Friday, November 11, 2011


As everyone knows by now, Black Sabbath announced that they're putting out their first new studio album with the original lineup - Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward - since 1978's Never Say Die!  The album is going to be produced by Rick Rubin, who has been trying to get the band back together forever, and of course they are going to tour also.

Over the summer, I wrote about my thoughts on the rumors of a Sabbath reunion that were circulating at the time. I recalled something Geezer said in an interview I did with him for the liner notes of The Black Box.  He wasn't sure at that time if they'd ever work together again.  But he was happy that they reunited, that they'd done some incredible reunion shows, and most of all that they were friends again. He hoped that they'd work together again, but if they didn't, he was happy with the way things were ending. However, they did do a few more tours after that.   Then when Tony and Geezer reunited with the second version of Sabbath - with Ronnie James Dio and Vinnie Appice - and called themselves Heaven & Hell, Ozzy went back to his solo career. But I was with Geezer: I was happy that Sabbath had reunited with their original lineup, done some great shows, and it seemed like the world acknowledged their influence.  They were all together at their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (even though they didn't perform) and I thought that that was a great way to end the story.

The last time I saw Sabbath was on the Ozzfest in 2001, and it wasn't that great.  Tony, Geezer and Bill were awesome, but Ozzy's voice was dying before the first song was over. It bummed me out, and I didn't  go to see Sabbath or Ozzy after that for a long time.  But last year, I got tickets to an Ozzy concert (on his 62nd birthday!) and he was great, and his voice sounded powerful.  I have to say, I'm excited at the prospect of (maybe) seeing the band one more time.  I have to have faith here: if the band are rehearsing and they feel that they're good enough to live up to their legacy, I'm willing to check them out.  Also, I've been hearing that they may headline a tour that would include Judas Priest and Motorhead as well. Rob Halford always sounds great, and Lemmy is like the Willie Nelson of metal, Motorhead is always on the road, and never let anyone down.   I thought the early Ozzfests were cool, where they paired Ozzy or Sabbath with much younger bands - but right now, I think Sabbath/Priest/Motorhead is the right tour for all involved.

As for the record: I know Rick Rubin has tried to reunite Sabbath in the studio in the past, and I think he's also attempted to produce an Ozzy record as well, and it hasn't worked out.  Well, here's hoping it works out well this time.  I don't expect the band to make a classic on the level of Black Sabbath, Paranoid, Master Of Reality, Vol. 4, Sabotage or Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.  But hopefully they'll come up with some stuff as cool as Technical Ecstasy or (especially) Never Say Die.

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