British honour to Tony Iommi

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

Tony Iommi on Sky Art's Guitar Star 2016


While Sabbath tour is currently on pause after the very successful European leg, Tony doesn't chill on a sofa!

Here is he, working on Sky Art's project Guitar Star again, and we can see another legend, the great producer Tony Visconti, with him! Watch the Sky Art's video showing mentor Tony with his disciples.

In meantime let us hear Ozzy Osbourne, during his last interview with Goldmine, talking about his buddy Tony and Sabbath projects. Here are some excrepts of the interview, by Jeb Wright:

GOLDMINE: This is a bittersweet interview because the name of this tour is The End. I don’t want it to be the end…

Ozzy Osbourne: At the end of the day, Black Sabbath, when I left, we were a big driving force in the ’70s. It was dwindling and we needed to separate for a while. They went their way and I went my way. We both had our ups and downs in our careers. Sabbath has had more band members than I don’t know what, but that’s how things go. With the recent success of the “13” album, which was, believe it or not, makes this release the first No. 1 album for Sabbath or anyone’s solo career. We decided, at first, to do another album but we decided that would take too long, as it would be two or three years. Tony was then diagnosed with lymphoma and we didn’t know if he was going to pull through it. We decided not to do an album. Our “last recorded album” went to No. 1. Tony recovered from lymphoma. I hope he has, I mean I am sure he has. We don’t like to talk about it much. He appears great. Tony is one of these guys who says, “Okay, Doc, what do I have to do?” And then he does it. We did our last tour around all of his doctor appointments. The one thing I am really happy about is that he didn’t get any worse. He says his doctors told him that he will always have the gene in him so it could come back. He’ll be alright. 

GM: The fans will be able to purchase that new EP at the concert.

OZZY: There are four tracks that never made the “13” album. One of them is called “Season of the Dead.” The next one is called “Cry All Night.” The third is “Take Me Home.” The fourth one is “Isolated Man.” There are four bonus tracks that are live tracks. They are “God is Dead,” “Under the Sun,” “End of the Beginning” and “Age of Reason.” You can only get this CD at the gigs. It is a bonus from the last album. That’s it.

GM: I understand the set list will have all of the classics, but that Sabbath is going to surprise the hardcore fans with some songs they have not played in decades.

OZZY: We are playing “After Forever” and “Hand of Doom.” We are doing a lot of stuff from the “Paranoid” album. On every album we did, we always did what we used to call an album track, which were songs that we were not going to play live. We are not doing all of “Paranoid,” but we are doing a lot of it. I have never sung “Hand of Doom” for what must be 45 years. When we did it in rehearsal, it just came back to me in a flash. Once you learn to ride a horse you never forget, you know?

GM: This tour is going to sell out around the world…

OZZY: I want you to know this: Don’t go, “Ah, these guys will get back together. I will see them next time.” No. This is the end of Sabbath. This is really the end.

GM: Do you realize the influence that you’ve had on heavy metal? Not just one generation or two generations, but all future generations as well. Ozzy, what you’ve done will live on forever. Do you realize what you’ve been a part of and done?

OZZY: No. I have got no idea … well, I do have an idea, but I kind of humble myself. If I go, “We did that” then I will fall on the floor. I am glad people remember us. When we did the Ozzfest, the bands would be like “Volume 4 was so important to me.” When you’re in the inside looking out, then you don’t have any idea of the importance of what you’ve done. I have an even better example. When I was doing my solo career — before I got mega — Metallica opened for me. I would go by their dressing room and they would be playing a Sabbath album. I thought they were taking the piss out of me. I said to my assistant, “Are they joking with me?” He said, “Ozzy, they love you.” I said, “They love us? They love Sabbath?” Then it started to grow and grow and grow. I didn’t let it get on top of me though, as I was just happy to be doing it. It is weird. It is hard to get your head ‘round that.

GM: It may be the end of Black Sabbath, but it is not the end for you…

OZZY: It is the end of Black Sabbath, but if Tony phoned me up and said he was doing a blues album and he wanted me to sing on it then I would ask him where he wanted to meet. The same goes for Geezer. The one thing that I am happy about is that we’re all still alive, you know. David Bowie dying was f**king hell. What a talent he was. I met him once or twice. Once I was walking across the road and he shouted “Hey, Ozzy!” He sat next to me in a restaurant and he was reading the newspaper. He was a very, very, very talented guy.

GM: Black Sabbath may have never happened if Tony Iommi had not had an accident where he cut off his fingertips. That accident led to him detuning the guitar which led to the classic Sabbath sound.

OZZY: That was before we actually formed. I went to the same school with Tony. He went his way and I went my way. We didn’t really hang out in school. He was working in this metal sheeting factory and he cut his fingertip off. It was before we even started. He was playing guitar then. After that happened they told him he would never play guitar again. He’s a guy that if he cut one leg off and you told him he can’t run the 500-yard dash, he would find a way around it, and he will. Time after time I say to him, “How the f**k do you know when you’re touching the strings?” He says, “You just do.” Tony is a very, very clever guy.

GM: If that would have happened to me I would have probably given up…

OZZY: I would have been sitting in the f**king room feeling sorry for myself!

GM: Last question: I want to know after you play the last concert, and you play the last note and you leave the stage … what will happen when you go back to the dressing room? Will you celebrate? 

OZZY: We will have a grin on our face. We will probably shake hands and have a cup of tea. None of us drink anymore. None of us do drugs. 

Read the whole version on Goldmine Magazine, Jeb Wright, 27 July 2016

Tony and Ozzy tell about Black Sabbath & Led Zeppelin lost session


Classic Rock published a recent interview with Tony and Ozzy, an interview of great interest for every rock fan on this planet: Black Sabbath’s Ozzy Osbourne and Tony Iommi look back on their legendary studio jam with Led Zeppelin – the greatest session you’ve never heard.

In the 1970s, rock bands didn’t come any bigger or more influential than Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. But any rivalry between the two groups was outweighed by their long-standing friendship – one that peaked with one of history’s greatest lost jam sessions.

“We knew Robert Plant and John Bonham from back in Birmingham,” says Sabbath singer Ozzy Osbourne of his band’s relationship with Zeppelin. “We had checked Robert out with his early bands, and he’d told us he was joining The Yardbirds. Then one day we were in this club in London called Blazes, and the DJ started playing this song. So I go up and say, ‘What’s the name of the band that’s playing? That’s fucking Robert Plant singing, he’s a big shot in Birmingham.’ And she goes, ‘It’s The Yardbirds, but they’ve just changed their name to Led Zeppelin.’ I was, like, ‘Fuck me!’”

Sabbath even jammed with Zeppelin drummer John Bonham during their early days. “When we were playing clubs, John would sometimes come along and he’d want to get up and jam,” says Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi. “The first time we said, ‘OK then.’ So he got up and played Bill’s drums and just wrecked them. Bill was really pissed off, so after that anytime John came along and said, ‘Can I have a go?’, Bill would go, ‘No’ and not let him play.”

But it wasn’t until Black Sabbath were making their 1975 album Sabotage that the two bands finally got together in the studio, albeit in shambolic fashion.

“We were recording in Morgan Studios in London, and John came down to see us,” says Iommi. “He brought Planty and John Paul Jones – Jimmy Page was the only one who wasn’t there. They came in and John’s going, ‘Let’s play Supernaut!’, cos he loved that song. So he sat behind the kit and we started to play it. Of course, he didn’t play it right, but we just carried on and went into a jam.”

With Plant mainly looking on, Bonham was the chief architect of the jam. Thankfully, Bill Ward’s drum kit remained intact this time. “We were just jamming, making stuff up,” says Iommi. “Our session went totally out of the window.”

According to Ozzy Osbourne, Zeppelin had an ulterior motive for their visit. “They were signing up bands for their [Swan Song] record label,” says Ozzy. “They’d signed up Bad Company, so John, Robert and John Paul Jones came to the studio to try and coax us over as well. But we’d just been through a fucking war with our manager, so we told them to fuck off.”

While Iommi says that the jam was recorded, the legendary Led Sabbath – or is it Black Zeppelin? – session has sadly been lost to history.
“The tapes are probably somewhere, but I don’t know where,” says Iommi. “And it ruined our session anyway.”


Classic Rock, 6 July 2016

Glenn Hughes says he would be honoured to record one more album with Tony Iommi


Fantastic words from great Glenn Hughes! Nobody could say it better! You're a true legend, Glenn! 

Here's an interview on Blabbermouth:

Legendary bassist/vocalist Glenn Hughes took part in a press conference at this year's edition of Hellfest, which was held June 17-19 in Clisson, France.

Asked for his opinion on the 1986 Black Sabbath album "Seventh Star", to which he contributed lead vocals, Hughes said: "I don't remember the '80s. If you've read my book, I don't recall the '80s. Somebody told me that I did a couple of records in the '80s. I'm not being funny. I don't remember so much unless you tell me. But I know that when I listen to 'Seventh Star'… Tony's one of my best friends. I've done three albums with Tony. I have great moments with Tony. I'm proud of 'Seventh Star'. I don't sound like Ozzy, and I don't sound like Ronnie, who I love very much. I'm a fan of other singers. But I'm proud of the work with Tony. I'm just a different person now than I used to be."

Regarding whether there is a chance that he could make another album with Iommi once Black Sabbath has completed its farewell tour, Hughes said: "Tony and I speak, or get together, every year, and we sort of look at each other and go, 'Shall we do another one?' And it's kind of like a little joke, but you never know, because we really are close friends and we really do work together really, really well. But more importantly, what I want for Tony is for his health to be great. Tony is doing fantastic. He's really happy. He has a great family. The most important thing about Tony Iommi is that I just want him to be here on this planet alive, and I would be honored to do another record with Tony. But in the real world, we have to wait and see."

Iommi's 2005 album "Fused" featured Hughes, who also worked with the guitarist on 2004's "The 1996 DEP Sessions". Joining them was drummer Kenny Aronoff, whose resume includes the "Iommi" album in 2000 and a long run with John Mellencamp.

Hughes is currently finished to record a new solo album in Copenhagen, Denmark for a November release., 30 June 2016

Black Sabbath's glorious European ride!


Black Sabbath's European tour leg can be fairly called Glory Ride. The gigs in Budapest, Berlin, Verona, Donington and others, all revealed high class performances, with wild crowds (especially a sold out gig at Waldbuhne in Berlin), band in fire, Ozzy is quite good conditions, and Iommi in all his majestic force. During the shows, we can witness a great release of energy from the crowd and one of those moments where fans chose to sing along with the guitar rather than the vocals - something that would happen a lot through the shows - and this again highlights the fantastic work that Iommi did earlier in his career and is still doing now.

The selection of songs picks heavily from the iconic Paranoid album, songs from Master of Reality and omonimous Black Sabbath, and that’s probably the right decision considering this is Black Sabbath saying goodbye to the world of music. Iron Man reares its glorious head towards the end of the main set and is a reminder that this band created one of the most recognisable riffs in the world. The reaction from the crowd for this is always huge and arguably the loudest thing we’ve heard at the venues.

A quick break before Paranoid serves as a predictable but completely fulfilling encore and a strong message that even though this legendary act aren’t quite as the peak of their powers they still have more to offer than a lot of the young pretenders that will usurp them in the coming years.

The final two dates of this world tour were announced at the Genting Arena in their native Birmingham, on Thursday, February 2 and Saturday, February 4 2017. After almost 50 years on the road, ticket sales for Black Sabbath's last gig barely lasted 15 minutes. Only the most lucky fans could get their tickets, with people coming to Brum from all around the world. 

The fans are keeping faith for the third date to be announced, and are impatient. If that will be the case, Sabbath's Farewell act in Birmingham will become a real Black Sabbath Festival. 


27 June 2016

Tony's new interview for The Guardian


The Guardian just revealed a brand new interview with Tony by Dave Simpson. Enjoy!

Hi Tony! How are you?

I’m OK at the moment, dare I say it. It’s stage three lymphoma, so it could come back at any time. That’s one of the reasons why we’re stopping touring. It’s not the playing – it’s the long flights and arriving at a hotel at 4am. That’s not good for me because it affects the blood cells. But I love playing with the band, and it’s sad to think this is the last tour.

Is it strange thinking it’s the last time you’ll play these countries?

It particularly hit me in Australia. I thought: “Blimey. This is it. We’re never going back.” It’s very emotional. But it doesn’t mean we won’t play together any more, we’re just stopping touring. Well, I’m not doing any more. They [Ozzy Osbourne and Geezer Butler] might be (laughs).

Have you found yourself thinking back to how an accident in a sheet metal factory led to you inventing heavy metal?

It was my last day at work. I was about to join this professional band and go to Germany. I came home for lunch and didn’t want to go back. My mum said: “Go finish the job properly.” The machine came down on my fingers and took the ends off. But it made me determined. I melted a Fairy Liquid bottle and made new tips for my fingers, then detuned the strings to make them easier to play. I found my sound because of Fairy Liquid.

And suddenly you were in a band called Black Sabbath who half the country thought were satanists!

We did have an interest in the occult. Well, Geezer and myself watched horror films, but we’d get witches at the shows. One night we got back to the hotel and there was a whole row of them in black cloaks, sitting on the floor, chanting. We had to step over them to get in our rooms. In the end we blew their candles out and sang “Happy Birthday” to them. That really pissed them off.

As well as being the riff master, you’re known as one of rock’s great pranksters. Did you really blow up Richard Branson’s fish?

We were staying at his house to do an album. Ian Gillan from Deep Purple was our singer at the time, but he erected a marquee outside to sleep. Ian said: “I want the fresh air for my voice” and all that rubbish. Anyway, when we came back from the pub, we put all this pyro round his tent. It was so loud that his marquee just took off, with a mushroom cloud like an atomic bomb. The blast went right through the lake and all these prize fish came floating to the top. We were thinking: “Blimey, who’s gonna tell Branson?” Of course there was a church next door and they got a petition against us.

Why did you paint Bill Ward gold?

We were staying at John DuPont’s house in Los Angeles, the bloke who owned DuPont paint products. We found all this paint in the garage, and were all pissed, so thought it would be fun to paint Bill gold from head to toe. He started having convulsions. The ambulance people gave us a right bollocking: “You idiots! You could have killed him.” They gave him adrenalin and we had to use paint stripper to get it off. He looked like a beetroot by the end.

Did you really send [footballer-manager-turned Sky pundit] Trevor Francis to see Lamb Of God?

He came to see us in Manchester and they were supporting. I said “Oh, you’ll like this band, Trevor, they’re like the Eagles.” He came back like he was in shock. His face was a picture.

How did Black Sabbath end up auditioning Michael Bolton?

When we were looking for a vocalist after Ronnie – or maybe after Ian Gillan. We had thousands of tapes sent in and Michael Bolton was one of them, before he was famous. He was good, to be honest, but we had so many it got confusing.

What does Ozzy bring to the Sabs that others don’t?

He’s the original. It’s like putting an old glove on, with Ozzy and Geezer. It’s a shame Bill’s not involved now. It was contractual, partly, but we were worried about his health after his heart thing. I still speak to him but we tend to email. I can’t paint him gold by email. We had some great fun. I used to set him on fire.

On fire?!

It was our party piece, which always worked until the last time we did it. We had this new producer, Martin Birch, who’d heard all these stories about satanism and was a bit nervous. I made a wooden doll and wrapped it in a black cloth and the other guys wound him up that it was my voodoo doll of him. Anyway, Bill says – in front of Martin – “Are you going to set fire to me then, Tony?” I tipped rubbing alcohol over him. Normally it just burned off but this time it soaked into his clothes, so when I lit it he went up like a bomb. He was rolling on the floor, shouting and screaming. I thought it was part of the joke, so poured more stuff on him. Martin couldn’t believe it. We had to get an ambulance for Bill. He’d got third-degree burns. I felt bloody awful. We still play jokes on each other. Not quite as severe as that. I learned my lesson.

Does it amuse you reading about Ozzy’s latest antics in the tabloids?

It’s nonsense, to be honest. You never know what’s coming. God knows what I’ll read about him next – probably that he’s pregnant.

How did drugs change your music?

It made us experiment and talk about things more, to the extent that we’d be up all bloody night. Then we’d see each other the next day and couldn’t remember any of it.

Is it true that your famous Iron Man riff was inspired by tea?

Coffee actually! We rehearsed in this youth club in Aston and it was all they had. I had a cup and out came that riff. The first time I knew we had something different was the song Black Sabbath [1970]. Then you want that feeling again.

How on earth did Black Sabbath’s legendary guitarist end up writing the 2013 Armenian entry for the Eurovision song contest?

I’ve done a lot for Armenia, after various earthquake disasters, so they asked me and I had this ballad. It was the last thing I thought I should be doing (laughs). I mean, I never watch Eurovision. Of course, I had to watch it then.

And you’ve become a lecturer at Coventry University.

I got a doctorate and then they made me a visiting professor, so I talk to students about music. We put a band together and I nurture them.

Have you got a cap and gown?

I have.

It’s not, actually! I felt very uncomfortable wearing different colours.

Do you always wear black?

I once walked into the pub in a blue shirt and never heard the last of it. “Where’s all your black stuff? You can’t come in here like that.” It was like I’d done a murder.

Why do you always wear a cross onstage?

I’ve had it 40-odd years and never been onstage without it. It’s a lucky charm. We all had one. Ozzy’s still got his. Bill’s is in a box. Geezer lost his at the Villa ground.

Do you believe in God?

I believe in a god… and that the Devil exists in all of us.

How did it feel to have a worldwide No 1 album [with 13] in 2013?

Our first number one, after 40-odd years. Absolutely brilliant. And playing live now is nervy, daring … you’re on edge, because you never know if it’s going to go crap. But when the crowd are with you, it’s phenomenal. Then you come off the road and you’re you again.

Who are you, when you’re not on the road with Sabbath?

I’m a bloke who walks the dog.

You’re playing Download next month at Donington, a place you’ve played on numerous occasions. Have you got anything special planned in case it’s the last time?

Yeah, we’re not turning up (laughs). No, it’s always a great place to play.

After The End, could Sabbath do a really small show again, or a pub?

We’d deafen them!


Dave Simpson for The Guardian, 2 June 2016

Every Metal Subgenre Began as a Black Sabbath Song


A very interesting thesis written by Nathan Smith (for Houston Press, THURSDAY, JULY 25, 2013) was discovered recently by the mates Iommi fans on our facebook community Tony Iommi The Man The Master The Legend. This point of view obviously generated a huge discussion, with a massive pro- and contro- supporters, as of the whole theory, as it's separate parts - Sabbath songs. We also have a couple of things in mind, which are added to the end of this review. Nathan Smith's theory is absolutely fantastic, not because we are team of fanatics Sabbathheads and we buy whatever positive is said about our highly worshipped band, but because Nathan's point is true. The proof is obvious and in front of your eyes and ears. It was told many times, and the most reasonable writers as Martin Popoff and Joel McIver always credited Sabbath as inventors of the whole metal stream, still there's plenty of unbelievers. If you are one of these, dear reader, just put your personal preferences and feelings aside, and in a most objective overview, just read the article. \m/

"Some people out there argue that heavy metal was not invented by Black Sabbath. These people are wrong. To be sure, the Led Zeps and Deep Purples of the world certainly had their metallic moments, but it wasn't until Tony Iommi sheared off his fingertips in a metal stamper and down-tuned his guitar to compensate for this maiming that a new and sinister strain of rock and roll was truly sired.

Now, it's a fact that Sabbath didn't consider themselves heavy metal -- not at first, anyway. They viewed themselves simply as putting a slightly new twist on the thunderously heavy blues-rock pioneered by the likes of Cream. There's a lot of truth in that self-assessment. But not even Clapton and co. can claim quite the broad influence on rock and roll that Black Sabbath has produced. Need proof? Well, how's this for a premise: Practically all of heavy metal's 18 jillion, multifaceted subgenres can be traced back to a specific Black Sabbath song. In cranking out nearly an album per year back in the '70s, the band did a lot more stretching and exploring than they're sometimes given credit for. The result is that they managed to create an entire heavy-metal universe, one track at a time. They didn't do it alone, of course, and today's metal is as rooted in hardcore punk as it is in '70s hard rock. But the seeds are there.

10. Doom Metal: "Into the Void," 1971 Let's start with an easy one. Nowhere in the wide, wacky world of heavy metal subgenres is Black Sabbath's influence more keenly felt than in doom metal. The band's slow grooves, down-tuned guitars and murky riffs embody the style to this day. The eerie spirit of impending doom on their early songs remains the template for the majority of doom metal's modern practitioners. "Into the Void" is a particularly good example of the doom metal sound from Masters of Reality, but it could easily be replaced on this list by any number of tracks from the band's first few albums.

9. Power Metal: "War Pigs," 1970 Black Sabbath wouldn't truly lead the charge toward power metal until Ozzy was replaced by Ronnie James Dio, one of the preeminent operatic voices in rock history. But the predilection for power was there almost from the very beginning. "War Pigs," possibly the greatest anti-war screed ever set to a backbeat, ranks as one of the most spine-tingling songs in heavy-metal history thanks largely to the most powerful vocal performances of Ozzy Osbourne's long career. It doesn't get a lot more anthemic than this one. If you needed any additional proof of the profound influence of "War Pigs" on the formation of the power metal subgenre, consider that it was a favorite cover tune of Dio's pre-Rainbow group, Elf.

8. Thrash Metal: "Symptom of the Universe," 1975 Sabbath infinitely preferred a slow, rumbling sound to high-octane speed. Almost nobody had more influence on the powerful guitar riffage that was the hallmark of thrash metal than Tony Iommi, however. The chugging crunch of "Symptom of the Universe" clearly predicts the rise of bands like Metallica and Slayer in the decade to come, not to mention Geezer Butler's lyrical themes dealing with evil, war and, uh, dirty women that were employed throughout the group's run in the '70s.

7. Death Metal: "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath," 1973 A gore-obsessed outgrowth of thrash metal, death metal retains almost none of the blues-based rhythms in which Black Sabbath trafficked. Thematically, though, Sabbath's influence still looms large. The song "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath," with its lyrical allusions to "living just for dying," strongly hinted at the attraction to oblivion that would be cranked up significantly by early death metal bands in the '80s and early '90s. Not to mention the Sabbath Bloody Sabbath album cover! Seemingly scientifically engineered to freak out your mom, the artwork depicts a terrified man tormented by demons on a bed evidently possessed by Satan himself. It set a benchmark for horrifying imagery that death metal bands are still trying to outdo today.

6. Black Metal: "Black Sabbath," 1970 Black Sabbath never sounded anywhere near so ugly and extreme as the earliest practitioners of black metal did, but there's no denying that their influence is present. In particular, there's black metal's fascination with Satanism: While never expressing overt sympathy for the devil, early Sabbath flirted heavily with the Adversary; never more so than on their signature tune, "Black Sabbath." The song was constructed around a tritone, a dissonant musical interval derided as diabolus in musica (the devil in music) since at least the 18th Century. The song's moody, cinematic opening, full of heavy rain and droning church bells, would also heavily inform the softer, more atmospheric strains of black metal that would arise in the genre's second wave.

5. Christian or White Metal: "After Forever," 1971 The Satanists weren't the only rockers finding inspiration in Sabbath's music and lyrics. While they typically preferred to explore the dark side of the struggle between good and evil, Geezer and the gang weren't above occasionally inserting Christ and the Church into their musical morality plays. The song "After Forever," in fact, makes the claim that "God is the only way to love," and scolds nonbelievers for their faithlessness. While no one has ever called Black Sabbath "Christian rock" with a straight face, there's no doubt the band throws in solidly with the light side on this tune. Lord knows it rocks a damn sight harder than Stryper, too.

4. Hair Metal: "Changes," 1972 Birmingham, England, is a hell of a long way away from the Sunset Strip, and while Tony Iommi has rocked a few questionable poodle-dos in his day, nobody has ever confused Black Sabbath with Poison. That doesn't mean their contributions to the now-reviled subgenre known as hair metal can be ignored, however. Though Sabbath's dark, sludgy sound was a far cry from the upbeat, overdriven L.A. style of '80s metal, they did practically invent one of the hair bands' most infamous tropes: the metal power ballad. "Changes" would be ripped off by a slew of teased and permed groups in the '80s, from the plaintive vocals right down to the piano accompaniment. Motley Crue's "Home Sweet Home," for instance, could have never existed without it.

3. Stoner Metal: "Sweet Leaf," 1971 Black Sab loved the herb as much as they loved any other drug -- which is to say, quite a lot. Marijuana smoking was damn near universal at their '70s concerts, with the band's deep, slow grooves matching up with weed's pleasant effects like peanut butter and jelly. An out-and-out love song, "Sweet Leaf" cemented the connection between banging and stoning very early on in metal's development. Its sound has been replicated and expanded upon by the likes of Weedeater, Electric Wizard and other dojah aficionados. The song remains a cherished staple of the band's live show today, and it's possibly the most-covered tune in Black Sabbath's history. Draw your own conclusions.

2. Funk Metal: "Behind the Wall of Sleep," 1970 Sabbath aren't thought of as a particularly funky bunch, despite their preternatural ability to lock into deep grooves. While they'll never be confused with James Brown, they did have their moments -- the funkiest of which can be found on their debut album. In addition to the irresistibly bouncy "N.I.B.," Black Sabbath contains the song "Behind the Wall of Sleep," a riff-sterpiece featuring a sublimely funky drum break by Bill Ward. How funky? Well, funky enough to be sampled by the likes of Outkast, Beck, Too $hort and the Fugees, among others, according to Not a lot of funk metal bands can claim to have influenced a roster of hip-hop artists that talented. Pretty much none, I'd say.

1. Prog Metal: "The Writ," 1975 Much of Black Sabbath's heyday coincided with the rise of progressive rock, and though they were never a part of that scene, they were certainly touched by it. Hell, as a hard rock band in the '70s, it was hard not to be. Particularly as the decade wore on, Sabbath toyed with some proggier elements -- even adding a Moog synthesizer to tracks like "Who Are You?" and "Sabra Cadabra." For my money, though, "The Writ" from Sabotage stands alone as the first truly progressive heavy metal song. Coming in at more than eight minutes, the weird, lengthy song is notable for providing the first glimpse of the more dynamic vocal range that Ozzy would later employ to great effect on his '80s solo records."

Just a thought to add to this great set of subgenres...  What about Electric Funeral as a progenitor of death metal? Absolutely agree with Sabbath Bloody Sabbath's scary riffs and sound, but Electric Funeral also fundamentally influenced the extreme wing of metallers. Children Of The Grave is another innovative composition, which together with Sympthom of the Universe served as a root for the birth of the trash branch. And of course Paranoid, this immortal piece spread its seeds to more than one genre of music, hundreds of bands and different styles, from punk to grunge. Paranoid's influence is fathomless, as that of traditional music, that becomes universal, eternal and proper of human culture. It's impossible even to track billions of multicolour facets in modern music which all came out of that one seed, a spontaneous, almost casual, creature of Tony Iommi's mind and fingers. Simple and genial. Caught on a tape, this moment of ecstatic creative outburst, made it into forever. 

 Credit: Nathan Smith for Houston Press, 29 May 2016


Tony and his Black Sabbath rock Australia at The End!


On April 15th 2016, Black Sabbath kicked off the Australian leg of their The End tour. They successfully played Perth, Melbourne, and are playing Sydney tonight with monumental power. "The Sydney Morning Herald" writes about Sabbath's Melbourne gig, giving the legendary band the totality of five stars:

Billed as "The End", it was hardly surprising to see a full house at Rod Laver Arena for Black Sabbath's last ever performance in Melbourne.Having blitzed Perth last week and Adelaide two days ago, it was Melbourne's turn (three years after they last toured here) to see original members Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi unleash the songs that made them the harbingers of English heavy metal in the late '60s.

It was those four albums they lent almost exclusively on for their final, jaw-dropping Melbourne show, giving pumped-up fans exactly what they wanted. Opening with Black Sabbath from their debut album, Osbourne looked fitter and more fired up than his last visit. Fairies Wear Boots and the monstrous Snowblind were more evidence this would be a night of classics from Birmingham's greatest band, before War Pigs took things to another level. Osbourne prowled the stage, waved his arms in the air and smiled the cheeky grin that's endured throughout an unrivalled career in rock.

Behind the Wall of Sleep and N.I.B. (both again from the first album) sent the enormous crowd on the floor into a frenzy, while fans in the seats were just as eager to celebrate climactic moments with fist pumps and huge roars of approval. Effects on stage were kept to a minimum with the spotlight instead thrown on Guitar Legend Tony Iommi's blistering guitar work, Butler's pummelling, timeless bass lines and the sheer awesome power of Clufetos on the skins. Drum solos may be passe in some music circles, but a near 10-minute showstopper from Clufetos also gave Ozzy a much needed breather backstage.

The 90-minute show featured another early track in Hand of Doom, plus a mighty rendition of Dirty Women (from 1976's Technical Ecstasy), while Iommi's familiar opening riff of Iron Man - one of the most recognisable in rock history - brought yet another moment for fans to savour. After half a century as the one constant member of Black Sabbath, Iommi still has the appearance of a man barely raising a sweat on stage.
Ozzy, on the other hand, hurled water on the crowd, on himself and generally had a blast as he shuffled from one side of the stage to the other; all the time peering through a thick mane of black hair and brandishing that smile. The fact the 67-year-old spent so many years touring and recording with his own band while others fronted Sabbath was incidental tonight. This was classic Black Sabbath (albeit minus Ward) and the fans loved every minute.Before "The End" was actually plastered across the back of the stage in huge purple letters, Paranoid gave fans one last chance to revel in what's often described, quite simply, as one of the most influential bands of all time. At the very end they took a bow, looking triumphant. And rightly so.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 April 2016


Tony Iommi knows the true way


In a brand new interview with Australian Musician, Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi was asked what advice he would give to young musicians in the day and age when many young bands forgo performing live to seek their fifteen seconds of fame on TV or the like. He responded: 

"Well, I think that's it, that's the key, you've got to get out and play live. Unfortunately, the way the business has gone, with TV and these shows, whatever they're called, I think you need to get out and play live, play to people; you can't go on and mime and not have all these gadgets behind you. [There is] nothing like being able to actually play. And not just to show off — you have to play from within yourself whatever you feel is good and that's it. You don't have to play a million notes a minute guitar-wise — you can go out and play with feeling — and that, to me, is so important. I mean, there's plenty of great players, but there's nothing better to me than to hear someone play with great feel. And I think with some of the newer guitar players, that's where they've missed it a bit; they've gone for all this fancy stuff. It comes out more emotionally in the music if you play what you feel."

What can we say?
Words of truth. 
God bless you, Tony., 2 April 2016

Tony Iommi meets his old mate Neil Marshall from Mythology


A bass player reunited after 43 years with Black Sabbath star Tony Iommi has revealed how a terrifying 6am drugs’ bust sparked the creation of the world’s first heavy metal band. 

Carlisle-based Neil Marshall had auditioned and signed guitarist Tony Iommi and fellow Brummie drummer Bill Ward for his own band Mythology. He’d lost other members in quick succession following their return from Germany in late 1967 and Tony insisted that to guarantee his presence, Neil had to sign singer Chris Smith, too.

In May 1968, the new Mythology members were all asleep with Neil inside the same room of a three-story Georgian town house in Carlisle. As dawn broke, the police arrived at Compton House in Compton Street, woke the landlady and arrested all four of them in their pyjamas. “We were one of the first bands, if not THE first band, to all get busted at once thanks to the landlady kindly letting the police into our first floor flat,” says Neil. “We were all fast asleep in our beds in the same room. We were told to stay in beds while our clothes and flat would be searched. My little lump of cannabis was found in a pocket of my jeans by Sergeant Carlton, a fearsome ex-Scots Guardsman with a large handlebar moustache and a formidable reputation. A bigger lump appeared in my pyjama bottoms, but it wasn’t cannabis!”

Neil says he can’t remember any great lines said aloud during the raid to match ‘Get yer trousers on, you’re nicked!’ from The Sweeney. But he

adds: “I do remember thinking: “Oh, s***, they’ve found the s***!’.

“It was a pretty frightening experience, especially as it was the first time we had touched the stuff. Someone from another band had sold it to us in little blocks for about ten shillings or a £1 each and when he was caught he told the police we had some, too. It was the first time we’d ever smoked it. Tony, Bill and Chris were given £15 fines and a conditional discharge, but I was put on probation for two years because I was the eldest.

“I’m quite glad it happened because I never smoked it again.”

Reporting the court case on July 8, 1968 with the page one headline “Drug fine for pop group – four admit having cannabis,” the Evening Mail inadvertently helped to change the course of rock history by paving the way for the creation of Black Sabbath.

“After (the publicity) of being raided like that, we just couldn’t get any more bookings,” admits Neil, a father-of-two who will turn 72 in June.

"We had lots of fun together and some really good times but when the others decided to return to Birmingham I didn’t want to go for personal reasons. Now I’m glad, because if I had gone, there might have been no Black Sabbath, with Geezer Butler replacing me and Ozzy Osbourne taking over from Chris. It’s funny how life works out, how one think influences you and how you influence something else and affect things. I have no regrets and am so glad they have got where they are. But I’ve just read a feature on Tony in an old guitar mag and it’s surprising how much information regarding pre Sabbath is just not true – that’s so annoying.”

While Tony became a rock legend, Neil began to the basics of his future technical career with BT by “going up the poles and down the holes.”
And it’s only in recent years that he has returned to music, recording backing tracks in a studio at home to accompany his own solo performances at bowling clubs and the like where he covers songs from the 60s to 80s by artists like Status Quo and Bob Dylan. After their version of Mythology split, Neil says Tony and Bill were able to return to Cumbria in a new guise to play lots of gigs with Geezer and Ozzy in towns like Workington and Whitehaven.

“There were a lot of ‘nutters’ in that area,” laughs Neil. Earth and Sabbath used to come and see Mythology play and we’d see them. "I eventually lost touch with Tony in about 1973 because you just couldn’t get anywhere near them, Sabbath were then so big. My son, who lives in Leamington Spa, managed to get tickets for Gary Newbon’s An Audience With Tony Iommi show at Birmingham Town Hall on March 19, 2016 and I then emailed Tony to see if we could meet. Even then it almost didn’t happen, because he had our backstage passes in his pocket and at first security wouldn’t let us go through to see him.

“It made my night that once we were back in the same room he clocked me straight away. Tony still looks great, even though he’s been through such a lot with his cancer, poor lad. He has still got great charisma and is an amazing guy. When I auditioned him, I could tell instantly what a great guitarist Tony already was. I’d just signed another new signer called Rob, but Tony said he would only come if he could bring vocalist Chris Smith, so Rob agreed to go back to Newcastle after hearing how good Tony was for himself. I just knew Tony was going somewhere and the tips he was using for his injured fingers had already changed his sound. If he heard a song twice he could play it by ear – like me, he doesn’t read music.”

The irony about the police raid on a house that’s now painted blue and white was that far from being a bad boy, Neil hardly drank. And he doesn’t understand why people take drugs either.

“I used to do a lot of the driving, so I didn’t drink,” he says. I think the reason I never made it was that I was just too sensible, but I think every band needs someone who is sensible otherwise it just falls apart. I think Tony is that man now in Sabbath. He knows what he wants.
“If you are in a well known group it is inevitable you are going to get targeted by dealers and if you are struggling to sleep... that’s obvious. You can see how people can be taken in. I don’t particularly like Jack Daniels, but you are supposed to be seen with a bottle if you are rock and roll. I don’t think you will ever stop drugs but I don’t understand why people take them or how you can enhance your life by taking stuff that will eventually really damage you. After Tony and Bill had left Mythology, we were playing a gig in Dumfries and we began with four people playing four different songs in different keys and rhythms. I was the only one who knew what we were doing. It is frightening when it gets like that, so it’s a miracle that Ozzy is still alive. He was always daft – whereas I was too sensible. I would have found it quite difficult (working with him). In my opinion he is not a great singer, but he can sing, don’t get me wrong. He has also got whatever it is... charisma, which might attract people as well. Ozzy has something that a lot of people are drawn to – I remember him wearing a tap instead of a cross. Today, I am disappointed Bill Ward can’t play with Black Sabbath... he says he wasn’t going to be paid as much as the other three and, if that’s true, it isn’t right.”

As for the future, Neil says he hopes to see Tony again.

“I would love to spend more time with him and I would like to think it will happen but if it doesn’t I am pleased that we have met again.”


Birmingham Mail, 27 March 2016, Photo Birmingham Mail

Audience with Tony Iommi at Town Hall in Birmingham


Guitar legend Tony Iommi made a triumphant return to Birmingham Town Hall – even though he didn’t play a single note. There were simply two chairs on the stage, one for the founder member of Black Sabbath, the other for his friend and host Gary Newbon. Even without music, the venue was packed to the rafters with fans eager to hear stories about Black Sabbath.

Currently part way through the band’s final tour, appropriately called The End, Black Sabbath haven’t played the Town Hall since 1972, but Iommi was quick to thank his local audience for “putting us where we are today.”

And, though clearly restrained by the need to sell tickets for Sabbath’s Download appearance in Donington this June, he did offer two tempting hints about what might happen beyond the current final announced date in Phoenix on September 21: The End might yet reach ‘the end’ in Birmingham itself – and it could be as late as early next year. There could also be a live album from the final tour.

Iommi said: “We are off to Australia in a couple of weeks, but it would be nice to think it could finish back where it all started – in Birmingham. When we are home where we started, we have always found it a bit nerve-wracking, but Birmingham means such a lot to us.”

Asked if there could be a live album, he said: “It’s possible, because we are doing a lot of filming during the tour, too.”

Tony Iommi said he would continue to play music: “I just can’t keep going out on these long tours,” he said. After the interval, Newbon read out fan’s questions collected during the break.

Did Iommi have a favourite riff?

“I like all of them – I wrote them,” he said to laughter. “Paranoid... is such a simple thing. And there’s Iron Man and Into The Void.”

And a favourite album?

“No... but Forbidden is the only one that I’m not really keen on.”

Newbon said afterwards: “The feedback I’ve had is that it all went really well – Tony has never done a show like that before and I don’t think he’ll do it again. I just managed to persuade him as a friend.”

With his band, Tony just wrapped the first dates of Black Sabbath's massive 2016 The End world tour at March 7th in Vancouver, BC to an overwhelming response, from fans and critics alike. The first leg of sold-out North American shows will be followed by a run of summer performances including return visits to Los Angeles (at the iconic Hollywood Bowl), New York, Chicago and 14 additional cities. 

As previously announced, a special fans-only CD featuring original artwork by Shepard Fairey/Obey Giant is being sold at shows along the tour route.  The CD is comprised of eight previously unreleased tracks: four songs are outtakes from Black Sabbath's worldwide #1, Grammy Award-winning album 13 and four live songs from the band's critically acclaimed 13 World Tour.

When this tour concludes, it will truly be The End, The End of one of most legendary bands in rock 'n roll history... Black Sabbath.



Graham Young for Birmingham Mail, 20 March 2016

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