March 11, 2007

Heath McCoy of the Calgary Herald recently conducted an interview with legendary heavy metal vocalist Ronnie James Dio (HEAVEN AND HELL, DIO, BLACK SABBATH, RAINBOW). A few excerpts from the chat follow:

On fans' speculation that Ozzy's wife, manager and reputed control freak, Sharon Osbourne, is to blame for HEAVEN AND HELL not using the BLACK SABBATH name:

"As far as Sharon being the perpetrator of that, I would certainly not like to think so. I don't like to think that my life is predicated on somebody else's whims who has nothing to do with me."

On who might control the SABBATH name:

"I have no idea. That seems to have been a point of contention for a long time. Who owns the name? Is it Sharon? Is it Ozzy? Is it Tony Iommi (guitarist for both BLACK SABBATH and HEAVEN AND HELL)? I would think if Tony owned the name we would be calling ourselves BLACK SABBATH, so maybe he doesn't."

"They wanted to carry on with something fresh and new. When they proposed (the band name HEAVEN AND HELL),my initial reaction was, and still is, 'Well, they're gonna call us f.....' BLACK SABBATH anyway, aren't they? You can call us the BOYS IN THE SHED if you want to. It doesn't matter to me.' "

On feeling betrayed when Ozzy, by then a mega-successful solo artist, invited his former band to open for him on the final two shows of his "retirement tour" in 1992:

"With all the horrible things Ozzy had said about Tony over the years . . . let alone what he said about me . . . I felt we needed to have some pride for that one. Suddenly we're going to finish our reunion tour with great bravado by opening up for your ex-lead singer? . . . Besides, I knew what it was really about. It was going to be announced (at those shows) that the original band was going to reunite with Ozzy . . . I would have been left in the backseat anyway . . . I told them 'Guess what? I'm not going to do it.' "

On whether Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi have been creatively stifled working with Ozzy over the past decade, playing the same greatest-hits setlist and never recording a new studio album:

"I'm sure that's grated on (them) . . . You know damn well they wanted to be challenged again. . . . Perhaps Ozzy doesn't want to do it, or perhaps he's incapable."

On Ozzy:

"I don't have any problems with Ozzy. I don't care what he's done or said. . . . When things come out of that mouth, it doesn't really matter to me. They're not earth-shaking comments . . . (Ozzy's) always loved me when I wasn't in SABBATH and hated me when I was. He has a certain possession about (BLACK SABBATH). Or maybe obsession."

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