With Tony Iommi attending this weekends event to celebrate Black Sabbath’s legacy to the City of Birmingham (see our report here….) Midlands Rocks was able to have a few words with the guitarist to get an update on what he has been working on recently.
Tony, we’ve been hearing over the last couple of months that you’ve been working on remixing one of Sabbath’s albums from the 90’s, namely Forbidden which seems to occupy a slightly uncomfortable place in the back catalogue…
“Yes that’s right. I’ve had the time, on and off, to start to remix the Forbidden album, I never liked the final mix and sound of it – none of the band did actually – so I’ve been working on that. I’m taking my time and there is no rush with it, it will be done when it’s done, but it’s been good to go back and pull it all apart and start to put it back together again.”
Looking back, what was the problem with how that album sounded at the time of its release back in 1995?
“Well we weren’t involved with how it ended up sounding like it did. It was produced by Ernie C from the band Body Count and he also got Ice-T to appear on it on the opening track (“Illusion of Power”) and they were from a totally different background to us. So he came in and did a good job at the time but I just felt that…without changing any of the songs…there was an opportunity to go back and bring out some of the sounds and make it more what people would expect Sabbath to sound like. I met up with Tony Martin recently and I’m sure he will listen to what I have done with it at some point, but at the moment it is just myself and Mike Exeter (the sound engineer who worked with Tony on Fused, The Dio Years and 13 amongst others) who have been working on it.”
Does this mean that in time you might go back and look at some of the other albums from the Tony Martin era such as Tyr or Headless Cross?
“No, not really. It was definitely that album that kind of irritated everybody. I was never happy with the guitar sound and Cozy was definitely never happy with the drum sound, he would go on and on about it. So I thought it would be nice to do it for him in a way.”
I know that you are good friends with Brian May, have you been to see Bohemian Rhapsody yet?
“No, actually I haven’t seen it yet. I have seen the trailer and I know that the actor who plays Brian looks very much like him but I haven’t yet seen the entire film. In fact Brian has asked me twice now if I’ve seen it yet so I will definitely make sure that I do. I have heard great things about it. Brian is a great friend of mine as you say, and Roger is too, and it’s great to see that the film has been so well received and done so well for them. I’m not sure if Hollywood will ever want to make a film about Black Sabbath but you never know…”
Finally a few words about today’s event, which has seen fans come from far and wide to celebrate the legacy of Black Sabbath…
“Well what can I say, it’s been amazing to see so many people here today and I know some of them have travelled a long way to be here they really are true fans. I’m just sorry that none of the other members of the band were able to be here but, for different circumstances, it just wasn’t possible. As you know Ozzy has not been very well recently and I’m sure that they all would have loved to have been here. But I’m so grateful to everyone who has put all of this together and to everyone that has come along today. It really does mean such a lot to me.”
Thanks to Tony for taking the time to speak with us and Mohammed Osama, Mike Olley and the team at Westside BID for inviting Midlands Rocks to cover the event.