During an appearance on "The Rock And Metal Profs: The History And Philosophy Of Rock And Metal" podcast, former BLACK SABBATH singer Tony Martin spoke about recently announced plans to reissue the albums he recorded with the band. Asked when fans can expect to see the box set released, Martin said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I don't know. As always with BLACK SABBATH, you don't get a lot of information, to be honest; they keep things close to their chest. They don't sort of say anything, especially if you're in the band — they don't tell you anything if you're in the band. All I know is that it's happening."
He continued: "I know that two record labels are releasing it. I don't know when, and I don't know what it's gonna look like. There was some suggestion a while back that we might be able to put extra tracks and stuff on it. I did offer, and I went to see [BLACK SABBATH guitarist] Tony Iommi and offered some things. And then he said we can't use anything new 'cause nothing new can be released under the BLACK SABBATH name. It can only be stuff that's got the original four members on it.
"I'm expecting it to be a remixed version of whatever the original was; that's what I'm expecting," Tony added. "So I await as you do to find out. Let me know if you hear it first."
When the interviewer expressed hope that the box set will include some live recordings from the Martin era of SABBATH, either in audio or video format, Tony said: "I recorded the writing session with… Eddie Van Halen came over and helped us write one of the tracks [for 1994's 'Cross Purposes' album]. And I had an eight-track recorder at the time in the 1980s, and I used to take it everywhere, this thing. I've got all of the writing sessions and rehearsals recorded. So I sent [Iommi] this, and he went, 'Wow! That's fucking great.' And I said, 'Well, you're welcome to use it, if you wanna put that on.' So, I don't know… Maybe you'll get that on there."
Martin added: "It's great to hear Eddie play."
Two years ago, Iommi has explained to Rolling Stone magazine how Van Halen ended up co-writing the song "Evil Eye" on the "Cross Purposes" LP.
"When we were doing 'Cross Purposes', [VAN HALEN] were playing in Birmingham," he said. "Obviously, I went to see him, and we were rehearsing. I said, 'You ought to come down to rehearsal if you want.' 'Oh, can I?' I said, 'I'll pick you up from the hotel.' I said, 'Let's go and get a guitar.' We went down to the music shop in Birmingham. I said, 'Can you lend us a guitar for Eddie?' And of course, they went, 'Oh, oh, wha'?' [Laughs] So Eddie came in with me, and we got one of his guitars, his own model. And he came to rehearsal. We played some of the SABBATH stuff for him. One of his favorites was 'Into The Void', strangely enough. We played that and we went back to writing. I think it was 'Evil Eye', and I said, 'Go on, you play the solo on this.' He did and it was really great. When we recorded it, of course, I tried to duplicate that, but I couldn't. [Laughs]"
Asked if he still has a tape of Eddie's solo somewhere, Tony said: "You know what, there is. I don't know where it is amongst my lot, but there is one. I know I've got one. It was a real gem."
Reflecting on Eddie's impact on music, Tony said: "He's had probably one of the biggest influences that you could have on people, from his generation onwards. He came up with something completely different. How hard is that, to come up with something different guitar-wise? I think he's inspired so many people. There's millions of people out there all trying to do that tapping stuff and play like Eddie and play Eddie's solos. I think he's had a huge impression on millions and millions of guitar players."
BLACK SABBATH released six albums with Martin on vocals: "The Eternal Idol" (1987),"Headless Cross" (1989),"Tyr" (1990),"Cross Purposes" (1994),"Cross Purposes Live" (1995) and "Forbidden" (1995). Eventually, Martin and his "Forbidden"-era bandmates were ousted when Iommi reunited with SABBATH's fellow original members.
This past January, Martin reflected on his time with SABBATH during an appearance on "The Ron Keel Podcast", saying: "It doesn't haunt me. It's not a bad thing. I've got a lot to be grateful for. SABBATH is the reason why you, and the world, knows about my voice. So there are things to be grateful for. It was hard work for me. I'm 12 years younger than the rest of the guys, so even just circle of friends was different — they're hanging out with Ian Gillan and Brian May, and my best friend is Dave down the road. So that was a gap. And also the experience — they were way ahead of me in experience, at least 12 years further up the road from me, and I never could quite catch them up; they will always have that much more experience than me. So that was hard work."
He continued: "When I first got the gig, it was actually 1986 that I was put on standby when they were with Glenn Hughes on the 'Seventh Star' album. And I don't know what the issues were, but something went wrong with Glenn and they put me on standby. That scared me to death, 'cause it's Glenn Hughes. I can't sing like Glenn Hughes; nobody can sing like Glenn Hughes. Only Glenn Hughes can sing like Glenn Hughes. So that was really scary. Then they got Ray Gillen in. Then he left — he left to join BLUE MURDER with John Sykes, so they called me again and said, 'You'd better come down to the studio and try this out.' And they gave me one song, which was 'The Shining' off 'Eternal Idol', and then two days later said, 'Okay. You've got the job. You've got a week to finish the album.' So right from the start it was scary — it was huge; suddenly being the frontman of BLACK SABBATH was just ridiculous. And yeah, the whole association with me and my voice lasted 11 years."
Six years ago, Iommi told I Heart Guitar that "it's a shame" that "it took a lot for people to accept" Martin as SABBATH's vocalist. "It's taken all these years later for people to say, 'Oh blimey, that was a good band with good singing.' So it took a long time to get people to really realize how good it was."
In 2018, Iommi spent time in the studio remixing "Forbidden" for a future release. The LP, which features Martin, drummer Cozy Powell and bassist Neil Murray, is often regarded as SABBATH's worst studio recording.
In a 2012 interview with Über Röck, Martin said that he was "surprised" to see Iommi criticizing him in the guitarist's "Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven And Hell With Black Sabbath" book (referring to the Martin period, especially the touring phase following the release of "Cross Purposes" in 1994, Iommi lambasted his former singer as "unprofessional" and having "no stage presence"). Martin said: "I mean, they never said anything to me. Surely, if you've got a problem, the first person you should say something to is the person that's in the band with you... It sounds like a really stupid thing to say, as they didn't say anything to my face — and, if that's the case, then more fool them for not saying anything, because, you know, we could have fixed it. I said to them, endlessly, that if there was anything they wanted changed, done differently, just to say and we could fix it, but clearly, they didn't, they hadn't got the guts to, obviously, and to write about it in a book afterwards seems a bit daft to me. I'm not bitter about it, but it is surprising... It seems a bit stupid to say that after the event."
Martin's latest solo album, "Thorns", arrived in January via Battlegod Productions and Dark Star Records. Among the guest musicians appearing on the LP are Scott McClellan (who helped write the album),Danny "Danté" Needham (VENOM),Magnus Rosén (HAMMERFALL),Greg Smith (ALICE COOPER, RAINBOW, BLUE ÖYSTER CULT) and Martin's youngest son Joe.