That time Ronnie James Dio told me that Black Sabbath’s “Heaven and Hell” was his favourite song out of all the things he’d done

By Steve Newton Way the funk back in 1985 I did my one and only interview with Ronnie James Dio. He was touring behind Dio’s Sacred Heart album, and he got tickets and backstage passes to the show in Vancouver at the Pacific Coliseum. I’ll never forget how kind and generous he was when we … Continue reading That time Ronnie James Dio told me that Black Sabbath’s “Heaven and Hell” was his favourite song out of all the things he’d done

That time Ronnie James Dio told me that he thought Black Sabbath’s Mob Rules was a better album than Heaven and Hell

By Steve Newton Black Sabbath impressed a lot of people in April of 1980 when it released Heaven and Hell, its first album with Ronnie James Dio on vocals. I was one of those people. So I was pretty surprised when, while I was interviewing him in 1985, Dio told me that he thought Sabbath’s … Continue reading That time Ronnie James Dio told me that he thought Black Sabbath’s Mob Rules was a better album than Heaven and Hell

Martin Birch’s finest moments with Iron Maiden, Deep Purple, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, and Blue Öyster Cult

By Steve Newton If you’re fan of hard rock and metal you’ve no doubt already heard that Martin Birch, the preeminent producer of loud rock, passed away recently at the age of 71. I’ve interviewed my fair share of hard-rock producers, including the formerly Vancouver-based triumvirate of Bruce Fairbairn, Bob Rock, and Mike Fraser, but … Continue reading Martin Birch’s finest moments with Iron Maiden, Deep Purple, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, and Blue Öyster Cult

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 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 decades later. That particular tape also includes 1993 interviews with Devin Townsend, Steve Hackett of Genesis fame, and Stuart … 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