That time I told Tony Iommi that “Supernaut” was my fave Black Sabbath riff, and he said that it was Zappa’s too

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed Tony Iommi, the Riffmaster General, twice: the first time was back in ’84 when the Ian Gillan-fronted Black Sabbath was touring behind the Born Again album, and the last time was in 2007 when he was back with Ronnie James Dio in the Heaven and Hell format. As the second … Continue reading That time I told Tony Iommi that “Supernaut” was my fave Black Sabbath riff, and he said that it was Zappa’s too

Black Sabbath’s 20 best songs, from wicked to freakin’ awesome

By Steve Newton Sabbath Bloody Sabbath rules. 20. “Junior’s Eyes” (Never Say Die, 1978) 19. “A National Acrobat” (Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, 1973) 18. “Into the Void” (Master of Reality, 1971) 17. “Wishing Well” (Heaven and Hell, 1980) 16. “War Pigs” (Paranoid, 1970) 15. “Sabbra Cadabra” (Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, 1973) 14. “Dirty Women” (Technical Ecstasy, 1976) 13. … Continue reading Black Sabbath’s 20 best songs, from wicked to freakin’ awesome

Album review: Black Sabbath, Past Lives (2002)

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 10, 2002 By Steve Newton I like collecting guitar picks. Whenever I’m near the stage and some six-string legend tosses out one of those wee plastic nubs, I’ll do what it takes to nab it. My most highly prized catch is a plain orange Ronnie Montrose pick … Continue reading Album review: Black Sabbath, Past Lives (2002)

That time Tony Iommi told me about the “loon” who wanted to stab him onstage at a Black Sabbath show

By Steve Newton This is probly the last audio excerpt I’ll post from my 2007 interview with legendary Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi. Maybe one day I’ll just post the whole damn conversation–and the one from 1984 as well. You’ll have to keep checking back to find out, I suppose. Anyway, this excerpt I thought was … Continue reading That time Tony Iommi told me about the “loon” who wanted to stab him onstage at a Black Sabbath show

That time I asked Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi if music was just better in the seventies

By Steve Newton When I interviewed legendary Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi in 2007 he had recently reunited with Ronnie James Dio for a tour under the band name Heaven and Hell, which was used to differentiate it from the Ozzy Osbourne-fronted version of Sabbath. At the time there were a few other big reunion … Continue reading That time I asked Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi if music was just better in the seventies

That time Tony Iommi told me about the early rivalry between Black Sabbath and Deep Purple

By Steve Newton When I interviewed guitar legend Tony Iommi back in March of 2007 he was bringing his Ronnie James Dio-fronted version of Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell, to Vancouver for a show at the Pacific Coliseum with Megadeth and Down. At one point I asked Iommi whether he was a fan of Dio’s … Continue reading That time Tony Iommi told me about the early rivalry between Black Sabbath and Deep Purple

That time I asked Tony Iommi how Ronnie James Dio compared to Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath

  By Steve Newton Since time immemorial–or at least since Dio replaced Ozzy in Sabbath back in ’79–armchair rock critics have debated the merits of the two singers. It’s hard to complain about anything Ozzy did with the band up until the awesome Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath album of 1973; then again, after three spotty LPs, … Continue reading That time I asked Tony Iommi how Ronnie James Dio compared to Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath

That time I asked Tony Iommi about Ronnie James Dio replacing Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath

By Steve Newton In the past I’ve had fun posting audio excerpts from my first interview with legendary Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, which took place in 1984, during the group’s misguided Born Again phase. Fast-forward 23 years and I got Iommi on the phone again, this time to talk about the Heaven and Hell … Continue reading That time I asked Tony Iommi about Ronnie James Dio replacing Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath

That time Black Sabbath riffmaster Tony Iommi told me that the first guitar he ever wanted was a Fender Strat

By Steve Newton So here’s the last of the audio excerpts from my 1984 interview with Tony Iommi, back when Black Sabbath was touring behind the Born Again album. I called him up at his home in Birmingham–or maybe he called me up, it was a while ago–and we chatted about stuff like the band’s blowing … Continue reading That time Black Sabbath riffmaster Tony Iommi told me that the first guitar he ever wanted was a Fender Strat

That time back in ’84 when Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi told me: “If I go deaf, I go deaf”

By Steve Newton Sometimes when I interviewed heavy-metal bands in the ’80s I’d play the devil’s advocate and ask silly questions like “What do you say to people who think you’re too loud?”. Or if they were really heavy–like Black Sabbath–I’d ask them if they were worried about damaging their hearing with their music. I … Continue reading That time back in ’84 when Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi told me: “If I go deaf, I go deaf”

That time Tony Iommi told me about that Spinal Tap moment with Stonehenge props on Black Sabbath’s Born Again tour

I’m pretty sure these are the smaller Stonehenge props Iommi mentions at the very end of the excerpt. By Steve Newton Previously I’ve offered up audio excerpts from my 1984 interview with Tony Iommi in which the Black Sabbath guitarist talked about blowing up singer Ian Gillan’s boat during recording sessions for Born Again, and … Continue reading That time Tony Iommi told me about that Spinal Tap moment with Stonehenge props on Black Sabbath’s Born Again tour

That time Tony Iommi told me that a second Black Sabbath album with Ian Gillan would probably turn out better than Born Again

By Steve Newton A few days ago I posted a blog that featured a snippet from my 1984 interview with Tony Iommi, in which he talked about blowing up Black Sabbath singer Ian Gillan’s boat during the recording sessions for Born Again. As any Sabbath fan knows, the band only made one album with Gillan … Continue reading That time Tony Iommi told me that a second Black Sabbath album with Ian Gillan would probably turn out better than Born Again

That time Tony Iommi told me about the guys from Black Sabbath blowing up singer Ian Gillan’s boat

By Steve Newton Back in January of 1984 I called Tony Iommi up for a chat at his home in Birmingham, England. I was pretty psyched, since Sabbath albums like Paranoid, Volume 4, and Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath had meant a lot to me as a metal-loving teenager in the ’70s, growing up in the wilds of … Continue reading That time Tony Iommi told me about the guys from Black Sabbath blowing up singer Ian Gillan’s boat

That time Robert Plant told me he was “very very pissed off” that Black Sabbath wasn’t going to reform

By Steve Newton Now here’s a fun little soundbite I just digitized off an old cassette I had lying around from 1993. It’s an AudioMagnetics XHE 60, so good on them for making tapes that still work 23 years later. That particular tape also includes 1993 interviews with Devin Townsend, Steve Hackett of Genesis fame, … Continue reading That time Robert Plant told me he was “very very pissed off” that Black Sabbath wasn’t going to reform

That time I asked Ronnie James Dio about stepping into Ozzy Osbourne’s shoes in Black Sabbath

By Steve Newton There’s no denying that Ronnie James Dio did an incredible job replacing Ozzy Osbourne as the singer in Black Sabbath. The moment I heard “Neon Nights”, the opening track on Dio’s first Sabbath album, Heaven and Hell, I knew the heavy-metal stars had aligned. The music had way more power and feel than … Continue reading That time I asked Ronnie James Dio about stepping into Ozzy Osbourne’s shoes in Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath gets all Paranoid at final Vancouver gig

By Steve Newton Every Black Sabbath freak has his fave Sabbath album. I for one have long trumpeted the supreme awesomeness of 1975’s Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath. Others point to the band’s spooky self-titled debut of 1970 as its pinnacle achievement. But most of the Sabbath fans I’ve encountered tend to regard Paranoid–also released in 1970–as the heavy-metal … Continue reading Black Sabbath gets all Paranoid at final Vancouver gig

Vancouver rockers, radio hosts, and record-store owners reflect on the power of Black Sabbath

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 15, 1999 By Steve Newton Because of its brutal sound and satanic overtones, Black Sabbath was never as widely accepted as the Beatles or the Stones, but its influence among rock fans is incredibly far-reaching. We asked a few local hard-rock aficionados and musicians to divulge their fondest … Continue reading Vancouver rockers, radio hosts, and record-store owners reflect on the power of Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath reissues bring back memories of “War Pigs”-inspired furniture abuse

By Steve Newton I have hazy memories of the very first albums I ever owned, but there’s three that stick out in my mind: Alice Cooper‘s Billion Dollar Babies, Deep Purple‘s Fireball, and Black Sabbath‘s Paranoid. I used to play the hell out of them on an ancient stereo downstairs in my parents’ “rumpus room”. And my favourite … Continue reading Black Sabbath reissues bring back memories of “War Pigs”-inspired furniture abuse

Judas Priest’s Rob Halford calls “Black Sabbath” the most evil song that’s ever been written

By Steve Newton I was interviewing Rob Halford yesterday in advance of Judas Priest’s two shows at the Hard Rock Casino Vancouver this month and, as old-school rockheads will do, we got to talkin’ Sabbath. I’d known that Halford had sang with the metal legends three times–twice covering for Ronnie James Dio, and once for … Continue reading Judas Priest’s Rob Halford calls “Black Sabbath” the most evil song that’s ever been written

Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” chosen as the top heavy-metal song of all time

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 4, 2003 Toronto-based music writer Martin Popoff is Canada’s top expert on heavy metal. Senior editor of metal mag Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles and author of The Collector’s Guide to Heavy Metal, the Trail, B.C.–raised Popoff certainly knows his stuff when it comes to raunchy rock. The … Continue reading Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” chosen as the top heavy-metal song of all time

Mountain’s Leslie West recalls Woodstock and his band’s old warmup act, Black Sabbath

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 1, 2002 By Steve Newton Seventies hard-rockers Mountain didn’t waste any time in getting famous. The bluesy power trio—best known for the lineup of guitarist and vocalist Leslie West, drummer Corky Laing, and bassist-vocalist Felix Pappalardi (who was shot dead by his wife in ’83)—played its first gig … Continue reading Mountain’s Leslie West recalls Woodstock and his band’s old warmup act, Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath may yet tour with its original lineup, hints Ozzy Osbourne

For all those diehard Black Sabbath fans who saw the band in concert last year and went, “Man, that was wicked, but how cool would it have been with Bill Ward!”, there is still hope. According to Sabbath vocalist Ozzy Osbourne, the British metal legends intend to record one final album and embark on one final tour. … Continue reading Black Sabbath may yet tour with its original lineup, hints Ozzy Osbourne

Black Sabbath to release live Blu-ray on which Ozzy’s vocals might not suck

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, OCT. 3, 2013 By Steve Newton As anyone who went to see Black Sabbath in Vancouver six weeks ago knows, Ozzy Osbourne‘s vocals were hurtin’ pretty bad. It really helped if you focused on the wicked performances of the other three players in the band, especially legendary riffmasterTony Iommi. But just today Sabbath posted … Continue reading Black Sabbath to release live Blu-ray on which Ozzy’s vocals might not suck

Black Sabbath’s new box set isn’t quite as wicked as its Black Box

By Steve Newton The hard-rock/metal world is all a-buzz with today’s news that the mighty Black Sabbath will release a CD boxed set containing the band’s first eight albums—the ones it recorded before Ozzy Osbourne got the boot and was replaced by Ronnie James Dio in 1979. That’s all well and good. The more masterful Tony Iommi riffs … Continue reading Black Sabbath’s new box set isn’t quite as wicked as its Black Box

Black Sabbath cancels Born Again show in Vancouver, Tony Iommi says “If I go deaf I go deaf”

By Steve Newton On January 19, 1984, Black Sabbath was scheduled to play the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver. The British metal legends were touring behind their new album Born Again, their first and last one to feature Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan. Also in the lineup–though not on the album–was former Electric Light Orchestra drummer Bev Bevan. The show … Continue reading Black Sabbath cancels Born Again show in Vancouver, Tony Iommi says “If I go deaf I go deaf”

Black Sabbath minus Bill Ward equals Bill Sabbath t-shirt

When word first went out in November of 2011 that Black Sabbath was getting back together for its first studio album since 1978–and a worldwide tour to boot–hard-rock fans far and wide rejoiced. I was among them. But the shine came off the project later on when it was revealed that, due to financial squabbles, … Continue reading Black Sabbath minus Bill Ward equals Bill Sabbath t-shirt