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QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
This section of the site will give you a chance to ask those questions you always wanted to ask - please email me.
Answers will be published here.
First, a few general ones that got asked by numerous people.
1) Do you plan on touring the USA (or anywhere else) any time soon? Behind the Rondinelli or Cage 2 albums perhaps?
I would love to come back to the states, given the opportunity I will, but I have a lot of work to do yet, and not much time in which to do it. I need some good songs under my belt and a band and a new reputation since I’ve been out of the industry for some time and I’ve only tentatively stepped onto the stage a few times and most of it has been disastrous!
2) What is your favorite Black Sabbath song - both from your eras and others. And favorite to perform live?
I love “Kill in the spirit world” and I have no problems with ANY of the other eras. I grew up with the Ozzy thing as a kid so I like “Sweet leaf” and stuff like that. Ronnies thing was great too, “Heaven and Hell”
I liked the Seventh star album too, “Heart like a wheel” I even Like Ray Gillans version of the track Eternal Idol.
3) Any memorable shows? What is the strangest/funniest thing to happen to you or a bandmate while onstage?
Yeah there was some funny stuff, mainly though it was things that evolved from “in” jokes within the band. And It wouldn’t make any sense to you.There was a show in Poland I think it was, I would have to check though. I decided to jump into the pit near the end of the show and ran along the front row grabbing hands and stuff, but there was the MOTHER of all security guards waiting for me at the other end who hadn’t been watching the show. (Of course he was doin his job). This guy was HUGE and when I reached his end of the pit, he grabbed me round the neck and tried to throw me out!!!! As it happened one of the other security guards (who HAD been watching the show), saw him and peeled him off me. I whacked this guy so fuckin hard, but he didn’t flinch at all!!! He looked so embarrassed. I climbed back on the stage and carried on.4) Would you work with Tony Iommi and Black Sabbath again in the future if asked?
5) Is "Back Where I Belong" ever going to be re-released (if not, can you state why), and what's the significance of the name? Another Tony Martin solo album?
Can’t be re-released in the original form. My ex-manager has the rights and won’t give them to me. He said that the rights can only be owned by a company!?!?!
6) Any outtakes or "extra songs" that were recorded but never used? We've always heard about Iommi being a "fountain of guitar riffs", so it stands to reason there's unused recorded material out there.
Yeah there is always stuff that never gets used but we do this all the time, start off getting all the old things out that never got used, and then find out it’s quicker to write new ideas!!!! So generally they stay unused.
And here are more specific ones:
1) Tony, now that many years have passed and you have established yourself very well in the music industry, in retrospect how did it feel stepping into the shoes of a Black Sabbath vocalists? Have those feelings changed with time? (Ken Boyd)
Good question Ken, I was never really comfortable with the shoes that were given to me, but for a while I thought I was wearing them in. Y’know, Headless Cross, Tyr. But then the first break came and it was a shock. So after that I was always reading between the lines to try and figure out what came next. Luckily I had my Manager Albert who knew them very well and was able to throw light on a lot of things.
Cross Purposes felt good, but then Forbidden was awfull so it was a very unsure time for me really. I still have the same feelings about it but It’s only when I’m asked that I really think about it.
2) Tony, what would you consider your biggest contribution to the band Black Sabbath? How about to that of the music industry in general? (Ken Boyd)
I joined at a time when not many people were interested in working with the band. By that time a few singers had joined and left, different line ups etc. To take on an unknown young singer was an uncertain move for them. But I stuck with it and never missed a show, worked real hard at it, I feel, and others have said that my time there helped to stand the band back on it’s feet. I hope so. As far as the music industry is concerned, aint had much chance to make significant head way since I’m always singing for someone else. I need to change that. To make at least a small epitaph without the name Black Sabbath in it. And it WILL change, just hope it’s for the good.
3) Back in '95 Geezer commented on Tony Martin not wanting to record some of the heavier material Geezer had written for the Cross Purposes cd. According to the interview, Geezer quoted Tony as saying "We can't do that, we'll sound like Pantera". The question is what was wrong with taking Sabbath in a heavier direction? (Ken Corch)
Er.. to be honest Ken, I think that was a Joke! I don’t recall saying that, and Geezer said it was the most enjoyable album he’d ever made. ….. and I got him on video sayin it!!
4) Tony I really enjoyed your work with Sabbath. My questions: Did you write all the lyrics singlehandedly? Did you ever make any suggestions about guitar riffs, bass riffs, drum fills etc.? Do you play any instruments and if so will you be playing any either in concert or an upcoming album? (David Gabaldon)
Hi David, Lyrics yes, I wrote them all. Riffs, only one or two, mainly so that I link up the music to where I needed to sing. I play lots of instruments not very well but It don’t stop me from learning new things.
6) All the bands today cite Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, etc as their influences... but Sabbath was at the forefront with its metal/rock music for that time. Who (or what) would you say influenced your music and your playing style during the early Sabbath years? And for the years after Sabbath, when you stepped to the forefront and proved you were a talent to be reckoned with, in or out of Sabbath, who did you look to at that time? Who do you admire, musically? (Chaotic ???)
I am a child of the 70’s. and grew up with diverse music such as T.rex, Sweet, Zeppelin, Sabbath, Floyd, Montrose, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and then Bob marley, and others. My influence comes from music in general since I wasn’t confined to one style. NOW??? There are some great young bands, I really like the melodies and songs of bands like Radiohead, and Travis, but also Curve was great, nine inch nails had some good stuff. I like the newer Cathedral stuff. But I don’t use their stuff when I write, If I get the chance you’ll see where I’m at.
7) Hi, Tony..I'm Mike from Washington...I feel that you are Sabbath's most talented singer..But here's a question I've wondered about..Of all the Sab songs written previous to you joining the band, what is the song you'd most like to cover live, that you have not covered before? (Mike Caulfield)
Hi mike, I was fortunate to have covered all the songs that I liked about the band, “Sweet leaf” “Changes” “Heaven and Hell” can’t really think of many that weren’t covered at some point. That was a comment I Missed earlier actually Ken asked about contribution to the band, Obviously the people that were coming to see the Sabbath I was in, came to hear all those songs being played, not just one era. Like it or not, that was great to do. It doesn’t mean that the other singers are or weren’t as good as me. It was just a version of the band that did those songs, and did them bloody well!!
9) the album vocal on Nightwing was actually the guide vocal you had recorded. Any chance we may hear some of the other takes of that or for that matter any other alternate versions of the music you did with Black Sabbath in the future? I know there are many people out there who love to hear the works in progress. (John White)
Nice Question John, I would love to show you the progress of the songs, How did you find out it was the guide? Cozy was responsible for that. It turned out he was absolutely right but at the time I had big discussions with him over it, I was convinced that I could do it better, and of course, never did! Nice one Cozy!
10) Hi!I´m from Germany and a great Black Sabbath and Tony Martin-fan!I also write the lyrics in my band and I want to know how Tony Martin writes his lyrics and if he can give a few tips because his lyrics are always very good! (Dennis Seet)
Dennis you got a hard job buddy!! Try if you can to pick up on the chorus first, if you can lock on to that, build your words around what is important. Ask, what am I singing about? Does it make sense? OR if it’s a kind of fiction thing like what I sometimes write, does it flow lyrically? I mean does it have a beginning and an end and does one link to the other. THEN screw the whole thing up and write whatever the fuck you want!!!! Works for me!
11) How many shows did you play in South Africa, and do you have any memories of the tour/shows that you could share with us? (Ron Schorer)
Oh No, I always wonder when this will crop up!! Talking about it now is almost nothing special, but do you remember at the time, they had that apartheid thing going on, well we had loads of idiots of both sides trying either to stop us or to entice us to go. We were treated VERY well. But then you would expect that. We did a number of shows which I will have to check up on, and I will list them if I can in my new site when it comes on line. I still have all my tour books and can draw information from them to give you the answer.
13) What other interests besides music do you have? (Joe Bentley)
Interests are varied and I always think must be really boring to most others I mean who’s interested in the fact that I’m a member of the outer mongolian sheeps bladder football team?????? ….. SEE!!! No one!
On the other hand, …… No seriously, I don’t get time for much other than getting through the measely few hours that God granted us in each day. I love being with my Kids, they make me laugh, but now I’m divorced and so that’s tough. I’ve been all round the world, and never had a holiday. Always working there.
14) Do you ever feel nostalgic and put on one of the Sabbath albums you sang? (Jens Nepper)
Jens Hi, Do you like the sound of your own voice? If you record it onto tape does it sound good??
Mm! I would wager the answer to be no. I don’t listen to my own stuff at all really, I keep thinking, .. why did I sing that, … or … that note was sharp. … or …. Should have put a harmony in there. So I supose the answer is ….. Sometimes, but not very often.
15) Were there many outtakes from the album sessions, unreleased songs or other material that the band chose not to put on the albums ? (Nial Hall)
Nial hi, there were some songs that didn’t make the cut, and as I mentioned earlier, It’s usually quicker to write new songs than listen through all the old ones that didn’t get used. I have all the versions though, of my time with the band and even of Ray Gillan doing his thing. And NO they aint for sale!!!!!
16) I think that you recorded some of Black Sabbath's finest work (Eternal Idol is the BEST!). Also, your solo cd is a MUST for hard rock fans. I saw you in San Francisco in 1995 w. Motorhead and I thought that you gave the best Sabbath performance I have ever seen. You are a total professional. My question is why was Sabbath unable to form a concrete line-up around you and Iommi? I think that the revolving door line ups kind of stigmatized the 1985-1995 era and unfortunately in a way tarnished your contribution among some Sabbath fans. Thanks again (Tyrone Barrett)
Why thank you Tyrone, I’ll pay you later. I’m absolutely certain that the band wasn’t able to go any further up with me or anyone else other than Ozzy. The reunion with Ronnie didn’t do it, there wasn’t any other singer that could have joined without ANOTHER line up change, and style that could do what a REUNION did. That was …… BUMS ON SEATS!!!! Forget the intelligent stuff. BUMS ON SEATS. It wasn’t happening to the extent we would have liked it to be when I was there. But if you re-unite any original line up, The Beatles or Black Sabbath It draws attention. Now they’re rollin in it. Fair play to em, I can’t compete with that. I guess I was just keeping the shoes warm!
17) One of my favourite songs is "Black Moon", which originally appeared as the B-side to the 7" release of "The Shining". When this was re-recorded for the "Headless Cross" album you sang in a different key.Was it a concious choice to record the whole song in a different key? (Magnus Klavins)
WOW!!! I never noticed!!! I only sang the song once!!! In 1987. I would imagine if you are correct, that the song was pitch shifted for some reason. Either deliberately, but I can’t see why, and I was never told. Or as a result of the cut process, if the master tapes had been played back at the wrong speed for the cut. I’m not able to check it …. Or maybe I am actually. I will give it a listen and mention it on my site if I can.
18) How did it feel to be out of Black Sabbath suddenly with the return of Ronnie James Dio? What were the circumstances around your return to Black Sabbath after Ronnie James Dio left the second time? (Joe Morgan)
It was pretty soon after I started my solo album I had a call to go join up again, but I decided to carry on with the solo thing. Then I had another call a few months later, and decided to give it a try. I met the guys at a concert here in Birmingham NEC and they were great towards me, so in I went. Tony Only said it had been hard workin with Ronnie and didn’t really expand on it so I didn’t ask.
19) I saw you and Sabbath live back in '95, and in the videos the band made during this time frame. It seemed as though you and Tony Iommi had a very good working relationship. Is there any truth in that observation? I'd love to know. I heard that Tony Iommi thought out of all the Sabbath vocalists, you were the least hassle to work with. (David Hunt)
At the time we were getting on great. … I thought. I did everything I could to get the shows right, never missed a show other than what the band cancelled or something else went wrong. In an association spanning 10 years, 87 through 97, that’s pretty good goin. I imagine that what you said hit’s the button right on the head. I was just the least hastle to work with, I thought we were doing good stuff even though.
20) Why was the song "Feels Good To Me" included on the album "Tyr"? It's good song and all, but it seems to clash with theme of what is quite clearly a concept album. Was it thrown on there just to be a "radio friendly" track? (Brendan Millet)
21) Were there any of the "classic" Sabbath songs that you didn't like but still had to perform because the audience expected them? (Andreas Eriksson)
No not really, ….. wait …. Yo Brendan, sorry dude, was just kiddin. “Feels Good” was the single so yes it was on there for radio, we did a video for it which is the wierdest thing. Shot partly in London in an old theater, and partly in sunny LA with a girl on a motorbike.!! You have to see it. Ok Andreas, back to you. All the songs were songs that were current or ones that I’d asked them to play. Some were HARDER than others but none the less enjoyable to work with.
22) Can You please tell more about my favourite Black Sabbath's album - forbidden, something special when The Band were recording it, about the unussual way of singing and more about the lyrics, particulary about songs: Rusty Angels and The Illusion Of Power please. How was it to work with Ice T ? (Serg Blumkin)
Serg, you are a very rare breed!!! Not many people, including me, it’s well documented, not many people like this album. Y’see, It was the filler album that got the band out of the label deal, rid of the singer, and into the reunion. However I wasn’t privvy to that information at the time. I will give you Lyrics and stuff on my site though.
23) I've got one more question for you. There's a song from your solo album, the song "The Last Living Tree", which has lately become a favorite of mine because the symbolism in the lyrics touched me in sort of a personal way. However, I am curious to know if there was some thing or event that you had particularly in mind when writing this song. What do the lyrics mean (No name)
Howdy No name, The tree was a 90’s thing, Sting was doin it, and oh everyone was doin it. Conservation and the planet thing and it all became a bit nauseating in the end, but I love the words, and the Gospel choir was amazin to work with. I was stood right there when they sang it. Nearly took my damn head off. VERY impressive. We just called up the local church and asked if they would be interested, and down they came. Didn’t even want money!!!!! Gave them some though.
24) Can you map out the different people on the cover of Forbidden for us? I'm not sure the best way to do it. We know the "big" people(Geoffrey, Ice T, the band), but who are the other people on that cover? (No name)
Good question, I’ll put it up on my site with arrows to who is who.
25) Did you write Some Kind Of Woman? This is probably one of my favorite Sabbath songs. (no name)
I wrote the lyrics but the music was the band, apparently that one and Black moon were out takes cuz no one else cud get a melody on them.
26) Did The Alliance actually release an album or merely produce demos? I have 3 or 4 Alliance songs on a tape that were recorded from a BBC broadcast at some point but have never found reference to an album ever being released. The songs sounded great and should have been released. I found it interesting that one of the songs was "Strangers" that Tony re-recorded with Misha Calvin. Was that Tony's idea or did Calvin suggest it? Is there any chance that The Alliance material will ever see the light of day again? I'd be first in line. (Mark Cloer)
Hey mark how you doin, We were on compilation albums but never our own recording. Was good fun that band. Don’t see how it will ever get released.
27) Did you ever actually record demos with Blue Murder or were you just involved in the writing? (Mark Cloer)
You again!!! I recorded the stuff in Blackpool England, that’s how John got the ideas for the melodies and lyrics.!!! HA!
28) Tony seems to Float around from project to project, does he miss being part of a more 'stable' (if I may use this word) band setting? COuld we see Tony be part of, or actually form himself, a permanent & long lasting band. (i.e. at least a few albums in a row!) (Mike Erkic)
I’m working on it buddy. Hope that I can get something out that will start the ball rolling. I miss it terribly.
29) Back in 1987 when Eternal Idol was first released, I was very surprised that Iommi kept the name Black Sabbath as he was the only original member. As we all know, he originally wanted to call 7th star a solo project, but ended up using the name "Black Sabbath featuring Tony Iommi". Anyway, my question is, did you guys ever consider calling the "Eternal Idol band" another name than Black Sabbath? If so, can you say what name you were considering? (Eric Hokenson)
Sorry to disappoint you eric, No other names were considered Good question though, I can see where you’re coming from.
30) As Ronnie returned in Black Sabbath in 1991-1992 for the Dehumanizer album and tour, was any of the material on Dehumanizer actually written earlier on already when Ronnie wasn't yet in the band? What about after Ronnie had left; was any of the material written -but not released - in 1991-1992 used later on? (Tapio Kiehanen)
I went to a rehearsal when they were trying to get the Ronnie thing together, and sang on some of the songs, but non of it was used. And when I rejoined the band I didn’t hear any of the stuff again. So I gues your answer is no, and no.
31) How much decision making went on when you were in the band (creation of songs, song lists for a tour, etc)? Did everyone contribute in some way or was it understood that it was Iommi's band and that he made the decisions? (Edward Dolle)
Ooooooh!!!!! Political this one!!! Ok it was like this, All the decisions were taken by the management, who took their directions from Tony Iommi. We peasants didn’t really get much say in what went on. A few small things but nothing major. Probably quite rightly, since you can’t have that many line ups in a single band and expect all the members to start picking things apart but hey!!!
32) Where abouts did The Cat nickname come from? (Katherine Bowman)
Katherine hi, I mentioned in a previous question the origin of the name. Now I changed it, I don’t miss it, only a few of my friends still call me Cat, mostly everyone now calls me Tony.
33) I have only one question. On the Cross Purposes album, some lyrics touch modern political (Cross of Thorns) and sociological (I Witness, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle)problems. The same we can hear on early albums of BS (for example in Hand Of Doom or Children Of the Grave). Was thease similarities ment, or it just came out by itself from the "Sabbath Spirit" (Krzystof Kowalewski)
Cool question! They were actually meant to be that way. I really enjoyed working out the lyrics to fit the music. Not very often you get the chance to work with stuff like that and have it released. Fantastic stuff.
34) How do you manage to balance your professional life with your family life, particularly if you're touring? (Kim Lowary)
You just do it! If it’s your chosen career than you have to work out how to go about it in the best way. It starts off well meaning enough but soon you just have to get on with it and sometimes the consequences are quite huge. Families split up over the music thing a LOT. Also your partner has to be very understanding or brain dead to live with someone who’s life is spent away. It also applies to oil riggers or truckers or whatever.
35) I like Headless Cross quite a bit. Musically, I think it is one of the strongest albums from your time with Black Sabbath. However, the lyrics bother me a lot. I never play the album around my family as a result. A lot of Sabbath's previous controversial lyrics were ambiguous and could be interpreted different ways - but that doesn't seem to be the case here. What inspired the lyric writing on Headless Cross? How do you feel about that piece of work? (Craig???)
Craig hi, don’t worry about it man, there’s nothing in there that is gonna make you spontaneously combust or anything. To be honest the more you concern yourself with it the more you’ll go nuts over it. Lyrically I wanted to pull some historic stuff together with “power words” Words that are strong when you sing them. Also words that people don’t use much anymore. I know some people play the albums backwards to see if there’s messages and stuff but there’s nothing like that on stuff that I’ve written.
36) Is there an official recording of the Cozy Powell live tribute show in which you were on vocals? If so where can it be purchased? (John Smith)
Sorry buddy Cozy was laid to rest and as I understand it will stay that way. Some personal video stuff was taken but they promised it would stay personal.
37) I'd read that you were supposed to be involved in Niccollo Kotzev's Nostradamos Opera but when I bought it, you weren't on it... what happened? (Carlos Salazar)
Oh yeah, I have a fundamental problem getting to grips with these projects that call themselves Rock Opera’s I suppose it’s dislike on my part because I’m a singer of “songs” and It really doesn’t interest me if there’s nothing to “sing”. I know some people really like the technical stuff that goes on in these projects, and I appreciate the work that goes into doing it, some of it is VERY clever. Also the players are usually very good. But you’re either into it … or you aint. I always listen to them to see if there’s a way for me to be involved, but so far I haven’t found one. The problem is that some people don’t say no for an answer and I try to be polite in how I deal with it, but sometimes they have you listed in the album sleeve before you even received it in the post!!! There is nothing I can do about that. The other thing that really get me is people say, “I’ve written the part just for your voice, it will be perfect!” What they forget is, it’s my brain that operates my voice, and there hasn’t been a single one that’s been sent to me that I have sung the way they THINK I will sing it. Only TONY MARTIN knows that.
38) After the Forbidden tour what did you get up to, ( apart from Giuntini2 and the Cage ) and your current program? There were a couple of years when not much was heard from you. Some mention of filmscores somewhere. (Timothy Gibson)
Yo Tim, gotta tell ya, I was doin the Dad thing man! Loved every part of it too. My kids are very special young people and it’s a shame that now we’re apart cuz of the divorce, but they know I love em dearly, and they come visit, y’know, the McDonalds Dad thing. Although I don’t usually take em there. But it’s all gonna change, I’m workin full time on my career and hope I can reach some of you guy’s with my new stuff like I did before.
39) How did your time with Black Sabbath influenced your further inspiration of writing songs? (did it even influenced you?) (Yuri Beckers)
Naaah! The Sabbath thing stays with Black Sabbath. I would be ripped to shredds If I tried to do a Sabbath thing!!!!! Aint gonna happen. But the lyrics and the voice are mine and no one can take that away. I will always try to write “Songs” sometimes it’ll work and sometimes it won’t.
40) A song that I didn't understand was The Sabbath Stones. Can you please tell me what it's about? (Alon Lessel)
It’s about GOD! Therefore the keeper of the Sabbath Stones is God. And the Sabbath Stones are? …. Why am I telling you this, I’m supposed to be putting it in my site. Whatever, …. I’ll still put it in my site. The Sabbath stones are … The Ten Commandments. Duz that help?
41) You entered BS in 1987 to complete the Eternal Idol album, in a period where the line up was constantly changing. at first did you feel as a hired musician or as a band member?. when did you start to feel like a real band member? Can you relate any stories from the recording of the Eternal Idol album - it was a very turbulent time in the band's past. (no name)
It was Very turbulent!!! We had hurricane winds here in the UK at the time we were recording in London, and Cozy’s farm was nearly wiped out by all the fallen trees etc. As far as the band was concerned, I had no expectations at that time I just wanted to do it good. The majority of the album had been recorded in Monseratt, and they were running out of money to finish it. They spent about 18 months out there I think they said ….. Actually I’d have to check that, I recall it was a long time, anyway they gave me 8 Days to finish the whole vocal thing!!!
42) In 1994, after the Sao Paulo gigs, when Bill Ward stepped in, the band was supposed to record together. Was any work done at that point with you and Bill in the recording studio? (Joe Siegler)
Hey Joe, how ya doin! No nothing was done. I loved working with the guys, but It was a struggle for me to achieve with it. Don’t know why. Just wasn’t performing to my best. Bill was new in too, and wasn’t on top, but what a great player. Loved being there, we got on well.
43) Was Back Where I Belong a direct result of your "forced departure" from Sabbath after 1991, or was it planned anyway? (Joe Siegler)
I had the songs, just didn’t know that’s where they would end up.