples from his good friend the aforementioned Robbie Blunt, which will “also have a traditional blues feel, string orchestra and some ethereal female vocals,” he reveals. “It’s a major work, and I expect it to take at least 12 months.” He describes his time working with Black Sabbath as “complete rock’n’roll madness”. Which is a feeling that watching The Osbournes rekindles.

“Nothing seems to have changed from when I used to stay at Ozzy’s house 20 years ago!” he chuckles.

  

WE SOLD OUR SOUL FOR ROCK N’ ROLL (1975 – Greatest Hits Package)

 

(The vinyl/cassette versions have two extra tracks {‘Warning’ & ‘Laguna Sunrise’}. The cd version does not, to conserve on space.)

 

Some further information about the various versions – this comes from Wikipedia:
– When the album was released on CD, due to space restrictions, the tracks “Wicked World”, “Warning” and “Laguna Sunrise” were omitted on the US version.

 

– On the UK version “Wicked World” was omitted, the bass solo intro for “N.I.B.” was cut, and “Children of the Grave” was shortened to 0:43 (the outro of the song).

 

– The CD was later re-mastered and reissued as a 2CD set, restoring the original track listing and the bass solo intro for N.I.B.

 

  

TECHNICAL ECSTACY (1976)

 

~ “By the mid-’70s, a number of problems were threatening to break up the original line-up of Black Sabbath. The stress brought on by lengthy touring, drug use, and alcoholism had begun to dilute the band’s original, influential heavy metal. Sabbath began to drift away from the straight-ahead power rock of such classic albums as PARANOID and SABBATH BLOODY SABBATH, as evidenced by its final two albums to feature singer Ozzy Osbourne, 1976’s TECHNICAL ECSTASY and 1978’s NEVER SAY DIE. However, TECHNICAL ECSTASY does contain some intriguing, overlooked tracks.

 

“The best known song of the bunch is the album-closing rocker “Dirty Women,” which explores the topic of prostitution, and was later featured on the original line-up’s 1998 live album, REUNION. Drummer Bill Ward sings his one and only song with the band, “It’s Alright,” which is amongst Sabbath’s most pop-friendly compositions ever. Also featured is the pacing album opener “Back Street Kids,” the heavy blues and funk of “All Moving Parts (Stand Still),” and the somewhat predictable “Rock n’ Roll Doctor.” Osbourne would grow disillusioned with the band and would leave after the completion of TECHNICAL ECSTACY’s subsequent tour, but would eventually return for one final album and road jaunt.” ~  – Uncredited –

TOURING LINE-UP INCLUDED: OZZY OSBOURNE, TONY IOMMI, JEZZ WOODROFFE, GEEZER BUTLER, AND BILL WARD

 

ALSO, FOR A BRIEF STINT, OZZY LEAVES THE BAND IN LATE 77-ISH AFTER THE RELEASE OF TECHNICAL ECSTACY. DAVE WALKER, EX-FLEETWOOD MAC AND SAVOY BROWN, ASSUMES THE VOCAL ROLE, AND WORK BEGINS ON THE FORTHCOMING ‘NEVER SAY DIE’. PRESS PHOTOS ARE TAKEN, AND DAVE DOES PERFORM AN EARLY VERSION OF THE SONG ‘JUNIOR’S EYES’ WITH THE BAND IN EARLY 1978 (**Supposed date is January 6, 1978), BUT OZZY EVENTUALLY COMES BACK TO RE-PEN THE SONG AND FINISH ‘NEVER SAY DIE’.

 

– Bill Ward sings on ‘It’s Alright’, rumored to be at Ozzy’s recommendation!
* (Many critics, and fans alike, deem ‘Technical Ecstasy’ to be among the least liked Sabbath albums, both from the original line- up and overall. Many others, however, love this LP for its vastly different sound (compared to the earlier catalogue), more poppier approach, and its incorporation of many keyboard melodies, most of which were written (or co-written) by keyboardist Jezz Woodroffe).
NEVER SAY DIE (1978)

 

~ “By the end of the ’70s, though Black Sabbath remained a top concert draw, its albums had become increasingly erratic and sub-par when compared to its earlier master works. Singer Ozzy Osbourne’s growing disillusionment with the band had reached a boiling point, especially after it took so long to complete 1978’s NEVER SAY DIE, the original line-up’s final album. Though the album’s title might suggest that the band had reconciled its differences (Osbourne had already left the band once previously, only to return shortly afterwards), the turmoil spilled over onto the recording.

The album-opening title track remains the record’s best-known track, as it was featured on Ozzy’s popular 1982 solo live album of Sabbath material, SPEAK OF THE DEVIL. Other hard rockers on the first half of the album, such as “Junior’s Eyes” and “A Hard Road” prove to be standouts. The final deciding factor for Ozzy’s permanent split from the band occurred on the ensuing tour, when a hungry young band by the name of Van Halen opened the shows, continually blowing the headlining metal veterans off the stage.” ~ – Uncredited –

* NEVER SAY DIE IS THE LAST BLACK SABBATH ALBUM TO INCLUDE THE ORIGINAL LINE-UP.

 

 

– Don Airey (of Rainbow fame) contributes keyboards to the album, but does not tour with the band.  Don would later work with Ozzy during various years of Ozzy’s solo career.

 

* (Bill Ward sings on ‘Swinging the Chain’, not Ozzy).
OZZY’S LAST SHOW WITH SABBATH WAS DECEMBER 12, 1978. HE WAS GIVEN HIS WALKING PAPERS SOMETIME IN EARLY 1979 (reported to be January 1979, according to the Ozzy Osbourne – ‘Behind the Music’ VH1 episode) – HIS REPLACEMENT WAS AMERICAN RONNIE JAMES DIO (EX-RAINBOW).

 

  • After Ozzy’s departure from Black Sabbath, it is said he spent a few months re-collecting himself both personally and financially.  Ozzy contends at this juncture, he barely had any money and got very little from royalties primarily because of bad business deals he and the rest of Black Sabbath had naively signed with management years earlier.  As Ozzy puts it, ‘the managers owned the cars, owned the mansions, owned it all.  Not the band.’
  • In the spring of 1979, Ozzy – with the help and support of his future wife/manager Sharon Arden, prepared to get back into music and start another band.  There are various sources and books that contend that at first, Ozzy had contemplated starting a new ‘Black Sabbath’, so to speak.  While obviously this can’t be absolutely proven, but keep in mind during this time fame, there were some discrepancies and technicalities as to just who owned the rights to the name Black Sabbath.  We do know Tony officially bought (and/or owned) rights to the band name sometime after 1985-ish.  Could Ozzy in 1979 or 1980 have put together a new incarnation of Black Sabbath?  Probably not, but technically it was possible he could have, had him and Sharon chose to go that route.

 

{Ozzy eventually began to assemble his new band, which he planned to officially call ‘Blizzard of Ozz’.  Quiet Riot and classical-influenced guitarist Randy Rhoads came in to audition and was said to blow Ozzy away musically, and completely turn around Ozzy’s diminished attitude about music.  Bob Daisley (bass, ex-Rainbow) and Lee Kerslake (drums, ex – Uriah Heep) would round out the tight rhythm section accompanied by several choices of keyboard players- namely Don Airey (also formerly of Rainbow, and who had contributed keyboards to the last Black Sabbath album Ozzy had performed on).

 

The Blizzard Of Ozz would eventually (simply) become ‘Ozzy Osbourne’ and this incarnation would release two classic masterpieces – Blizzard of Ozz (1980) and Diary of a Madman (1981) – Ozzy would be reborn and achieve completely renewed success on the touring front – equally rivaling his Sabbath counterparts who themselves were busy releasing two classic albums and touring with Dio.

 

Sadly, Randy Rhoads would die in a tragic small airplane crash in March of 1982 at still 25 years old.  Ozzy was said to have been heartbroken, and the classic incarnation and first two albums of the Blizzard Of Ozz/Ozzy Osbourne would be no more.  Randy was replaced at first by ex-Gillan guitarist Bernie Torme, then by Night Ranger guitarist Brad Gillis (see the live ‘Speak of the Devil’ album information below).  Similar to what would become with Black Sabbath, this for Ozzy was also the beginning of many great, yet unstable years, band, and album line-up changes.

 

It must also be mentioned that during this time-frame and beyond, Ozzy and camp would be littered with many controversies, both on a professional and personal level.  Diary of a Madman was recorded with both Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake.  However, album pressings had the back of the album complete with pictures of the NEW Ozzy Osbourne line-up – bass player Rudy Sarzo (future Quiet Riot, and who also had been working with various incarnations of the diminishing ‘Angel’ in the very early 80’s) and drummer Tommy Aldridge.  While neither performed on the actual album, they were given credits alongside their picture.  The message was obviously that Daisley and Kerslake were ousted from the band.  This was one of the beginning events of what would become many years of hostility, strained working environments, and eventually legal proceedings and lawsuits between the Ozzy camp and Daisley/Kerslake.

 

Further supplementing this act, YEARS later it would come to be that on re-releases and re-masters of the first Ozzy album Blizzard of Ozz, and second album Diary of a Madman, Daisley’s bass tracks and Kerslake’s drum tracks would be ‘inexplicably removed’, and were re-recorded with bass and drum tracks from Ozzy’s then-current band.  The exact reasons for this have never been officially known (though strong evidence has Sharon Osbourne as being the direct nucleus of this and other controversial business decisions).  There was never any kind of problems with the original bass and drum tracks, and there was also no reason that future re-mastering processes would necessitate REMOVING the original work and replacing it with new work (technically, that is not even a re-master).  Evidence lends to this being some personal vendetta and this being done as a kind of ‘snub’ towards Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake.  These new re-masters went out to the masses and naturally made the Ozzy camp a lot more profit, and while many people and fans were angered by this and felt it a slap in the face to the original Ozzy band and legacy of that album (not to mention the late Randy Rhoads who would not have wanted this), but MANY MORE people were now buying a far inferior product and WERE NOT EVEN AWARE OF IT.  As mentioned above, this debacle for YEARS would entail lengthy court battles between the two parties. }

 

 

In 2002 and 2003, I received personal correspondence (and autographs) from both Lee Kerslake and Bob Daisley.  While I won’t release or quote word for word what both of them wrote me about everything, it was safe to surmise they were none-too-happy with these debacles and did not have the fondest words for Sharon. One of the main incidents talked about was the ‘probably deliberate’ misspelling of names by Ozzy management of some of Ozzy’s former musicians in the credits of his 1997 Greatest Hits compilation – The Ozzman Cometh. (Rudy Sarzo was credited as‘Trudy Sarzo’, Bob Daisley was credited as‘Bob Daisy’, and Phil Soussan was credited as’Bill Susan.’  This was said to be a deliberate “f-u” to certain past musicians.  One also told me something to the effect that Ozzy himself is a great guy and was completely ‘oblivious’ to many of these goings on, but just went with the flow because of the management personnel and politics.  The other told me in so many words that while Ozzy has always had great, competent musicians, ‘there are reasons that (Ozzy’s previous) veteran, established musicians and writers have not lasted/worked with Ozzy for years, and won’t ever again.

 

While there were many more instances of unprofessionalism and debacles involving Sharon Osbourne (one of the most memorable was during a 2005 Ozz Fest date, where a feud between Iron Maiden (who shared double-headlining duties with Ozzy) and Sharon developed, and at one gig Sharon supposedly hired teenagers off the street to ‘throw eggs at Iron Maiden’, cut Maiden’s sound several times during their set, and then rant after their set about how ‘Bruce Dickinson is a Prick!’ – anybody is welcome to research this and other instances further on their own time), I must note it is not my intent to ‘attack’ Sharon or Ozzy, but just report the historical significance and the facts surrounding that history.  While many more pages and sites can be dedicated to (and perhaps exist of) strictly ‘Ozzy Osbourne solo history’, I simply included some nuggets of history as it pertains to his first few years after leaving Black Sabbath  J

 

 

Back to Black Sabbath now – some interesting information below I found online.

(** January – March 1979 – Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Bill Ward set about re-building the band. The guitarist pulled in a friend, Geoff Nicholls, from fellow Birmingham heavy metal band QUARTZ, actually as an intended second guitarist as the band searched for a new singer. Initially, Iommi approached former Deep Purple man David Coverdale to fill the vocal vacancy but this idea never got beyond the discussion stage. Iommi’s wish list would be another Deep Purple man – former bassist/vocalist Glenn Hughes, but despite Hughes being available and even attending studio sessions as a friend, no proposal was brokered. More fancifully, strong rumors even include AC/DC wild-man singer Bon Scott being offered the contract, the singer supposedly turning down the offer citing his strong friendship with former pontiff Ozzy. Scott would die a year later on February 19, 1980.

By March of 1979, Black Sabbath would announce that former Elf and Rainbow singer Ronnie James Dio had been secured to the fold. **)

 

 

HEAVEN AND HELL (1980)

 

~ ‘After kicking vocalist Ozzy Osbourne out of the band in 1978, Black Sabbath knew they would have to strike back with a powerful record if they were to retain their credibility. They recruited Elf vocalist Ronnie James Dio, whose melodramatic vibrato shuddered with menace, and in 1980, they released Heaven and Hell, their most potent offering since Master of Reality. Faster and more theatrical than Sabbath’s earlier oeuvre, Heaven and Hell features the dynamic seven-minute title track, which builds from a lazy throb to a high-octane roar, and the dynamic “Die Young,” which segues from an uptempo saunter to a flamboyant midsection strangely reminiscent of Queen. Although the album helped build Sabbath a younger, more enthusiastic fan base, Dio only remained with the band for one more studio album, after which Sabbath’s star slowly began to fade.‘ ~ Jon Wiederhorn ~

 

 

(* Note:  At the very very early onset of the Heaven and Hell sessions – and what would become the Heaven and Hell album, Ozzy Osbourne was still technically in the band. The time frame for this brief period would be perhaps mid to late December 1978 into January 1979 – as Ozzy was let go this same month of January 1979.  Of course, song ideas could have also been floating around during the latter half of the Never Say Die tour as well, but probably not ‘studio time.’

According to Tony and Geezer in various interviews, these were the rehearsals where Ozzy either didn’t turn up for days (into weeks) on end, and when he did turn up – just seemed disinterested and/or contributed very little.  This was the time the decision was made to either end the band, or let Ozzy go and begin the search for a new vocalist.

It is unclear which, if any REAL WORKING SONGS at all, were done at early stages with Ozzy doing the vocals.  There are rumors that Ozzy may have worked on a VERY EARLY stage demo of the song that would BECOME ‘Heaven and Hell’ – but if such a demo exists, it has never surfaced.  It is primarily believed Ozzy didn’t work on much that would eventually turn up on the subsequent album, and any contributions he made were very brief, or were just working song ideas at the time.)  Surprisingly, it was Sharon Osbourne who would then suggest Dio to the band in their search. Sharon was the daughter of then-band manager Don Arden.

 

GEEZER BUTLER LEAVES THE BAND BRIEFLY DURING THE RECORDING OF HEAVEN AND HELL, BUT COMES BACK. FRAN SHEEHAN OF BOSTON IS CONSIDERED FOR THE VACANT BASS POSITION.

 

CRAIG GRUBER OF RAINBOW FAME CAME IN BRIEFLY DURING GEEZER’S ABSENCE TO CONTRIBUTE BASS IDEAS, BUT HISTORY SAYS THEY WERE NEVER USED, DESPITE RUMORS THAT THE BASS TRACKS ON NEON KNIGHTS AND SOME OTHER TRACKS WERE HIS.

***** (On December 21, 2009, I received personal correspondence with Craig Gruber in regards to his time and contributions with Sabbath during this time period and subsequent Sabbath release ‘Heaven and Hell.’ This is some very interesting info and it wouldn’t be complete to NOT INCLUDE it here, and my thanks to Craig for sharing this with myself and the page.


{” Hey Johnny,,yes,I Recorded The Album,, at Criteria Studios Miami,, When Geezer heard the album,, he wanted to come back to the Band… i understood.. as it makes sense to have as many Original Members… He Re-Recorded his own Bass Lines,, I.m Not on the Final Mix.. I’m cool with it, as Financially i as taken care of,, But They Never Credited me in the Album Liner Notes, and my Name is not as Co-Writer of “Die Young” either.,,that hasn’t sat well with me either,, Some “Oversight” as they replied,,My Attorney took care of it !! tho.,,its all good!,,

There are some Negative Bassists/ People,,(Haters) ha!, who are completely Un-informed ,,and have slagged me off in the Past,, Not cool!! Ha ya Know..!! as to my Asociation with Sabbath,, during that Time,, When They Fired Ozzy ,, They Brought in Dio,,,who i Played Bass with in Both Elf, and Ritchie Blackmore;s Rainbow!! Ronnie and I are the Founding Members Of Rainbow!!! Dio, Replaced Ozzy ,in spring of 1979,and Geezer, their Bassist Quit,, Ronnie, and Tony, and Bill Ward offered me the position as Bassist, I was with them for 9 months during the Writing and Recording of Heaven and Hell,, in fact “Die Young?”Ronnie and I Wrote!! Last September 2008,,Decibel Metal Magazine did a 5 page Feature Story on “Heaven and Hell”,, and it features Interviews, and Photos, with Me, Dio, Iomm ,and Bill Ward..Tony Iommi Asked that i come in to tell The Story Correctly..That was nice!! Tony and the Guys are Great People,!!

Its not too much funn being called a Liar,, by other people, who have no idea what the real truth is..I have the Platinum Cd/and Album in my Den, on the Wall w/my other Record Awards.. Those things people dont see,, and never will!! as I don’t have anything to prove to them.. Cheers Craig!! I WOULD APPRECIATE ANY POSITIVE PRESS ON THIS!! Cheers Johnny !! Happy Holidays!! Craig Gruber.. ” } *****

 

ALSO, GEOFF NICHOLLS OF QUARTZ WAS BROUGHT IN TO POSSIBLY REPLACE GEEZER, BUT MOVED OVER TO KEYBOARD AND ORGAN DUTY WHEN GEEZER RETURNED, AND REMAINED THERE FOR THE NEXT 20+ YEARS.

 

ACCORDING TO OTHER INFORMATION ONLINE, NICHOLLS WAS ORIGINALLY BROUGHT IN AS A SECOND GUITAR PLAYER AT THE VERY ONSET OF THE HEAVEN AND HELL SESSIONS, BEFORE GEEZER EVEN LEFT. (GEOFF DID CONTRIBUTE BACKING VOCALS, BASS, AND EVEN RHYTHM GUITAR DUTIES DURING SOME SABBATH LIVE SONGS/SHOWS THROUGHOUT THE BAND’S HISTORY).
Tony Iommi on the change of Black Sabbath’s sound on Dio coming into the band:  “They were totally different altogether. Not only voice-wise, but attitude-wise. Ozzy was a great showman, but when Dio came in, it was a different attitude, a different voice and a different musical approach, as far as vocals. Dio would sing across the riff, whereas Ozzy would follow the riff, like in “Iron Man”. Ronnie came in and gave us another angle on writing.”

 

* ORIGINAL DRUMMER BILL WARD LEAVES THE BAND DURING THE HEAVEN AND HELL TOUR CITING POOR HEALTH, SUBSTANCE ABUSE PROBLEMS, AND EXHAUSTION (other rumors include his ‘not liking’ or ‘not feeling comfortable’ with Dio and the band’s slightly new approach with Dio up front now) AND WAS REPLACED BY VINNY APPICE, FORMERLY OF RICK DERRINGER AND AXXIS.

 

* TOURING LINE-UP INCLUDED: DIO, TONY IOMMI, GEOFF NICHOLLS, GEEZER BUTLER, BILL WARD (FIRST PART OF TOUR), AND VINNY APPICE (ALOHA, HAWAII DATE AND ONWARD).
LIVE AT LAST (1980 – UNOFFICIAL, BUT RELEASED.)

 

 

 

  • Released without the band’s permission and even knowledge at first.

 

  • LIVE PERFORMANCES OF SABBATH FROM 1973 – March 11th and 16th at Manchester and at The Rainbow – London, UK (*correction supplied by board member Ed Barnard).

 

  • The original vinyl and cassettes of this album had the “opening” by the house announcer stating, “Please welcome…BLACK SABBATH!”  In subsequent re-releases and remasters of this album (including the version that became half of the Past Lives album), this short intro line was omitted for unknown reasons.  Since it was only about 3 seconds long, it wasn’t done for space reasons J

 

  • In my opinion, the “remastered” versions of the album are NOT that much better ‘sounding.’  Things are cleaned up, but not to the point where the casual listener will notice a world of difference (compared to say the likes of the re-mastered Born Again album) at a loud playing volume.  This is closer to a ‘live album’ then a ‘live bootleg.’ Also in my opinion, the sound is not as bad as some make it out to be in reviews. It has a very rough, edgy, crunchy, and live feel to it – but there are FAR worse sounding ‘live bootlegs’ (live at Reading 1983) that have been released of other Sabbath incarnations.

 

MOB RULES (1981)

 

~ “Black Sabbath had put itself back on track both musically and commercially with the 1980 album HEAVEN AND HELL, as the addition of new vocalist Ronnie James Dio was the shot in the arm Sabbath needed. A follow-up was released one year later, MOB RULES, which follows in the same mega-decibel approach as its predecessor. While it is still a vast improvement over Sabbath’s final two albums with Ozzy Osbourne (1976’s TECHNICAL ECSTASY and 1978’s NEVER SAY DIE), it doesn’t exactly match the inspired performances and top compositions featured on HEAVEN AND HELL.

 

The opening track, “Turn Up the Night,” kicks off the album with a jolt of electricity, while other hard rocking highlights include the mid-paced “Voodoo” and the raging title track–the latter would be featured on the soundtrack to the cult animated movie, HEAVY METAL. Another standout was the near eight-minute epic “The Sign of the Southern Cross,” which starts as a gentle acoustic composition, before transforming into a classic slice of plodding Sabbath metal. Although Dio had been a major factor in returning Sabbath back from the dead, he would leave the group under less than amicable circumstances after the release of the 1982 live album LIVE EVIL.” ~ – Uncredited –

 

– The album’s title track ‘The Mob Rules’, was recorded at John Lennon’s house in England, and was also featured in the 1981 animated film Heavy Metal, although the film version is an alternate take, and differs from the album version.

* TOURING LINE-UP INCLUDED: DIO, TONY IOMMI, GEOFF NICHOLLS, GEEZER BUTLER, AND VINNY APPICE.

LIVE EVIL (1982, RELEASED JAN 1983) * SABBATH’S FIRST ‘OFFICIAL’ LIVE ALBUM *

 

(During this same time period, The Ozzy camp releases the live album ‘Speak of the Devil’. The album – featuring Brad Gillis (Night Ranger) on guitar, Don Airey on keyboards (live setting), Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot, Angel, Whitesnake, Blue Oyster Cult) on bass, and Tommy Aldridge (Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy) on drums – featuring a stunning set of all Black Sabbath classics and was near perfectly produced. Ozzy did re-touch vocal work in the studio and some rumors have ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’ being a rehearsal/sound check session that Ozzy added vocals to in the studio. Put out in direct competition with ‘Live Evil’, many felt that it was a much more definitive live album, and captured the Sabbath classics much more true to form than Sabbath w/ Dio and ‘Live Evil’ had done. My opinion is that Live Evil is a great album, but the sound/mixing was poor – at times the crowd goes from loud to nil and other times is barely audible. Granted, most people could care less about the ‘crowd noise’, but I for one find it to be an integral part of a live album’s sound, and I like the crowd to be heard cheering at the beginning and end of songs, not be obviously ‘silenced’ by the studio to a point where it doesn’t even sound natural. Also, there could have been more songs added from the actual tour, as obviously the band regularly performed at least 3-5 more songs than what was used on this album.)

Also interestingly enough, if you look at the credits and band line-up inside the sleeve of Live Evil, you will notice Ronnie James Dio credited as ‘Ronnie Dio’, and Vinny Appice only given the credit as a ‘guest’, even though he had been an official member of the band for two years at that point. Geoff Nicholls is given ‘special thanks’. Rumors have this being done by Tony and Geezer as kind of a “don’t let the door hit you on the ass on your way out” deal towards Dio and Vinny.

* DIO AND DRUMMER VINNY APPICE DECIDE TO LEAVE SABBATH IN LATE 1982, CITING INRECONCIABLE CONDITIONS WITH TONY AND GEEZER, AS WELL AS THE RUMOR OF BICKERING BACK AND FORTH AS TO WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE POORLY SOUNDING MIX THAT WOULD MAKE THE ‘LIVE EVIL’ ALBUM. DIO GOES ON TO FORM HIS OWN BAND WITH VINNY, AND THE PROCESS BEGINS YET AGAIN FOR SABBATH TO SEARCH FOR A SINGER. SEVERAL NAMES WOULD BE IN THE CUE, INCLUDING THE COMBINATION OF CURRENT WHITESNAKE SINGER DAVID COVERDALE AND DRUMMER COZY POWELL, BUT THAT PAIRING DID NOT COME TO BE. (Cozy would be asked to join Black Sabbath various times going back to 1980-ish, and finally did in 1988).
Nicky Moore (Samson), John Sloman (Lone Star), and even Graham Bonnett (Rainbow) all also went through the ranks on being contacted about joining Sabbath, with Bonnett in an interview stating that ‘Black Sabbath really wasn’t his thing.” Unknown (at the time) Michael Bolton even sent tapes. Here is some other interesting information about this period:

–         By November 1982, auditioning new singers Black Sabbath put both Samson’s Nicky Moore and Lone Star’s John Sloman through their paces. Another meeting to entice the Whitesnake pairing of David Coverdale and Cozy Powell onboard failed to yield solid results. Yet the band’s next move took the Rock and Metal world by complete shock and surprise, announcing former Deep Purple screamer Ian Gillan, alongside a re-instated Bill Ward back behind the drums. **

–         EVENTUALLY, LEGENDARY LEATHER-LUNGED SCREAMER IAN GILLAN IS HIRED AROUND LATE NOVEMBER/ EARLY DECEMBER OF 1982 AND TAKES THE MIC – FORMERLY OF LONG-TIME SABBATH RIVALS DEEP PURPLE. HISTORY HAS THIS COMING TO FRUITION AT A PUB ONE NIGHT WITH IAN SUPPOSEDLY, JOKINGLY, ACCEPTING THE VACANT SINGER’S POSITION IN SABBATH ONLY TO THE NEXT DAY COMING TO HIS SENSES AND REALIZING THAT THIS WAS THE REAL THING. THE PRESS WOULD DUB THIS UNION ‘DEEP SABBATH’.

 

–         (Historically, this made a lot of waves in the hard rock world, due to the fact that Sabbath and Purple had been long-time ‘rivals’ going back to their 1970 album release years (Great album comparison would be Black Sabbath’s ‘S/T’ and Deep Purple’s ‘In Rock’. To this day, there is debate as to the ‘heavy metal-ness’ of each album). It could almost be said that Sabbath had hired the ‘enemy’ to sing for them. Many purists of each band refused to give this fusion the time of day then, and even now.)
INCIDENTALLY, IAN HAD BROKEN UP HIS SELF-MONICKERED BAND JUST RECENTLY DUE TO SUPPOSED VOCAL PROBLEMS. NATURALLY, SOME OF HIS FORMER GILLAN/IAN GILLAN BAND MEMBERS HOLD GRUDGES AGAINST IAN FOR DOING THIS – TO THIS DAY, FORMER GILLAN BASS PLAYER JOHN MCCOY SLAMS IAN AND THE SUBSEQUENT SABBATH ALBUM IAN DID AT EVERY GIVEN CHANCE. (Website leader’s opinion – John McCoy is not only a moron, but was an average at best bass player and if it wasn’t for Ian Gillan, would have never even had the small name and recognition he has/had…)
** On a rather surprising front, Ozzy Osbourne, in interviews around this time frame and even later, acknowledged that “Born Again is/was probably one of the best Black Sabbath albums I have heard in a long time….”   (Ozzy has also been known to autograph Born Again lp sleeves!)
 

BORN AGAIN (1983)

 

~ “BORN AGAIN is probably the most underrated album in the Sabbath catalog. Featuring the classic lineup with vocalist Ian Gillan (Deep Purple) standing in for Ozzy, BORN is a balls-to-the-wall metal album made in an era when Dexy’s Midnight Runners and Debarge dominated the charts.

“Trashed” races by with Gillan’s hair-raising shrieks. It’s said the man sang the album naked in the studio for maximum power and grittiness, and he seems to have achieved it. Sounding nothing like Ozzy Osbourne or Ronnie James Dio, Gillan nonetheless fits the Sabbath sound to a T. “Zero The Hero” features a wicked bass line from Geezer Butler, while “Digital Bitch” contains classic metal soloing from Tony Iommi. The title track is a power ballad that fit that label before bands like Firehouse and Warrant distorted it. If you’re a fan of Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, or hard rock in general, don’t let BORN AGAIN be the one that got away.” ~
– Uncredited –

“Stonehenge/Disturbing The Priest – Great track from a great and highly underrated album! Hauntingly devil-ish melodies and vibes with hypnotic and menacing riffs and shrills. The soundtrack for the party train to hell or heaven ….or however you see it \m/\m/” – Richard Hall –

 

Some further information about the origins of the song ‘Disturbing the Priest’ (one of my favorite Sabbath songs, too!):

{Disturbing the Priest was one of the last songs that was recorded for the album, and it is, in fact, a homage to a priest that lived near the studio where Born Again was recorded. The priest supposedly went into the studio to ask Gillan and the band to “keep the screams and noise down a bit.”}

– Ian Gillan is said to have ‘re-used the vocal melody’ for the beginning of Disturbing the Priest from the song ‘Scarabus’, the first song off the Ian Gillan Band album Scarabus from 1977.

– Gillan also explained the genesis of “Disturbing the Priest“:

“We were in loud playback mode, with the door open…When the track ended I was surprised to see a nervous vicar standing in the doorway. He explained how wonderful he thought the music was, but they were having choir practice in the adjacent village church and so would we mind closing the door…? I apologized immediately; we got hold of his schedule and never worked again during those times. The following evening I had a few beers with the vicar and signed some autographs for the choir. It was Geezer who came up with the title as we were laughing about the story some days later.”

 

  • TOURING LINE-UP INCLUDED: IAN GILLAN, TONY IOMMI, GEOFF NICHOLLS, GEEZER BUTLER, AND BEV BEVAN.

 

BILL WARD REJOINS THE BAND FOR THE ALBUM, BUT IS UNABLE TO TOUR – AGAIN CITING EXHAUSTION. BEV BEVAN OF ELO FAME STEPS IN TO HANDLE THE TOUR.

VARIOUS DISCREPENCIES STILL EXIST AS TO WHETHER IAN JOINED WITH THE INTENTION OF ONLY TOURING FOR ONE ALBUM, AND IF THE SUBSEQUENT ALBUM WAS TO BE A ‘BLACK SABBATH’ RELEASE – VARIOUS MEMBERS SEEM TO CONTRADICT EACH OTHER AS TO WHAT THE REAL PLANS OF THIS TIME FRAME WERE TO BE.

Ian Gillan has stated that he knew full-well he was joining ‘Black Sabbath’, and it was his intent to join ‘Black Sabbath’ and the subsequent album and tour would be under the ‘Black Sabbath title’.  Ian also states that early on, while their were indeed rumblings of a possible Purple reformation in the future, nothing was set in stone, and all of the other members were busy in their own projects and he joined Sabbath for a possible long-haul.  Source for this comes from Garry Sharpe-Young’s Sabbath book.

 

–         According to the same source though, both Geezer and Geoff Nicholls have stated that the early plan was for this collaboration to be under a ‘super-group’ guise, and with a new band name.

 

** Taken from my college newspaper circa 2005:

” In late 1982, in what would be one of the most shocking and controversial moments in heavy rock history, Sabbath hired the “enemy,” legendary screamer Ian Gillan of long-time Sabbath rivals Deep Purple, to fill the open mic spot. Though this incarnation only lasted several years, its resulting LP entitled “Born Again” would later be hailed as “One of the greatest heavy metal albums of all time.” To this day, its sheer energy and riffing, not to mention Gillan’s stunning evil screams and devilish laughs, have never been duplicated. Now that was a supergroup … unlike today’s bands labeled as such like … Velvet Revolver.”
GEEZER BUTLER IS ALSO ON RECORD FOR HAVING NOT SO KIND REMARKS ABOUT BOTH THE ENSUING TOUR AND IAN GILLAN, SAYING HE WAS BASICALLY ‘GOING THROUGH THE MOTIONS’ ON TOUR. SOURCE FOR THIS INFORMATION COMES FROM MARTIN POPOFF’S ‘500 GREATEST HEAVY METAL ALBUMS OF ALL TIME’ BOOK.

GEEZER BUTLER WOULD MAKE SIMILAR STATEMENTS ABOUT 10 YEARS LATER — WITH THE RELEASE OF ‘CROSS PURPOSES’, CLAIMING IT WASN’T SUPPOSED TO GO OUT AS A BLACK SABBATH RECORD, YET CONTRADTICED HIMSELF ON VIDEO (and audio) CLAIMING IT WAS ONE OF THE MOST FUN BLACK SABBATH ALBUMS TO MAKE. MORE INFORMATION ON THAT ERA BELOW.
(The sound on the original release of this record was nothing short of terrible, which could have been a reason for radio not picking up on this at the time, not to mention some of the band member’s dis-like for the cover artwork. Rumors have Tony Iommi as the one who ‘liked it’ and gave its approval. Other sources state that Sabbath management (i.e. Don Arden) gave it the final ‘ok’, not any of the band members. Ian Gillan is on record stating he hated the cover, and it was the final straw that broke the camel’s back on a great album that had already went bad with how the final mixing and sound had been butchered on the album. Gillan also states that not only did he throw a few dozen new copies of the LP out his car window in disgust (info obtained from Garry Sharpe-Young’s Black Sabbath 1979 – 1997 book), but feels the cover and the poor final mix (ie. sound) of the album may have hampered it from achieving more success than it did.
{The cover artwork has an interesting story itself. Steve Joule, also working for the Ozzy camp at the time, came up with the design, as he puts it, so Sabbath would ‘reject’ the idea and hence alleviate him from anymore involvement in their camp, leaving him to strictly focus on the solo Ozzy sleeve designing. Steve says he had used a 1968 UK ‘MIND ALIVE’ magazine whose cover is indeed the same picture, only it was a newborn baby. Steve claims to have been on acid and run off some photo-copies of the cover of this magazine in blue and red, added some horns, fangs, and finger nails – and the rest is history. However, Depeche Mode released a single in 1981 (almost 2 years before BORN AGAIN would be released) which used the same exact baby design, albeit minus the horns and fans and all of that. There is no denying it is the same exact picture, used from the baby photo in the 1968 MIND ALIVE magazine. Whether Steve knew about the Depeche Mode single before hand, or drew up the design from pure coincidence, is still unknown. Who the actual baby was in the original MIND ALIVE magazine issue is also unknown, but I wonder if he/she is aware of all the history which would take place…

 

 

 

Incidentally, a similar controversy with Sabbath artwork would happen again about ten years later – for the Cross Purposes artwork. The same (or very similar) design that Sabbath would use was already in use a few years before, for a Scorpions single cover!  See below for more info.}
Ian Gillan blames Geezer as being solely responsible for the poor sound on Born Again, as Geezer was said to be behind some of the controls for the final mix. Gillan also states at one time, before the album’s release, he had the original master of this album and the entire band heard it with him, and the sound was nothing short of perfect and ‘Brilliant.’
Geezer refutes this, claiming at first that the band heard the final product and there were no beefs, though then later saying that the entire band heard the final sound of the album ONLY at the same time it was actually released to the general public (what major band would do this?? Sounds doubtful.), and if anything was toyed with beyond the band’s knowledge, the blame lay not with him. Source for this info comes from Garry Sharpe-Young’s book Black Sabbath 1979-1997. I myself find this hard to believe, but it is probable we will never get the full story as to what happened with this masterpiece of an album.

– The album WAS re-released and re-mastered in 1996 on cd and the sound is MUCH MUCH better and easier to listen to, but still shows signs of the original lackluster studio mixing to the trained ear.

 

–         Also, around 2003, the ‘Born Again demos’ leaked, reported to be from a one-time girlfriend of Bill Ward. Somebody apparently was given the cassette tape, and it made its way to mastered cd copies. The sound and songs were un-mixed, and to some sounded much better than the ‘original released version’ of the album had. Also, some songs were a bit longer in length, including the keyboard instrumental ‘Stonehenge’, which was/should have been tacked on to the beginning of ‘Disturbing the Priest’, as that is the appropriate intro. On the final release, it is basically the intro, but still is its own separate track, and it’s only 1:57 long compared to the version on the demos which is over 4 minutes long. Other songs weren’t quite the original length of the final released versions, like Trashed, and others had a few different lyrics, or, un-finished lyrics. Last but not least, the demos included a finished track never released before, entitled either ‘The Falling’ or ‘The Fallen.’ Why it never made it to the original album release remains a mystery, as the song is a gem. This is another reason why the Born Again un-mixed demos are very popular among collector’s circles.)

 

(One of many ‘unofficial’ artworks for the Born Again demos which leaked around 2003).

Here is an email I sent to Ian Gillan (to his official website) sometime in 2003.  He replied to me on his website a few months afterward.  At the time of this email, Ian talks about the monitor mix of Born Again and his memory (or lack thereof) of any other working titles that may have been written (this was before ‘The Fallen’ would enter the collector circles) during the Born Again sessions:

 

Hello Ian,

My most favorite singer and screamer of all-time, my many thanks again for the personalized autographs I received from you last year.

My question relates to your time with Black Sabbath and the subsequent album cut with yourself and the band, BORN AGAIN. Over the years and even through several interviews by yourself, you made mention of an “extra track” that was cut for the album, yet never included in any release of it. You also made mention of having possession of the “original” (and assumable “better”) mix of the entire LP.

I guess I speak also on behalf of the many fans out there that also absolutely loved this album and your short but timeless stint with Black Sabbath — have you ever considered somehow sometime perhaps making this unreleased track available and the original mix available (amongst presumably many other “rare nuggets and such” throughout your career) to the many fans of both Purple and Sabbath? I could see that now as something that would fit spectacular on some kind of future box set of yours or Purples, since the Sabbath camp seems to have forgotten this incredible era of the band and remains steadfast on continuously wishing to release rarities and compilation “best-ofs”, etc of only the Mark I line-up.

Thank you ever so much for your time Ian — perhaps you might care to share an answer and some opinions on my proposition! Thanks again Ian!!

Sincerely

Joseph Paul Anthony Angel
Chicago

 

Hey Joe, (the old ones are always the best – ed)

Thanks for the kind words.

Some months ago I got this Sound Audigy gismo box to transfer anything analogue to digital. so I sat down with about 600 old cassettes and spent a couple of days sorting them out.

Good news and bad news…I found loads of stuff that I’d completely forgotten about; demos, out-takes, rough mixes, writing sessions, interviews and all kinds of interesting material from the last twenty years or so; all of it in good shape.

One of the priceless items I discovered was the monitor mix of Born Again, the very tape that I have referred to from time to time. All the songs were listed (the entire album) and hand written on the insert, Manor Studios etc. Imagine my disappointment when I found only three songs, Trashed, Digital Bitch and one other (I forget now, it’s been a while and I’ve not been home for six weeks) on the cassette.

Anyway I have a whole load of gems to sieve through one day for a potential release, and who knows, maybe that cassette was in the wrong box and the real one will turn up. I still have more to check.

Just one other thing, I must have been misquoted (now there’s a thing). I do not recall any extra tracks with vocals. I think there were some instrumental ideas left over from the Born Again session, and possibly (although I can’t remember) some rough vocals which should have been (but may not have been) erased. Anyway as far as I’m concerned what it is, is what it is; a very special album.

Cheers, ig
–         It is often the subject of debate of where the ‘flute parts’ are throughout the Born Again album.  Tony Iommi is credited with some flute bits, but none are really distinguishable to the average ear.  While Iommi himself claims to ‘not remember exactly’, it is said that there are bits of flute towards the latter half of the song ‘Born Again’.  Others claim to also hear bits on ‘The Dark.’.  I am going with the song ‘Born Again’, though.

 

  • It has been asked about the difference in ‘sound quality’ between the 1996 Castle re-master of Born Again (which the sound is SIGNIFCANTLY improved, and much more pleasant) and the 2011 “deluxe version” of Born Again which is also re-mastered, and includes the bonus Reading concert as well as the extra track that had come from the original Born Again sessions, ‘The Fallen’.  In my opinion, the sound is almost identical.  I am no sound expert obviously, but listening to both versions – it is pretty much the same.  Any differences of the 2011 deluxe version and the 1996 Castle re-master are obviously MINUTE.

 

{The original plan/idea for the 2011 deluxe version was to locate the original tapes of the album sessions, and completely RE-MIX the album (almost like a‘re-do’ for 1983!).  However, Gillan and Iommi have stated the tapes can’t be found, or perhaps may be long gone – much to the dismay of many Sabbath fans who were salivating for this album to be re-mixed/re-done the proper way.  The next best thing was to do another re-master – see paragraph above.}

 

(I do recommend the 1983 Worcester ‘radio broadcast’ of a live show with Sabbath and Gillan.  The sound is VERY GOOD (almost too good for something non-commercially released), and in my opinion, is a much better sounding show than the Reading show which is part of the 2011 deluxe Born Again.  I assume there must be some legalities as far as ownership and licensing rights to the 1983 Worcester ‘radio show’ and that is why it can’t seem to be commercially released J)

 

* Not that it TRULY matters, but many good Sabbath sources online (including MusicMight, which supposedly has interviewed various members of Black Sabbath) have proclaimed that the ‘true unreleased song title’ is ‘THE FALLING’, not The Fallen.

** Some sources have also stated that the possibility of up to 4 other working songs (other than the recently released ‘The Fallen’) were written and may exist from this line-up, but have never surfaced. One of those ‘songs’ was rumored to have the title of ‘Death Warmed Up’ (or ‘Death Warmed Over’), though that could have just been either an earlier title for and/or confused with the final track on the album, ‘Keep It Warm.’

 

** It is rumored that the inspiration for the song ‘Digital Bitch’ could have been about Sharon Osbourne (Ozzy’s wife, and daughter of Sabbath manager Don Arden).  Between the issues involving the Born Again album and past tensions involving the management and the ‘other camp’, it does fuel some wondering!

 

– Supposedly at the Zwolle, Holland concert, legend has it one fan brought a wheelchair to the show and threw it onstage – protesting both Gillan joining Sabbath, and what direction he felt Sabbath was headed! (Info comes from Music-Might).

 

IAN LEAVES IN SPRING 1984 TO RE-JOIN THE REFORMED MARK II DEEP PURPLE (it is still not known DEFINITIVLY whether Purple had been ‘planning’ a Mark II re-union and that Ian only joined Sabbath for ‘the money’ and/or a’ one album and tour contract’, or if he  joined Sabbath with the plans of continuing onward with the band, and the Purple reformation just coincidentally was happening), AND SABBATH AGAIN BEGINS TO TOY WITH A FEW REPLACEMENT SINGERS (RON KEEL, DAVE DONATO, even Michael Bolton again?).

 

 

 

Black Sabbath 1984/5
* BILL WARD IS AGAIN SEEMINGLY BACK IN THE BAND, AND DAVE DONATO IS OFFICIALLY NAMED SABBATH’S NEXT SINGER IN 1984-ISH, BUT HIS UNION WITH THE BAND ONLY LASTS SEVERAL MONTHS, THE SUPPOSED STRAW BREAKING THE CAMEL’S BACK HERE IS A SELF-RIGHTEOUS AND POOR INTERVIEW DONATO SUPPOSEDLY GIVES ABOUT BLACK SABBATH TO KERRANG MAGAZINE. DEMOS WERE RECORDED WITH DAVE DONATO BUT ONLY ONE WORKING SONG HAS SURFACED, THAT BEING AN EARLY VERSION OF ‘THE SHINING’ WHICH WOULD TURN UP ON A SABBATH ALBUM 3 YEARS LATER – The Eternal Idol.
The following info has turned up on Wikipedia, so I am quoting them as such. “Contrary to reports, Donato was not fired after an interview with Kerrang! magazine as many have falsely reported. The band fell apart soon thereafter, with Tony Iommi forming an entirely new Black Sabbath the following year.”
** During an interview taken in 2010 or 2011 after a ‘War Pigs’ show (Dave ‘The Beast’ Spitz’s side band now), Dave Spitz was asked about Dave Donato and his involvement in Sabbath, and his mood changed a bit (i.e. he got ticked off!), and he told the interviewer that “Dave Donato was never in Black Sabbath, he just did a few demo sessions, and that was it, I don’t even want to talk about it.”  This can be found on YouTube.
LINE-UP (‘ON PAPER’) DURING THIS TIME FRAME I BELIEVE TO BE: DAVE DONATO, TONY IOMMI, GEOFF NICHOLLS, GEEZER BUTLER, AND BILL WARD.

 

(* Several Black Sabbath ‘family trees’ seem to have Bev Bevan – hold-over from the Born Again era – in this 1984/5 line-up with Donato.  I believe this to be in error, but I could be wrong.  Various pictures from this short-lived line-up clearly show Bill Ward.  However, that doesn’t necessarily mean Bev couldn’t have still been ‘in concert’ with the band at some juncture during this time frame.  Until I know for certain or get to ask Bev, I will state these various family trees portraying this information are inaccurate).

 

  • Black Sabbath 1985

TONY, GEEZER, GEOFF, AND BILL REFORM VERY BRIEFLY WITH OZZY FOR LIVE AID ON JULY 13, 1985. AT THIS JUNCTURE, OZZY WAS BALLS DEEP IN A VERY SUCCCESSFUL SOLO CAREER AND NEGOTIATIONS FOR A REUNION WITH OZZY EVENTUALLY BREAK DOWN. GEEZER BUTLER AND BILL WARD OFFICIALLY LEAVE THE BAND (OR, WORKING WITH TONY IOMMI) AGAIN, ESSENTIALLY LEAVING TONY IOMMI AND GEOFF NICHOLLS TO FORGE ON.
 

 Black Sabbath 1985-1986

 

(Artwork below is just for reference purposes.  Not an actual released studio album.  Unofficial artwork depicting the Fenholt sessions).

* DURING THIS JUNCTURE, IOMMI AND ORGANIST GEOFF NICHOLLS BEGIN WORK ON WHAT WAS TO BE AN IOMMI SOLO RECORD, BUT WAS EVENTUALLY RELEASED AS A ‘BLACK SABBATH featuring TONY IOMMI’ ALBUM.

FOR MOST OF THE SESSIONS WHICH WOULD LEAD TO THIS ALBUM, TONY, AT THIS POINT DATING MUSICIAN LITA FORD, UTILIZED HER OWN’ BANDS RHYTHM SECTION WHICH INCLUDED BASSIST GORDON COPLEY AND DRUMMER ERIC SINGER. GORDON’S CONTRIBUTIONS ARE VERY MINIMAL (THOUGH HIS BASS TRACKS DO END UP ON THE FINAL RELEASED VERSION OF THE SONG ‘NO STRANGER TO LOVE’) AND DAVE ‘THE BEAST’ SPITZ, FORMERLY OF WHITE LION AND NUCLEAR ASSAULT AT THAT POINT, BECOMES THE BAND’S PERMANENT BASS PLAYER.

ORIGINALLY, TONY’S IDEA WAS TO WORK ON THIS SOLO ALBUM AND HAVE THREE SINGERS GUESTING ON THE ALBUM (REPORTED TO BE DIO, ROB HALFORD, AND GLENN HUGHES, ACCORDING TO GLENN IN LATER INTERVIEWS), BUT THEN THAT IDEA WAS CANCELLED.

* AT THE EARLY STAGES IN MID-1985 WHILE THIS WAS STILL TO BE AN IOMMI SOLO ALBUM, JEFF FENHOLT WAS BROUGHT IN FOR SOME JAM SESSIONS AND SOME DEMOS WERE RECORDED (SOME DEMOS SOUND COMPLETE, WHILE OTHERS ARE STUDIO JAMS), NOW IN COLLECTOR’S CIRCLES ENTITLED ‘STAR OF INDIA’. THIS ERA OF THE GROUP WAS STILL UNDER THE MONICKER AS A ‘TONY IOMMI SOLO PROJECT’, THOUGH IN OLD INTERVIEWS JEFF STATES HE BELIEVED THE BAND AT THAT POINT WAS PROCEEDING (or would be proceeding) AS ‘BLACK SABBATH’.

 

  • LINE-UP FOR THE ‘IOMMI PROJECT’ AND ‘STAR OF INDIA’ DEMO SESSIONS  I BELIEVE TO BE: JEFF FENHOLT, TONY IOMMI, GEOFF NICHOLLS, GORDON COPLEY, AND ERIC SINGER.

 

  • DAVE SPITZ DOES NOT APPEAR ON THE STAR OF INDIA DEMO SESSIONS TO THE BEST OF MY KNOWLEDGE, YET HE IS SOMETIMES CREDITED.

 

 

  • THERE ARE ALSO DISCREPENCIES TO JEFF’S ACTUAL TIME INVOLVED WITH THIS ‘PROJECT’ – JEFF HIMSELF CLAIMED UPWARDS OF 6 MONTHS, OTHERS REFUTE THAT SAYING HE LASTED A FEW SIMPLE JAM AND DEMO SESSIONS. (In Garry Sharp-Young’s ‘Black Sabbath – Never Say Die 1979-1997’, Bobby Rondinelli is on record stating something to the effect that, ‘Jeff was in the band a lot longer than many like to admit, and I wish he was recognized as such.’ It should be noted though that Bobby didn’t come into the Sabbath ranks until about 1993, I can’t attest whether or not he was around the Sabbath camp in 1985-ish, so I can only assume he stated as such because of his connections to Ray Gillen (who would later become affiliated with Sabbath and the ‘Seventh Star era’), talk in general musicians’ circles, or he may be a friend of Jeff’s.
  • Dave Spitz, bass player during that era, informed me personally something to the effect that Jeff’s involvement was ‘very minimal’ and that the circumstances surrounding Jeff and the ‘Iommi project’ during this time frame are often given much more due than necessary.)

 

  • Garry Sharpe-Young has stated he knows of the photographer who supposedly was present to shoot photos of the Iommi/Fenholt/’possible Sabbath’ line-up, and claims “the photos were indeed taken.”

 

 

  • DEMOS (WITH ALTERNATE LYRICS AND VERSES) DID EMERGE THOUGH, AND THE SONGS ARE DEFINETLY WHAT WOULD BECOME SEVENTH STAR MATERIAL. ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, JEFF HAD DIFFICULTY COMING UP WITH GOOD LYRICAL CONTENT (listening to the demos seem to suggest this, many of the lyrics are hard to comprehend, THOUGH AGAIN, these are just demos. There is no denying while listening to these even at their unpolished state that the guy COULD sing…One of the first demo takes {the most complete one} of the song ‘Seventh Star’ sounds STELLAR to me) ALONG WITH OTHER REASONS OF JUST NOT BEING THE BEST FIT, AND HIS TIME AND CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE ‘PROJECT’ WERE BRIEF NONETHELESS (FENHOLT DOES CLAIM THAT A FAIR AMOUNT OF HIS LYRICS AND MELODIES STILL MAKE IT TO THE FINAL LP, THOUGH THIS CLAIM REMAINS UNSUBSTANTIATED), AND SOON HE WAS OUSTED IN FAVOR OF FORMER DEEP PURPLE MARK III BASSIST/VOCALIST GLENN HUGHES. GLENN ALREADY WAS A HUGE NAME WITH A GREAT RESUME UNDER HIS BELT.

 

  • It should be noted that listening to the Fenholt demos on the song ‘Star of India’, and the final released album version of ‘Seventh Star’ (song), there are several lines of lyrics that ended up on the final song (just in different verses) that Jeff is indeed heard singing in the ‘Star of India’.  Whether Jeff was the original author of those lyrics will probably never be known.

BY THIS JUNCTURE A YEAR OR SO LATER, RECORD COMPANY PRESSURES (as well as Don Arden) WERE NOW ENTICING TONY TO CONTINUE WITH THE BAND AS ‘BLACK SABBATH’, AND TO RELEASE THE FINAL ALBUM AS ‘BLACK SABBATH FEATURING TONY IOMMI’.

  • According to many polls, many fans, though often mute about this admission, proclaim Seventh Star to be among Tony’s (and/or Sabbath’s) finest works. There are also a good chunk of Sabbath fans that do not recognize this as a ‘Black Sabbath’ album and register it as being Tony Iommi’s first solo record. There are even some fans that go as far as saying that Seventh Star was a terrible album (why I cannot fathom, unless of course they simply never listened to it…) and/or refuse to hear it at all.

 

  • Geoff Nicholls also contributes heavily on many of the lyrics on Seventh Star.

 

  • Similar to the 2011 Born Again deluxe release described above, it has been asked about the difference in ‘sound quality’ between the 1996 Castle re-master of Seventh Star and the 2011 “deluxe version” of Seventh Star which is also re-mastered, and includes the bonus London show with Ray Gillen.  In my opinion, the sound is almost identical.  I am no sound expert obviously, but listening to both versions – it is pretty much the same.  Any differences of the 2011 deluxe version and the 1996 Castle re-master are obviously MINUTE.

 

  • (I do recommend the April 1986 San Antonio ‘radio broadcast’ of a live show with   Sabbath and Ray Gillen.  The sound is EXCELLENT (almost too good for something non-commercially released), and in my opinion, is a much better sounding show than the muffled London show which is part of the 2011 deluxe Seventh Star.  The radio show only has a 6-track sampling (obviously the entire show had to have been recorded, but it has never released as such even in bootleg format), and I assume there must be some legalities as far as ownership and licensing rights to the 1986 San Antonio ‘radio show’ and that is why it can’t seem to be commercially released J)

 

 

  • Supposedly, the London Hammersmith gig is said to have been professionally filmed and meant to be officially released.  However, it is said to be shelved because of a lackluster crowd size.  (Info comes from Music Might)

 

 

  • On a personal note, when I first bought this some years back, I had no knowledge of how the record sounded, and a part of me was expecting something in the vein of the awesome-ness and heaviness of Born Again, which was the record just prior to this. When I popped it in, I INITIALLY was disappointed. I can see where many fans might have felt the same way I just described, and then just forgot about this record for eternity. BUT, as I played it just a few more times, it grew on me TREMENDOUSLY. This album has a very rich history behind it, and just about every song is stellar, even the keyboard instrumental ‘The Sphinx’, which has a mystical, almost haunting atmosphere. The band at the time (both with Glenn Hughes, and later Ray Gillen) was also nothing short of amazing (albeit un-stable) and they all honored the Sabbath name-sake and legacy well (in my opinion). Some of the best songs come towards the latter half of the album, which I may have not discovered had I not given it a 2nd or 3rd spin…

 

SEVENTH STAR (1986)

 

~ “An often misunderstood and underrated album, 1986’s Seventh Star was never intended to be a Black Sabbath release, as the band had effectively broken up following its disastrous 1984 tour in support of career low point Born Again. Instead, Seventh Star was conceived as guitarist Tony Iommi’s first solo project, and it was only record company pressure that forced him to resurrect his longtime band’s moniker at the last minute. With this in mind, one can better appreciate both the record’s more blues-based, often un-Sabbath-like songwriting and the contributions made by journeyman singer Glenn Hughes (ex-Trapeze, Deep Purple, etc.), whose incredibly emotive and soulful vocal style was completely at odds with the deadpan delivery of Sabbath’s most recognizable singer, Ozzy Osbourne (a discrepancy that would spell his quick exit when the necessary classics were wheeled out for the ensuing world tour). Still, within the unique circumstances of Seventh Star’s creation, Hughes’ fiery tunefulness made aggressive hard rockers like “In for the Kill,” “Turn to Stone,” and “Danger Zone” uncommonly catchy, and gorgeous ballads such as “Angry Heart/In Memory…” and “No Stranger to Love” all the more heart-rending. Tellingly, his efforts fell resoundingly flat on the bluesy aimlessness of “Heart Like a Wheel” and the gothic menace of the title track, making it possible for keener observers to foresee the troubles ahead. Yet, in light of the even more traumatic difficulties that preceded it, Seventh Star — for all its uncharacteristic sonic qualities — actually represents the turning of a corner for Black Sabbath’s lengthy career, which steadily regained momentum in the years that followed.” ~ – Eduardo Rivadavia –

* SINGER GLENN HUGHES IS CANNED FIVE DATES INTO THE SEVENTH STAR TOUR IN 1986 AND REPLACED BY A VIRTUAL UNKOWN – RAY GILLEN.

 

VARIOUS STORIES HAVE GLENN GETTING INTO A HUGE FISTFIGHT WITH SOMEBODY IN SABBATH MANAGEMENT (REPORTED TO BE JEFF GLIXMAN), OTHERS HAVE HIM UNABLE TO PROPERLY SING THE SABBATH CLASSICS (WITH GEOFF NICHOLLS, ACCORDING TO SOME SOURCES, ACTUALLY PROVIDING MOST OF THE VOCALS VIA BACKGROUND AT AT LEAST ONE GIG), FORGETTING LYRICS, AND OVERALL BEING A LACKLUSTER FRONTMAN IN PART DUE TO HIS DRUG ADDICTION AND UNFAMILIARALITY WITH THE EARLIER SABBATH CATALOGE.

 

  • GILLEN, NO RELATION TO IAN GILLAN, WAS A FRIEND OF DAVE SPITZ’S AND COMES IN WITH LITTLE TIME TO SPARE (though there is evidence to suggest he was officially ‘on notice’ during a few of the last shows Glenn would perform, and perhaps was rehearsing ‘behind closed doors’, so to speak. Glenn may have even been aware of this, as he supposedly ‘saw’ Ray backstage or at gigs sometimes) AND LASTS THE REMAINDER OF THE SEVENTH STAR TOUR. WORK WOULD THEN BEGIN ON THE NEXT ALBUM – THE ETERNAL IDOL.

 

*** More interesting info from this ‘era’. Future Sabbath drummer Bobby Rondinelli was working with Ray in ‘Rondinelli’/Sun Red Sun, when Bobby says he was offered the gig for the drumming duties on (what would become) the hugely successful Whitesnake 1987 release. Bobby, who believed whole-heartedly in staying with the Sun Red Sun project with Ray, turned down the gig and it was later offered to Ainsley Dunbar, ex-Journey.. Bobby says it was about this time maybe a few weeks later that Ray up and decided to do the Sabbath gig, leaving Bobby in the dust, and the Sun Red Sun project to basically splinter. Bobby had no way of knowing that that Whitesnake album would completely take off, and while he recently says he regrets the decision to not take it in hindsight, he does feel he did the right thing at the time because he believed so much in the current Sun Red Sun project. ***

 

RAY COMPLETED FINISHED DEMOS FOR THE UPCOMING ALBUM ‘THE ETERNAL IDOL’, BUT THEN LEFT THE BAND AND WOULD LATER TRY OUT FOR BLUE MURDER, AND EVENTUALLY HELP FORM BADLANDS.
RAY, A GREAT SINGER, WASN’T TRUELY GIFTED IN THE SONG WRITING DEPARTMENT AND GIVEN THE CURRENT STATE OF BLACK SABBATH WITH VARIOUS MEMBERS COMING AND GOING AMONGST OTHER INTERNAL DRAMA, FELT THE BAND WASN’T GOING ANYWHERE AT THAT POINT.

 

IRONICALLY, (FORMER, at that point) OZZY OSBOURNE BASSIST BOB DAISLEY IS BROUGHT IN TO THE FOLD TO HELP CONTRIBUTE LYRICS TO WHAT WOULD BECOME THE ETERNAL IDOL ALBUM. DAISLEY WAS ALSO ASKED TO JOIN THE BAND AT THIS POINT BUT DECLINED, AS HE WAS ALREADY COMMITED TO THE GARY MOORE BAND.
FINISHED DEMOS WITH RAY AND LIVE CUTS WOULD LATER TURN UP IN COLLECTOR’S CIRCLES UNDER THE TITLES OF ‘THE COMPLETE RAY GILLEN YEARS’, AND ‘RAY RULES’, AMONGST OTHERS.

WITH RAY’S DEPARTURE, TONY MARTIN OF THE ALLIANCE WAS THEN BROUGHT IN AT THE LAST MINUTE TO RE-SING RAY’S PARTS ON THE ETERNAL IDOL, AND REMAINED WITH SABBATH THROUGHOUT MUCH OF THE LATE 80’S AND INTO THE MID 90’S. ASIDE TONY IOMMI AND GEOFF NICHOLLS, TONY MARTIN WOULD BE ONE OF SABBATH’S LONGEST SERVING MEMBERS.

  • RAY GILLEN WOULD LATER END UP IN BADLANDS, WITH FORMER SABBATH DRUMMER ERIC SINGER! AND FORMER OZZY GUITAR PLAYER JAKE E. LEE! (ACCORDING TO DAVE SPITZ HIMSELF, HE WAS ALSO PART OF THE EARLY INCEPTION OF BADLANDS).
  • TRAGICALLY, RAY GILLEN WOULD DIE IN DECEMBER 1993 FROM AIDS-RELATED COMPLICATIONS.  He was 34 years old.
  • TOURING LINE-UP FOR THE SEVENTH STAR DATES INCLUDED: GLENN HUGHES (FIRST 5 DATES ), RAY GILLEN (REMAINDER OF DATES), TONY IOMMI, GEOFF NICHOLLS, DAVE ‘THE BEAST’ SPITZ, AND ERIC SINGER.

 

A more recent synopsis of Seventh Star:

Seventh Star, featuring vocalist Glenn Hughes, was set to become Iommi’s first solo record, but label pressure from Warners forced him to release it under the name Black Sabbath. It’s an interesting, albeit imperfect, listen and Hughes’ only outing with the band. Since Iommi never thought Seventh Star would be called a Black Sabbath album it sounds nothing like you’d expect. Still, there are moments when Iommi and his collaborators, including keyboardist Geoff Nicholls, touch the blues and improvisational spirit that made Sabbath’s debut compelling. Seventh Star shows Iommi’s growth as a musician and the multiple facets of his musical prowess; he could have easily been a virtuoso bluesman had he not pursued a darker course. However, it’s not nearly as compelling as earlier Black Sabbath material. In retrospect, this album would have been much better served — and better appreciated — if released solo.   ~Justin M. Norton~

 

 

THE ETERNAL IDOL (1987)

 

 

“The Eternal Idol, originally recorded with the late, great Ray Gillen, was Sabbath’s 13th studio album and an altogether harder sounding record which brought back an `edge’ that had been missing from Seventh Star. Whilst there was much for the Sabbath fan to celebrate with tracks such as, `The Shining’, `Ancient Warrior’, `Born To Lose’ and the title track, the album wasn’t as well received and settled at number 66 in the UK and a disappointing 168 in the US. Over the years however, fans of Black Sabbath and hard rock in general have been re-discovering all that The Eternal Idol has to offer.”  – Sanctuary –

 

* FIRST OFFICIAL BLACK SABBATH ALBUM WITH TONY MARTIN HANDLING THE VOCALS, RE-SINGING THE TRACKS ORIGINALLY WRITTEN FOR RAY GILLEN. ONE SMALL PART OF RAY GILLEN’S VOCALS REMAIN ON THE ETERNAL IDOL ALBUM – SOME ‘LAUGHTER’ AT THE END OF THE SONG ‘NIGHTMARE‘.

VARIOUS STUDIO AND TOURING MUSICIANS DURING THIS ERA INCLUDE THE FAMED BOB DAISLEY (OZZY, RAINBOW, AND URIAH HEEP FAME – ALBUM ONLY), DAVE ‘THE BEAST’ SPITZ (BASS PLAYER STILL ON BOARD FROM THE SEVENTH STAR ERA, DID NOT PERFORM ON THE ACTUAL ALBUM, BUT DID TOUR A HANDFUL OF TIMES FOR THE ETERNAL IDOL TOUR), DRUMMER ERIC SINGER, DRUMMER BEV BEVAN (SOME BITS AND PIECES ON THE ALBUM, AND A FEW ETERNAL IDOL DATES), AND JO BURT (BASS – A FEW ETERNAL IDOL DATES). TERRY CHIMES (FORMERLY OF THE CLASH, HANOI ROCKS) ASSSUMES THE DRUM ROLE FOR ‘THE SHINING’ VIDEO AND ALSO PLAYS A FEW GIGS WITH SABBATH DURING THIS TIME AFTER ERIC SINGER FINALLY LEAVES THE BAND.

TOURING LINE-UP FOR THE ETERNAL IDOL TOUR INCLUDED: TONY MARTIN, TONY IOMMI, GEOFF NICHOLLS, JO BURT (BASS – FEW GIGS), DAVE ‘THE BEAST’ SPITZ (BASS – VARIOUS GIGS), TERRY CHIMES (DRUMS – FEW GIGS), AND BEV BEVAN (DRUMS – FEW GIGS).

(Eternal Idol was Sabbath’s last album for Warner Bros. A very rare track, ‘Some Kind of Woman’, is in collector’s circles from this era, and was released sparingly as a ‘B’ side to what I believe was the ‘The Shining” single, {at least I think this is the single it appeared on. If I am incorrect, somebody please let me know, but I do know it was released as a ‘B’ track to SOME Sabbath single.} I believe the line-up for this recorded song included Tony Martin, Tony Iommi, Geoff Nicholls, Dave Spitz, and Eric Singer).

 

  • Dave Spitz was officially in the band during the Eternal Idol sessions and those months of studio time, but for whatever reason, he did not contribute bass to the album (or his bass ideas were never used).  Dave has not publicly stated the reasons for his lack of involvement with the actual album, but does retain some credit for the album as basically being a member of the band. Bev Bevan was also (again) “in concert’ with the band during this time frame, but he did not contribute the drum tracks to Eternal Idol.  He is credited with ‘percussion’ and it has been said (according to Joe Siegler’s Black Sabbath page) that Bev’s involvement with the Eternal Idol album was a few simple cymbal-percussion bits on the instrumental track ‘Scarlet Pimpernal’.

 

  • In 2011, the deluxe 2-album set of Eternal Idol was released – similar in line with the previously mentioned deluxe versions of Born Again and Seventh Star.  The Eternal Idol set contains the re-mastered version of the original album (with Tony Martin singing), and the second disc is the ‘Ray Gillen version’ of Eternal Idol.  Similar to the bootleg versions that were in collector’s circles for years, this version is very much cleaned up and polished (not to mention ‘officially released’) – almost sounding like a final master of the album.  This is originally (almost) how Eternal Idol was supposed to sound, had Ray Gillen not left Black Sabbath.  All of the tracks (minus Scarlet Pimpernal) are sung by Ray Gillen.  The line-up that performed on the Ray Gillen-version of Eternal Idol was:Ray Gillen – Vocals

Tony Iommi – Guitars

Geoff Nicholls – Keyboards

Bob Daisley – Bass

Eric Singer – Drums

  • For the video ‘The Shining’, it has long been questioned who the bass player was that stood in for the video.  It wasn’t Jo Burt or Bob Daisley, and many casual fans assumed it was Dave Spitz – as it semi-resembled him, but it wasn’t him either.  According to Tony Martin, it was just some guy who himself and the band literally went outside of the set and picked off the street – apparently somebody wearing a leather jacket and who had a ‘metal look.’ This guy supposedly was a guitar player in a band, and when propositioned with being part of the video for Sabbath and finding out they had no stable bass player, offered to audition for the bass position.  Tony Martin states that after the video shoot, this guy (who nobody seems to remember his name) “went back out onto the street.”

 

 

The following picture is quite a rare one, as this version of the line-up that is pictured only performed together a select few dates, and was MAYBE together 1-2 months in late  1987!  This comes from an Argentine magazine called METAL, and I do not know the exact date or month of this issue, but I am guessing it is also from the latter part of 1987 – because by this point it was clear whatever ties that former bass player Dave Spitz and drummer Bev Bevan had with Sabbath – were cut.

 

From L to R:  Terry Chimes (drums), Geoff Nicholls (keyboards, organ), Tony Martin (vocals), Tony Iommi (guitars), and Jo Burt (bass).

  

Black Sabbath in 1988

* BAND WAS PRETTY MUCH ON ICE AT THIS POINT EARLY IN THE YEAR, BUT DID PERFORM ONCE IN MAY 1988 AT A CHARITY EVENT (info from Joe Siegler’s Black Sabbath site) UTILIZING THE LINE-UP OF TONY MARTIN, TONY IOMMI, GEOFF NICHOLLS ON BASS, AND TERRY CHIMES ON DRUMS. THE BAND SUPPOSEDLY PERFORMED JUST THREE SONGS – NEON KNIGHTS, HEART LIKE A WHEEL, AND PARANOID.

 

  • TOWARDS MID-1988, TONY IOMMI AND TONY MARTIN WOULD BEGIN TO ASSEMBLE THE ‘HEADLESS CROSS’ LINE-UP AND WORK WOULD BEGIN ON THAT ALBUM.  TONY IOMMI WOULD ALSO SIGN WITH ‘IRS’, AS BLACK SABBATH WOULD FINALLY LEAVE WARNER BROS. RECORDS.

 

HEADLESS CROSS (1989)

 

~ “By the late ’80s everyone had pretty much given up on Black Sabbath…and why not? After all, guitarist Tony Iommi was the only remaining original member, and the band had seen an outrageous number of musicians — particularly lead singers — crash through its battered ranks since Ozzy Osbourne’s late-’70s sacking. So it was actually quite a shock to anyone still paying attention when no-name vocalist Tony Martin outperformed a string of higher-profile predecessors with his contributions to Sabbath’s unexpected 1987 return to form, The Eternal Idol, then pulled off the even more remarkable feat of being invited back for a second go-round via 1989’s equally satisfying Headless Cross. Arguably the finest Black Sabbath album sans Ozzy or Dio, Headless Cross also featured one of Black Sabbath’s most formidable lineups ever: matching the two Tonys with veteran bassist Neil Murray (Whitesnake, Gary Moore, etc.) and experienced journeyman Cozy Powell (too many associations to list) — one of the few drummers in possession of an instantly recognizable sound. It’s Powell, in fact, who leads the Sabs back out to the battlefield when he detonates the reverie of atmospheric intro “The Gates of Hell” with his echoing, pounding war drums, but naturally everything on offer is ultimately bound to, and dependent upon, Iommi’s almighty riffs — from whence all rivers flow. This includes morbid monster-pieces such as “Kill in the Spirit World” and “Call of the Wild,” which quake with simply massive power chords yet still manage to flow seamlessly into slightly more upbeat radio-friendly numbers like “Devil and Daughter” and “Black Moon.” Likewise, whereas “When Death Calls” is surely one of Iommi’s most spine-chilling compositions ever in terms of sheer malevolent force, the equally bewitching “Nightwing” flips the coin entirely with its delicate acoustic guitars and (dare it be said) highly romantic lyrics. In short, for those wise enough to appreciate Black Sabbath’s discography beyond the Osbourne and Dio essentials, there can be no better place to start than Headless Cross or its worthy predecessor, The Eternal Idol.” ~ – Eduardo Rivadavia –

 

(Page Master’s Note:  Mr. Rivadavia is not correct about a small segment of information in his quote.  Neil Murray did not play bass on the Headless Cross album – Laurence Cottle did.  Neil joined on the eve of the album’s release and did tour for the album, though.  See below.  –ed.)
* FAMED DRUMMER COZY POWELL (EX RAINBOW, WHITESNAKE, ELP) FINALLY COMES ON BOARD, LATER STATING HE HAD BEEN OFFERED THE JOB IN SABBATH ABOUT THREE TIMES BEFORE, BUT HAD ALWAYS BEEN COMITTED ELSEWHERE AT THOSE POINTS. THERE WERE ALSO CLAIMS THAT GEEZER BUTLER WAS IN TALKS TO REJOIN THE BAND SOMETIME AROUND THIS POINT, WHETHER IT WOULD HAVE BEEN FOR THE ALBUM, OR TOUR, IS NOT PRECISELY KNOWN. (TONY IOMMI IS SAID TO HAVE WANTED BOTH DIO AND GEEZER BACK FOR THIS ALBUM – WELL BEFORE DEHUMANIZER 4 YEARS LATER.)  HOWEVER, NEIL MURRAY OF THE SAME WHITESNAKE FAME JOINS THE BAND ON THE EVE OF THE ALBUM’S RELEASE. LAURENCE COTTLE PLAYED BASS ON THE HEADLESS CROSS ALBUM AND VIDEO, BUT NEVER INTENDED TO JOIN THE BAND FULL-TIME, OR FOR TOURING *

 

(Many critics and fans believe this album to be a fine return to glory for Black Sabbath, ranking up there with the likes of Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules. This was probably Tony Martin’s best work vocally on record, succeeded by the follow-up concept record TYR. Tyr was produced wonderfully, whereas Headless Cross suffered a tad from shoddy, ‘dated’ production.)

 

–           The song “Call of the Wild” was originally intended to be titled “Hero”, but when Ozzy Osbourne used that title on his album No Rest for the Wicked, Tony Iommi opted to change the song title.

–           ‘Devil & Daughter’ also had the original title ‘Devil’s Daughter’, but it is also said this was changed for the same reason.

–           Brian May (Queen) performs the incredible (guest) guitar solo on the song ‘When Death   Calls.’

 

(A B-Side bonus track did emerge entitled ‘Cloak and Dagger’, which is a masterpiece. I believe this was released as the ‘B’ Side to the radio-edit {shortened} version of the Headless Cross song on vinyl only, and also a rare ‘picture disc’ of the Headless Cross single. Again, if I am incorrect in the exact details of the exact single it was released on, please let me know).

** TOURING LINE-UP FOR THE HEADLESS CROSS TOUR INCLUDED: TONY MARTIN, TONY IOMMI, GEOFF NICHOLLS, NEIL MURRAY, AND COZY POWELL.

 

A more recent synopsis of Headless Cross written June 2013:

Headless Cross is the high point of the Tony Martin-Tony Iommi collaboration, from the ominous “Gates of Hell” instrumental to songs like “Devil & Daughter” and “Call Of The Wild.” Sabbath in the late 80s and early 90s often stumbled both on execution and delivery but Headless Cross is a record that actually felt like Sabbath: powerful, dark and louder than life. Iommi is in command here and Martin’s vocals work well with the material. The best parts of it remind somewhat of Heaven And Hell, even if they never scale the heights of that album. Headless Cross showcases Martin’s multifaceted vocal delivery, which is misused on some of the lesser albums from the Martin-Iommi partnership.Headless Cross was one of the times when a Iommi-only Sabbath got everything right and did justice to the weight that the name Black Sabbath carries.  ~Justin M. Norton~

 

TYR (1990)

 

~ “A more focused group effort than the previous ETERNAL IDOL, TYR features lyrics written by vocalist Tony Martin, with music by the whole band. Tony Iommi is still the ringmaster of the Sabbath circus, though, as his riffs power this heavy metal concept album. The title character is identified as the “son of Odin and the supreme sky-god of the northern peoples; the god of war and martial valor.”

Sabbath stalwart Geoff Nicholls’ keyboards create an eerie atmosphere on TYR. Hard rock veterans Cozy Powell (drums) and Neil Murray (bass) provide a more than ample rhythm section. Tony Martin’s vocal range is reminiscent of Ronnie James Dio, while Tony Iommi’s constantly evolving guitar playing is as tight as ever. He is THE heavy metal axe-grinder for the ages, influencing the genre’s top names. TYR’s heavy yet melodic sound is impressive, and plays a notable role in the history of a monumental group.” ~ – Uncredited –

* THE STELLAR LINE-UP OF TONY MARTIN, TONY IOMMI, GEOFF NICHOLLS, NEIL MURRAY, AND COZY POWELL TOUR CONSISTENTLY FOR ABOUT TWO YEARS. WITH RATHER LACKLUSTER PROMOTION FOR BOTH THE HEADLESS CROSS AND TYR TOURS (THE TYR TOUR NEVER EVEN MAKING IT TO THE USA), TOWARDS THE END OF 1990, THERE WAS ANOTHER PROPOSED ATTEMPT AT REUNITING WITH OZZY, AND THAT FELL THROUGH. THEN, THERE WERE RUMBLINGS THAT DIO AND GEEZER BUTLER WERE GOING TO REJOIN THE BAND.

 

DEHUMANIZER (1992)

 

~ “In 1991/1992, a reunion of the Black Sabbath mark II lineup occurred, garnering a sigh of relief from the worldwide fans of the group. In the ’80s and early ’90s, the metal outfit went through countless personnel changes and perhaps should have been called The Tony Iommi Project. This reunion with Ronnie James Dio was a precursor to the four original members reuniting in December 1997.
DEHUMANIZER is a thunderously heavy album. The band sported a “take no prisoners” attitude in showing they could rock even harder than a decade earlier. “TV Crimes,” the album’s first single, is a fast and furious number featuring the drumming talents of Vinny Appice. Songs like “Masters of Insanity” and “Sins of the Father” contribute to the album’s dark feel. “Time Machine” is the standout track, and a second version from the WAYNE’S WORLD 2 soundtrack is featured. Dio’s voice ages like fine wine, and Geezer Butler’s inventive bass line dominates the track. DEHUMANIZER is the sweet fruit of this mark II reunion.” ~ – Ty Burr –

FOR ROUGHLY TWO YEARS, SABBATH REFORMS WITH DIO, GEEZER BUTLER, AND VINNY APPICE TO RECORD DEHUMANIZER. ORIGINALLY, COZY POWELL WAS STILL WITH THE BAND BUT HAD RECENTLY BEEN INJURED IN A HORSE RIDING ACCIDENT, AND THE BAND “SUPPOSEDLY” WAS GOING TO WAIT A BIT FOR COZY TO START RECORDING, BUT RECORD COMPANY PRESSURE WANTED QUICKER RESOLUTION (information from Joe Siegler’s Black Sabbath page), SO VINNY APPICE COMES BACK ON BOARD AND THE ‘MOB RULES’ LINE-UP PROCEEDS.

ALSO SOMETIME DURING THE RECORDING PERIOD, FRICTION SUPPOSEDLY DEVELOPED BETWEEN THE BAND AND DIO (again), AND SOME EVIDENCE HAS TONY MARTIN BEING ASKED BACK TO WORK ON THE DEHUMANIZER SONG DEMOS (according to Tony Martin, during this short juncture he was unofficially ‘back in the band’ – the genesis for what would become several songs that would turn up on ‘Cross Purposes’ would start during this liaison. Another rough song called “Raising Hell” came out of these sessions, which would turn up on Martin’s second album “Scream”.), BUT EVENTUALLY RONNIE CAME BACK DUE TO RECORD COMPANY PRESSURES, AND THE DEMOS WITH TONY MARTIN WERE ICED AND HAVE YET TO SURFACE ANYWHERE.

THE REUNION WOULD NOT LAST LONG, THOUGH, AS SABBATH WAS ULTIMATELY ASKED TO ‘OPEN’ FOR OZZY ON HIS SUPPOSED ‘NO MORE TOURS TOUR’ IN NOVEMBER 1992. DIO FELT SABBATH SHOULD NOT HAVE TO OPEN FOR ANYBODY, LEAST OF ALL THEIR FORMER LEAD SINGER. DIO WOULD THEN TURN IN HIS RESIGNATION, HAVING JUDAS PRIEST/FIGHT SINGER ROB HALFORD STAND IN AND SING THE FINAL TWO SABBATH SHOWS ON NOVEMBER 14 AND NOVEMBER 15, 1992. TONY MARTIN WAS SUPPOSEDLY CONTACTED TO DO THESE SHOWS, BUT HE COULD NOT OBTAIN A PASSPORT/VISA IN TIME TO COME OVER TO THE USA, SO HE HAD TO DECLINE. COINCIDENTALLY, DIO’S CONTRACT WITH SABBATH WAS SET TO EXPIRE ON NOVEMBER 13, 1992 AND GIVEN THE SET OF CIRCUMSTANCES, HE CHOSE NOT TO ‘RENEW THE CONTRACT’ AND STAY WITH THE BAND, SO TO SPEAK.

 

Ronnie James Dio:  “I was told in the middle of the tour that we would be opening for Ozzy in Los Angeles. And I said, “No. Sorry, I have more pride than that.” A lot of bad things were being said from camp to camp, and it created this horrible schism. So by [the band] agreeing to play the shows in L.A. with Ozzy, that, to me, spelled out reunion. And that obviously meant the doom of that particular project”

 

The following evening on November 15th 1992, the original 4 Black Sabbath members (Ozzy, Bill, Tony, and Geezer) did play a several-song set together after the Halford set.

 

* (Dehumanizer demos, some with and some without vocals but with Cozy playing the drums, do exist in several forms throughout collector’s circles. From what I have heard, the demos have different working titles and arrangements than what eventually made it to the final product. The rumored demos with Tony Martin apparently re-singing many of the songs have yet to surface anywhere, at least to my knowledge).

 

** TOURING LINE UP FOR THE DEHUMANIZER TOUR INCLUDED: RONNIE JAMES DIO, TONY IOMMI, GEOFF NICHOLLS, GEEZER BUTLER, AND VINNY APPICE. ROB HALFORD (JUDAS PRIEST, FIGHT) DID GUEST VOCALS ON THE LAST TWO DATES OF THE TOUR – NOVEMBER 14, AND NOVEMBER 15, 1992.

  

CROSS PURPOSES (1993 – RELEASED JAN 1994)

 

~ “Cross Purposes could have been the ultimate Black Sabbath album. That may be a bold claim, but it combines members from several different eras together for perhaps the most promising lineup since Ronnie James Dio’s days with the band. Geezer Butler is there to represent the classic ’70s version, Tony Martin returned to the fold to be the ’80s representative, new drummer Bobby Rondinelli brings the ’90s flavor to everything, and Tony Iommi is the never-say-die (no pun intended) original member who never left the flock. But instead of crafting Sabbath’s masterful return to grace, they made a weird mishmash of power metal and stoner rock that works more often than not. At least Butler seems to have Iommi attempting memorable riffs again, something he couldn’t quite get the hang of until the album previous to this. “I Witness” opens with a classic guitar part, while the drums drive the song along and the bass chugs away with a newfound energy. But this energy is offset by the increasingly soulful vocals of Martin, who simply cannot muster the creepy wail that Ozzy Osbourne brought to the band. In fact, he puts in a performance that is even below the standards he set on albums like The Eternal Idol. The minute his voice starts on the first track, it’s as if Sabbath had to adjust to not make him sound out of place. Why the band couldn’t have found a suitable replacement is a mystery, unless Iommi had simply given up on bringing in yet another singer after so many had come after Osbourne. “Virtual Death” is the brutally heavy shocker that suddenly appears in the middle of the album; it goes to show how they could have incorporated Martin much more effectively and is also the best slow crawl Iommi had worked on since 1983’s “Zero the Hero.” Butler does seem to have a good influence on Iommi whenever they work together, and their interplay becomes quite interesting as the album goes on. For whatever reason, most of the filler is at the beginning, leaving the better material to hang back for the second half. “Immaculate Deception” contains another good riff, although keyboardist Geoff Nichols spews inappropriate new age nonsense all over it. “Back to Eden” improves matters again with more wonderful interaction between Butler and Iommi, while “Cardinal Sin” is yet another good song that goes to show how misused Martin had been during his first run with the band. Many might disagree, but Cross Purposes is the first album since Born Again that actually sounds like a real Sabbath record. And it is probably the best thing they’d released since The Mob Rules, even with the filler tracks and keyboards. Of course, the lineup completely dissolved as Iommi perpetuated the band’s downward spiral, but for a brief moment it seemed like Sabbath could have really shaped up into something special.” ~ – Bradley Torreano-

 

The following is a review on Cross Purposes written on January 16, 2013:

Cross Purposes

Black Sabbath

What’s the Use? – 90%

 

Tony Martin, thou hath been forsaken. Seriously, the Tony Martin era of Black Sabbath has always been criminally underrated except amongst the hardcore Sabbath fans on Youtube and this website. And yet I still see ridiculous references to Tony Martin copying Dio’s vocal style or head-scratching comments that the music became more power metal-oriented. True, the Tony Martin era of Sabbath featured drastic musical departures from the bluesy and brooding Ozzy era and the fantastical yet dark Dio era, but was it ever for the worse? In this reviewer’s eyes, no way. Still, with Tony Iommi having been the only remaining original Sabbath member from Eternal Idol to TYR and the band having a revolving door of musicians, I understand some diehard Ozzy and Dio fans’ skepticism. But Cross Purposes saw the first and only Tony Martin album to feature founding bassist Geezer Butler after his return with the Dio-fronted Sabbath album Dehumanizer. If that doesn’t bring some “legitimacy” to the Tony Martin era, then the sound certainly should, as Cross Purposes is classic Sabbath in 90’s form.

Despite the sound and the top-notch musician line-up, Cross Purposes was not even supposed to be a Sabbath album. It was supposed to kill time until the original lineup could reunite. But label pressures forced the album to be branded as Black Sabbath and Geezer left shortly after in disillusionment. This is truly odd as Cross Purposes has a very “Sabbath” feel to it. There may be a “90’s rock” touch to it, but bands can’t stick to the same old song-and-dance for 30 years. Familiarity comes in the form of dark brooding numbers reminiscent of Ozzy and Dio mixed with fast-paced rockers more in touch with Tony Martin. In the end, it’s a fantastic combination of sound. While Dehumanizer went overkill a tad bit with the doom metal, it’s used much more sparingly this time around. The musicians are also on top of their game. Tony Iommi remains the riffmaster of metal and an excellent soloist, Rainbow’s Bobby Rondinelli gives Bill Ward and Cozy Powell a run for their money with blazing-fast and pounding drum work, Geoff Nicholls’ keyboards add both atmosphere and eeriness to the melodeis, and Geezer’s bass lines are dark and heavy, proving the chemistry between him Iommi is still in full force. Hell, even Eddie Van Halen shows up with a crazy solo on Evil Eye. Oh yeah, Tony Martin is still kinda good too if you didn’t notice. He continues to carry the passion and emotion in his delivery from previous albums while occasionally adopting a more brooding voice to show off his true range.

Cross Purposes has one of the most consistent, top-to-bottom lineup of songs on any Black Sabbath album. Album opener I Witness rushes out the gate with a speedy yet sinister guitar riff while Martin shows off his vocal range by alternating brooding with screaming. Cross of Thorns and Cardinal Sin are dark slower-paced numbers which grind with aggression and make use of the soft-loud dynamic. Psychophobia and Back to Eden are more upbeat rockers with the former fast-paced and the latter more restrained in delivery. Immaculate Deception is heavy and grinding like Cross of Thorns and Cardinal Sin with its verses but picks up in speed during the choruses. The most unique track, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle starts with an eerie keyboard melody before erupting into a faster-paced rocker and alternately returning to the keyboard melody before the final verse. It’s really the more brooding grinders that hearken back to the early Sabbath days while the others are more reminiscent of the previous Tony Martin albums. The three remaining songs are the only ones that are either somewhat lacking or hit-and-miss. Virtual Death is an extremely dark doom metal song with a cool bass intro from Geezer, but the slow and grinding riff combined with Martin’s lower range make it come off as an Alice in Chains impersonation rather than Black Sabbath. Evil Eye features an awesome guitar solo from Eddie Van Halen, but it ends up being a somewhat boring mid-paced rocker. Dying for Love, the only true power ballad on the album, isn’t bad as far as Black Sabbath ballads or ballads in general go, but it’s not very interesting or notable either. However, the fact that none of the aforementioned songs are even really bad and that the rest of the album is so strong is what prevents Cross Purposes from getting a lower score. Had all copies contained the Japanese bonus track What’s the Use?, an extremely fast, catchy, and headbanging rocker that is a serious contender for the album’s best song, the album would have been even more near-perfect.

Poor Tony Martin. This album was his finest hour behind Headless Cross and is a serious contender for one of Black Sabbath’s top 5 albums. The combination of dark grinding metal with fast-paced rock, combined with Geezer Butler’s contributions, really helps put to rest the whole “Tony Martin era of Black Sabbath isn’t real Black Sabbath” argument to rest. And that’s not to say that any of the Tony Martin albums weren’t true Black Sabbath albums either. But Cross Purposes is what reminds fans of the older days by bringing all eras of Sabbath into one awesome album. But if Black Sabbath fans can’t understand or accept the merits of this album, then what’s the use?

~ Octavarium ~ January 16th, 2013

 
* TONY MARTIN WOULD ONCE AGAIN BE CALLED BACK TO SABBATH IN 1993-ISH, WITH FAMED DRUMMER BOBBY RONDINELLI (ex-Rainbow, Quiet Riot, Sun Red Sun, Scorpions). ORIGINALLY, TONY AND GEEZER WERE HOPING FOR ANOTHER REUNION WITH OZZY AND SUPPOSEDLY ‘WAITED AROUND’ FOR SOME TIME FOR THIS TO HAPPEN, ONLY FOR NEGOTIATIONS ONCE AGAIN TO BREAK DOWN. WITH TONY MARTIN BACK ON BOARD, GEEZER BUTLER DECIDES TO STAY WITH THE BAND THIS TIME AROUND, AND THE CROSS PURPOSES SESSIONS PROCEED.

 

“When the lights came up on Black Sabbath in April 1994 at the Hammersmith Apollo in London, the expectant audience were treated to a masterclass in heavy metal by one of the greatest rock bands of all-time. Tony Martin, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Bobby Rondinelli and Geoff Nicholls showcased over two decades of classic rock anthems including Iron Man, Anno Mundi, Children Of The Grave and Paranoid, recognised as one of the best heavy metal songs ever recorded.”  – Uncredited –
(Bobby Rondinelli played for Rainbow during the Joe Lynn Turner era from 1980-1983, and had auditioned for Kiss, and had also played with Ray Gillen (mentioned previously) in both ‘Rondinelli’ and Sun Red Sun.  According to Tony Iommi, Bobby had been on a list of drummers to call, and may have been recommended by Cozy Powell in fact.  Bobby had previously replaced Cozy in Rainbow.

In 1992-1993, Bobby had been playing with Kevin DuBrow, Kenny Hillary, and Carlos Cavazo in the band called ‘Heat’, which then became a reformed version of Quiet Riot. Bobby toured with Quiet Riot into mid 1993 (and played on 5-6 tracks on what would become their 1993 ‘Terrified’ album), but left the QR tour in mid 1993.  Frankie Banali, long-time Quiet Riot drummer, then returned to the band.  Frankie has been on record stating that Kevin and Kenny were angry that ‘Bobby just up and left the band mid-tour’. While I cannot confirm it, the time frame seems to lend to the fact that Bobby left to take the Black Sabbath gig.  I have a Quiet Riot band photo, with Bobby and signed by the band that very show, which has a July 1993 date on the back.  It would seem Bobby’s tenure with Sabbath began after July 1993, BUT, that also does not necessarily mean that just because Bobby was still playing with Quiet Riot as far as July 1993, that Bobby couldn’t have been dabbling in the Sabbath camp during or even before that July 1993 time period.  Whether Bobby left amicably or with no notice, I can’t confirm this. If I ever get Bobby’s historical side of this, I will post it.  Bobby has told me personally (and even autographed a QR ‘Terrified’ poster I have) where he states Kevin and Kenny were good friends of his and he was very saddened of both of their passings, and misses them.  Kenny Hillary died on June 5, 1996 of an apparent suicide and Kevin Dubrow died in October 2007 of an apparent accidental overdose).

 

 

DISPUTES WOULD LATER SURFACE THAT GEEZER NEVER INTENDED CROSS PURPOSES TO BE A BLACK SABBATH ALBUM, AND CLAIMS THAT IT SHOULD HAVE GONE OUT AS AN ‘IOMMI-BUTLER’ SOLO TYPE OF PROJECT WHICH WAS MEANT TO HOLD THEM OVER UNTIL THE HOPED-FOR REUNION WITH OZZY, WHICH NEVER TOOK PLACE.
TONY MARTIN AND BOBBY RONDINELLI STEDFAST DENY THAT CLAIM, WITH BOBBY RONDINELLI STATING, “NO FUCKING WAY – TONY IOMMI ASKED ME TO JOIN BLACK SABBATH.” TONY MARTIN ALSO CLAIMS TO HAVE GEEZER ON BOTH AUDIO AND VIDEO STATING SOMETHING TO THE EFFECT OF, “THIS IS THE MOST FUN I’VE (GEEZER) HAD BOTH IN THE STUDIO WITH “BLACK SABBATH” AND MAKING OF A NEW “BLACK SABBATH ALBUM.”

** After contacting Bobby in regards to “information” about this era and album now on Wikipedia, he emailed me this short reply. My original question to him is included. **

From: Bobby Rondinelli

bullshit, it was a Sabbath album.

7/5/2010 8:18 PM
From: Jöhnny Böy Angel™
To: Bobby Rondinelli

Bobby – just wanted to get your opinion on this entry and Geezer’s statements…this is currently posted in Wikipedia. Wikipedia CAN be updated, though.
Segment taken from Wikipedia:

“Drummer Vinny Appice left the band following the reunion show to join Ronnie James Dio’s solo band, later appearing on Dio’s Strange Highways and Angry Machines. Iommi and Butler enlisted former Rainbow drummer Bobby Rondinelli, and reinstated former vocalist Tony Martin. The band returned to the studio to work on new material, again not originally intended to be released under the Black Sabbath name. As Geezer Butler explains:
It wasn’t even supposed to be a Sabbath album; I wouldn’t have even done it under the pretence of Sabbath. That was the time when the original band were talking about getting back together for a reunion tour. Tony and myself just went in with a couple of people, did an album just to have, while the reunion tour was (supposedly) going on. It was like an Iommi/Butler project album. “

SOME FINAL FUN FACTS – EDDIE VAN HALEN CO-WROTE THE SONG ‘EVIL EYE’ AND WAS SUPPOSED TO GUEST ON THE TRACK, BUT AS FAR AS ANYBODY KNOWS, HE NEVER DID.

THE SONG ‘CARDINAL SIN’ WAS SUPPOSEDLY TITLED ‘SIN CARDINAL SIN’, BUT AN ERROR ON THE PRESSING OF THE ALBUM LEFT OFF THE FIRST WORD, SO THE SONG TITLE SIMPLY WENT OUT AS ‘CARDINAL SIN.’

 

* On a personal note, I find Cross Purposes to have a tremendous drum sound.  Not sure if it was the kits Bobby used, and/or simply how the songs were mixed and mastered, but Bobby’s drum sound is masterful.  Turn up the song ‘Virtual Death’ on a nice sound system and listen to that awesome drum sound.

 

Also note the odd ‘similarities’ with the mid-song faster riffing in ‘Pyschophobia‘ to parts in the Pearl Jam song ‘Even Flow’ released a few years earlier. Also, in my opinion, the following track ‘Virtual Death’ has an ‘Alice in Chains’ type of vibe. Could be pure coincidence, or maybe Sabbath was trying to say, ‘Hey rookies, we’re still here.’ to the happening and popular grunge movement taking place during the 1993-1994 years. Of course, many of those mid 90’s grunge and alternative bands never had much substance and soon disappeared quicker than the hair metal acts they all liked to poke fun at, but that is an entirely different story…

(A bonus track entitled ‘What’s the Use’ appeared on the Japanese pressing of Cross Purposes. It is a cool, short-quick song with Bobby pounding away on the drums for an intro. Very cool. Again, this should have appeared on all versions of the album.
Another little fact – this album, as well as Cross Purposes Live, is where Tony Martin’s legal last name appeared in the credits to some of the songs. According to Garry Sharpe-Young’s Black Sabbath 1979-1997 book, Tony Martin states that this was not his intent to ever release his legal name, nor should have NEVER happened – per his own personal reasons. Tony believes that Geezer’s wife Gloria was responsible for this, whether it was intentional or not, nobody knows. Tony was said to be very angered by this and has stated that once his legal name got out, he even started to receive hate mail and death threats – probably all hogwash and just “part of what the musician or entertainer goes through all the time” kinda saga , but still happened nonetheless.)

 

 

 

  • There has been some renewed discussion on the page recently about the similarities of the Cross Purposes album ‘artwork’ to a previous album art sleeve that was used for a Scorpions single release in 1991.  In the ‘Born Again’ notes above (i.e. information section pertaining to the similarities between the Born Again ‘demon baby’ and the cover of the 1981 Depeche Mode single which utilized the same baby), I only briefly touched on the fact that Sabbath – perhaps unknowingly – used the very similar ‘angel woman’ design that had already been in use a few years before – for the Scorpions single ‘Send Me an Angel’.  The design for what would become the Cross Purposes album cover germinated sometime after mid 1993 (having said that, that obviously isn’t 100% concrete.  Who knows if perhaps this angel design couldn’t have been on Iommi or Butler’s desk 10 years earlier and was intended to be an eventual album cover – or perhaps this was simply a decision solely by IRS to use this, which was Sabbath’s record company at the time – anything is possible I guess).  While only a footnote in Sabbath history (like so many other items of agenda), I will touch more briefly on it below.

 

Comparing the two sleeves side by side below, it seems evident that the designs are nearly identical.  I say ‘nearly’ because there are some differences when studied carefully. The flames are different, the hair on the angel woman is different, the position of the folded hands is different, and there are some other subtle differences no doubt.  However, it’s very similar.  I did a Yahoo search and found that the original artist of this design is Peter Mountain – perhaps he might have some more insight on this.  As mentioned, the Scorpions used this design at least two years previous for their single in 1991 – so technically it WASN’T official album artwork.  At the onset, this may have been pure oversight from the Sabbath camp – but obviously as time went on, there HAD to be some talk about this.  However, it seems not too many waves were made from either camp and this little footnote in Sabbath history was either quickly forgotten – or like so many have mentioned – not even known about.

 

* TOURING LINE-UP FOR THE CROSS PURPOSES TOUR INCLUDED: TONY MARTIN, TONY IOMMI, GEOFF NICHOLLS, GEEZER BUTLER, AND BOBBY RONDINELLI. BILL WARD DID A FEW SHOWS WITH A SHORTENED SETLIST AT THE END OF THE TOUR (see next entry), BUT CHOSE NOT TO REMAIN WITH THE BAND. ***

TOWARDS THE END OF THE TOUR, BOBBY RONDINELLI TEMPORARILY LEFT SABBATH (SEE FOLLOWING ENTRY), AND FOR A FEW SOUTH AMERICAN DATES, BILL WARD COMES BACK – SEEMINGLY ON A PERMANENT LEVEL.

 

 

AT FIRST, PLANS FOR THE EXACT “ALMOST ORIGINAL” SABBATH LINE-UP (EVERYONE MINUS OZZY) WERE TO PROCEED INTO THE RECORDING OF THE NEXT ALBUM, BUT IT DIDN’T HAPPEN. GEEZER LEFT, THEN BILL FOLLOWED. TONY IOMMI AND GEOFF NICHOLLS THEN DECIDED TO PUSH FORWARD, UTILIZING THE HEADLESS CROSS (touring) AND TYR LINE-UPS.

 

CROSS PURPOSES LIVE PACKAGE (VHS and CD 1995)

 

(VHS track listing, also recently released DVD version which includes entire show)

 

CROSS PURPOSES ‘LIVE’ WAS THE ONLY OFFICIALLY RELEASED LIVE ALBUM FROM THE TONY MARTIN ERA OF BLACK SABBATH.  (It was recorded at the Hammersmith Apollo in London on Wednesday 13 April 1994.)

– Released in April 1995, at this juncture both Geezer Butler and Bobby Rondinelli were out of the band.  Bobby would come back to the band to replace Cozy several months later, though.
– Originally accompanied by a VHS tape of the entire concert, the tape contained 3 more songs than the cd album – Mob Rules, Neon Knights, and Anno Mundi.  At first glance, this appears to have been done because of space – as an average cd album only allows for 80 minutes.  However, the entire “concert” (as viewed on the VHS tape) is only about 87 minutes long. Simple math suggests at least 1-2 of these songs could have been placed on the album, but weren’t. It is not exactly known why.

– Also, the song ‘Children of the Sea” was performed at this exact show – between the songs ‘Children of the Grave’ and ‘I Witness’, but was edited out of video for reasons unknown.

– Bobby Rondinelli’s drum solo (before ‘Headless Cross’) was also edited/shortened by over one minute – specifically the parts where he would use flashy showmanship by hastily tapping all the drum cymbals repeatedly.  This is not seen (or heard) in either the VHS or cd album version.
 

FORBIDDEN (1995)  

 

* COZY POWELL AND NEIL MURRAY COME BACK ON BOARD, BUT COZY WOULD LEAVE AFTER THE USA TOUR, CITING EXHAUSTION. BOBBY RONDINELLI THEN REJOINS TO FINISH OUT THE EUROPEAN AND JAPAN TOUR. BOBBY WAS ORIGINALLY GOING TO STAY WITH SABBATH AFTER THE CROSS PURPOSES ERA CLAIMING TONY IOMMI LOVED HIS DRUMMING AND WANTED HIM TO REMAIN ON BOARD, BUT SUPPOSED DISPUTES BETWEEN BOBBY’S MANAGER AND SABBATH MANAGEMENT CLASHED, AND BOBBY TEMPORARILLY LEFT BEFORE COMING BACK TO REPLACE COZY.

AFTER THE TOUR, THIS LINE-UP WOULD “REMAIN”, AT LEAST ON PAPER ACCORDING TO INTERVIEWS GIVEN BY TONY IOMMI, INTO LATE 1996. HOWEVER, PLANS FOR THE ORIGINAL BLACK SABBATH TO RE-UNITE FOR TOURING PURPOSES THEN TOOK PRECEDENT, AND THE FORMER LINE-UP WAS NO MORE.

 

–                     Tony Iommi – speaking about the last Black Sabbath line-up as it existed before the reunion gigs would take place:  “The members I had in the last lineup – Bobby Rondinelli, Neil Murray – they’re great, great characters…” Iommi told Sabbath fanzine Southern Cross. “That, for me, was an ideal lineup. I wasn’t sure vocally what we should do, but Neil Murray and Bobby Rondinelli I really got on well with.”

* (Many critics and fans alike consider this to be one of, if not the, poorest Sabbath album overall. In my opinion, the sound/mixing was horrible. The production was done by Body Count guitarist Ernie C, and the sound just sounded muffled or muddy, not crisp. Cozy Powell’s great drum work was all but drowned out and he was said to be ‘very upset’ with how the final release turned out, and Neil Murray’s bass seems almost non-existent. Song-wise, many feel that Sabbath was just ‘going through the motions’ to put this album out and get out of their record contract, not to mention the soon-to-be rumors of the original Sabbath line-up re-uniting.

The album DID have some great songs though, including the epic ‘I Won’t Cry For You’, ‘Rusty Angels’, the closer (at least on every release that wasn’t Japanese) ‘Kiss of Death’, and the Japanese bonus track ‘Loser Gets It All.’ This bonus track was said to be one of Tony Iommi’s favorite songs to write, but it wasn’t included on the standard release of Forbidden. It would be on the Japanese version of the LP, and also would turn up on the ‘Sabbath Stones’ compilation in 1996. I personally love the track myself, while others stand by their love for the album closing with ‘Kiss of Death’, which had some of Iommi’s best riffs of his latter career.)

 

 

  • TOURING LINE-UP FOR THE FORBIDDEN TOUR INCLUDED: TONY MARTIN, TONY IOMMI, GEOFF NICHOLLS, NEIL MURRAY, AND COZY POWELL (USA TOUR ONLY). BOBBY RONDINELLI RE-JOINED THE BAND FOR THE EUROPEAN AND JAPAN TOUR, AND THEN REMAINED WITH THE BAND.

 

  • Also during this period, I remember reading interviews (where from exactly, I can’t recall, and obviously this isn’t confirmed as ‘fact’, but I DO REMEMBER THE PANTERA REFERENCE J ) where there was some supposed friction between Tony Martin and Cozy Powell.  There was supposed ‘hearsay’ about Tony Martin (and possibly Tony Iommi) wanting to go in a ‘heavier’ direction (by ‘heavier’ I assume heavier than traditional Sabbath standards), and Cozy Powell stating something to the effect that he believed the band should keep the Black Sabbath tradition, and ‘not try to follow Pantera.’

 

Tony Martin – on the Forbidden (and subsequent Sabbath Stones compilation):  “a filler album that got the band out of the label deal, rid of the singer, and into the reunion. However I wasn’t privy to that information at the time”.

Here is an interesting article I ran across from early 2012 – it speaks of the upcoming new Sabbath album with the original line-up (remember – at this juncture in very early 2012, Bill was still on board), but reflects back on the Tony Martin-years of Black Sabbath, their underrated-ness, and the last Black Sabbath album (at the time), Forbidden.   It’s pretty interesting!

RE-EXAMINING TONY MARTIN-ERA BLACK SABBATH: FORBIDDEN

Friday, January 6th, 2012 at 4:30PM   By Mike Glitter

It’s 2012 at last!  Remember that press conference back in November where Ozzy, Tony, Geezer and Bill Ward (yes, that’s what makes it Sabbath finally – the insertion of one BILL WARD!) sat down at the Whiskey A Go Go and announced to the world that they were finally making a new album with Rick Rubin? Don’t call it a comeback. Call it a reclamation.

There’s something very intriguing about watching a band make a colossal misstep and then recover. There have certainly been a good share of them — most recently and horrifically that towering monolith of  “what the fuck was that?” known as Lulu — albeit, no one has redeemed themselves from that one quite yet. And with the exception of one great Maiden track, “The Klansman,” (which Bruce has to explain before every time they play it live), there were those Blaze Bailey Maiden albums.

In the wake of all the hoopla of their classic line-up reformation I give you Black Sabbath’s self admitted career low-point: Forbidden. First off, let’s make this clear: I do consider the Tony “The Cat” Martin era of the band to be a legit part of the Sabbath legacy, just not Forbidden. In fact, The Headless Cross is on my top 5 list of  Sabbath albums. Truthfully, the Tony Martin era of the band doesn’t get enough credit; The Eternal Idol and Tyr are solid records as well. Maybe they’re not proper Sabbath records, but good ones.  Incidentally, Tony Martin should also be credited with one of metal’s most spectacular mullets.

First and foremost, the most telling (and shocking) sign of this being a complete crash n’ burn disemboweling of the Sabbath legacy comes on the production credits: produced by the creative force behind BODY COUNT, Ernie “C.” Cunnigham. Huh?!? Forget that opener “The Illusion of Power” tries to squeeze a crushing groove out of Cozy Powell; it sounds like “The Cat” is trying to actually rap against the creeping Iommi riff. All of a sudden at 2:27, Ice T. himself steps to the mic. Whathafuck?! Maybe it had something to do with it being 1995 and Soundgarden handling Sabbath-duties for the time being.

Forbidden also seemed like a final chance for the band to extricate itself from IRS records, the now-defunct home to Dread Zeppelin and The Fine Young Cannibals. “You know what it’s like, you get one of these whiz-kids who come up with these great brainwaves that doesn’t work,” Iommi admitted in his recent autobiography, Iron Man. This was after the Sabs reunited (for the first time) with Ronnie James Dio on 1992’s Dehumanizer and a one-time attempt at getting things back together in the studio with two tracks (“Psycho Man” and “Selling My Soul”) on the live album Reunion.

Forbidden was a strange note to go out on. Said “The Cat” of the whole affair: “We were kinda steered into a ‘rap SABBATH’ album. Then I was told that [rapper] Ice-T was gonna be doing it and they couldn’t or wouldn’t tell me if he was doing the whole thing or just one track… and I still didn’t know the answer to that when I was in the studio singing the tracks. They said they were gonna take it and see what Ice-T wanted to do. So it has a distinct ill feeling about it.”

“Ill” is one way to put it. Licensed or not, you think they’d learned about working with hip hop producers but they’re about to go at it once again with another one – Rick Rubin. We’ll see how this one turns out. You can bet LL Cool J won’t be making an appearance. Here’s to the one of 2012’s most anticipated.

– The Gitter –

 

* Black Sabbath 1996 *

Sabbath did not perform (at least to my knowledge) but as mentioned previously, was supposedly still a band ‘on paper’ as Tony Martin, Tony Iommi, Geoff Nicholls, Neil Murray, and Bobby Rondinelli.
 

  

THE SABBATH STONES (1996 – POST-OZZY GREATEST HITS PACKAGE).

 

 

“If you’re a Sabbath newbie, this is the place to start. Alternately featuring Ronnie James Dio, Ian Gillian, and Tony Martin, this compilation contains 16 tracks including “Headless Cross,” “Devil And Daughter,” “Sabbath Stories,” and “Evil Eye.”Poor Black Sabbath had really fallen on hard times after the departure of Ronnie James Dio. He might have been the last truly respected singer in their history, and even his efforts couldn’t win over the Ozzy Osbourne fans who had jumped ship and started following Osbourne’s solo career. So The Sabbath Stones tries to detail the period between Dio’s initial run with the group and their reunion with Osbourne in 1997. What this leaves for source material is one underrated but bland album with Ian Gillan and the original rhythm section, one mind-numbing disaster with Glenn Hughes on the mic, one reunion album with Dio, and four bizarre power metal experiments with singer Tony Martin. Most of the material is taken from Martin’s years with the group, and surprisingly enough there are some good songs featuring him. Although they are light years from “Hole in the Sky,” guitarist/original member Tony Iommi managed to write some catchy anthems with Martin. “Headless Cross,” “The Shining,” and “Virtual Death” are standouts from their collaborations, running the gamut between stoner rock and power metal. Too much material is taken from Tyr, their weird Viking/Norse mythology concept album that fell flat for fans and critics alike. They also include a minute-long keyboard instrumental from the same album that needlessly takes up space between songs. The motivation is that IRS Records owned the rights to only a few of the albums, hence they over-emphasize the albums that they do own. But this does the band a great disservice, leading listeners to think their entire post-Dio period was made up of high-concept power metal. “TV Crimes,” the lone track from the awkward Dio reunion of 1992, sounds like the same preachy Dungeons and Dragons rock he was making on his own, but with much better guitar playing. The material from Forbidden, their last album with Martin, is probably the worst of the bunch. These songs are confused, produced badly, and virtually unrecognizable when compared to the first 15 years of their career. As far as the pre-Martin material goes, the Ian Gillan-sung “Disturbing the Priest” is decent but they should have gotten “Zero the Hero” if they were to utilize that album. And “Heart Like a Wheel” from Iommi’s experimental Seventh Star is so incredibly bad, yet it might be the best choice from that album anyway. This is obviously a mixed bag, but strangely it works if only for the history lesson it provides. Fans of classic Sabbath should be given extreme caution — this music is very different from anything they did with Ozzy Osbourne. Instead, this is the sound of an excellent band handling their fall from grace about as ungracefully as they could, and the entertainment value in that alone is worth the purchase.” ~ Bradley Torreano
* A compilation album of greatest hits and one Japanese bonus track (Loser Gets It All) was   released entitled ‘The Sabbath Stones.’ This compilation album had a latter day Dio-Sabbath era track (TV Crimes), a handful of Tony Martin-era Sabbath classics from Headless Cross, Tyr, Cross Purposes, and Forbidden), a Seventh Star track (Heart Like a Wheel), and a Born Again track (Disturbing the Priest – though lacking the all-important un-official ‘intro’ track ‘Stonehenge.’)

 

–         ‘Loser Gets It All’, according to the liner notes in the Sabbath Stones, is/was supposedly one of Tony Iommi’s favorite tracks to both perform and write.  It was recorded during the Forbidden sessions, but only appeared on the Japanese version of the album.

 

–         Surprisingly, while ‘Loser Gets It All’ DOES appear on the Sabbath Stones compilation release, it was not included on the Japanese version of Sabbath Stones  (?)
This last album (in conjunction with Forbidden) was supposedly put together and released to fulfill the contract Sabbath had and to rid them of their current record label. Toward the tail end of 1996, everybody but Tony Iommi and Geoff Nicholls were either officially (or un-officially) informed that the classic original Black Sabbath line-up would be put back together for touring purposes and to perform at the successful ‘Ozz-Fest’ summer event. According to Neil Murray, he was never even officially ‘called’ to be told the news. Apparently, he found out ‘through the grapevine’ and/or when he would hear of the original Black Sabbath touring again.
Finally, also during the year of 1996 Tony and Glenn Hughes would be working on a supposed Iommi solo album. They banged out a few songs in the studio and put the tapes away. Later, the tapes would leak into collector’s circles in an 8 song ‘album’ (6 tracks were new Iommi-Hughes collaborations, 1 track was a Hughes collaboration with an unknown guitarist re-working a Jethro Tull tune, and the final track was the ‘video alternate version’ of the 1986 single, ‘No Stranger to Love’).  Bootleggers began pushing this with the unofficial title of ‘Tony Iommi featuring Glenn Hughes – EIGHTH STAR.’

The musicians involved also included Don Airey on keyboards, and former Judas Priest drummer Dave Holland on drums. For the longest time, this remained a heavily sought after bootleg, and Tony and Glenn had no plans to ‘officially’ release it, until about 6 years later. Tony Iommi and Glenn finally released it as ‘THE DEP Sessions’, though some of the original bootleg songs were changed, or not used at all. Some other riffs did turn up on Tony Iommi’s solo album in 2000, though under different working titles.   Jimmy Copley, who did some tracks on Iommi’s solo album and who was working with M3 (the ‘classic Whitesnake’ band featuring Micky Moody, Bernie Marsden, Neil Murray, Mark Stanway, Jimmy Copley, and even Tony Martin on vocals at one juncture) re-did Dave Holland’s drum tracks for THE DEP Sessions.

 

1996 DEP Sessions (2004 – not a Sabbath release, just for reference to above)

 

 

“Black Sabbath legend Tony Iommi releases a rare & sought after collaboration with former Deep Purple & Black Sabbath singer Glenn Hughes. Recorded in 1996 these tracks have never seen the light of day in their current form, however, they were recently rediscovered by Tony & remastered. A must have for any record collector. The Deep Sessions ’96 will appeal to all die hard fans of Sabbath & Deep Purple.”  – Amazon –

 

Material for The 1996 DEP Sessions was originally recorded in 1996, and was circulated among fans as a bootleg recording dubbed Eighth Star (see below).

* Here is a cool picture of some ‘unofficial artwork’ I came across for the bootleg version of ‘Eighth Star’ – this was before most of these songs were cleaned up and officially released as the ‘DEP Sessions’ in 2004.
The following comments were taken from a Black Sabbath site that has info on bootlegs:

 

“This is something we all never ever even dared to dream of – the recording sessions of Tony Iommi and Glenn Hughes from 1996. Hot and brand new tracks which were said to never see the light of the day again. The sound quality is similar to the “Eternal Idol Demos” with Ray Gillen on vocals. Besides the session tracks the CD also includes “Shakin’ My Wings” which is actually a cover version of Jethro Tulls “Cry Me A Song” with Glenn Hughes on vocals but not Tony Iommi on guitar. Last track is the video version of “No Stranger To Love”. Dave Holland is a former Judas Priest drummer. The CD was (unofficially –ed.) released in Japan in 1999.”

  

REUNION (1998 – LIVE DOUBLE LP OF ORIGINAL SABBATH LINE-UP CLASSICS RECORDED IN 1997).

 

(Album also included two new Sabbath studio tracks with Ozzy, the only two tracks to have surfaced from the original Sabbath line-up since 1978. ‘Psycho Man’ and ‘Selling My Soul’ were rumored to have been written and/or been extra material lying around from Ozzy’s ‘Ozzmosis’ LP from 1995).

 

“Nobody does Black Sabbath songs justice like the original four. With Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler, and Bill Ward all relatively sound of mind and body, Reunion finds them finally backed by a juggernaut of smart businesspeople and producers who realize what’s at stake. The mix is crisp and eye-watering, and the four legends rumble like one thick cloud of doom. Trackwise, it’s all the hits plus a few stray wanderings off-kilter (“Dirty Women”). The much-anticipated pair of new studio tracks are a mixed lot: “Psycho Man” is a Kiss-grade metal lurch with an atrocious B-movie lyric that somehow escaped Osbourne’s usually reliable cheese radar. “Selling My Soul,” however, is convincingly ominous, with Iommi creating piles of dark chords.” — Martin Popoff
** Some remaining footnotes:  COZY POWELL WOULD DIE IN A TRAGIC CAR ACCIDENT IN APRIL OF 1998, HAVING JUST COMPLETED DRUM TRACKS FOR YNGWIE MALMSTEEN’S TREMENDOUS ALBUM ‘FACING THE ANIMAL’.  BOBBY RONDINELLI WOULD EVENTUALLY JOIN BLUE OYSTER CULT IN 1997 IN TIME FOR THEIR ‘HEAVEN FORBID’ ALBUM, AND NEIL MURRAY WOULD BE WORKING WITH BRIAN MAY AND HIS BAND. *

Black Sabbath 1997 – 1998:

 

–         Black Sabbath would partake in various Ozz-Fest shows and other occasional appearances.  The line-up for a majority of these shows included the original Mark I line-up and Geoff Nicholls on keyboards – thought at the onset of 1997, the first several months saw Mike Bordin handling the drums.  However, during 1998, Bill Ward began having heart problems and had to leave the tour.  Vinny Appice stepped in and handled the remaining shows, while Bill recovered.

BLACK SABBATH – THE LAST SUPPER (1999) 

  

(This was a vhs/dvd video of some of the band’s live footage from their most recent 1999 tour, spliced together with interviews.  Many fans were said to be aggravated at how the ‘interviews interrupted the flow of the concert performances.”)

 

“There was something genuinely heartwarming about the decision by Black Sabbath’s founding members to take to the road again in 1999. The fractious intra-band relationships that have characterized Black Sabbath’s long career were a major inspiration for the writers of This Is Spinal Tap, and so the Sabs’ reunion created something pleasingly symmetrical and evocative of the closing scenes of that fine film.

The concert footage was taken from six of the concerts on that tour. It is conclusive proof that the original quartet of Osbourne, Iommi, Butler, and Ward (or, in Osbourne’s words, “four dickheads from Aston, near Birmingham”) were every bit as exuberantly juvenile a rock & roll band in their early 50s as their late teens. Also included is a sketchy biography and interviews with the band by Henry Rollins, one of the countless contemporary musicians influenced by Sabbath. It’s a nice idea, but the only real weakness of the package is that Ozzy is never granted time to wheel out any of his peerless reserve of grotesque rock & roll anecdotes. Nevertheless, the already formidable case for Osbourne’s knighthood is strengthened further.” — Andrew Mueller, Amazon.co.uk

 

Black Sabbath 2001:

 

–         Black Sabbath would be part of the 2001 Ozz-Fest package. Like many previous Ozz-fest shows, the touring line-up included the Mark I original band, and keyboardist Geoff Nicholls.

 

 

PAST LIVES (2002)

 

(This 2 LP set was essentially a re-issued and re-mastered set of the unofficial Sabbath live album ‘Live At Last’ from 1980 (though recorded in 1973), and many tracks from the Sabbath Live in Paris concert from 1970. The sound has been cleaned up from the original bootlegs, but is still dodgy at times. Then again, they were all essentially live bootleg tracks at one juncture).

 

“At this point in history, it’s hard to know whether to call Black Sabbath the Godfathers of Heavy Metal or the Band That Wouldn’t Die. Hard to believe that the band’s original incarnation–Ozzy Osbourne on vocals, guitarist Tony Iommo,, Geezer Butler on bass, and drummer Bill Ward — never released a live record in America at the peak of their initial arena-packing success in the ’70s. This 18-track double-CD fills the gap, fleshing out the 1980 UK-only Live At Last with nine more early, previously unreleased live Sabbath tracks. If the sound quality is intermittent on the first disc (recorded in Manchester and at London’s Rainbow in 1973), that seems only fitting from a band whose members–especially the inimitable Ozzy–have ridden their warts-and-all charms to metal Valhalla. But while that disc’s early renditions of “Sweet Leaf,” “Snowblind,” “War Pigs,” and “Paranoid” will more than satisfy Sabbath faithful, it’s the newly released material (recorded in considerably better quality at various venues from 1970 to ’78) that really underscores the band’s dark, endlessly influential legacy. Ozzy’s maniacal “Symptom of the Universe” would be enough, but it’s only the prelude for the ominous, over-the-top 10-minute rarity “Megalomania,” the thumping “Iron Man,” a moody, tellingly jazzy take on “Black Sabbath,” and the thrashing “Behind the Wall of Sleep.” — Jerry McCulley
SYMPTOM OF THE UNIVERSE: THE ORIGINAL BLACK SABBATH {1970 – 1978} (2002 – ANOTHER ‘BEST OF’ TYPE PACKAGE).

 

 

“Completely besting the once-classic and classically named best-of, We Sold Our Souls for Rock ‘n’ Roll, Symptom of the Universe captures one of rock’s heaviest tidal forces in all their glory–and in some more compromising moments. Ranging from the eponymous dirge that opens the set to the boogie-laden energy of more minor Sabbath gems like “Evil Woman” and “After Forever,” this two-disc overview doesn’t skimp on stone-cold gems like “Paranoid,” “War Pigs,” “Iron Man,” and “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.” The second CD serves up the solo acoustic “Snowblind,” a piano-and-Ozzy interlude, “Laguna Sunrise” (from the album Black Sabbath, Vol. 4), and the silly, aptly named “Fluff.” Here the quartet reaches beyond their grasp, eschewing the grinding, hefty sound that fit Ozzy’s flat vocal delivery like a glove; this stuff isn’t great, but it’s revealing. Decades after their debut, Sabbath’s dystrophic rejoinder to ’60s and ’70s rock still energize nearly all hard rock. So this is rock history, and a blast at that.” — Andrew Bartlett

BLACK BOX (2004 – ESSENTIALLY A BOX SET OF ALL OF THE ORIGINAL SABBATH STUDIO ALBUMS, COMPLETELY RE-MASTERED, WITH SOME OTHER GOODIES, INCLUDING A RARE LIVE TRACK OF SABBATH PERFORMING ‘BLUE SUEDE SHOES’ IN 1969. THE SOUND ON ALL OF THE REMASTERED ALBUMS IS SAID TO BE PHENOMENAL).

 

 

“One can make the case that the Beatles, while the most important band of all time, wasn’t the most influential. Decades after Black Sabbath laid down the commandments of heavy metal–lyrically, not for the squeamish; musically, dynamic and resolutely heavy–their impact remains improbably undiminished. One needed only to hear the first notes of the eponymous track on their eponymous 1970 debut to know that a new régime had arrived. And while one could (and should!) have mocked them, they would not be stopped. Black Box includes the eight albums recorded between 1970 and 1978 by the founding lineup–Tony Iommi, Bill Ward, Ozzy Osbourne, and Geezer Butler–in one suitably weighty package. Forgoing bonus tracks (aside from an entertaining but brief four-track DVD extra), the box is rounded off with an impressive 80-page booklet. While the foursome was considerably less fearsome by the time they checked out with Never Say Die, more than half of this collection represents heavy metal with a lasting impact.” — Steven Stolder

 

 

– Black Sabbath 2004-2006:

 

The original band would play consecutive Ozzfests (2004-2005) and other sporadic performances throughout this time period.

 

–         Adam Wakeman (son of Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman), also of Ozzy’s solo band,   would perform with Black Sabbath and has remained there since (not withstanding the Heaven and Hell-version of Sabbath, where keyboardist Scott Warren was utilized.)

 

–         It is not entirely known why veteran keyboardist Geoff Nicholls would not partake or be asked back to the band.  He served Sabbath for over 24 years and basically every incarnation the band ever went through, many would think he would have been part of this continuation, but he was not.  Whether it had to do with more band politics, scheduling conflicts or perhaps his own personal decision to not tour as frequently, I do not know.  I may present this question to Geoff if I ever get a chance.

 

–          In May of 2004, petitions began sprouting for Bill Ward to be included in the touring line-up for Ozz-Fest dates, after it was initially decided by management that the band would again have Mike Bordin (Ozzy’s solo drummer at the time) behind the kit.  Again, nothing was ever ‘officially confirmed’, but evidence seems to lend to Bill not being asked back due to the usual ‘contractual disputes.’ Other theories state part of the decision had to do with Bill’s health and heart problems.  Due to the help of overwhelming support, Bill would eventually re-join the tour.  Here is some more information about this, as it was happening, from Blabbermouth:
Irate BLACK SABBATH fans upset over drummer Bill Ward‘s exclusion from the group’s upcoming reunion at Ozzfest 2004 have launched an online petition to “allow” Bill to play with the band this summer. Once the petition closes on June 20, it will be mailed to Ozzfest founder Sharon Osbourne. To view the petition and/or to add your name, click here.

As previously reported, Ward, who played with the band a for 2001 reunion gig, will be replaced by Osbourne‘s solo act drummer Mike Bordin for the upcoming tour, which kicks off July 10 in Hartford, Conn.

Ward wrote on his web site he received a proposal last week “where the only answer was yes or no,” with no room for negotiation. He answered the proposal by saying he was sad to have to decline.

Ward said what he didn’t say is he’s willing to be flexible, willing to compromise, willing to negotiate and willing to play.

BLACK SABBATH is, and always will be an important priority in my life,” Ward wrote on his site. “I support Geezer‘s, Tony‘s and Ozzy‘s decisions to move ahead into Ozzfest ’04 without me.”

 

– On August 26, 2004 – Ozzy was ill with a bad cold.  Rob Halford of Judas Priest (Priest was doing many of these Ozzfest shows with Sabbath) filled in for a shortened set.  Halford had previously bailed out the band some 12 years earlier in 1992 when Dio up and refused to do the last two shows of the tour (more information on that fiasco is above).  During ‘Paranoid’, it was comical towards the end of the song as Rob completely forgets a line-or two and just kinda hums it, and goes thru the motions, and Tony and everybody else just kinda smiled as if it was no big deal. J

GREATEST HITS 1970 – 1978 (2006)

 

* SABBATH WOULD NOT RELEASE ANOTHER ‘STUDIO’ ALBUM UNTIL APRIL OF 2009, WITH DIO AND APPICE ONCE AGAIN BACK IN THE BAND. IN BETWEEN THAT TIME, THE GROUP WOULD REUNITE ON AND OFF WITH OZZY (ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY FOR ‘OZZ FESTS’) AND WOULD RELEASE TWO SONGS IN 1997, INCLUDED ON THE LIVE DOUBLE LP BLACK SABBATH ‘REUNION’ RELEASE.

 

–         AS PREVIOUSLY MENTIONED, GEOFF NICHOLLS WOULD REMAIN ON KEYBOARDS FOR ALL OF THESE TOURS FROM 1997 UNTIL 2004 – WHEN ADAM WAKEMAN (SON OF YES KEYBOARD PLAYER RICK WAKEMAN) WOULD ASSUME THIS ROLE INTO 2006. NO OFFICIAL REASON WAS EVER REALLY GIVEN AS TO WHY GEOFF SUDDENLY LEFT, OR WASN’T ASKED BACK. GEOFF IS NOW TOURING AND RECORDING WITH FORMER SABBATH SINGER TONY MARTIN’S BAND CALLED ‘HEADLESS CROSS.’

Black Sabbath (aka ‘Heaven and Hell’) 2006-2007:

INTEREST IN THE DIO-VERSION OF SABBATH WOULD COME TO PLAY IN 2006-2007-ISH, WHERE THEY WOULD RECORD THREE NEW SONGS FOR A DIO-SABBATH BEST OF. SINCE THEN (from 2006 – 2010), THE BAND HAS DECIDED TO REFORM FOR THE TIME BEING AND TOURS UNDER THE MONICKER OF ‘HEAVEN AND HELL’,

 

The early ideas which would begin the Heaven and Hell project began with an October 2005 interview where Dio revealed to the program “Masters of Rock”, that he wished to work with Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi once again. He stated that two new songs would be written, and were to feature on a “project” entitled Black Sabbath – The Dio Years.  Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward were initially involved with the band that was to complete these songs, too. It would ultimately be Tony’s decision to have the group rebranded as Heaven & Hell though to differentiate this incarnation from the Osbourne-fronted Black Sabbath which was then only on a hiatus.

 

However, for subsequent The Dio Years album – for which the band would end up recording three new songs rather than the previously planned two – the band continued to use the Black Sabbath name.

 

–         At first, Dio and the band were just going to do a few new songs for the album release and the possibility of a few gigs and ‘see how it goes’ kinda deal, and there were no commitments for any type (at least then) of full-time touring or a new Sabbath album with the Mob Rules and Dehumanizer line-ups.

 

–         Eventually, into 2007 full world tours would be booked and Dio would put his solo band on the back burner.  The band decided to tour under the moniker of ‘Heaven and Hell’ to prove a slight distance from the just previous Ozz-Fest and ‘original Black Sabbath’ shows.  There was also inkling that this was done to simply avoid ‘possible legal friction’ from Ozzy and camp should they have gone out as ‘Black Sabbath.’

 

–         While on paper this was Heaven and Hell, a majority of fans simply saw that as a technicality, and that this was Black Sabbath continuing on and releasing new material with Ronnie James Dio.

 

This photo-shopped album art here, found all over online, is one of several interesting ‘spoofs’ on what to many the forthcoming Heaven and Hell album could have looked like under the Black Sabbath banner  J

 

 

  • HEAVEN and HELL (aka BLACK SABBATH) EVENTUALLY RELEASED A FULL- BLOWN STUDIO LP IN APRIL 2009 (entitled ‘The Devil You Know’), SABBATH’S FIRST BATCH OF NEW ALBUM MATERIAL SINCE 1995 (not counting the three newest Dio-era Sabbath songs from 2006 meant primarily for the greatest hits collection, and also not including the two ‘Black Sabbath’ tracks from 1997 – Pyshco Man and Selling My Soul), AND 17 YEARS AFTER THE LAST SABBATH ALBUM WITH DIO, DEHUMANIZER,  HAD BEEN COMPLETED.
  • (At the early inception of the ‘Heaven and Hell’ band, Bill Ward was originally supposed to be involved with the project, but later opted out. Bill claims he was originally in the studio with the guys and did not like the new song approach, and/or how he would be laying down his drum tracks. Other members claim Bill basically ‘bitched and moaned’ (unconfirmed emails and postings would pop up on Bill’s official site and other Sabbath news pages in 2007-ish which seemed to suggest this attitude at the time, though again, they have never been officially confirmed as being from/written by Bill himself) and could not keep up with the conjecture of how the new Sabbath material would be written and felt Vinny would be a better and more energetic fit, having played throughout most of the Dio-Sabbath era anyhow.

 

Further touching on above, there was indeed a several paragraph ‘rant’ that popped up on Blabbermouth sometime in 2007, which had a direct link to Bill’s official site – of which the same rant was posted there – it supposedly originally appeared on Clear Channel..  While this was ‘removed’ a few days later (either at Bill’s request, or the webmaster’s recommendation), I’m venturing to guess this old posting may still be somewhere in the Blabbermouth article history – but since the exact month and date in 2007 escapes me, it would be very time-consuming and difficult to track down.  While I don’t remember it word for word, it was several paragraphs of grievances, dis-contempt and just bitter words and feelings about the Heaven and Hell band – and it ‘seemed’ to be written by Bill himself.  However, Bill has denied writing the rant in various subsequent Blabbermouth postings.  I obviously can’t confirm the origins of the rant or if it was legit or not,, but playing devil’s advocate I’m not sure how else this would have appeared on his official page, albeit for a short period,  if it wasn’t written or endorsed by Bill.)

 

 

BLACK SABBATH – THE DIO YEARS (2007)

 

(Included three new Dio-Sabbath tracks – ‘Ear in the Wall’, ‘Shadow of the Wind’, and ‘The Devil Cried.’ The remaining tracks are essentially a best-of compilation from the 3 previously released Dio-Sabbath albums, and a live track from ‘Live Evil’.)

 

 

“The idea of Black Sabbath without Ozzy Osbourne was a form of metal sacrilege in 1980, at least until people heard Ronnie James Dio belt out “Oh no, here it comes again…” to open the reformed band’s Heaven and Hell. Dio’s low-growl had a yowl, squaring frightfully with Tony Iommi’s more reined-in crunch. And Sabbath was reborn, playing faster than they had with Ozzy and drawing crowds. Five tracks from Heaven make it to this set, where four from successor, Mob Rules, show up. The winners from each: “Neon Nights” and “Turn Up the Night,” both quick, hefty wailers, steamrolling on sheer riffing tonnage. Dehumanizer rekindled the Sabbath/Dio marriage in 1992, showing speed metal’s intervening influence–and the band holds up well, racing atop Vinny Appice’s iron-armed drums and Iommi’s relentless, intentionally range-limited riffs. Then there are the three new tracks, all benefiting from 2006’s richer low-end production and metal’s return to a slower grind–where Iommi is more thrilling doling out sludge, as on “Shadow of the Wind,” where chords sound slo-mo and blessedly narrow in range. Yes, “Ear on the Wall” closes the set in a hurried, fast- (not speed-) metal vibe, but at best the band is deliberately mid-tempo, making a raucous noise you’re happy for after all these years.” — Andrew Bartlett

 

BLACK SABBATH – LIVE AT HAMMERSMITH ODION (2007 – LIVE DVD).

  

“Released just weeks after The Dio Years, this single-disc Rhino Handmade edition of the original double LP, Live At Hammersmith Odeon, features Dio, Iommi, Butler and Appice getting hot one December night in London during Sabbath’s 1981 tour for Mob Rules. Previously unreleased, the concert spotlights Sabbath as they storm through 14 of the Dio-era’s best, including “Neon Knights,” “Heaven And Hell,” “Children Of The Sea” and “Country Girl.” The band also performs several pre-Dio classics including “Paranoid,” “Children Of The Grave” and a white-hot version of “War Pigs.” Live At Hammersmith Odeon is available as an individually numbered limited edition of 5,000 copies. Live At Hammersmith Odeon’ completely sold out on the day of release. In the 9 years of Rhino Handmade, this is the quickest a title has ever sold out.”   – Amazon –

 

HEAVEN AND HELL – LIVE AT RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL (2007)

 

 “Comprised of former members of Black Sabbath, Heaven & Hell grew out of a 2006 reunion of post-Ozzy frontman Ronnie James Dio, guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler, and drummer Vinny Appice for the purpose of recording new tracks for a Sabbath compilation called The Dio Years. Heaven & Hell then toured, drawing deep from the Dio-era Sabbath catalogue. The masterful Heaven & Hell: Live from Radio City Music Hall is one result of that rekindled partnership, a two-hour, Gothic metal marathon filmed in 2007 before a thrilled New York City audience. Largely comprised of classic Sabbath material, the show unfolds with a deceptive ease. The seasoned bandmates play with graceful concentration even as they plunge into the maw of doomstruck power chords and grinding riffs, the wiry Dio stalking Heaven & Hell’s swampy sound like some fusion of a crow and benevolent overlord. At times, it’s impossible not to contradict oneself while trying to describe the group’s intricate, paradoxical sound: “Children of the Sea,” for instance, is somehow both a snaking and watery mystery. “E5150/After All (The Dead)” is equally epic and nonchalant. “I” is a show-stopping, nightmarish blues that leans toward the anthemic, while “Falling Off the Edge” is highlighted by a molten rhythm and Dio’s taut vocal. This is a fine outing from a historic ensemble.” –Tom Keogh

  

THE RULES OF HELL (2007 – A 5-DISC BOX SET WHICH HAS REMASTERED VERSIONS OF ALL 4 OF THE DIO-RELEASED SABBATH ALBUMS INCLUDING ‘HEAVEN AND HELL’, ‘MOB RULES’, ‘LIVE EVIL’, AND ‘DEHUMANIZER’).

 

(This has been referred to as ‘Black Box 2’, referring to the original Black Box set that was a box set of all of the re-mastered Ozzy-Sabbath albums).

 

The following information/review on the Rules of Hell is uncredited, but comes from Amazon:

Deluxe 5-CD slipcase boxed set collects Black Sabbath’s complete Dio-fronted catalog: Heaven And Hell, Mob Rules, Live Evil (2 CDs), and Dehumanizer. Each title was recently re-mastered for the first time ever and features extensive liner notes including new band interviews. Heaven And Hell (1980) is regarded as one of Sabbath’s all-time best with its anthem tracks ‘Neon Knights’, ‘Die Young’ and the epic title track. Mob Rule’s (’81) was the first Sabbath LP to feature Appice on drums (replacing Bill Ward), delivering high octane classics like ‘Falling Off The Edge Of The World’, ‘Turn Up The Night’ and ‘The Sign Of The Southern Cross’. Live Evil, the group’s 1982 double-live set, is an in-concert masterpiece and a testament to the raw power of Sabbath’s Dio, Iommi, Nicholls, Butler, and Appice lineup on fourteen epic tracks.  – Amazon –

  

 

THE DEVIL YOU KNOW (2009 – FIRST NEW ‘STUDIO’ ALBUM FROM SABBATH SINCE 1995, AND THE FIRST NEW DIO-SABBATH LP SINCE DEHUMANIZER IN 1992).

 



* LINE-UP INCLUDES: DIO, TONY IOMMI, SCOTT WARREN, GEEZER BUTLER, AND VINNY APPICE. SCOTT WARREN WAS THE KEYBOARD PLAYER FOR DIO’S SOLO BAND, AND WAS ASKED TO TOUR WITH HEAVEN AND HELL.

 

“When metal masters Ronnie James Dio, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Vinny Appice reunited for the first time in 15 years to record new bonus tracks for Rhino’s 2007 compilation Black Sabbath: The Dio Years, an otherworldly force reignited their musical connection. ‘Everyone had so much fun playing together that we didn t want it to end,’ the band recalls. It didn’t- they reformed as Heaven & Hell- named for the classic 1980 LP that was the lineup’s debut as Sabbath-and staged a triumphant, sold-out world tour throughout 2007-2008. Fueled by their chemistry on the road, the quartet returned to the studio in 2008 to record THE DEVIL YOU KNOW, their first new set of original material since 1992’s Dehumanizer.”  – Amazon –

  

Black Sabbath 2009:

 

  • At the end of May 2009, it was huge news that Ozzy (and perhaps ‘camp’) filed a lawsuit against Tony Iommi for partial ownership of the Black Sabbath name (presumably he wanted 50%, and also portions of royalties from future merchandise sales and miscellaneous stuff via use of the Black Sabbath name).  Tony Iommi has had sole possession of the Black Sabbath name going back to about 1985 – and at this juncture in May of 2009 – was heavily involved with the (would be successful) Heaven and Hell/Black Sabbath project along with Dio.  While one thing may have nothing to do with the other, many also know the strained history between the Ozzy camp and Dio camp going back to 1992, and even years before that.

 

  • The following information was posted on Blabbermouth on May 29, 2009.  This is a more detailed account involving the lawsuit:

Ozzy Osbourne has filed a lawsuit against his BLACK SABBATH bandmate Tony Iommi, claiming that Iommi illegally took sole ownership of the band’s name in a filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Osbourne is suing Iommi for a 50 percent interest in the “Black Sabbath” trademark, along with a portion of Iommi‘s profits from use of the name.

The Manhattan federal court suit also charges that Osbourne‘s “signature lead vocals” are largely responsible for the band’s “extraordinary success,” noting that its popularity plummeted during his absence from 1980 through 1996.

In a statement released this afternoon (Friday, May 29), Ozzy says about his decision to sue Iommi, “It is with great regret that I had to resort to legal action against my long-term partner Tony Iommi, but after three years of trying to resolve this issue amicably, I feel I have no other recourse.

“As of the mid-1990s, after constant and numerous changes in band members, the brand of ‘BLACK SABBATH‘ was literally in the toilet and Tony Iommi (touring under the name BLACK SABBATH) was reduced to performing in clubs. Since 1997, when Geezer [Butler, bass], Bill [Ward, drums] and myself rejoined the band, BLACK SABBATH has returned to its former glory as we headlined sold-out arenas and amphitheatres playing to upwards of 50,000 people at each show around the world. We worked collectively to restore credibility and bring dignity back to the name ‘BLACK SABBATH,’ which led to the band being inducted into the U.K. and U.S. Rock And Roll Hall of Fames in 2005 and 2006, respectively.


“Throughout the last 12 years, it was my management representatives who oversaw the marketing and quality control of the ‘BLACK SABBATH‘ brand through Ozzfest, touring, merchandising and album reissues. The name ‘BLACK SABBATH‘ now has a worldwide prestige and merchandising value that it would not have had by continuing on the road it was on prior to the 1997 reunion tour.

 

Tony, I am so sorry it’s had to get to this point by me having to take this action against you. I don’t have the right to speak for Geezer and Bill, but I feel that morally and ethically the trademark should be owned by the four of us equally. I hope that by me taking this first step that it will ultimately end up that way. We’ve all worked too hard and long in our careers to allow you to sell merchandise that features all our faces, old BLACK SABBATH album covers and band logos, and then you tell us that you own the copyright.

“We’re all in our 60s now. The BLACK SABBATH legacy should live on long after we have all gone.

“Please do the right thing.”

Osbourne added in a separate online post, “I am very saddened that I’ve had to take legal action against Tony. This is something that I’ve tried to avoid for years. I am not Geezer or Bill‘s voice. However, ’till the day I die I will not change my mind on this issue. The BLACK SABBATH trademark should be equally owned by Geezer, Bill, Tony and I as the true BLACK SABBATH lineup is Tony, Geezer, Bill and I. We’ve all been mates since school. I’ve always said there is an invisible thread that holds us together.

Tony, let’s get this ridiculous issue sorted and move on with our lives. You’re 61, I’m 60. I hope that we’ve got a good 20 years left in us. But if not, God forbid something happens to you. What’s going to happen to the BLACK SABBATH trademark? Who’s going to oversee it? Don’t you think after we’re long gone the rights should stay in your family, my family, Bill‘s family and Geezer‘s family?”

Ozzy‘s suit follows one filed by Iommi in December 2008 against Live Nation. In that filing, Iommi claims the concert giant sold merchandise bearing the band’s logo, despite the 2006 expiration of a merchandising deal, reportedly worth nearly $80 million. Soon after that agreement concluded, Iommi reclaimed the band’s trademark.

Iommi‘s suit argues Live Nation continued to sell more than 100 items of merchandise featuring the band’s likeness, name and logo, despite the receipt of cease-and-desist orders from the guitarist’s camp. Iommi‘s suit seeks damages in the amount of three times the profits from the merchandise sales, plus a halt to the BLACK SABBATH product sales.

Iommi and Geezer Butler have both said some less than kind things about working with Osbourne in a new interview with Decibel magazine. The pair recently completed a new studio album as HEAVEN & HELL, the post-Ozzy version of SABBATH featuring vocalist Ronnie James Dio, and Butler said that working with Dio was much easier than Osbourne. He explained, “Ronnie‘s a songwriter in his own right — he’s got tons of ideas. Whereas Ozzy . . . in the old days, he’d come up with a vocal line and I’d write the lyrics. Ronnie is 100 percent involved in both the musical side and the vocal side, and he writes his own lyrics as well.”
Butler added that Osbourne didn’t take him seriously as a songwriter, saying, “If we were with Ozzy and I came in with the killer riff of all time, Ozzy wouldn’t even think of doing it because I’m not the guitarist and that’s the way he thinks . . . That’s why it was so bloody hard to write anything.”

Butler said about HEAVEN & HELL‘s debut CD, “The Devil You Know”, “If we’d written this album with Ozzy, we’d still be working on the first track.”

Iommi added that there was a sharp difference between the singers live as well, saying, “It was great being with Ozzy on the road . . . but with Ronnie it’s a lot different, because we go out and we know exactly what we’re gonna be doing. With Ozzy, we didn’t really know. It was touch and go sometimes on some of those early shows, whether he was gonna turn up, if he’d be able to sing, if his voice was gone, or what. We’d have to cancel shows, which Geezer and myself really hated. But with Ronnie, we’ve never canceled a show.”

HEAVEN & HELL will tour Europe later this spring and summer, with North American dates scheduled for August.

Ozzy Osbourne is currently working on his next solo album.

– As Sabbath finishes up a summer tour, the band is said to be taking some time off from touring to allow Tony Iommi to get some kind of surgery on his hand or fingers. Dio will go out and perform a handful of dates with his own band DIO. Closing information has the band to start touring next year or slightly earlier, with the possibility (according to Tony Iommi) of including some Ozzy-Sabbath material here and there in the set-list.

  • Black Sabbath 2010:

 

Sadly, Ronnie James Dio passed away on May 16, 2010 after a long and courageous battle with cancer.  He was almost 68 years old.  He is buried in Forest Lawn cemetery in Los Angeles, CA.
Black Sabbath November 11, 2011:

BLACK SABBATH
REUNITES TO RECORD FIRST NEW STUDIO ALBUM IN 33 YEARS
AND LAUNCH MASSIVE WORLD TOUR IN 2012

OZZY OSBOURNE, TONY IOMMI, GEEZER BUTLER AND BILL WARD
UNVEIL PLANS ON 11/11/11
AT A LOS ANGELES PRESS CONFERENCE
AT THE WHISKY A GO-GO,
WHERE THE BAND PERFORMED THEIR FIRST LOS ANGELES DATE EXACTLY 41 YEARS AGO.
* After much speculation, the original four members of BLACK SABBATH–OZZY OSBOURNE (vocals), TONY IOMMI (guitar), GEEZER BUTLER (bass) and BILL WARD (drums)–have reunited to record their first new studio album in 33 years with producer Rick Rubin (seven-time Grammy winner, two of those as Producer of the Year) and to embark on a massive world tour in 2012.
OSBOURNE, IOMMI, BUTLER and WARD as well as Rubin all gathered today on 11/11/11 to announce the news at a Los Angeles press conference at the legendary club, the Whisky A Go-Go, the site of the groundbreaking and influential band’s first L.A. concert exactly 41 years ago (Nov 11, 1970). The event was hosted by the revered musical and spoken word artist Henry Rollins who has said that “Any band worth their weight in napalm wishes they had written ‘War Pigs.’”

Selling over 70 million albums together, the Grammy-winning, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees have signed a new record deal worldwide with Vertigo and Vertigo/ Universal Republic in the U.S., the band’s original label. BLACK SABBATH is now in the studio recording the as-yet-untitled new album for release in the fall of 2012 (exact date TBA). It will mark their ninth studio album together and their first since 1978’s Never Say Die!

Next summer, BLACK SABBATH will headline the mammoth multi-day UK Download Festival in the U.K. on June 10. The new album will then be supported with a worldwide headline arena tour (dates TBA).

BLACK SABBATH also announced today the launch of www.blacksabbath.com, the first-ever official BLACK SABBATH website for all authorized BLACK SABBATH news. In addition, the band’s online presence will also be supported by social media via Facebook and Twitter–again, marking the band’s first-ever foray into the social media world.

BLACK SABBATH released their self-titled debut album in 1970. “Black Sabbath is credited with creating heavy metal,” according to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “The success of their first two albums–Black Sabbath and Paranoid–marked a paradigm shift in the world of rock. Not until Black Sabbath upended the music scene did the term ‘heavy metal’ enter the popular vocabulary to describe the denser, more thunderous offshoot of rock over which they presided.” The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame also noted, “…they remain one of the most misunderstood bands in rock history,” adding: “The band’s musicality was generally overlooked, but they possessed an inventiveness and fluency that, in hindsight, makes them seem as much of a progressive-rock band as a heavy-metal one.”

In 1998, BLACK SABBATH released Reunion from their 1997 concerts in Birmingham, England, a two-CD live set that featured two new studio songs. The band has also sporadically reunited for shows in 1999, 2002 and 2004; in 2005, the four performed concerts together when they toured Europe and then headlined the 10th anniversary of Osbourne’s namesake festival OZZfest. Also in 2005, they were inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame by Brian May of Queen. This was followed by their induction in 2006 into the U.S. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, an honor bestowed on them by Metallica’s James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich.
 

Black Sabbath Summer 2012:

– As it currently stands, what “we were sold” on 11-11-2011 has not panned out. Bill Ward is now currently NOT part of the reformed Black Sabbath – mostly in part as he states due to an ‘unsignable contract’. For the past few months, many rumors have been flying behind the scenes as to what has really been going on, and who if anybody is really to blame. I try to stick to facts here on this page. Tony and Geezer have stated there is another side to this story – where the truth really lines up on their side of things, and overall, has yet to be determined at this point.

 

As of right now – No Bill – no Original Black Sabbath. Tommy Clufetos (Ozzy Osbourne, ex-Ted Nugent) has been drumming for the few Black Sabbath and ‘Ozzy and friends’ shows.
As for the new album we were all promised sometime in 2012 – that will probably not hit until at least 2013 – if at all. Whether Bill will participate on that – again – we do not know. As of June 2012 – 15 new tracks have been said to be in the works for a 2013 release.

 

  • Sorta related to the above information in regards to Bill’s posts (in 2007) and/or supposed feelings on his opting out of the Heaven and Hell project – it was about this time that Bill’s son posted (or it was confirmed as being written by Bill’s son) a very long winded synopsis on what he (or he and Bill) feel were the real reasons that led to Bill being unable to continue on with the original Sabbath.  Long story short (I am just summarizing here based on what I read), it was angrily stated how Bill would be almost completely shut out of what he was originally promised and what he felt he would be fairly owed (according to Bill’s son, the terms suddenly changed to a very SMALL FRACTION compared to what the others would be guaranteed)) and that THESE TERMS were now an obvious or deliberate deviation from what was originally proposed and drawn out at the onset of 11*11*11.  What the original terms of the contract were and as to who may have changed them, we may never know – and again – speculation on one or two specific parties remains.  Again, I will stress that no set of exact reasons have ever been definitively released by Black Sabbath to confirm or deny this, and there obviously could be varying degrees of interpretation to Bill’s son’s postings.

 

  • Here is the actual posting by Bill Ward’s son, Aron.  This is from February 8, 2012:Aron, the son of original BLACK SABBATH drummer Bill Ward, has posted the following message on Facebook regarding his father’s recent announcement that he could not participate in the group’s reunion due to his unhappiness with the contract he was offered:“The press is spinning this shitstorm to read as if my dad has quit. This is not true. The guys know that. That’s why they said the door is ALWAYS open.”My dad hasn’t ‘declined’ playing with BLACK SABBATH or ‘threatened’ to pull out of this reunion. As he stated, his bags are packed and he’s ready to go. He says it loud and clear, he definitely wants to play on the album and he definitely wants to tour. I know he’s been committed to this project from the beginning all the way to the point everyone else flew off to the U.K. When I saw him over the summer, he had this little CD case with him that had all the rehearsals and song ideas. Each CD was Sharpie scrawled with rough titles and ideas they had been working on.

    “About a month ago, my dad called me to let me know that Tony [Iommi, guitar] had been diagnosed with cancer. He said they were all flying over in the next couple of weeks to continue recording the album in the U.K. and begin rehearsals for the summer tours. He’d been rehearsing more than I’ve ever known him to.

    “Up ’till about three weeks ago, he was working extremely hard and close with the other three on this album/reunion tour. He was in very good spirits and sounded excited to be writing with Tony, Geezer [Butler, bass] and Ozzy [Osbourne, vocals] again.

    “I know if they sort this shit out, you guys won’t be disappointed.

    “I’ve always stayed out of my dad’s business and would like nothing more than for everything to be worked out swiftly between the guys. Unfortunately, it’s become personal with all these idiots slagging off my dad, so this is for the fucking morons saying, ‘Get over it, Bill‘: My dad has ‘gotten over it’ again and again. He’s risen above this bullshit thing called showbiz for the last 30 years. He’s respected because he’s real and honest, not just because he’s a complete bad-ass on the drums. He’s been there for other musicians. In all kinds of circles — punk rock, hardcore, metal whatever. He was one of the first to get his head screwed back on after the ’70s and get cleaned up. He’s given so much support to so many people trying to pull themselves out of the hell called addiction. He tries so hard to stay in touch with the fans. He’ll talk your ear off if you get a chance. He is humbled by your support and loves you.

    “‘Can’t believe he needs to make this public’ or ‘it’s not the first time’: you’re an idiot and have no idea what the hell’s really going on. Just shut the fuck up and keep the speculation and lies to yourself. What my dad posted was from his heart, on the level and as usual completely honest. He wants you to know what’s really going on. That he has been given a contract that he can’t sign. Nothing more to it. No hidden agenda. Disappointingly, someone else is trying to shroud everything in some kind of X factor ‘yeah, it’s full steam ahead — we have no choice’ bullshit. Of course they have a choice.

    “‘Don’t be so greedy’: he is by no means greedy, man. If he was, he would have settled with whatever contract given him. It’s kind of obvious someone else is greedy. Wake up. He lives in a modest home in Southern California. Pays rent like the rest of us. In case you’re still blind, look at it this way — sadly, the current ‘SABBATH‘ statement reads as if someone would rather see the remaining members play in front of thousands of disappointed, confused and resentful fans then give my dad a dignified agreement. Additionally, the record sales will be severely affected because it isn’t the promised original lineup. All this because of someone’s inability to respect him as the committed founding member he is. This has derailed the fans’ hopes of seeing the original lineup and strongly divided the fans. What a way to fuck up such a powerful, influential and inspirational legacy for the rest of time.

    “‘Who cares? It’s just a bunch pensioners’: I’m just as cynical about old rock legends getting back on the road ‘one more time’ as anyone, but this is BLACK SABBATH. They’ve never been a conventional band. Thing is, I know these guys have been rehearsing loads. Over the last couple months. When I’ve caught up with my dad, he’s been talking about how heavy the jams have been and how hard he’s been playing. Do you think people were looking at Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman or Max Roach going, ‘Man, these guys are boring and old?’ No! It’s the music that’s important, played by the masters themselves. That’s what we want. They’re here to teach us, inspire us and make us flip out.

    “I saw the (CAPTAIN BEEFHEART) MAGIC BAND recently on tour and they were clearly the definite article. Legends. Completely schooled any new, hip shiny, processed, hyped out mush you’ve been exposed to in the last couple years. There’s no doubt that there are loads of new heavy as fuck bands out there, but to me, BLACK SABBATH are still totally relevant. It’s pointless to bitch about their age. They will kick serious fucking ass. Trust.

    “To Terry ([a.k.a. Geezer] my godfather), Ozzy (my friend when I was little) and Tony (towering hero), I hope that you will listen to your fans. They want all of you together. As YOU are BLACK SABBATH, so is my Dad. I hope you guys can work it out.”

    According to The Pulse Of Radio, a source has told MetalTalk.net that the three remaining original members of BLACK SABBATH have recruited Tommy Clufetos, who plays drums in singer Ozzy Osbourne‘s solo band, to sit behind the SABBATH kit for the foreseeable future. The source added that manager Sharon Osbourne has effectively “fired” Ward, although this has not yet been corroborated by an official source.

    Ozzy, guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler responded to Ward‘s February 2 statement by saying, “We have no choice but to continue recording without him although our door is always open.”

    The absence of Ward effectively prevents this from being the full-blown regrouping of the original SABBATH lineup that was first envisioned last year.

As of June 6, 2012, Ozzy has gone on record stating he and the band want Bill back in Black Sabbath and “the doors are open”, so to speak. Who knows at this point what the true saga of events are, though…

 

 

BLACK SABBATH  – ‘13’ (2013)

 

 

“2013 album from the iconic Rock band, their first studio album with Ozzy Osbourne since 1978. On 13, produced by Rick Rubin, the band that defined Heavy Metal picks up immediately where they left off with eight sprawling songs (five of them are over eight minutes in length) that possess every ounce of the maniacal vitality of the Grammy-winning, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees’ trailblazing work in the 70s. Songs such as ‘End of the Beginning’, ‘Loner’, ‘Dear Father’ and ‘Age of Reason’ reinforce 13’s testament to the enduring relevance of Black Sabbath’s long-running reign.”  – Unknown –

 

The current Black Sabbath touring line-up is:

–         Ozzy Osbourne – Vocals

–         Tony Iommi – Guitars

–         Adam Wakeman – Keyboards, Rhythm Guitar

–         Geezer Butler – Bass

–         Tommy Clufetos – Drums

 

Tour dates, which run thru December 2013, are posted in the ‘Events’ section of the page.

 

Brad Wilk of Rage Against the Machine handled drum duties for the upcoming album entitled ‘13’, which is due out June 11, 2013.  Cream’s Ginger Baker was originally asked to lay down the drums for the album, but declined. Mike Exeter is credited with production duties.

Adam Wakeman (son of Rick Wakeman) will be handling the keyboard and occasional rhythm guitar duties, as he has been since 2004 after the departure of Geoff Nicholls.  As mentioned above, Adam also was a holdover from Ozzy’s solo band.

 

– In February 2013, Ozzy was describing the forthcoming album ‘13’ as “Satanic Blues.”

Tony Iommi speaking on the previous attempts to make a Sabbath album, on the coming together (finally) to create new Sabbath songs:  “It just came to an end. We didn’t go any further, and it’s a shame because [the songs] were really good”.

Iommi commented on the difficulty getting all of the band members together to work on material:

“It’s quite different recording now. We’ve all done so much in between. In [the early] days there was no mobile phone ringing every five seconds. When we first started, we had nothing. We all worked for the same thing. Now everybody has done so many other things. It’s great fun and we all have a good chat, but it’s just different, trying to put an album together.”

 

  • (Bill Ward is still not on board to do any touring for the foreseeable future – due to supposed contractual disputes and/or internal conflict with either the band or management – see above.  Tommy Clufetos – Ozzy’s drummer – has been handling the drums since summer of 2012.  Ozzy has recently stated he would “love for Bill to come back.”)
  • As of a June 12, 2013 posting on Blabbermouth – Ozzy was asked about the drummer situation for ‘13’, and why Tommy Clufetos wasn’t used on the album, but continues on with the band in a live setting.  Ozzy stated that him and the band’s original idea (or one of their original ideas) was to use Tommy on the album (after Bill declined), but then there was a long ‘waiting period’ (partly related to Bill’s bowing out of the plans) and then – producer Rick Rubin was against the idea of using Tommy on the album.  From the way Ozzy puts it, he didn’t seem overly happy with Rick Rubin’s ultimatum, so to speak.  Ozzy also states/re-affirms again that Bill bowed out the Sabbath reunion due to money and/or contractual dispute issues.
  • As of a July 7, 2013 posting on Blabbermouth – Ozzy told The Pulse Of Radio that Ward being out of shape was now the main reason he’s not on the record. “Bill Ward has got the most physically demanding job of the lot of us, ’cause he’s the timekeeper. I don’t think personally he had the chops to pull it off, you know. The saddest thing is that he needed to own up to that, and we could have worked around it, whether we had a drummer on the side with him or something. But I suppose it was something to do with finances as well.”

** The following is one of the first in-depth reviews on the forth-coming Sabbath album, ‘13’.

Black Sabbath ’13′ Album Review

Black Sabbath

13   VERTIGO

Heavy metal has undergone incalculable changes since 1978, when Black Sabbath last released a full studio album with Ozzy Osbourne on vocals. Titled Never Say Die!, this writer was present during its mixing sessions. The tapes were played back at such terrifying volume that Ozzy was forced to leave the room – and at the time it sounded like it was the best thing they’d ever done. That opinion was shot down in flames upon the record’s release, but that’s another story…

Sabbath might be the founding fathers of metal but there’s no way they could have predicted how the scene would develop – make that mutate – over the decades. Given the intensity that characterizes the modern-day scene, their decision to regroup with three-quarters of their ‘classic’ lineup is at best ambitious, at worst misguided.

Listening to the first two tracks on 13, it’s clear their heritage weighs heavily on their minds. The End Of The Beginning is a curiously low-key opener, the lyric ‘Rewind the future to the past’ highlighting the difficulty Sabbath face in trying to recapture the glories of old. Next up, God Is Dead? tries its damnedest to replicate the churning mayhem of old. But, somehow, it’s like a bad Xerox copy.

Then something – Christ knows what; could be the moment when Ozzy went back on the sauce – happens. Loner kicks in and delivers the first genuine, shivering spine-tingle of the record. It’s full of lurching menace; it’s got that archetypal groove; it’s even got Ozzy screeching ‘Alright now!’ like he did on Sweet Leaf back in ’71. Holy shit. It gets better. Zeitgeist, a dreamy Planet Caravan sound-alike, provides a delicious change of pace before Age Of Reason lumbers into your lug’oles, Tony Iommi cutting loose with a solo of meandering menace and Geezer Butler’s bass grumbling like an impending earthquake.

Live Forever maintains the intensity, then Damaged Soul ups the ante further. This is 13’s standout track; a loose and lethal dose of doomy blues, it sounds like it was knocked up at midnight in a garage in Solihull after a day down the abattoir. Ozzy comes into his own, honking the harmonica and delivering classic Sabbathisms: ‘Dying is easy – it’s living that’s hard’ and ‘I’m losing the battle between Satan and God. The cataract of darkness forms fully. The long black night begins…’

Dear Father’s mawkish title disguises its tale of revenge against an abusive parent; the drug-addled Methademic has its roots in Vol. 4’s Snowblind while Peace Of Mind has Ozzy hamming up his cracked-actor persona to fine effect. And if you listen carefully to Pariah you can hear Iommi’s plastic fingertips skittering along his strings; it might be imperfect but it’s a signature element of Sabbath’s sound.

Gripes? No Bill Ward; replacement drummer Brad Wilk is a little fussy and doesn’t quite have the feel. Similarly, Rick Rubin is no Rodger Bain; the production could be much more primitive. And, with a running time of nearly 70 minutes in deluxe form, the album is overlong. Nevertheless, this comeback is better than anyone could have expected.

A certain comedy band might own amplifiers that peak at 11, but Sabbath’s go all the way to 13.

9/10    Review by Geoff Barton

The following review is the first review of the new album by one of the board members, so I am including it for historical purposes as it pertains to the page here.  Thank you, Eric Litwiller.

 

BLACK SABBATH – 13 (2013 Universal)

What is your favorite Black Sabbath album?  How many times do you think that question has been asked over the last 30 years or so?  Before today, I would have said my personal favorite would be a tie between Volume 4 and Heaven and Hell (cop-out answer I know).   Expectedly, that has not changed after listening to the long-anticipated “reunion” album simply titled 13.  There is a case to be made that this is one of the most anticipated albums of all time.  So does this album live up to that hype?

The true answer to that question lies within you as the listener of course.  Personally, I always find that something truly great will build momentum with every listen.   With that in mind, my first listen to 13 was one of pleasant surprise.  It has been a long time since Black Sabbath (or Heaven & Hell for that matter) has released something that I have connected with.   Even Dehumanizer, which I believe to be the last relevant Sabbath album, went in a direction that was not really what I wanted to hear from Black Sabbath.   My theory is that with Dehumanizer, they were trying to “reclaim the throne” so to speak.  Being overly heavy just for the sake of being heavy, and losing the diversity and groove that made them true rock royalty.  It appears Rick Rubin has brought back at least some of that old Black Sabbath magic.

 

Rick Rubin’s legacy is almost as iconic as Black Sabbath themselves.  He has been responsible for the re-birth of several artists such as Slayer, Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Johnny Cash et al.  The first thing that struck me about 13 was the bass sound.  Geezer has never sounded better and is hot in the mix, complimenting and adding to every track.  I also really like Tony Iommi’s guitar sound on this album.  More than a few times I found myself reminded of that classic Iommi riff sound.  Brad Wilk’s drums are great, and this could be nit-picking, but there is no doubt that Ward’s drum style is missed here on a few tracks.  Even Ozzy gets a passing grade here but I suspect that has a lot more to do with Rubin rather than a resurgence of Ozzy’s voice.  I was pleasantly surprised as well by the vocal melody lines on the album as a whole.

TRACK 1 – “END OF THE BEGINNING”

The guitar parts in the verses paint an almost too-reminiscent picture of Black Sabbath‘s “Black Sabbath”.  But overall this track is strong throughout its 8:07 running time.  Definitely a great start to the album. Ozzy hits some notes at the end of this song that I find hard to believe even came out of the man. Steroids?

TRACK 2 – “GOD IS DEAD?”

I was not thrilled about this song when it was released prior.  Not that I dislike this song, just nothing special here to me. Next.

TRACK 3 – “LONER”

Good track.  They are somewhat ripping themselves off here to be honest, and that’s OK ’cause every band with longevity does it to an extent.  Main riff is VERY reminiscent of “N.I.B.”, and also Ozzy’s  “Alright now” and “Come on, Yeah!” made me genuinely smile.   Anyone remember Barry Horowitz?  Patting himself on the back?

TRACK 4 – “ZEITGEIST”

More self-pilfering, this is the the “Planet Caravan” of the album.  Don’t particularly like that song to begin with. There are more strong vocals from The Madman here though.  But, still glad it’s the shortest song on the album (4:37).

 

TRACK 5 –”AGE OF REASON”

This track is in a tie right now with upcoming Track 7 (oh the drama!) as my favorite tune on the album.  Not only are the best riffs of the album on this song, I found myself loving the progressions here.  They remind me of the diverse song-writing on Sabotage, for example.  ”Age of Reason” also contains a CLASSIC Tony Iommi solo.  This cannot be under-stated.  One kick-ass monster Tony Iommi solo!

TRACK 6 – “LIVE FOREVER”

The second shortest track on the album at 4:49, this is a good little song; and a great main riff on this track.  Very reminiscent of one of my favorite Sabbath songs, “Cornucopia” and even Brad Wilk seems to channel some Bill Ward in the open crash cymbal playing on this song.

TRACK 7 – “DAMAGED SOUL”

This is what we have been waiting for.  This is Sabbath being Sabbath better than all the bands that try, intentionally or un-intentionally, to be Sabbath.  [Wait until you see tomorrow’s story — LeBrain]  This is what I want from my Black Sabbath.  Doom meets gloom meets the blues.  There is something wonderfully sloppy about the guitar on this song.  Like a cross between Iommi and Keith Richards.  We even get some Ozzy harmonica in there.  Love the bridge in this song and the harmony vocals that come with it. The last third of this song is just lovely.  Yes… I said lovely. Check it out.  I must take back a proclamation made earlier in this review.  This is my favorite track on the album.  It’s that simple.

TRACK 8 – “DEAR FATHER”

The last track on the album is solid.  Once again there are some great drums on this song.  It builds momentum as well, getting more majestic as it goes along.  The last track on the album has a very fitting ending.  The track ends with the thunder, rain and tolling of the bell that started off their very first album 43 years ago.

The bottom line is this:  Black Sabbath have released a very relevant album in 2013.  I had my doubts if that was possible, and I am sure the presence of Rick Rubin was a big part of this being a very good if not great album.  Even without Bill Ward, there is life and inspiration within 13.  I find the ending of this album (hopefully) very fitting.  They have made an album which will be rightly recognized as something special, and this should be the end for Black Sabbath.  A glorious end indeed.

A solid 3 ¼ / 5 stars

Uncle Meat

 

 

–         As of June 18, 2013 – Black Sabbath’s ’13’ has debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 charts, the first time in 43 years since ‘Paranoid’.  This is supposedly the first time the band has ever debuted at #1. Not even Ozzy Osbourne’s solo albums have ever debuted at number 1.

 

–         On June 20, 2013 – discussions surrounding the ‘harmonica parts’ on the new album – and who exactly played them – became an interesting discussion on the page.  On other Black Sabbath fan pages, it has been said that Geezer has confirmed that ‘it was Ozzy’ who played the harmonica, and that his final takes made the album.  If we assume this is true (as it supposedly comes via Geezer and direct from the camp), then this is conclusive.   However, it can be argued that no matter who may have played the harmonica initially during sessions (whether it was Ozzy or Stanley Behrens – see below) – that doesn’t necessarily mean that one particular player’s takes ended up on the final album – just playing devil’s advocate.

 

–     However, according to early information and an article dating back to January 28, 2013 (obviously well before the official release of the new album), it states that renowned harmonica player – Stanley ‘The Baron’ Behrens, played harmonica and that he believes his takes made the final album.  Also, Stanley was said to be angered that he was not credited for this and that Ozzy was receiving the credit.  Here is the article with Stanley’s take below:

Black Sabbath announce new album

Stanley Behrens is The Harmonica player on new Black Sabbath album ’13’ NOT Ozzy Osbourne !

NOT ONLY ARE INTERNET, BLOG SITES CLAIMING OZZY PLAYED HARMONICA, BUT ALSO STANLEY BEHRENS HAS NOT BEEN CREDITED ON THE ALBUM SLEEVE… WORSE STILL OZZY’S NAME HAS BEEN ADDED AS THE PLAYER… SAD VERY SAD INDEED ! 🙁

 

Stanley Behrens: The new BLACK SABBATH 13 album with original band members due out in June.

 

I just got the final word that my harmonica track will be featured on it. I play on the song called SATANIC BLUES. I am so excited!!!

 

http://www.blacksabbath.com/

Stanley Behrens is The Harmonica player on new Black Sabbath album ’13’ NOT Ozzy Osbourne !

On June 24, 2013 – I received a reply email from Mike Exeter. Mike was involved with the production duties on ‘13’ as well as previous Sabbath material, handled the keyboard parts for the new album, and has worked as one of Tony Iommi’s side men for quite some time.  Mike took the time to answer a few of my questions which related to his involvement with the new album, if he played the keyboards for the album, and his take on the ‘harmonica controversy’ (ie. Who played what, when?) on the album.  Mike’s reply is below – I wish to take the time to thank Mike Exeter for his kind reply and for the use of the information here!

1 – I have been a right hand man to Tony for many years and helped, bring his vision for the new record to fruition as an engineer and friend. I was heavily involved in the project from the days before even Oz heard the first riff.

 

2 – Keys were me – I heard one thing later that may have been someone else.

 

3 – (about the harmonica controversy – ed.) could be another guy but Tone and I were in the UK from Dec doing our own overdubs so I wasn’t part of the final LA sessions.

On June 20, 2013 – board member Joe Denby passed along this interview he recently did with former Black Sabbath signer Tony Martin – while brief on the subject of Black Sabbath, it is very interesting.  Thanks, Joe.

 

Tony Martin – The Black Sabbath Legend talks to Music Trespass:

 

Joe Denby managed to track down Tony Martin for a quick chat!!!

Tony Martin who replaced Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath is one of the best Metal singers in the World He has done so many amazing projects including Silver Horses and has shaped the British Metal scene, talks to Joe Denby who has been a life long fan about his musical projects and what records he likes…

 

Music Trespass: How are you today?

Tony: Online and feelin fine!!!

 

 

Music Trespass: You recently recorded a duet with Layla Milou how did that go?

Tony: Bloody brilliant!!!!! … I am really impressed how the young artists of today can be so professional and respectful …. I am proud to have worked with her and her man Sascha both of them made a very pleasant and creative session.

Music Trespass: How is the new Giuntini album coming along?

Tony Martin: Its cool … had to fix a couple of lines and i am waiting for the last track to come to me to sing but it should be out around spring time.

 

Listen! to the Giuntini Project 2 ‘Superstitious’ Below…

Music Trespass: How do feel about your time in Black Sabbath looking back?

Tony: erm …….? …… Confused!

Music Trespass: If those albums came out under a different name do you think they would be treated with a bit more respect today?

Tony: Not if the same politics were intact no!!!!!!

Music Trespass: you’ve got so much going on it’s hard to keep up. what’s the best way for fans to keep up to date with the latest news from you?

Tony: Well i’m a bit of a facebook demon and its hard to shut me up sometimes…  I’m workin on a new web site but for now fb is the place to find me.

Music Trespass: your collaboration with Dario Mollo, Mollo / Martin. The third cage was awesome! any change of another album on the horizon?

Tony: Not sure … I think we’ve taken it as far as it can go but i know Dario well, and i am sure he will one day appear with a whole new set of songs!!!!!!

 

Music Trespass: Your show with Tony martin headless cross was a great success. Is there any plans for further dates?

Tony: I would love to …. i stopped touring because everyone expects me to work for free. But if the oportunity arises i would be there faster than a vampire in a blood bank!!!

Music Trespass: There’s rumors of an autobiography, could you elaborate a bit on that?

Tony: I might!!!! …… I have a plan and I am workin on it ….

 

Music Trespass: what projects have you got in the pipeline for 2013?

Tony: Well I am really happy doing studio work at the moment .. Lots of possibilities … including my solo album ‘Book of Shadows’ .. Keep in touch and i will fill you in as they arise.

Music Trespass: with recent news of HMV going into administration, whats your take on the current state of the music business?

Tony: Different things there mate … retail and business are not the same beast …. The music industry is very different now … we lost our grip as artists on our industry in not the same way that the games industry or the film industry did …. Music is a worthless art now … The last album i did paid 1.4 Euro per album!!!!!! …. Not per song …. per album!!!!!!!! …. And That had to be divided between the band!!!!!!!!  and it is so sad that its become the poor relative of other artforms … there are thousands of great players doing stupid cover acts to make money and the labels are mostly very disappointing these days … dont even get me started on it !!!!!!! … Retail ????? .. I’m not suprised in the slightest …. the fact is that music is so easily taken and downloaded now that what the fuck do retail outlets do???? …. My opinion is bring back vinyl ….. … amongst other things … but again you dont wanna get me started on that….

Music Trespass: What advice would you give to musicians trying to make their way today?

Tony: Get a job!!!!

 

Music Trespass: What are your five desert island discs?

Tony: Cant believe people are still asking that question!!!!!!!!! ….. Foo Fighters …. Led Zepplin ….. Bob Marley …. Accept …. and Me.

This news is the latest from Bill Ward as of July 31, 2013 – it has appeared on Blabbermouth and Guitar International magazine.  In it Bill talks about if he was to ever perform with Sabbath again, either he does in 100%, or nothing – this in response to early rumors that the band considered having Bill drum only part of the set, and/or have Tommy Clufetos (or somebody else) possibly alongside of him:

 

 

Robert Cavuoto of Guitar International recently conducted an interview with BLACK SABBATH drummer Bill Ward. An excerpt from the chat follows below.

Guitar International: There are so many stories about why you are not playing with SABBATH on the [“13”] CD as well as with them on tour. Can you set record straight on why you didn’t join in with the reunion?

Bill Ward: [laughs] I was offered a contact and I couldn’t sign it. As for some of the stories — I would never, ever show up for a commitment that I could not do physically. So that should answer that one. In the statement that I did last year, I was quite clear that I came to the end of the road and promised myself and my family that I would never sign a contract that was not workable. It was one of the toughest decisions that I ever had to make. Because I absolutely and without question wanted to play. I haven’t left the band. Everybody thinks I have left the band. I didn’t walk out; it wasn’t like that at all. I just didn’t sign the contact and life took its own course.

Guitar International: Ozzy [Osbourne, BLACK SABBATH singer] said he still loves you, and hopes next time around you will be there. Do you think there is any truth to that?

Bill Ward: I have a complete open mind to the idea. All the nicety and placations in the world will mean nothing unless I get the right contract.

Guitar International: I heard that they wanted you to come out to play on a few songs each night.

Bill Ward: I’m the drummer in BLACK SABBATH so I want to do the entire show. I play all or nothing. Playing partially would kind of be aligning to my demise in SABBATH and minimize me. I’m the drummer in SABBATH and quite capable of doing the job.

Guitar International: What advice would the Bill Ward of today give to the Bill Ward in the early days of BLACK SABBATH?

Bill Ward: Never, ever, ever, ever give away anything that you signed in a contact. Never sign it off, never sell it! Whatever belongs to you, hold on to it with all your heart and soul because it could be a calamitous situations in the future. That would be the first thing, because that’s the most primary thing. But I would also say that you have to stay true to your heart and make a stand and sometimes you have to make a very painful stand. I hated the fact that I’m not on the tour and I couldn’t play Birmingham and all the young fans that wanted to see me play. That was absolutely punishing to go through. Tony [Iommi, BLACK SABBATH guitarist] was sick and I wanted to be with Tony. It was a very hardcore decision to make.

 

 

The following news has been taken from Blabbermouth as of August 5, 2013 – Ozzy comments how he feels Bill Ward may hot have been physically fit and able enough to partake in the current Sabbath tour:

 

 

BLACK SABBATH singer Ozzy Osbourne has disputed original drummer Bill Ward‘s claim that Ward was physically capable of taking part in the group’s current world tour.

Ward said in a new interview with Guitar International that he sat out SABBATH‘s current reunion because of a contract dispute and not physical issues, as the other members of the band have suggested. Ward explained, “I was offered a contract, and I couldn’t sign it. I would never, ever show up for a commitment that I could not do physically . . . It was one of the toughest decisions that I ever had to make, because I absolutely and without question wanted to play.”

RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE drummer Brad Wilk played on SABBATH‘s new album, “13”, while Tommy Clufetos is the touring drummer for the group, which plays Tuesday night (August 6) in Detroit, Michigan.

Speaking to the New York Daily News, Ozzy stated about Ward‘s absence from the SABBATH tour: “I don’t think he could have done the gig, to be honest. He’s incredibly overweight. A drummer has to be in shape. He’s already had two heart attacks. I don’t want to be responsible for his life.”

Despite this, Ozzy said “the door is always open” to Ward to return and admitted that without him “it’s not the same.”

Ward said he’s open to returning to SABBATH, but on one condition: “I play all or nothing.” It’s been speculated that SABBATH wanted Ward to play only part of its live shows because he wasn’t in shape to perform an entire concert.

Osbourne told The Pulse Of Radio that he couldn’t necessarily blame Ward for the way he felt about that. “I mean, if someone said to me, ‘You should sing with this guy,’ I’d be pissed off, you know,” he said. “I mean, it’s understandable, the way he feels. I’m not saying he’s wrong or right, you know. But we had a mission to do an album, you know, and I mean, I think it would have taken twice as long as it did and that was long enough already, you know.”

In an interview with Mojo earlier this year, Ozzy revealed that Ward was not prepared when he came to the band’s earliest rehearsals for the reunion.

He explained, “We looked at Bill, and he couldn’t remember what the fuck we were doing. He didn’t come clean and say, ‘I can’t cut this gig, but can we work something out, guys, where I’ll come on but with another drummer backing me up?’ Or, ‘I’ll come and play a few songs.’ That would have been cool.”

Ward said that playing for only part of the set “would kind of be aligning to my demise in SABBATH and minimize me. I’m the drummer in SABBATH and quite capable of doing the job.”

 

 


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