Black Sabbath

ARTICLE ABOUT Mott The Hoople and Black Sabbath FROM New Musical Express, April 10, 1976

This is one of those “double” reviews of albums that I`m personally not very fond of. But here you have it. Two albums reviewed for the price of one or something… Personally I find the Sabbath one a great collection of tracks even today, but Mr. Murray wouldn`t agree with me. Enjoy!

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You too can have a legend like mine

Takes only two minutes a day – in your own home!

Mott The Hoople: Greatest Hits (CBS);
Black Sabbath: We Sold Our Soul For Rock `N` Roll (Nems).

By Charles Shaar Murray

A cornucopia of aspects: Compilations seen as examples of the Gentle Art Of Putting Compilation Albums Together, compilations as someone`s idea of the best and most important aspects of the artist in question, compilations as distillations of the essence of the artist and thereby lynch-pins for discussion of the artist`s Galactic Importance, Social Significance, Role in the economic exploitation of the rock-sensitive sections of the populace and occasionally New Jersey.
The Mott album was put together by the current incarnation of the band with the assistance of Stan Tippins, tour manager and close associate of the band since Year Dot.
It covers the CBS years: i.e. from “Dudes” (1972) to “Saturday Gigs” (late `74); the period from the entry of David Bowie to the departure of Ian Hunter.
It contains all the hit singles – that`s “All The Young Dudes”, “Honaloochie Boogie”, “All The Way From Memphis”, “Roll Away The Stone” and “The Golden Age of Rock And Roll” – the last two singles, which didn`t catch public interest too tough (“Foxy Foxy” and “Saturday Gigs”), and a clutch of album tracks: Pete Watts` big moment “Born Late `58” and Ian Hunter`s two melodramatic chest-beating keynote speeches “Hymn For The Dudes” and “Ballad Of Mott The Hoople (March 26, 1972, Zurich).”

Which is fair enough, obviously. “Born Late `58” is no cultural triumph, but it provides continuity with the current Hunterless Mott (who, after all, compiled the album). “Hymn” and “Ballad” are both crucial tracks, but the inclusion of both at the expense of equally crucial (and far more dynamic) pieces like “Sucker” and “Violence” balances the album far too heavily towards the portentious end.
“Saturday Gigs”, whatever its merits/demerits in its original incarnation as a single – the overly self-centred autobiography-of-Mott latter verses blow it for the far more universal opening verses – was just tailormade to be the last track on a Mott The Hoople bestof.
Still, those are individual quibbles with an individual view of the music of what was certainly one of the best and most important British bands of the first half of the `70s – and while we`re on individual quibbles, I still think “Honaloochie Boogie” sucks – and it should go without saying that anyone who wasn`t Hoople-conscious at the time owes it to his/her rock and roll soul to get this album.
On a trivia level, however, it would appear from the packaging that various old wounds dating from the Mott/Hunter/Ronson hara-kari of a year or so back are still more than a little septic.
The cover photo has Hunter – undeniably the group`s Heavy Duty Figure during its hey-day – unobtrusively stashed away behind Morgan Fisher, while Pete Watts in all his glory holds sway front`n centre.

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On the back liner spread and the photo insert, there ain`t one single pic of Mick Ronson – who for better or for worse was a member of Mott The Hoople for a while, even though none of the present Motters have any cause to remember him with any affection – and the unfortunate Ronno is simply listed as having played guitar on “Saturday Gigs”, just as, say, Andy Mackay is listed as having played saxophone on “Boogie” and “Memphis.”
He`s also conspicious by his absence from any mention in CBS`s PR chief David Sandison`s liner note.
It may seem petty to go into all this, but it was a lot pettier for Tippins, Watts, Fisher, Griffin et al to turn Ministry Of Truth and attempt to re-write history like this.
Ronno was in Mott – no matter for how short a time and no matter how unhappily – so give the dude his due, boys. An album of this nature is supposed to be a picture of what went down, not a means of avenging old grievances. Be British about it, f`Chrissakes.
The Sabs` album, on the other hand, is beset by no such problems. For one thing, they`ve had the same line-up all along, so there`s no danger of the album being turned into a battlefield by warring factions. For another, they`ve only ever had one hit, so there`s no need to worry about conflicting identities as a singles band vs. album/concert band.

What it is – fanfare please, maestro – is A Monument To The Work Of A Great Group.
Wisely enough, it concentrates on the band`s early material; working on the principle that the Sabs` current young audience will be more likely to have, say, the last three albums as opposed to the first few. Therefore, the first two albums, “Black Sabbath” and “Paranoid” are re-presented virtually in toto, and its various successors are represented proportionately on a sliding scale (i.e. the more recent, the less tracks).
Mind you, it don`t make that much difference because apart from the reactionary intrusion of strings, pianos, synthesisers and other softening/broadening devices introduced to vary the monolithic belabouring of guitar, bass and drums, it all has remarkable internal consistency (when I was a snob – i.e. before I Saw The Light – I would`ve said that it all sounds the same). “We Sold Our Soul For Rock `n` Roll” – I think I`ve seen that slogan somewhere before, like on NME tube-card ads – is wall-to-wall pneumatic-drill riffing in wide-screen Skullarama, heavy as two short planks and monomaniacally psychotic/obsessive rock and roll.
I`m proud to say I love every beautiful braindamaged crushingly obvious moment of it. Cross my heart and hope to…
YaaaaaAAAAaaaaxhgghhhhhhhhhh….

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Woody Herman, Howard Schuman and Andy Mackay, Man, Roy Wood, 50`s Rock and Roll, Boxer, Al Jarreau, Bill Wyman, The Bothy Band, Mike Dorane, Billy Connolly, Fats Domino, Led Zeppelin.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

 

ARTICLE ABOUT Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath) FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, February 14, 1976

I wonder what kind of guitar the Broom is? You haven`t heard of either? Well, you will read about it in this article, but I can not give you any answers. I guess that Mr. Anderson really knew how to spell this famous guitars name, especially when you know that one of his interests is Greek. The writer of this article lives in South London and runs his own company called Rexclusive these days – for the most of the 70s he worked for NME.
The other person mentioned in this article, John Birch, sadly passed away in november 2000. His company still exists under the name of John Birch Guitars UK.
Tony Iommi just recently ended all concert activity with his band Black Sabbath, one of the greatest bands that will ever exist for all eternity.

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The Secret Of The Hidden Valley

A thrilling melodrama by ever-popular Rex Anderson, in which two intrepid explorers recount the adventures that befell them in the upper reaches of the M1 – homeland of the Iommi tribe.

Somewhere in the upper reaches of the M1; in the untamed lands where the swarming bees drive the natives indoors in the summer-time and lone wolves prowl at night in search of a tasty morsel of visitor`s ankle; somewhere, on a lesser tributory of the 47th intersection is a land where no white man`s eye has ever set foot.
There lives Tony Iommi, lead guitarist of the Black Sabbath tribe with his stunningly attractive native bride, Susan, whom some believe has strange, enchanting powers and whom some call simply She.
There too, in the misty, murky foggy nights of the forgotten country-set mansions of the awe-inspiring Leicestershire landscape, dwells the great mystic witchdoctor, friend of the Brum-brogued Iommi and soothsayer to those in the lead guitar fraternity who have read the signs.
Some call him “Ablokeimet,” – but locally he is known by the strange, almost unproununcable native name of John Birch.
Our story begins one mild-but-drizzly-on-high-ground January afternoon (visibility good, outlook fair) when two intrepid explorers set out from Long Acre (the old NME base before the great river crossing) with our trusty native guide in search of the wisdom of Iommi.
We were destined not to meet the legendary Birch, but rumour has it that he speaks a strange tongue which few men (other than the mysterious tribe of Electrical Engineers) can understand, and that when he speaks this tongue he is often siezed in a mystical and sacred trance so that none can stop him for several hours.

Our journey passed uneventfully. We found the Iommi palace without mishap. It was indeed a grand residence, of such a size that Birmingham council could have built an enclosed shopping precinct in the hallway and erected a council estate in the conservatory.
We were welcomed and made comfortable by the hospitable Iommi and having put him at his ease and explained the functionings of the camera – dispelling all ideas that his soul would remain imprinted on the image of the negative – I questioned him as to his dealings with John Birch and as to what of his teachings concerning the guitar he could pass on to me.
Iommi explained, in almost perfect English, that the jungle telegraph – what he described as the grape-vine – first brought his attention to the great wizard but that at that time he was conversant in only the common magic of electronics and that it was Iommi himself who encouraged him to research the higher magic of guitar manufacture.
He said: “I went to see him with one of the guitars to do one of the pick-ups or something. He wasn`t actually making guitars at that stage, but there were so many people going to see him, asking him to repair this or that – broken necks and other bits that went wrong – that he started up a little business at home doing repairs.”
Birch`s initial interest and expertise had been in electronics, but Iommi says he became involved with the rest of  the make-up of guitars and began to criticise the workmanship in many well known makes.

Throughout the conversation Iommi referred to a guitar which he said was very popular by a strange name that I was never able to translate and so I will refer to such guitars throughout as Brooms.
Please remember that whenever I mention Brooms I really mean a famous make of guitar that, as I say, I was never quite able to catch the exact name of.
Iommi said of Birch: “He said that a lot of workmanship in the guitars was bad and I can agree with him. It is. The newer Brooms are not as well made they used to be. I have a Brooms that is badly made and it`s not even one of the later ones. The later ones are worse.”
He produced a red one which he said was terrible when he first had it but which had been doctored by the amazing Birch.
“I think if you can get hold of the older ones the work is there. Now they are mass produced. They are just churned out.”
I asked him if he didn`t think the newer ones were merely immature and that possibly the older ones seemed better because any faulty ones had been thrown away or repaired so that only the best had survived.
He agreed that there was some validity in my argument. He said that he liked to play a guitar that felt as though it had been used, and that one of the great feats of magic that the amazing Birch performed was to produce a guitar, a brand new one, with a neck that felt as though it had been matured by time and use.

“With most new guitars you buy now, the frets are rough. It just doesn`t feel right. That`s how it was with that Broom – I picked it up and it was terrible, but I knew I could get work done on it. I brought it back to John, had all the neck taken down, had new frets, new tuning keys and a new pick-up put on. It`s virtually a different guitar now.”
What is it that John Birch does to his guitars, apart from that, to make them distinctive and better than other guitars?
“The guitar itself is made of one piece of wood from head to tail – whereas Brooms are joined at the neck/body junction and they`re weak there. They`re also weak at the head/neck junction. If you drop them they snap. But Birch guitars will stand up to very rough treatment, so they`re perfect for taking on the road. Look at this Broom.”
Iommi picked up the guitar, strummed it and applied light pressure to the neck. The strings immediately dropped a semi-tone.
“You can sit down and tune it and when you stand up it goes out of tune. I like the old guitars and this one has a particularly nice feel, but there is that problem – which is why with the newer ones they`ve tried to stop it by building this heel where the neck meets the body. But I can`t say it`s a well-made guitar.”
Iommi is very critical of the instrument. He doesn`t like the heavy tailpiece, but says he bought the guitar for a particular job and because he knew he could have it worked on.

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“But you can`t compare it to one of these,” he said, indicating his Birch guitars. “Even in looks alone they knock spots off it. And now he`s (Birch) got these different pick-ups so they`ve got tone as well.
“Why people bought the old Brooms was to get that old, dirty rusty sound and because Clapton has used them and all the rest of it. But if you`re playing at volume, especially like we do (chuckle), that sound becomes squealier and howlier and God knows what else.
“I`ve had a few Brooms before. I had a rare 1951 three-pick-up model or something in the days of `Paranoia` – in fact, I done `Paranoia` on it – and as soon as you plugged it in it squealed. The coils were so loose in the pick-ups that they just used to vibrate and cause feedback.
“What Birch has done is produce the sound of the Les Pauls, that raw gutsy sound, but made it really solid so that there`s no whistling.”
Another Birch innovation is a guitar with interchangable pick-ups. The pick-up itself can be slotted in from the back. He and Iommi have a patent on this idea, which was perfected as a result of Tony`s need for one guitar with the different pick-up sounds of all the others for studio work.
“Normally you can alter the controls on the guitar or on the amp or use a different amp, but you don`t actually change the effect of the pick-up itself. If you put all the bass on the amp you get a muffly sound and if you take the bass off and put on all the treble you get a thin sound, but the pick-ups have a sound of their own and you can only build on it with the amp.

“Like the Fender sound… a Fender guitar, with those single-pole pick-ups has a thinnish sound. If you have power behind you from the stack you can get a really gutsy sound from them.
“Using an AC30 with a treble booster you can get a particularly good sound with the Strat, but I`ve tried it on recording and I find it really thin in comparison.”
Iommi has a Birch Interchangeable for recording and another Birch, with beautiful inlaid crosses all up the fingerboard, which is now his favourite for stage work. He is unstoppable in his praise of the amazing Birch.
“I think he`s a genius in his own right. The difference with him is he`s trying all the time to make something better. He`s trying to make the perfect guitar – the perfect instrument for anybody, not just one particular player.
“He can make anything you want, including the sound of the pick-ups. I tell him what sound I want, perhaps play him a record and tell him it`s something between that and this, and he can produce it. He`ll just keep doing it until it comes right.”
Birch doesn`t just make custom guitars for the stars. He also makes standard models that come off a small production line and are slowly finding their way into the musical stores.
When buying one, the customer, presumably for a fee, can request any adjustments he likes. Iommi believes Birch`s retail price for a production-line guitar is about £250.

“But people think they can get a Broom if they pay just that bit more… they think because it`s a Broom it`s got that much more in it. But it hasn`t. It fools a lot of people. If they would only pick up a Birch and feel the difference…
“Birch also has a different system for truss-rods that I don`t quite understand. And he sets all the controls in epoxy resin so everything is absolutely solid. Another nice thing is this plate right across the back so you can never scratch the wood. He only employs one type of timber now, too.”
Examining the guitar, it`s apparent that Birch has coated the fretboard with polyurethane varnish, sanding both fingerboard and frets between each coat. The result is a scalloped effect similar to that seen on some antique classical guitars which were originally made that way so that ladies would find them easier to play.
The guitar also has a virtually flat fingerboard; there`s no bevel to speak of – a feature that Tony apparently prefers.
“Nothing is impossible for him. It got to the stage where I was asking him silly things. Making things up like – can you build a little tape recorder in the guitar? And he would say: `Yes… yes I think that can be done if we…”
“He`s also got a pick-up now that`s two sounds in one. It`s got a switch to give you a different sound… He`s more or less built two pick-ups into one. He was even talking about building one to fill all the space between the bridge and the end of the neck. It would be so powerful and gutsy it would just blow the amps up. But this one is as near as damn it to the Broom sound I wanted – and he hasn`t ripped a Broom pick-up apart, he just knew what was wanted electronically.”

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The controversial LP-cover once made for the band Boxer.

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Led Zeppelin, Queen, The Fania All-Stars, David Bowie, Sailor, Gay and Terry Woods.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Black Sabbath FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, January 24, 1976

This article can be difficult reading in parts for those not so familiar with English slang. This is the sort of review where you`re not sure if he slags the band off or if he really likes them. Make up your own mind!

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OWOTTA LARRFF

Black Sabbath
Hammersmith

By Charles Shaar Murray

The bastards weren`t loud enough!
Not even halfway loud enough. No right-thinking individual can get off on the Sabs unless they`re loud enough to make yer braincells seep out yer ears and run for cover in the warm safety of your trouser pockets.
You need to feel as if Geezer`s sproinging away on the coils of your cerebellum while they`re connected up to a light socket, if you wanna get technical about it. Simultaneously Tony Iommi`s got to be heaving giant slabs of semi-sentient guitar gunge around just behind your eyelids and Bill… well, Bill`s probably out the back smashing his way through a brick wall by the simple expedient of hitting it with his head, while Ozzie caterwauls about something or other in a locked basement.
That`s the way yer real Sabs conna sewer likes it.
`Cuz when it ain`t that loud, it becomes uncomfortably apparent that Black Sabbath are one of the dullest gaggles of clowns ever to haul onto a stage (Ozzie, this means you, schlubbo. Do you know what you look like in those trousers?) Luckily I gained access to the photo pit after about twenty minutes of the set and was thus able not only to see the boys close up to hear the music at a decent volume.
I really enjoyed it after that.

There was some horrible object tricked out like a giant seashell with a cross on it behind Bill Ward`s drum kit. Their S. Pokesman told me that Bill had recently delivered a jest (larf a minute, Bill is) about how they were gonna sell it to Blue Oyster Cult after the tour, but Blue Oyster Cult are American and therefore have much better props – not to mention better costumes. Just wait`ll you see Ozzie`s outfit.
Larf? I thought I`d never start.
Lessee now – they did “War Pigs”, “Children Of The Grave”, “Snowblind”, “Iron Man”, “War Pigs” – `ang on, I think I`ve already mentioned that one – “Sabra Cadabra” and lots of other good stuff. Geezer and Ioomi had the equivalent of six Laney 200-watt stacks each piled up into a neat little battlement across the back of the stage (but it still wasn`t loud enough) and Iommi was playing a really nice John Birch guitar with little crosses inlaid on the neck. Couldn`t see much of Bill, but he kept knocking his cymbals over so he must`ve been having a good time.
Once you`re in a position to get yer cortex shook, you can just settle down and groove while the band lumber around grinding it out. Occasionally they stop so that Tony Iommi can look pained and blat out one of his patented fast bits. The hall-mark of an Iommi fast bit (to use the technical term) is that it doesn`t really fit into the band context so “Sabba Cadabra” (the number into which it`s usually slotted) has to crunch to a halt while he jabbers away at Velocity Mark 10 for a few minutes.

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Ozzie looks great. He`s got this yellow T-shirt with a glitter V on the front and fringes on the sleeves and the world`s most ridic trousers. They`re tight around the ass (bad move, Ozzie) and baggy round the crotch (no Freddie Mercury I`ve-got-the-whole-world-in-my-pants tactics from these boys) and show his navy-blue underpants off to excellent advantage. They also clash exquisitely with his knee-length blue platform boots.
All joking aside, folks, I really like the Sabs (`specially when they`re really loud).
Most people I know who don`t like them generally make the mistake of taking them seriously (or trying to) and failing to get off because the whole Sabs trip is so patently dumb. The trick is to regard the whole thing (performance, audience reaction etc) as a huge joke mounted especially for your amusement and then (provided it`s loud enough) you can have a wonderful time.
I mean, what other band can provide a moment when their entire audience howls the word “Paranoid!” as loud as they possibly can? That`s always worth the price of admission by itself.
The food was unspeakable.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Alex Harvey, Elvis Presley Fan Club Convention, Lou Reed, Howlin` Wolf, Hot Vultures, Aerosmith.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Black Sabbath from New Musical Express, October 25, 1975

What is so fascinating with these older articles? Well, one of the things that I like is in the way that the articles are absolutely candid with their subjects. I feel that we lost something important when the music business “professionalised” and bands started to use press officers that controlled what were allowed to be written.
Probably sometimes under the threat of being sued by their lawyers and at other times with the threat of losing access to their stable of artists. A music paper without access to musicians wouldn`t be much of a music paper, you kow?
This is written before the days of contracts regulating what the papers could write, and it`s quite refreshing to read something like this even if it is over 40 years later…
Have fun!

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Have you heard about Ozzie and the Good Book?

BLACK SABBATH, in a new incarnation as a series of contrapuntal anecdotes.

By Kate Phillips

“The cat died, Ozzie.”
“What cat?”
“That horrible-coloured thing you shot in the garage.”
“It`s like bleeding Daktari in our garage,” mumbles the star. “You could go on an expedition in there and never come back.”
This makes The Horse That Fed Steve Marriott assume a minor perspective. A little later a friend who lives near Ozzie`s stately home reports that a Gentleman`s Shoot the star was asking about who will be charging £1,000 per gun per week. Too much.
“A thousand pounds?” repeats Ozzie, mildly disgusted. “I`d do better to pick off some more of the chickens.”
We`re into our sixth Pernod and water by now, but Wednesday night in Bradford still ain`t looking too wonderful. Geezer had some sense: he shot off home to Worcester right after the gig.

OZZIE AND THE GOOD BOOK

A young man reclines on a hotel divan. His long, fair hair criss-crosses the pillow and his triple-decker platforms are hurting his feet.
He lifts the telephone.
“Reception? Listen, how about coming up here to keep a lonely man company? No? Well listen, how does a sparrow make an emergency landing?
Eh?
“With a Sparrowchute!”
Tony Iommi, I hear later, once punched Ozzie on the nose for repeatedly ripping up hotel-supplied Gideon Bibles. I don`t know if you remember Tony with long hair. He`s worn it short for a long time now, with a neat moustache and knife-edge cream trousers. Oh yes, and the same old steel cross, resting atop the immaculate pullovers. In Bradford, when it`s time to change, he disappears from the bare, echoing school cloakroom that serves St. George`s Hall as communal dressing-room and secretes himself in the upstairs chamber (with the star on the door) for more than half an hour.
Ozzie`s still here: he didn`t bother to hide while assuming his yellow fringed shirt, tight yellow trousers and painful white boots. Now he leaps playfully round from one member of the band to another and pulls down their panties at crucial stages of undress.

Bill Ward endures these onslaughts without excitement. Gnarled and taciturn, looking very old, much older than the others, he`s climbing into bright red tights and the red tent-shaped maternity coat he “found in the wardrobe” this morning. He rounds off the tights with a pair of old blue plimsolls.
He looks like the Frog Prince.
There`s only one thing on Bill`s mind right now: the sins of a music journalist who`s been less than complimentary in print about Bill`s wife.
Bill reckons he`ll sue.
Are you very angry about it, Bill?
“Me and Melinda are used to being slagged off in the press” – he stares hard into my face – “but… well… No Comment. I don`t want to say any more.
“My wife will though,” he adds, glumly.

OZZIE AND THE CONCEPT ALBUMS

Gerald is sitting alone on a hard chair in the middle of the room. Gerald is rather a well-kept secret. He plays keyboards for Black Sabbath, and every night he dresses up in his own version of the fringed costume – but he and all his equipment are always completely hidden away from the sight of the audience.
Still, he`s honoured to be playing with his local heroes, and soon he`ll have his own album to do: musical variations on “The Ascent Of Man”.
“Ozzie`s going to help out with the singing,” he confides.
The last time Gerald tried to make a record, the studio burnt down.
“Our next album`s going to be a concept album,” Ozzie remarks, some time during the next two days.
“What`s the concept, Oz?”
“We dunno yet.”

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OZZIE AND THE YOUNG PEOPLE OF TODAY

Bradford isn`t a riot, not like Sheffield turns out to be, but the kids still pile up over the front of the stage and no one sits down all night. The imaginary axemen, who are present in large numbers and “Sabotage” teeshirts, turn their backs on the band and get heavily into miming Iommi`s riffs.
Iommi`s manner is stately. No fringes for him: in white satin, with gold braid and knee-length trumpet sleeves, and slightly embarrassed smiles at the other lads, he squirrels about on the guitar like someone demonstrating a knitting machine; and these breaks are generally the signal for relative hush. But it`s more fun when Oz doesn`t leave the stage, but totes his invisible axe as well; Ozzie`s performance is one unbroken act of communication across the barriers.
So Iommi`s effective but a bit of a smoothie, pretty Geezer camps it up like a King Charles spaniel, Bill flails his drums like a demented Thorin Oakenshield – but Ozzie is the natural-born star, and the Sabs could never have lived this long without him. Ozzie can howl out lines like “No more war pigs out for power! Hand of God has struck the hour!” and get straight back into bouncing up and down, peacesigning (“I just did it to them one day and they all did it back”) and inciting the crowd to boogie with the minimum of incongruity.

He actually notices individual faces in the crowd below him. He bridges the tuning-up gaps that straggle out numbers with “Are ya having a good time anyway? So are we!” so that the audience won`t feel ignored; and as the pain threshold mounts, and the din in your head becomes a blessed haze, the leaping yellow figure and square, hurt-looking Ray Davies features dominate the Town Hall`s trance.

OZZIE AND THE FANS THAT GOT AWAY

We were playing this baseball stadium in the States. We`re in the middle of a huge field and there`s a high wire fence all round it, with the kids outside. So I say to them, you know, come on, come inside, and suddenly they`re all climbing over the fence and running towards us like a human stampede, and we`re playing away, waiting for them to get up to us.
“But when they do, they don`t stop! They just trample right over the stage, bust up all our equipment, and rush away across the rest of the field and out of the stadium doors! `Cos the police are after them…”

In Sheffield City Hall, Lady Tony Iommi seats herself onstage. She crosses Aristockinged legs and smooths her blonde hair. She must be all of 24. “Aren`t you awfully young to be a reporter?” she enquires.
Tomorrow, the Daily Mirror is to interview the Iommis about their lifestyle. Like Ozzie and his Thelma, they too have a country house. It`s not quite so easy, though, to make the connection between Ozzie and Gracious Living.
Tony Iommi has patented a system of cartridge-type pick-ups which can all be slotted into one guitar. He says he may be appearing on “Tomorrow`s World” to demonstrate them. He doesn`t know a similar device has already been marketed in America.

Scene in the pub across the street from the hall: a becrossed and beteeshirted fan has been eyeing Geezer Butler longingly from the next table. Finally, he approaches.
“Geezer, will you dedicate `Megalomania` tonight to Sandra, Glennis and Bongo?”
“We`re not playing it,” counters a laconic Geezer.
“Oh!” says the fan. “Oh, that`s nice, innit?”
Geezer smiles seraphically.
The fan, nonplussed, backs away.

Why do you think it is, Bill, that all these really young kids like the band so much?
“I`m not sure I could tell you.”
Do they just like to get into a heavy daze and forget all their teenage troubles for a while?
“Oh yes, I thought we were assuming that. I was trying to think of some more profound reason why they get off on us.”

OZZIE REHABILITATES HIMSELF

“Grand larceny. I was in Winson Green for two months. Once I stole a telly and I was balanced on top of this wall, one of them with glass along the top, and I fell off; this 24 in. telly was sitting on top of my chest and I was screaming, Get me out, get me out!
“I had nothing to do inside; you did about two hours work a day and the rest of the time you were locked in your cell. That`s when I did these tattoos, with a sewing needle and a tin of grate polish.”
Were you into music in those days?
“Not really – maybe just the Kinks and the Beatles.”
So how come you`re a singer?
“When I came out of the nick… had to do something, didn`t I?”

Geezer`s back just in time for the gig. He clambers into dirty silver sateen jeans and a white fringed shirt lately liberated from Ozzie. But he retains the filthy blue braces that have been holding up his offstage trouserings.
“Those are disgusting,” pronounces Ozzie. “Here, let me put them straight for you.”
At this point, the latest issue of NME arrives in the dressing room. It`s a tense moment: the paper carries a lambastic review of the Sabs last week in Birmingham. Lucas, road manager, is incensed. “To think we`ve been looking after two of their girls for the last 48 hours,” he mutters accusingly.

Ozzie, who has naturally good manners, turns his back and studies his reflection in a glass at the other end of the room. He`s not about to get involved. When asked for an official reply to the review, he responds, simply (and justifiably), “Bollocks”. And that`s all anyone`s going to get.

OZZIE AND THE CHRISTMAS STOAT

`Twas Christmas Eve in the stately home, and Ozzie Osbourne, opening his bay window, leaned out to survey the snowy countryside. He sniffed at the icy air. Suddenly, right in front of him, he espied a tiny stoat, sitting up on its hind legs, gazing into his face (rather like a Sabfan, in fact).
And what happened, Ozzie?
“Nothing happened. We just looked at each other for a while.
“Then the stoat went away.”

And on to Sheffield.
Sheffield audiences are well known, nay notorious, for enjoying themselves without restraint, and one can excuse the elderly security men at the City Hall for panicking a bit last Thursday. They caused some unnecessary trouble, it seemed to me, at the sides of the crowd they could reach, but no one could have penetrated the middle of it once the Sabs were onstage, and the tiers of bodies in there were left to sway and fall about at will.

Iommi scuttled up and down his instrument with his usual static elegance, and Bill Ward`s drum solo – that`s the Drum Solo I`m talking about – sounded more like the Approach of World War One than ever – but me, I got bored whenever Ozzie wasn`t onstage to vibe things up. Ozzie gives the whole thing heart; Ozzie is power; Ozzie is the reason I`d go to a Sabs` gig any day rather than, say, the Hairdresser`s Ball (Roxy Music) I attended at Wembley the night after that.
Make no mistake – there`s no two ways about it. And you can`t say fairer than that.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: David Bowie, Elton John, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Roxy Music, I Roy, Steve Hackett, Milt Jackson, Mason, Larry Coryell.

This edition is sold!

ARTICLE ABOUT Black Sabbath from New Musical Express, October 11, 1975

Personally I think this album is one among many that Sabbath did that I enjoy a lot. I think this was a case of NME assigning the wrong guy to review a great album. The result is plain to see, and it goes awfully wrong for all involved. For historic purposes – here it is!

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Black Sabbath: Sabotage – (Nems)

Record review by Mick Farren

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I think it was Lester Bangs who put forward the proposition that people who went to Black Sabbath concerts derived their pleasure from ingesting massive amounts of downers and simply let the noise of the band vibrate their chest cavities, thus bypassing the ear altogether.
The problem with this thesis is that it hardly holds true for Black Sabbath`s records. You can scarcely achieve this kind of effect on the average home stereo without facing instant eviction.
There simply can`t be enough hermits and mountain dwellers to put this unpleasant record at number 9 in the charts.
At this point the fact has to be faced that Black Sabbath are simply low consciousness music.
(At this point the ingratiating critic slips in a disclaimer).
There is nothing essentially wrong with a low consciousness. It`s simply that I find it hard to relate to. I don`t have one. Neither do my knuckles trail on the ground when I walk.
Little Richard used to call rock and roll the healing music. Daily Mirror columnists like to call a tune “infectious”. This has to be atrophy music.

It`s heavy metal that`s so far into its half life that decay is almost complete.
The snap and fire of Jimi, the MC5 and even the early Who has been transformed by Sabbath into a ponderous, rolling THING that crushes all in its monomaniac path.
Is there no handsome young scientists who will come and save us in the nick of time?
Just as religoid chorales and tired shock tactics fail to disguise the essentially brutal thud-thud structures, the five cent psychiatry in the lyrics fails to boost them to even B movie stature.
Some couplets are dull gems of hothouse illiteracy.
How about: “Everybody`s looking at me / They`re paranoid inside / When I step outside I`ll feel free / Think I`ll find a place to hide”.
Then the subject enquires if he`s going insane. His only answer is loony laughter.
This isn`t psychodrama, It`s an amusement park ghost train. It has the same cheap, lowest common denominator, dubious thrill quotient while totally lacking the kind of gaudy innocence that might make it redeemingly charming.
It`s also highly successful, and probably causes brain damage.
Can I please take it off now?

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Roxy Music, Bay City Rollers, Bruce Springsteen, The Doors, The Who, Dave Mason, Mott.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.