British honour to Tony Iommi

The fansite for Tony Iommi fans celebrating his brilliant 50 years of dedication and service to music

Birmingham in process for a new tribute to Black Sabbath

 

“Black Sabbath—they invented heavy metal, and we should all thank them for doing it. They should be proud of what they have achieved. In metal, it all began with them, and no one has ever done it better.” - Sir Christopher Lee

“Black Sabbath developed an incredibly unique style; these men invented heavy metal. They have come up with more riffs than any other band in history. Sabbath have inspired so many young bands. Nothing compares to the original Black Sabbath.” - Brian May (QUEEN)

“The beloved Black Sabbath have inspired more new bands to start on their own journey than perhaps any other band, and rightfully so. Throughout their decades of long career, Sabbath has been unrelenting, refused to play by anyone’s rules and stayed true to who they are—all hail Black Sabbath!” - Gene Simmons (KISS)

Celebrating 50 years of Black Sabbath, West Side business development and the city of Birmingham are proposing with great pride, a new landmark immortalizing the founding fathers of heavy metal in the heart of Birmingham’s city center most dynamic and entertaining destination, Broad Street. Home of Birmingham’s ‘Walk Of Stars’, the new development on Broad street comes as part of West Side district renovation plans aiming to create new significant visitor attractions for both locals and tourists from all around the globe.
Geezer. Ozzy. Tony. Bill. Made in Birmingham 1968. Eight words set to immortalise 'Iron Man' rock legends Black Sabbath in trendy stainless steel. And all complete with images of the band members as you've never seen them before.

Plans are afoot to give the chart-topping 'Paranoid' stars a ‘METAL BENCH’ that would be handmade in the Jewellery Quarter by one of the few craftsmen left in the country able to do the work.

A BRIDGE on Broad Street could also be renamed in the group’s honour, too - and potentially bring all four members back into town together for one last time.

Once officially announced by the city council, the scheme would coincide with plans to make Bill Ward the band’s fourth and final recipient of a Walk of Stars award. At the same time, Black Sabbath the group would also be awarded one collectively.

The two-year transition from a blues band called Earth to the fully-fledged demonic heavy metal band Black Sabbath sparked a global music revolution which has spawned multiple strands of ‘metal’ music from ‘death metal’ to ‘thrash metal’. Originally managed by city music stalwart Jim Simpson, it is 50 years since the godfathers of heavy metal played their first gig at The Crown pub on Station Street. And it’s almost two years since they brought their final world tour The End to a thunderous climax with two stunning shows at the Genting Arena in February, 2017. 

Meanwhile, the pub has stood empty for more than four years despite local campaigners calling for it to be turned into a rock and roll museum equivalent of Liverpool’s The Cavern. Now BirminghamLive has learned of a Westside BID proposal for the stretch of Broad Street over the canal next to Symphony Hall and the ICC to be called the Black Sabbath Bridge. The special bench would be against the railings overlooking the New Main Line canal with rock venue Arena Birmingham in the distance. Plans to give the band and drummer Bill Ward their own Walk of Stars awards would enable pavement 'stars' for all members and the band to be realigned in the shape of a cross in front of the bench. The idea is one of a number of local initiatives to ‘create new significant visitor attractions for both locals and tourists from around the globe’.

The scheme has been developed from an idea by Egyptian-born Black Sabbath superfan Mohammed Osama, now based in Dubai, who approached Westside BID on Broad Street. Artwork has been done by Egyptian artist Tarek Abdelkawi – an illustrator, graphic designer and musician with an architectural background. 

Mohammed Osama says: “If we get approval, all of the stars will be rearranged and the bridge itself will also be named after the band - the band members and their managements have been in the loop as well.” Mohammed is a 35-year-old Egyptian consultant architect now living in Dubai. A fan of the band since the age of seven, he now counts Geezer Butler and wife Gloria as personal friends even though they are based in LA. Mohammed was at Villa Park in February this year and accompanied Geezer to the pitch where the famously shy bass player was presented with his Broad Street Walk of Stars award. 

“My vision is to reunite the four original members for the unveiling of the stars and ‘Metal Bench’ (the crowning jewel of the whole project),” says Mohammed, - "I mean just reunite them together at their hometown, no gigs or anything. Just the four of them being celebrated together at their home town would be the best ending and closure I could possibly think of. For them on a personal level and for their fans all around the globe. The 'Metal Bench' aims to be a major tribute to the band and at the same time, create a major tourist landmark on Broad Street! The Bull statue at the Bullring is one of the most photographed sculptures in England. We hope this new bench would rival that.”

 


BirminghamMail.co.uk, 13 November 2018

Tony tells stories about some highlights of his career

 

Tony recalled some very interesting moments of his career at the special spoken word shows he recently had in Scotland and London. He told amazing stories on them early days when Sabbath was starting out.

“Bill and I lived in Carlisle for a year after joining a band there and we used to play lots of gigs around Dumfries, Edinburgh and places around Scotland,” Tony said, - “So when Sabbath started, that’s where we went back to play – we got in touch with the agent and said we had a new band. She asked if it was pop music we were playing and I said of course. She heard later we were playing different stuff and she’d received a few complaints. We weren’t getting many gigs but we were playing in blues clubs and playing that sort of music. But when we wrote our first two songs, Wicked World and Black Sabbath, I knew we were on to something really different. We tried them out in those clubs and people came up to us afterwards and said they really liked them. It was great to get that reaction. There were also people who didn’t like them, of course, but we were interested in the ones who did. No one had heard a sound like it, and when Paranoid was released they hit the big time.

I thought I would do something in martial arts because I used to go training three or four times a week – karate, judo and so on – and I really enjoyed it, but as soon as I found music, everything else fell by the wayside. After the accident with my fingers I had to find another way to play, so I had to learn again. I’d already been playing for a couple of years, so had to go back to the start. But it helped me come up with a style and to invent a sound because I couldn’t play full chords, so I had to develop a way to make it sound big with what I had. I took my guitar to pieces and made modifications. I made it work.”

Tony remembered his brief tenure with Jethro Tull back in 1968 as well.

“We weren’t Sabbath, we were called Earth. And I went with Jethro Tull. It was just a short stay and it wasn’t right for me. And I came back and we got the band back together again, with Ozzy and Bill and Geezer. And we realized then that we need to do something that is different to what a lot of other people were doing. And that’s sort of where it started, jamming around. The first one was "Wicked World", and the second song we did was "Black Sabbath". And that was the benchmark of where we went from. As soon as we’ve done that – that’s it, this is where it’s gonna go from here.”

Did you learn anything from Ian Anderson from time in Jethro Tull in terms of putting the band together?

“Yes, I did actually. I learned the way they work and it was very different from the way we worked. It was – nine o’clock in the morning, rehearsal. Well, we didn’t know what nine o’clock was… So I come back going to the others, ‘Nine o’clock, we’re gonna start work.’ And I was the only one that could drive then, so I had to pick everybody up to go to the rehearsal. Which was… I cut my own throat there. So that’s what we did. We got into this regime and they were willing to do it. Because I’ve been with Jethro Tull, they knew I had that offer and turned it down.”

Tony also remembered the old days and the time the boys nearly accidentally killed their drummer Bill Ward by painting him gold. 
"The things we've done... When we lived in California, we had a house that we rented off John DuPont, who was famous for DuPont products - you know, the lighters and all that stuff... paint, DuPont paint. It was his house. A fantastic house. It got a ballroom and everything. Anyway, we rented this house for six months and we've done an album there. Of course, we go rummaging around in the garage and there's all these paints in there. And one night, Bill again came back pissed. So me and Ozzy decided to take all of his clothes off, and we got some of the gold paint and we sprayed him gold from head to toe. Honest to god. And not only that. We've got some of this clear lacquer and we've lacquered him off. It was a laugh... And then he started throwing up. And it got really bad. I thought, 'Oh God, what's happened to him?' Anyway, I had to phone the ambulance. And they said, 'What's wrong with him?' I said, 'Well... He's sprayed gold.' They sent an ambulance out... And god, did they tell us off. They said, 'You could have killed him!'. Because apparently, his skin couldn't breathe. It was convulsions, you know?"

Speaking of Sabbath escapades, Tony also remembered the time when Ozzy mysteriously vanished off the face of the planet for a day. He said:

"What happened was we checked in the hotel in Atlanta. It was a high-rise house with the glass lifts on the outside and all that rubbish. We go in there and Ozzy wasn't feeling that great beforehand. He drank a bottle of... Instead of having a spoon, he drank a bottle. So we go to our rooms and he's walking along the corridor. Of course, he sees his room open, he walks in it and passes out on the bed. But it wasn't his room, of course. All his luggage is in his room. Anyway, it was time for the gig and we went to find out if he's ready. No answer. And we sent security up. They opened the door, the bed hasn't been sat on, his luggage is there. We thought, 'Oh, blimey, where is he? Where has he gone?' So we had alerts out, we had police, we had him on the TV every 15 minutes, we had him on the radio every 15 minutes. We thought he had been kidnapped or something. It was really bad. I think we had Van Halen on with us then, they were supporting us. And they've done their spots, and me and Bill and Geezer went down to the gig to say we can't do the gig. Obviously, the fans thought we haven't turned up, but we were there. We just said, 'We can't find Ozzy.' It became quite a worry and we were up all night panicking. 'What happened to him? Somebody bumped him off.' You never know over there. About sort of 9 o'clock in the morning, we had a phone call. 'Hello?'... 'It's Ozzy. What time we leavin'? He'd only lost it by a day. So that was it really."

Tony explained his thoughts about Eddie Van Halen and his guitar skills.

“I couldn’t do what he does. He’s very technical, he does all the tapping. But one time he came over and we got to play together. He wanted to play… He said, ‘We used to play ‘Into the Void.” And we started playing ‘Into the Void.’ And I said ‘No, you’re playing it wrong.’ And he said, ‘I’ve been playing it like this all these years. And, of course, I showed him how to play it. I didn’t ask him how he played any of his because I wouldn’t be able to do it. You know, these relationships we struck up from those tours lasted all these years. He’s one of my best friends. And Brian May, of course. So it was great touring together. And basically they were new on the block, and they learned a lot from us. On the side of the stage every night, watching what to get the crowd going, drum solos and all that. Towards the end of the tour, they were basically doing exactly the same as us. They were doing the guitar solos, then the drum solos. And one night I said to Eddie, ‘Hey Eddie, are you gonna play a couple of tracks off our new album tomorrow?’ And I took him in my room and I said, ‘You can’t be doing the same sort of thing on the same show. When you do your own shows, do it.’ And we’ve been friends ever since then.”

 


SundayPost.com, Metalwani.com, UltimateGuitar.com, Metalheadzone.com, 13 November 2018

Tony's new interview with Scottish Herald

 

THE man who invented heavy metal is on the line. The man who, alongside bass player Geezer Butler, drummer Bill Ward and vocalist Ozzy Osbourne, thundered out of Birmingham in 1968 strafing the sky with round after round of gnarled riffs, siring hundreds upon hundreds of groups and changing the face of music for ever. The man who survived the bacchanalian excess of the 1970s and 80s when many of his friends did not. The man who ranks only slightly below Satan in the estimation of millions of metal disciples around the world.

“I just potter around,” says Tony Iommi when asked about his daily routine, his Black Country accent perfectly intact. Despite decades of globetrotting he still lives in the West Midlands with his fourth wife, Maria Sjoholm. The guitarist and chief songwriter in Black Sabbath is now 70 years old and called time on the band in 2017, five years after he was diagnosed with lymphoma, which was declared in remission in 2016. “I get up at 6.15am – which is very unlike me – and I have a regime of having my breakfast, taking the dog out, then I’ll play guitar for a while. The time just flies by. I’ve got a life now like everybody else.

“I have to be careful. I go to bed at a sensible hour. I have to anyway – I fall asleep if it’s late and I’m sitting down.” Iommi dissolves into laughter.

His longevity can be attributed in part to his positive outlook. “You’ve got to keep enjoying life,” he says. “Whatever it takes. I’m doing things now that I did in the 1970s – I’ve started collecting cars again. I’m buying cars I can’t f****** get in because they’re too low.” He laughs again. “It’s always been a passion – fast cars and stuff. I’ve got a Ferrari 488, a McLaren 650S and a Bentley Bentayga. I don’t want a hundred cars. I want ones I can use. I like them. I enjoy them.”

Precisely how much Sabbath fans wish to know about the contents of Iommi’s garage is open to debate but next weekend the son of Italian immigrants will be appearing in Paisley and Edinburgh with the acclaimed rock journalist Phil Alexander. Their conversations will undoubtedly dwell mainly on matters musical – and there is much to discuss.

Across five decades with Black Sabbath Iommi has worked with many of the biggest names in late 20th-century rock, including singers Glenn Hughes, Ronnie James Dio and Ian Gillan – who describes his year with Sabbath in the early 1980s in this month’s Mojo magazine as “the longest party of my life” – and drummers Cozy Powell (The Jeff Beck Group, Rainbow) and Bev Bevan (The Move, ELO). Sabbath alone made 19 studio albums, the best of which are generally accepted to be the first five – the eponymous debut, Paranoid, Master of Reality, Vol 4 and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.

Is there a record Iommi thinks the group couldn’t have improved? “That’s a difficult question,” he replies after a long pause. “You always go ‘I could’ve done that’ or ‘I could’ve done this’ but I actually like the stuff we done with Dio as well – Heaven and Hell [released in 1980] and Mob Rules [1981]. I like those as well as the early Sabbath, of course.”

The ripple effect of those early records is hard to overstate. The list of bands who have acknowledged the colossal influence of Black Sabbath reads like a Who’s Who of rock and metal: Metallica, Van Halen, Iron Maiden, Nirvana, Guns N’ Roses, Soundgarden, Foo Fighters and countless others.

How does it feel to be responsible for so much music? “It’s fantastic,” he says. “I’d never have thought that would happen and it amazes me even now. It’s great to have been able to create something that’s still there after all these years and got bigger and bigger. The amount of bands I’ve met over the years from Metallica onwards who have praised me for coming up with the ideas has been brilliant. It’s almost a bit embarrassing.” Iommi laughs again.

At the core of the ideas to which he refers lies one thing: the riff. Having created the likes of Paranoid, Sweet Leaf, Supernaut and dozens of other staples of rehearsal rooms and guitar shops from Aberdeen to Adelaide, Iommi is the undisputed king of the metal riff – no mean feat considering he lost the tops of the ring and middle fingers on his right hand as a teenager and was advised by doctors to abandon his dream of playing guitar.

“If I’m coming up with a riff it has to really grab me and I have to go: ‘Yeah!’” he says, matter-of-factly. “I’ve got waylaid at certain times – with some of the stuff I look back and go ‘I could’ve done that better’ – but it’s something that grabs you when you come up with a riff. Is it a riff you can sing over or can it only be an opening riff? That’s how I work anyway.”

Who were the guitarists he was trying to emulate in the early days? “In them days there weren’t much around,” he replies. “There was [Led] Zeppelin and Cream – I liked [Eric] Clapton – and we done a few gigs in the early days with John Mayall, who I really liked. I liked blues played on a more modern sounding guitar, which was Clapton of course. That was sort of the way we went, only coming up with more doomy stuff.”

And where did those leanings come from? “It’s probably because I was so miserable,” he says, laughing. “No … It was one of those things. I used to love going to see horror films and Geezer and myself used to go to the midnight movies. We were trying to get the tension you have in a horror film.

“It’s funny because a few years ago I interviewed Sir Christopher Lee and he was going: ‘You are the king of heavy metal’ and all this stuff and I said: ‘Well, you’re the one who started it off.’”

Does Iommi still feel connected to the long-haired young guitarist trying to take a Hammer to electric blues? “Oh yeah,” he says. “It’s still within me. If I pick up a guitar now I’ll end up playing something doomy. I’ve got loads and loads and loads of riffs that I’ve got to get through so I still follow that same path. I put a lighter side on it as well – I do some acoustic stuff. I like both.”

While he misses performing, Iommi no longer wishes to revisit the lifestyle of the touring musician. “I love being on stage,” he says, “but I’ve had to stop touring because I can’t carry on finishing late and getting back to the hotel at five in the morning. It’s sad but I’m not writing myself off – I’m still well involved with playing, I’m still writing. I’ll be doing stuff soon but not so much touring.

“The older you get the more you feel it. When we were 20 we’d be up all night. We did try on the last tour but I was getting really tired.”
The road has taken its toll on many musicians of Iommi’s generation. Why do some survive and others don’t? “I don’t know. I’ve seen so many of my friends or people in the business who have done drugs and whatever else and died, from John Bonham onwards. John was a good friend. I’ve seen other friends go a similar way through drugs and alcohol abuse.

“You get lonely. You get bored in the hotel so you try to find something to do to be somewhere else. We saw it with Lemmy. He was the epitome of rock and roll. He was the one who would burn the candle at both ends all the time but at some point you’ve got to look at it and say, ‘I can’t do that any more.’”

Or the decision is taken out of your hands. “Absolutely, yeah. Even with Keith Richards, I’m amazed he’s still pottering on. I take my hat off to him.”

With his own hellraising days over, Iommi is both philosophical and upbeat about his past, present and future. “Music’s always been the love of my life,” he says. “It’s made my life and sometimes it’s caused me problems. When I was married before … Your music takes over and you end up being in the studio all night and touring and your marriage becomes lost, but now I’m very, very happy.”

 


Sean Guthrie for ScottishHerald.com, 12 October 2018

 

Tony Iommi's events with Phil Alexander

 

A message from Phil Alexander to those fans coming to the Scottish shows starting from tonight:

Each night will have a unique section diving into the detail not found in Tony’s book. As well as the general history, Paisley will feature ‘from 1968 onwards, the rise of Sabs’, Edinburgh’s will be 1978 and onwards, the reinvention of Sabbath. Phil would love to get questions from those attending, so if you're attending we will have cards at the door for you to write a question on and be answered by Tony. So think of your best question (and make sure they fit the theme of the night you're attending). Also confirming this is not a Q&A event, it’s being there with them as they shoot the breeze and regale anecdotes about Tony’s 50 year career. A lot has happened.

If you'd like to attend, here are a pair of links where you can purchase a ticket:

Fri Oct 12 @ Paisley Town Hall

Sat Oct 13 @ Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh

Without Black Sabbath there wouldn't be heavy metal. They released two classic albums in 1970 that defined an entire genre. Their eponymous debut opens with the tolling bells of 'Black Sabbath' alongside 'The Wizard', 'NIB' and 'Evil Woman', while Paranoid includes 'War Pigs', 'Paranoid' and 'Iron Man' and 'Faeries Wear Boots'. 1971's Masters of Reality went even heavier sowing the seeds for what would become doom metal and stoner rock on tracks like 'Sweet Leaf', 'Into the Void' and 'Children of the Grave'.
Ozzy Osbourne's lyrics brought horror to rock'n'roll and Tony Iommi's detuned guitar style and deep resonating riffs made them sound like no other band. Many critics were appalled and terrified by their early releases but they found an audience who craved something darker and weightier.

Over the years, drink and drugs took their toll and after troubled recording sessions for Technical Ecstasy (1976) and Never Say Die! (1978), Ozzy was kicked out. Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward recruited Rainbow's Ronnie James Dio as their new vocalist. He was followed by a revolving door of singers (that included Deep Purple's Ian Gillan and Glenn Hughes) and personnel changes. The band officially went on hiatus in 1995 before the original lineup reunited in 1997 and continued to tour (unfortunately without Ward from 2012 onwards) on and off until 2017 when they returned to where it had all started and played their final ever gig together in Birmingham.
Iommi was the only continuous member through these various lineups and permutations. His guitar playing was the foundation on which all of Black Sabbath's music was built. Now he's heading to Scotland for two very special events where he will appear in conversation with former Kerrang! editor Phil Alexander.

Can you tell us about these events you have coming up with Phil Alexander?

It's just me talking about my life really. Experiences, the different members in the band, all the things that have happened in my career. I don't know what questions Phil's gonna ask but he's so good, he's known me so many years, he knows all the incarnations of Sabbath so I'm sure he'll have a lot of interesting questions.

Could you tell about the accident you had as a teenager?

My fingers were damaged when I used to work in a factory welding. The metal parts would be sent to me and I'd weld them. One day the bloke who used to usually send them to me, and bent all this steel, didn't come in so they put me on his machine. I'd never worked the machine before, I wasn't shown properly, basically it came down on my hands and as I pulled my hands back I pulled the end of my fingers off. It was like a big guillotine.

However, this led to your unique guitar style in Black Sabbath.

It changed my whole life in terms of playing. Firstly, I was told I'd never be able to play again by various doctors, so I had to develop something that would allow me to play. So I made my own finger tips [out of plastic] because they were very sore and painful, I had to learn to play again, a different style of playing, and try and find a way that made it comfortable and didn't hurt. I had to look at the guitar completely differently and set it up with different strings, the whole thing had to change.

When you started out did you think this darker heavier music would find an audience? As no one else was playing anything like Black Sabbath at the time.

I think the thing with music is you've got to do what is in you, and believe in what you do. If you start aiming towards a fanbase, you are doing something other people want, so first and foremost you have to do what you want and hope other people like it. It took a long time because there wasn't the internet or anything like that so it was all word of mouth, getting out, working and doing it.

When did you first see the word 'metal' associated with Black Sabbath?

That was a lot later around 1973 or 74. It was an interview I was doing, I think it was with Melody Maker, they said 'you play metal,' and I was like 'what's that?' because I'd always classed ourselves as heavy rock.

How does it feel to be credited with inventing a whole genre?

Fantastic. It's unbelievable really. It's really pleasing to see when you look back from being told you're never going to play again to inventing a new sound and a new sort of music.

Apart from Ozzy and Dio who has been your favourite vocalist to work with?

I wouldn't like to say, there's been so many good singers on my solo projects. Dave Grohl was great, I really liked working with him, he's really keen and enthusiastic.

Ozzy was recently quoted as saying he 'didn't have a great time' on the last Sabbath tour. Do you have a response to that? 

I saw that but I don't know what he meant. I had a great time on the last tour playing with the guys and Ozzy never mentioned anything to me. He seemed to enjoy it and we had a laugh so I don't know, so I think possibly that quote was taken out of context.

Black Sabbath might be over but I'm assuming you're still working on music.

I couldn't stop playing, but the thing is now I can do it in my own time. When you are touring, it's booked for 18 months – which is fantastic I love playing on stage – the reason I stopped was the travelling. It takes it out of your body. Even though we travelled with our own plane, great hotels, you still get tired and get to bed at four or five in the morning, but I still love being on stage, I love playing and I love seeing the fans. At the moment, I'm in the process of remixing [Black Sabbath's 1995] Forbidden with Tony Martin [vocals], Cozy Powell [drums] and Neil Murray [bass]. That's an album I've never been satisfied with so I'm about to start pulling that apart and remix it.

Tony Iommi in Conversation: 'A Life In Music', Town Hall, Paisley, Friday 12 October; Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh, Satuday 13 October.

 

 


12 October 2018

 

Sabbath Statuettes Auction for Solihull Hospital

 

There are not many bands in the vast rock kingdom that have been immortalised by erecting statues in their image. In the case of Black Sabbath, an artist from Poland who is a devoted fan of the band, decided to make a difference.

Building full-sized statues of the Sabbath boys for Birmingham’s Victoria Square may not be possible, but talented Maciej Hrycyna has created a unique set of highly detailed, realistic resin statuettes standing about 9 inches high. All of them are accurate on a 1:8 scale to each Sabbath member’s exact height.

Maciej says that his first creation was the mighty Tony Iommi: Posed on a round base with a gold painted Henry figure, the one and only Iron Man is dressed from top to toe in black. As during “The End” tour he wears a leather jacket, black tight trousers, boots with laces and holds the legendary black Gibson SG axe. The guitar has all 6 strings and Tony’s fingers are placed on the fretboard. Last but not least, Tony wears a pair of his signature glasses as well, will shows the amazing attention to detail. The statuettes pose and facial features are made so faithful to the original, you get the impression you’re looking at Tony himself!

Happy with his creation, Maciej then gave birth to miniature versions of Geezer Butler, Ozzy and Bill Ward. His idea was to make the whole original band, keeping in mind the upcoming 50-year anniversary of their career. Geezer is represented with his signature bass, in a leather outfit exactly as during the last tour. A long black overcoat adorns Ozzy Osbourne’s figure and he is pictured in his classic frontman pose, with his arms symbolically embracing the crowd of fans; a gesture that basically sums up the band’s spirit and attitude. Then there’s our beloved Bill who, with a “Black Sabbath” inscribed bass drum at his feet, salutes the fans with a V sign. Bill wears the original aluminium cross (he is the only one who still has this gift from Ozzy’s father - this tiny detail makes the statuette even more precious).

Maciej’s love for Black Sabbath inspired him to create this original set of statuettes but he has also decided to auction off some of them to fans in order to raise funds for Solihull Haematology and Oncology day Unit, in Solihull Hospital, West Midlands, recently opened by Tony Iommi who made several personal donations and gave funds raised by various events held by him over the last five years.

Each statuette was numbered and had the date of completion on it’s base. It was only possible to acquire the full set of four band members, Tony, Ozzy, Geezer and Bill. 

Tony Iommi's guitar tech Mike Clement kindly agreed to help with the auction.

The auction took place in facebook group "Tony Iommi - the Man, the Master, the Legend" on 29 August 2018, and Edward Bransky won his set for 1050$ alas 781,80BP. Biggest thanks to Mike Clement, who kindly delivered the money to the hospital, and informed Tony himself.

Tony published the followed message on his social networks:

"Many thanks to everyone who bid for Maciej’s models, Karen who ran the auction and especially the winner, Edward Bransky. GBP£781.80 has gone to the Cancer Unit at Heartlands Hospital."

Thank you very much, dear Tony, for inspiring us, we are One True Family, and together we hold the Iommi banner high and proud!

 


11 September 2018

Ten Year War box wins the AIM Awards

 

Black Sabbath’s limited edition vinyl boxset The Ten Year War, an impressive collection of the first eight albums from the iconic metal band, was named Best Creative Packaging at the eight edition of the AIM Awards, held on September 4 in London.

The Ten Year War marks the third consecutive success at the AIM Awards where a BMG catalog release has been recognized. Peter Stack, Executive Vice President Global Catalog Recordings, said “We’re incredibly proud to have delivered a timeless boxset that embodies the importance of Black Sabbath, and much like their music, leaves a lasting impression on those who own it. 

Released in September 2017, The Ten Year War boxset includes a number of rarities as well as ‘The Ten Year War’ brochure, all housed within exclusive artwork created by renowned street artist, graphic designer and activist Shepard Fairey.

With a discography spanning over 40 years, Black Sabbath is easily one of the most influential heavy metal bands of all time. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers have sold over 75 million records, including over 24 platinum albums in the UK alone and over 15 million albums in the US.


Bmg.com, 10 September 2018

Black Sabbath’s limited edition boxset The Ten Year War nominated for AIM Awards

 

Black Sabbath’s limited edition vinyl boxset The Ten Year War is nominated for the Association of Independent Music (AIM) Awards in the category ‘Best Creative Packaging’. The exclusive boxset was released by BMG last year, including the first eight albums of the UK metal band. It sold out almost instantly after their release.

Despite Black Sabbath’s multi-million selling albums and rabid fan base throughout the seventies, this adulation wasn’t always mirrored by the music press at the time. The band received lots of criticism, prompting them to publish ‘The Ten Year War’ brochure; a playful dig at journalists with the witty tagline “more good press than most – more bad press than any.” The brochure is reproduced in full for the box set and is one of the many exclusive items held within that also includes eight vinyls reproduced in their original sleeves, two rare 7” singles, a Crucifix shaped Black Sabbath USB stick, a hardback book, reprinted tour posters and more.

The cover art of the box was designed by globally renowned street artist, graphic designer and activist Shepard Fairey.

AIM provides a collective voice for UK’s independent music industry and represents over 800 member companies. Their annual AIM Awards will be held on September 4, 2018.

 


Bmg.com.uk, 11 August 2018

An evening with Tony Iommi: Review

 

A wonderful evening at Birmingham Town Hall on Saturday 23rd June 2018, when Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath shared his stories and memories to a packed audience, including the origins of the sound, the band and its members and the incredible gigs. Home of Metal official website published this very interesting article on their website, which we decided to share with our readers. Home of Metal volunteers attended and describe the evening:

Tony recounted the origins of the band’s name to an enthralled audience remarking that they started out as ‘Earth’ and because there was already a band called Earth they were booked by mistake. They played, didn’t last very long and didn’t get paid so quickly changed their name to ‘Black Sabbath’.

“Geezer: His family is catholic. He’s the clever one of the band. The name “Black Sabbath” didn’t go down well with his family.”
In the early days of rehearsals Tony was the only one driving: he had to pick up everyone to rehearse each day and with no recording equipment and never been able to read or write music they had to remember everything by heart to recount it again.
Remembering Hamburg Tony recalled that they had to play seven sets of 45 minutes each but at that time didn’t have enough songs. They steadily built an audience but were not particularly happy there and were glad to leave, even though it helped build a great follow-up being in the same club as the Beatles.

Tony described his accident that injured his hand saying that there was no consideration for health and safety at the time.   On his last day, he had to replace another worker on a machine that he had never used and he had no idea what he was doing. He went home of his lunch to speak to his mother saying he didn’t want to go back in the afternoon (couldn’t be bothered as it was his last day) but she made him go and complete his employment.  The accident happened that afternoon.   He was devastated… The doctors said he’d never play again. He tried making finger tips with melted Fairy Liquid bottles, but the tips kept slipping off. He used the leather of a jacket which worked a bit better. “I had to look at the guitar completely differently”, he said. He took the guitar apart, got banjo strings, dropped the gage down so it wouldn’t hurt him so much when he played. The sound that came out was “a racket”, now known as Heavy Metal.  Tony remarked that he was always experimenting.

“When Brian May comes to the house, I give him a Gibson and an amp [different from the one he uses] and he gets the same sound!”
Tony talked of the time that Black Sabbath visited San Francisco at the height of ‘Flower Power.’   He describes the anti Black Sabbath demonstrations there where they had to break barriers against “religious fanatics and maniacs”.  He said that witches were also attending the gig and on returning to their hotel after a gig (bearing in mind there was no security like now in hotels) they saw three women in black cloaks and candles at the end of their corridor. So the band members approached them and started singing “Happy Birthday” to the witches which must have taken them by surprise because they left.

Recounting ‘Paranoid’ Tony stated the album  was called War Pigs at first. They didn’t have any songs for the album so had to come up with more. Tony was left alone in the studio to write while the rest of the band were in the pub. He came up with the riff for ‘Paranoid’, the last song, and the band ended up writing the song in 20 minutes. It is the fastest song they ever wrote and the most successful. It opened up the US market for them. Warner Brothers didn’t like War Pigs, but the UK market were even more difficult (at the time the it was all about Blues, Soul, and Pop). The album and sleeve were not accepted in the US so they had to change it.

Tony talked about how the band members liked to play tricks on each other. Tony once poured rubbing alcohol on Bill and lit it. Tony thought it would just light up and die down quickly but Bill ended up with 3rd degree burns. Bill’s mum called Tony to tell him off “so that was the end of that!”  On another occasion they were stopped by the police and had gas masks in the van. “You have to get a bit of fun on the road or you go loony. That’s what happened to Ozzy!” [joke!]

The Q&A from fans on the night included a number of great questions and recalls from Tony.

How did Ozzy come back in to Black Sabbath? They were reunited for Live Aid in Philadelphia. Live Aid was “disastrous”! They were on at 10am, having spent the night before in a bar with Judas Priest. They were all rough the next day. But they ended up doing Ozzfest.

Do you miss the crowds? “We have the best fans”

And your amazing charity work? Following the earthquake disaster in Armenia they recorded with Dave Gilmour. They then got a letter from the President inviting Sabbath and Brian May to be presented with a Medal of Honour. After what they saw in Armenia they made an album to raise money and built a music school there. Tony has recently raised £23,000 at Opus for Cancer Unit at Heartlands & Solihull. People attended from all over the world.   He also raises funds for the charity Wythall Animal Rescue.

What about the gig with Putin? Tony was asked to play at the Kremlin and was offered a lot of money for it. He didn’t want to go so told his agent to ask for double the money (hoping they’d say no and give up) but they said yes! Once there, Tony was surprised to see Putin turn up with a 30 people crew.

What is your most memorable show? Playing Madison Square Garden, and then Buckingham Palace with Ozzy in 2002. Buckingham Palace was a weird day.

What is your favourite food and drink? I use to drink Guinness but now drink wine. At first, the band used to go for Fish and Chips or curry after gigs or rehearsals, but they spent all their money on gigs.

How’s your health? He feels ok but still goes to check-ups.

What’s your favourite album? I like them all. (maybe the first one or Sabbath Bloody Sabbath)

What’s a normal day in the life of Tony Iommi? “When we were on tour, it was get up, have breakfast, go for a walk. Now it’s get up, have breakfast, walk, take the dog out…” Things are a bit different in the band now. They’re recovering alcoholics. Everybody wants their own space. They talk to each other more on stage than off it.

Tony’s friendship with Brian May: What to look for? “We might get together when Brian has the time”. They’ve been friends since 1972. His 2 best friends in the business are Brian May and Eddie Van Halen.

If you weren’t in Black Sabbath, what band would you be in? A blues band. John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers maybe.

Who were you listening to when Earth started? Blues bands. The Shadows to start with. He also likes Jazz and Doris Day. Django Reinhardt, Frank Sinatra.

What was it like to play with Led Zepplin? “They came in the studio, we had a jam, it was a row!” John wanted to play Supernaut. “There must be tapes around somewhere”

What was so special about Mothers in Erdington? It had a vibe that didn’t exist anywhere else. Big names played there.

What were your biggest gigs? 100,000 in Sao Paolo. 300,000 in California.

Will Black Sabbath ever play again with the original members? “It would be possible. I don’t know.”

Is Geezer the healthiest? He’s a vegan, he lives in California. He’s doing a bucket list tour: going to Italy, driving to NY etc

What song do you wish you’d written? ”I’m happy with what I’ve written!”

Would you do another solo album? “I don’t know”. Would like to do one with Brian May, or work with Rob Halford. He likes doing different things. He liked working with the Birmingham Cathedral choir. He met the Dean in a Pub. There were fans in the pub who wondered what was going on (given the Dean’s attire).

Did you consider living permanently in the US? I lived there because I worked there but missed my friends.

What’s next? Tony can’t stop and do nothing.

 


Charlotte Forcer – Home of Metal Volunteer, Homeofmetal.com, 10 August 2018

Tony to appear at Paisley's Spree Festival

 

TICKETS ON SALE!

Rock music legend Tony Iommi has been added to the bill for Paisley’s Spree Festival – where he will give music fans the inside story of his career as one of heavy metal’s most influential figures.

The Black Sabbath guitarist will appear at Paisley Town Hall on Friday 12 October for the show – called ‘Tony Iommi in conversation with Phil Alexander: A Life in Music’

The Spree festival is one of the highlights of Paisley’s annual cultural calendar and takes place in various venues from 12 to 20 October.
A Spree festival spokesperson said: “When we think of guitarist Tony Iommi we think of heavy rock and of his innovative dark riffs. We think of the beginning of heavy metal.

“This show will give us a fascinating insight into the life and career of a man whose influence on the history of popular music cannot be overstated – a key innovator and a true rock star in every sense.”

Black Sabbath have sold more than 100 million albums worldwide since forming in Birmingham in 1968. Their most recent album hit number one US and the UK, and 1.6 million people saw the band perform during their last world tour.

Besides releasing three solo albums, Tony has been inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, wrote a New York Times bestselling autobiography, has received two Grammy Awards and Birmingham’s Broad Street added his star.

Evening host Phil Alexander has been an editor, broadcaster, presenter and producer. As editor of Kerrang! he transformed the magazine into a multi-platform brand by launching the Kerrang! branded TV, radio, website and awards. He later became editor-in-chief for MOJO, and Global Creative Director of Kerrang! Magazine and Rock Music Media.

The Spree festival is run by Renfrewshire Council. Other big-name acts coming to Paisley for this year’s Spree include Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, The Orb, ex-Kraftwerk member Wolfgang Flur, Gang of Four and Big Minds (made up of members of Big Country and Simple Minds).

Ticket for all shows (including Tony Iommi in conversation with Phil Alexander) are on sale now via thespree.co.uk 

Also, just in one week - Tony is going to appear at Whitley Bay Film Festival - don't miss this event, and buy tickets if you haven't got them yet!

Whitley Bay film festival program looks super amazing - 18 August has Led Zeppelin' s Celebration Day, and the next night of 19 August has Black Sabbath 's The End, plus appearance of Lord Iommi himself. REMINDER !!! Get your tickets and don't miss this fantastic opportunity!
Tony Iommi, Black Sabbath's acclaimed lead guitarist, will be the guest at a screening of Black Sabbath’s landmark documentary ‘The End Of The End’. Selling over 100 million records worldwide, the Black Sabbath guitarist has forged his place in music history as the "Master of Metal.

Black Sabbath The End of the End,' (2017) captured the very last gig for the three original members on February 4th 2016 at the Genting arena in their home city. This was the band's farewell to one of the most dedicated fan bases of all time. Of course it may be the end collectively, but for Tony and the other members, it certainly is not, as this special guest appearance proves. The movie's celebrated director Dick Carruthers will also be a guest.

Without cinema there would be no Black Sabbath. The band took their name from Mario Bava's horror trilogy of the same name. They were intrigued by the fact that people actually paid to be frightened - as would their audience!.

Black Sabbath, whose eponymous album hit an unsuspecting world in 1970, were literally founded in the foundry of the world : Birmingham. Four working class heroes created the genre of Heavy Metal, a dizzying industrial meld of the blues, jazz, occult, comic books, ecology and post war inner city zeitgeist. Never the music critics' darlings, Sabbath, like their creation "Iron Man", crushed all opposition for nearly five decades. They would be vindicated by influencing younger cult bands and even producing a number one album"13" when those same journalists had consigned them to history.

Tony Iommi, as the lead guitarist of Black Sabbath, is one of the world's greatest guitarists. Like the motto of his native city he has moved "Forward," uncompromisingly against all odds. A youthful industrial accident to his hand did not prevent, in fact it probably accentuated, his unique Wagnerian riffs that generated millions of sales and many awards for Black Sabbath. In 2016 Tony defied the greatest odds of all in the form of blood cancer to helm an 81 date world tour entitled "The End."

This was the band's farewell to one of the most dedicated fan bases of all time. Of course it may be the end collectively, but for Tony and the other members, it certainly is not, as this special guest appearance proves. "Black Sabbath The End of the End," (2017) captured the very last gig for the three original members on February 4th 2016 at the Genting arena in their home city. With director Dick Carruthers at the helm, you witness the band on extraordinary form for the ultimate homecoming. Backed by Tony and Geezer Butler's power riffs, Ozzy Osbourne opens his bejewelled arms to party with an audience of all ages."The End of the End" is more than a concert film, there is a band interview, exclusive studio performances, all pervaded by an honesty of a band contemplating the present through their past-plus that unmistakable Brummie humour.


Iommi.com, 10 August 2018

Symptom of the Universe is the greatest riff of all time

 

Black Sabbath’s classic 1975 track Symptom Of The Universe features the greatest riff of all time, according to the new issue of Metal Hammer magazine. Metal Hammer asked some of metal’s most proficient players to name their favourite riffs – and Tony Iommi's slab of Sabotage majesty saw off all competition to climb to the top of the 50 best.

Zeal & Ardor’s Manuel Gagneux says: “Symptom Of The Universe further cements Tony Iommi as a riff machine! The palm-muted opening notes get their unmistakable sheen from the thin strings he uses. This song debuted elements that are still echoed throughout the heavy music landscape.” 

Speaking to Metal Hammer, Sabbath icon Iommi says that back in 1975, he wasn’t in competition with anyone else when it came to riffs… except himself.

He adds: “I would always try to come up with more and more inventive ideas – different tunings, changing the amps, just fiddling about with the guitars really. I would constantly be trying to improve things and change things. I didn’t really listen to other people, just in case I started playing someone else’s riff by mistake.” 

 


Loudersound.com, 12 July 2018

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