On the latest episode of The Rock And Metal Profs: The History And Philosophy Of Rock And Metal,, the Profs talk to multi-talented vocalist, songwriter, instrumentalist and former lead singer of Black Sabbath, Tony Martin.
Over Martin’s illustrious career he’s produced some of the most iconic and memorable music in rock and metal history both as Black Sabbath’s vocalist in the ’80s and ’90s, and as a solo performer. His voice appears on over 80 recordings, and he continues to produce some of the best music within the genre. His new album, Thorns, is a contender for album of the year, and showcases what fans of Tony Martin have always known — he is a special talent both as a singer and composer.
Hosts Court and Matt ask him about his role in Black Sabbath, the new solo album, the upcoming Black Sabbath / Tony Martin-era box set, and some of life’s biggest questions. Tony also recounts some memorable stories from the road as a member of Black Sabbath.
On the forthcoming box set.
Martin: “All I know is that it’s happening. I know that two record labels are releasing it. I don’t know when, and I don’t know what it’s gonna look like. There was some suggestion a while back that we might be able to put extra tracks and stuff on it. I did offer, and I went to see Tony Iommi and offered some things, and then he said we can’t use anything new because nothing new can be released under the Black Sabbath name. It can only be stuff that’s got the original four members on it. I’m expecting it to be a remixed version of whatever the original was; that’s what I’m expecting.
Eddie Van Halen came over and helped us write one of the tracks (for the Cross Purposes album). I had an 8-track recorder at the time in the ’80s, and I used to take it everywhere. I’ve got all of the writing sessions and rehearsals recorded. So I sent (Tony) this, and he went, ‘Wow! That’s fucking great.’ And I said, ‘Well, you’re welcome to use it, if you wanna put that on.’ So, I don’t know… maybe you’ll get that on there.”
Martin was with Black Sabbath from 1987 – 1991, then again between 1993 – 1997. He recorded five albums with the band: The Eternal Idol (1987), Headless Cross (1989), Tyr (1990), Cross Purposes (1994), and Forbidden (1995).
Martin recently released his long-awaited solo album, Thorns, via Dark Star Records. In a new interview with Vintage Rock Pod, Tony talks about the new record, and shares some incredible stories from his Sabbath days, including when the band went to play in Russia in 1989 with tales of bottles being thrown, threats to pay the band in tractors, and the most unusual spectator ever at a Black Sabbath concert.
VRP: You were one of the first bands to go over there [Russia] after that kind of ban lifted in ‘89. I mean, what was the reaction like from the fans and the people that you met in the country at that time?
Tony Martin: “It was mad. They didn’t know how to behave really. We played two places, Moscow and Leningrad. And a funny story about that actually, um, the Moscow gig, the dignitaries were invited, the mayor, the mayor’s wife, the mayors mother, the kids, you know, the whole entourage. And we were playing ‘Iron Man’, you know? [Tony] Iommi comes over to me, digs me in the ribs, says ‘look down there.’ I said ‘Where?’ He said, ‘Down there, look down there.’ An old grandma was sat in the front row knitting! To ‘Iron Man’! Yeah yeah very good boys *to the tune of Iron Man* “knit one, pearl one three, da da da da…”
“But the reception was great, and you know, they were nice to us. They actually threatened to pay us in tractors. They said, ‘Well, how about we pay you in tractors? We’d give you 20 tractors. You take them back to the UK sell them and you’ll keep the money.’ No just give us the fucking money. It was quite an eye opener, really. For sure, we had quite a journey there.”
Listen to the full interview at Vintage Rock Pod, or below:
Click here to order Thorns.
“As The World Burns”
“Black Widow Angel”
“Book Of Shadows”
“Damned By You”
“No Shame At All”
“No Where To Fly”
“Run Like The Devil”
“This Is Your Damnation”
“As The World Burns” lyric video: