British honour to Tony Iommi

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

Black Sabbath named Britain's most important hard rock band

 

Music trade body the BPI names Brummie heavy metal gods the most important hard rock band of all time. Heavy metal legends have been named the most important British hard rock act of all time in a poll by record industry. The pioneers of heavy metal - Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Ozzy Osbourne and Bill Ward - who have sold more than 70 million records worldwide including the 1970 classic Paranoid, bagged almost half of the votes (45 per cent) in a poll of more than 3,600 fans.

Fellow West Midlanders Led Zeppelin and Iron Maiden completed the trio.

The survey - carried out in conjunction with Kerrang! and Metal Hammer magazines - also found that aficionados of hard rock and metal get bitten by the bug early, with over 40 per cent discovering it before their teenage years.

 


Stacey Barnfield for Birmingham Mail, 18 January 2014

 

Black Sabbath's Ozzy-era studio albums 1970-1978 now available on iTunes


When Tony Iommi, Terry “Geezer” Butler, Ozzy Osbourne and Bill Ward formed Black Sabbath in 1969, they created a signature sound that set the blueprint for heavy music and influenced generations of disciples for years to come. For the first time, the full catalog from the original Black Sabbath lineup is now available digitally in North America and has been mastered specifically for iTunes, ensuring the delivery of the music to listeners with increased audio fidelity, more closely replicating what the artists, recording engineers, and producers intended.

Available exclusively on the iTunes Store worldwide, fans now have the ability to download all albums in one newly created bundle (The Complete Studio Albums 1970-1978), eight legendary studio albums, two classic compilations, or simply purchase each song individually.

“It’s about f**king time the first eight Black Sabbath albums were made available on iTunes in the U.S.,” said Ozzy Osbourne.

“Great news, been a long time trying to explain to fans why the music wasn’t available,” Tony Iommi commented.

“It's going to be great to finally have the catalogue accessible on iTunes,” Geezer Butler notes.

Black Sabbath: The Complete Studio Albums 1970-1978 features the band’s collected studio works for Warner Bros. Records from the 1970’s, including their iconic eponymous debut (1970), the multi-platinum landmark Paranoid (1970), the platinum albums Master Of Reality (1971), Vol. 4 (1972), and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973), and the gold-certified Sabotage (1975), Technical Ecstasy (1976), and Never Say Die! (1978). Also available is their classic 1976 compilation We Sold Our Soul For Rock ‘N’ Roll as well as 2006’s Greatest Hits 1970-1978, which was released in connection with their induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

Titles now available at iTunes:

- Black Sabbath (1970)
- Paranoid (1970)
- Master Of Reality (1971)
- Vol. 4 (1972)
- Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973)
- Sabotage (1975)
- Technical Ecstasy (1976)
- We Sold Our Soul For Rock ‘N’ Roll (1976)
- Never Say Die! (1978)
- Greatest Hits 1970-1978 (2006)
- The Complete Studio Albums 1970-1978 (2014)

 


Bravewords.com, 14 January 2014

 

Sabbath boys open new dressing rooms at Birmingham's NIA



Black Sabbath’s return to their hometown last month as part of their “13” world tour also gave the band a chance to be the first to open the new dressing rooms at Birmingham’s National Indoor Arena (NIA).

The Birmingham Mail reports the official opening the new five-star dressing rooms at the NIA was part of the venue’s £26 million redevelopment.

The dressing room completion is a key milestone in the NIA redevelopment, with the world-class venue on track for opening season in January 2015.

“It’s really cool to have Black Sabbath – from Birmingham – open our new dressing rooms at the NIA, at such an exciting time for the redevelopment,” said Phil Mead, Managing Director, Arenas, NEC Group, “We’ve got one year to go until opening season 2015 and building work is on track.”

“Black Sabbath are the first artists to be in the new dressing rooms, and we wanted to celebrate their heritage with the city,” he added. “They’ve signed the brand new artist and performer wall in the dressing room corridor, creating a piece of history!"

 


Birmingham Mail, 14 January 2014
Photo Birmingham Mail

 

Tony Iommi hopes to complete cancer treatment in 2014

 

Tony Iommi has confirmed that he expects to finish treatment for cancer in 2014. The guitarist has being undergoing treatment for the lymphoma he was diagnosed with in January 2012. In a new year's message he wrote on his official website, Iommi thanked fans for their support and expressed his hope that this year will see him finish the treatment and get the all clear.

Writing to fans, Iommi wrote: "We've some good things lined up for the coming year, firstly the Grammys, then some dates in the US and Canada, and in the summer a quick trip round Europe. I should also be finishing my regular treatment and I’m hoping to not get so tired, all positive."

Speaking to NME last year, Black Sabbath vocalist Ozzy Osbourne spoke about how Iommi's treatment affected the recording of the band's latest album: "When we were writing this album and he was going through his treatment, I thought to myself - he ain't gonna f**g make it. How can he? He'd come down some days and look so tired. He's a good guy, Tony. And he's a f**g great guitar player. I just keep my fingers crossed it don't return."

Last year, Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler revealed that he penned a song about Iommi's cancer following his diagnosis. When Butler, learned of his health crisis he felt inspired to get his thoughts and feelings out in lyrics for a track he tentatively titled 'Hanging By A Thread'.

Dear Tony, we wish you complete healing! The 2013 was difficult, but also wonderful! You made happy millions of fans with the great shows. Please get well and take care! 2014 will be your cancer free year!

We're always with you, Tony! Love you, Iron Man!

 

 


 

NME, 6 January 2014

Photo by Paz Patel

  

Happy 2014 from Tony!

 

Yesterday, 1st January 2014 Tony posted on his Official website Iommi.com:

"Best Wishes for the New Year, after a such a brilliant 2013, it's going to be difficult to match it this year but we’ll be having a go.

I’d like the thank everyone who helped make the last year such a success, Ozzy and Geezer, the band’s management, Rick, Mike E and those who helped make the recording so good, the unseen work by our record label, the promotions team, my websites (Tracy, Joe & Bryce) and all of our touring crew, especially Mick and Kat who work with me personally.

We’ve some good things lined up for the coming year, firstly the Grammy’s, then some dates in the US and Canada, and in the summer a quick trip round Europe. I should also be finishing my regular treatment and I’m hoping to not get so tired, all positive.

Many thanks to you all for your continued support, we’d be nothing without you!"

- Tony

 


Iommi.com, 2 January 2014
Photo Katharina Gauss  

 

 

  

Merry Christmas dear Tony!

 

 We wish MERRY CHRISTMAS to all Iommiacs here!

Brothers and sisters in Tony, enjoy these holidays, have a nice time with family and loving ones, listen to Master's masterpieces and just be happy! 

And of course we all wish THE MOST LOVELY CHRISTMAS DAY to our dear Tony! Million wishes from us all, Iron Man! Have a nice holidays, take rest and enjoy your family after long touring.

We love you Tony! Forever and ever, we're always with you!

Admins: John DeVries and Rosie Piergiorgi

Photo artwork by Steven Ghelfi

Brummie inventors of heavy metal back home where they belong



Black Sabbath, Brummie inventors of heavy metal, were finally back home where they belong, shrugging off their collective 227 years and the serious health problems that have dogged their later lives. More than 15,000 turned out to worship at the altar of the rock guitar riff as founders Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler – with babe-in-arms Tommy Clufetos standing in for Bill Ward – rolled back time.

They’d been at ease with each other at the soundcheck, laughing and joking, but there’d been an underlying tension. “Playing our hometown with all our family and friends out there will be nerve-racking,” admitted Iommi, “We’ve not felt this nervous at any other gig on the tour.”

From the moment the men in black hit stage and launched into War Pigs – recorded all of 43 years ago – the LG Arena erupted. Fans, some of whom had queued since 7.30am to get the best places at the front, embraced their own.

“Let’s go f***ing wild!” yelled Ozzy as they followed with Into The Void, telling the Birmingham crowd: “I’ve missed you.” His voice may be not what it once was but, hell, it didn’t matter. Not here. Not back home.

Under The Sun, with video footage of money-grabbing evangelists, anti-Sabbath protesters in America’s Bible Belt, lesbian nuns and those pictures of the Pope, continued the history lesson. Snowblind, with an Ozzy health warning, was next. Not that this was a nostalgia exercise. Sabbath sound as powerful and as vital as they have ever done. New song Age Of Reason boasted Iommi’s best guitar yet as Clufetos pounded the drums as hard as the late John Bonham.

“We want to take you back to the very beginning,” Ozzy told the fans. “Can you believe we’ve been going 45 f***ing years?”

Cue Black Sabbath, the track that opened their debut album. As the band hit an irresistible groove midway through the song, their frontman poured a bucket of water over a hapless security steward.

“I’m back in f***ing Birmingham!” yelled Ozzy, by way of explanation.

Behind The Wall Of Sleep, N.I.B – ushered in by a busy Butler bass solo – End Of The Beginning... they just kept coming. Fairies Wear Boots, with its seductively sinister video, turned full tilt boogie. Drum solos usually mark the moment you head to the bar or take a comfort break but Clufetos’ Rat Salad showpiece was jaw-dropping. Technically tight but brutally brilliant, the US drummer brought the house down. Iron Man and God Is Dead? got the moshpit moving. Dirty Women, with its B-movie video backing, isn’t one of the band’s best but surprisingly served up Iommi’s best solo of the night. Children Of The Grave was a climactic closer.

“One more song,” chanted the crowd. “It’s Christmas,” responded Ozzy. “Shall we come back and do it again?” raising hopes that this weekend’s double header may not, after all, be their last hometown gigs. Encore Paranoid, its razor riff cutting through confetti cannons, and the release of giant balloons, ended a memorable two-hour homecoming.

After the gig Sabbath celebrated with friends including ELO’s Bev Bevan, funnyman Jasper Carrott, Blues legend Trevor Francis, sixties star Dave Berry, family and a pet pooch flown in from LA.

“It’s been a great night,” said Iommi, who thanked the Sunday Mercury for our support of the band. “We were all pretty nervy about being back in Brum. We wanted it to be special for the fans. D’you think they liked it?”

Silly question. They do it all again at Birmingham’s NIA tonight.

 


Paul Cole for Birmingham Mail, 21 December 2013
Photo by Birmingham Mail

 

 

Sabbath boys interviewed by Classic Rock magazine



Tony and Geezer, interviewed by Classic Rock, have revealed that they had no idea Ozzy had relapsed back into the addictions that have haunted him throughout his career.

"You know what?! I couldn't believe it," Tony told the magazine. "He was working at my house and I didn't pick up on it at all. None of us did. He really hid that well! It was a shock, actually, when Sharon [Ozzy's wife/manager] told me. I just couldn't believe he'd been drinking again. I didn't see any signs of it. He was turning up to my house on time and we were rehearsing and writing, and I never saw anything. I've known him for 50 years, so I should know him, but God, I never sussed that at all."

Added Geezer Butler: "[Ozzy] was really good at keeping it secret. I thought he was talking a lot — he used to drive us nuts because he wouldn't stop talking — but we put that down to the excitement of doing the album. Any time I'd had a drink, he'd be saying: 'Oh, have you got a hangover?' And meanwhile he was doing all kinds of stuff. But it certainly didn't affect his performance in the studio — to us, he'd worked better than ever. Sharon told me and Tony, and by that time Ozzy had gone into rehab."

Iommi and Butler also spoke about their relationship with estranged BLACK SABBATH drummer Bill Ward, who was originally announced as part of the band's reunion album and tour in late 2011, but bowed out in early 2012 over a contract dispute.

"I haven't spoken to Bill, but to be honest, I don't actually know how to reach Bill these days because he doesn't have the same phone number as I have for him," Tony said. "I see people saying: 'Why don't they talk?' But it's not that simple. The only way I can reach Bill is by e-mailing his secretary, and then she speaks to Bill. It's not as easy as picking the phone up. I e-mailed him the other week, because he'd been in hospital and wasn't that well, but that's as far as it's got at the moment. "I'd like to talk to Bill — me and Bill have been friends for many years — but it's not happened recently."

"I don't talk on the phone to anybody because I'm horrible on the phone as we didn't have one in our house forever," Geezer said. "But I've exchanged a few e-mails with Bill, just to see how he is. "We all still love Bill, and we desperately wish that it had worked with him, we really do, because that's the true SABBATH, the four of us. But we tried, and for some reason, it didn't work, so you have to get on with life. "When I'm in touch with Bill, I don't mention the album or tour or anything. I wouldn't do that."

The members of Sabbath also expressed their uncertainty about whether making a follow-up to this year's reunion album, "13", would be a good idea for the group.

"We've not spoken about it, to be honest," Iommi explained. "I don't know if it would be the right thing to do. God knows what the expectations would be next time around. I'd probably have a heart attack worrying about it! Making '13' was such a great, memorable experience, so if that's the final chapter, we'd have to be happy. But who knows. l don't think we'd write anything off. The history of this band has taught me to never say never."

Added Butler: "To me, it's been nicely rounded off now.

"If we did another album, it just wouldn't have the same vibe, as far as I'm concerned. And with this one doing so well, the next one would have to be No. 1 everywhere too or people would see it as a failure!"

Commented Ozzy: "We'll see what happens. We made promises about another album 15 or 20 years ago and it took this long for it to happen. I don't think you'll see another one in 20 years, put it that way."

 


Blabbermouth.net, 15 December 2013

 

Black Sabbath at London's 02 Arena. A hurricane of euphoria



Metal Hammer dedicates a long article about Black Sabbath gig in 02 Arena in London yesterday night, 10 December 2013:

There is a lot to be said for unpredictability in heavy music, not least on the arena circuit where too many successful bands seem content to merely deliver the expected to predominantly mainstream audiences. But somehow, that need for surprise and shock goes out the window when it comes to a band as seminal and imperious as Black Sabbath. In fact, is it even possible to watch this legendary band in action and not enjoy it? As long as Tony Iommi turns up and plays those riffs, you would have to be either deeply cynical or a fairly major bell-end not to be swept away in a hurricane of euphoria.

Even in the somewhat impersonal confines of the O2 Arena, the power and pertinence of those immortal songs can hardly fail to raise the spirits, and given how effective this latest Sabbath comeback has been – okay, so 13 ain’t no Master Of Reality, but it still rules – there is enough excitement in the air tonight to ensure that everyone from ageing diehards to astute newbies are about to experience something monumental and momentous.

But tonight is all about the band that started it all. Age may be threatening to derail the Sabbath freight train, but from the sirens and proto-doom riff avalanche of War Pigs onwards, this show provides ample evidence that 40 wild years have had a negligible effect on the magical chemistry between Ozzy, Geezer and Tony. It wouldn’t be a Sabbath show without an Ozzy-centric glitch, of course, and the Double O does take a couple of songs to find the right key to sing in – in his defence, very clearly as a result of in-ear monitor problems – but once he clicks into gear this turns into a grandiloquent but gritty lap of honour. We get thunderous versions of Into The Void, Black Sabbath, Snowblind, N.I.B., Iron Man, Children Of The Grave and Dirty Women, plus three songs from 13 – End Of The Beginning, God Is Dead? and Age Of Reason – all of which more than earn their right to be heard alongside such venerated classics.

Most importantly, though, Tony Iommi is on amazing form; his partnership with Geezer Butler sparking and fizzing with energy and every one of those pulverising riffs erupting from the giant PA stacks with majestic force. Ozzy sings his heart out and gleefully plays the fool, drummer Tommy Clufetos pulls off the neat trick of performing a drum solo that doesn’t bore everyone to tears and even an all-too-brief encore of Paranoid zings with joyous freshness and verve. We may not have many more opportunities to watch Black Sabbath in the flesh, but tonight was a celebratory and heartening display of self-belief and eternal class that suggests that there is plenty of fuel left in the veterans’ tank for now.

Black Sabbath London O2 Arena Setlist:

War Pigs
Into the Void
Under the Sun/Every Day Comes and Goes
Snowblind
Age of Reason
Black Sabbath
Behind the Wall of Sleep
N.I.B.
End of the Beginning
Fairies Wear Boots
Rat Salad
Iron Man
God Is Dead?
Dirty Women
Children of the Grave
Encore:
Paranoid
(Sabbath Bloody Sabbath Intro)

Read the whole article on Metal Hammer.

 


Merlin for Metal Hammer, 11 December 2013

 

 

Tony and Ozzy interviewed at Classic Rock Awards

 

Black Sabbath are no strangers to the surreal, but the way this year has unfolded has taken even them by surprise. Today, sitting in a suite in London’s appropriately gothic St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, Osbourne and Iommi are relaxed and in fine, sweary fettle. They are in London to attend the Classic Rock Awards (at which they will win three gongs, including one for Album of the Year).

Soon, they are reminiscing about wilder times on previous tours: anecdotes begin “I was f**ng drunk at eight o’clock in the morning” (Osbourne) and “Remember the rubber chicken at Heathrow?” (Iommi). (It was spring-loaded in a container opened by a customs official.) Rock’n’roll chaos has not been completely consigned to the history books, however. “They sent the sniffer dogs on last month when we flew from Colombia to Mexico on a private jet,” says Iommi. “Every bag was searched, then they sent the dogs on.” “And I’m going, oh God, I hope I still haven’t got those four grams of blow on here,” jokes Osbourne. At least I think he’s joking.

And what of their former drummer Ward? Why hasn’t he rejoined Osbourne, Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler to complete the classic Sabbath line-up? At first, they blame it on “f**ng haggling” over contracts, which they claim not fully to grasp because “we’ve all got managers” and “we don’t know what the deals are”. But then Osbourne says: “It would have been great to have Bill. We all love him. But drumming is very physically demanding and I was afraid he wouldn’t have been able to keep up with us.” Iommi adds that he exchanged emails with Ward only the other day and that Ward was “in and out of hospital” with diverticulitis, a digestive disorder. “Is he OK?” asks Ozzy anxiously. “I hope he’s OK ….”

Iommi, as his iron handshake testifies, is in robust health again. I do not raise the subject of his treatment for lymphoma directly with him, for fear of appearing glib, and he accepts my compliment that he is looking well without further comment. However, speaking on the phone the following day, Butler raises the subject and says that “we all thought he was on his way out at one point. He’d lost tons of weight and his hair was gone. I think the album took his mind off all the radiation and chemo. And then, as we were recording, he seemed to bloom.”

Butler believes that Iommi was the main difference between this album and Sabbath’s last (aborted) attempt in 2001, which yielded only six songs that were “just not good enough”. “I didn’t think we’d ever do an album together after that,” Butler says. “Which is why we took so long. But this time Tony had got his own studio at home, and he had all these incredible riffs. The hardest part is to take an average riff and form it into a song. As soon as we heard these riffs, we knew Tony was back on form. We knew straight away it was going to work.”

Will 13 be their last album? It ends with the sound of thunder and a tolling bell, which is how their very first LP began, though this was Rick Rubin’s idea. “We’re very pleased with the album,” Iommi equivocates. “Though if it does turn out to be our last, then it’s a great way to go.”

Read the whole interview on The Independent.

 


Matt Munday for The Independent, 10 December 2013

 

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