VINNY APPICE Says There Was Talk About HEAVEN & HELL Carrying On With ROB HALFORD After RONNIE JAMES DIO's Death
January 31, 2021
During a brand new appearance on the "Rock Fantasy" Internet show, Vinny Appice reflected on the two concerts BLACK SABBATH played with Rob Halford (JUDAS PRIEST) on vocals as the support act for Ozzy Osbourne on the last shows for Osbourne's "No More Tours" tour in November 1992 in Costa Mesa, California. Rob sang for SABBATH after the band's singer at the time, Ronnie James Dio, refused to take the stage.
"Ronnie didn't wanna do those shows; he doesn't wanna go on before Ozzy, 'cause who knows what would happen," Vinny said (see video below). "So he refused to do 'em. But Tony [Iommi, guitar] and Geezer [Butler, bass] really wanted to do 'em, so now we've got a little conflict going. And it's decided we're doing the shows. So now I'm in the middle. What do I do? So I had to sit down with Ronnie and go, 'Look, I'm in the middle. What do you suggest? I don't wanna really leave them hanging — there's not much time to get a [different] drummer — and I don't wanna burn my ties with you, obviously. I wanna play with you.' And he said, 'Do it. You've gotta do it. You can't leave them without a drummer.' So we agreed on what we were doing.
"We played Phoenix with Ronnie, and then the next day was off," Vinny continued. "So the next day we were gonna rehearse with Rob Halford at some rehearsal place. So it was really funny, because it was just a regular rehearsal place. And in comes Rob Halford, Iommi, Butler, me. People in there are going, 'Ah, oh my God. What the fuck is this? What's going on?' I remember the faces — everybody was freaking out.
"So we rehearsed with Rob for about two or three hours, and went over songs that I never played before; they were Ozzy tunes," Vinny added. "The only thing we did of Dio's was only a couple of 'em; one of 'em was 'Heaven And Hell'. So now we've got all these new songs, and Tony and Geezer haven't played them in a while either, and I haven't played them. And now we're playing with Rob, and we're kind of now on edge. Like, 'Oh, shit.' You don't have that confidence of, 'Man, we've been playing the whole tour together.' You don't have that confidence. So it was a bit nerve-racking.
"We went out, and it sounded great — Rob killed it. Except the teleprompter went off. So, luckily, Rob had all the lyrics on the floor on paper, but he couldn't see them. So he got down on one knee so he could read the fucking lyrics.
"It was great. It sounded great. People loved it. And it was good. Then there was words talked about maybe carrying on from there, with Rob. And then there was also talk, after Ronnie passed [in 2010], about doing it after that, after the dust settled too. And, actually, Rob kept wanting to do it — he wanted to do it. When I saw him somewhere — at an award show — [he told me,] 'I'm gonna talk to Tony.' And then recently, I sent a message over to management about, 'Hey, we could easily do an album and not even see each other, the way things are done these days, with Rob.'"
Rob also performed with SABBATH members Iommi, Butler and Bill Ward on August 26, 2004 at the Camden, New Jersey stop of Ozzfest after Ozzy came down with an "attack of bronchitis" and was unable to take part in the concert.
Back in 2010, Halford told Canada's Straight web site that his favorite BLACK SABBATH album is the band's self-titled debut of 1970. "It took 24 hours to make," Halford said, "believe it or not, but the sound is absolutely mindblowing. If you just listen to the sound, how they were able to do that work in such a short space of time is extraordinary.
"I think a lot of musicians agree that generally your first record is very, very important," he added, "because you're really coming from a very pure, new, uncluttered source. You've got nothing to prove because you've proved nothing yet; you haven't really got a massive fanbase, so you're searching to build that. Your record company's not interfering with your music as they tend to do when you become successful — same with managers, agents, promoters. You're really coming into your existence at a different level.
"If you look back at the history of your favorite band, generally the first couple are the ones that really kind of grab you. So that's why I feel that first SABBATH album for me — much like 'Sad Wings Of Destiny' for JUDAS PRIEST — is a very important release."
Dio replaced Osbourne in BLACK SABBATH in 1980, recording the "Heaven And Hell" and "Mob Rules" albums, plus "Live Evil", before leaving in 1982. He rejoined the group 10 years later for an album called "Dehumanizer", and again teamed with the group under the HEAVEN & HELL banner in 2006. HEAVEN & HELL released an album called "The Devil You Know" in 2009.
Ronnie passed away of stomach cancer on May 16, 2010 at the age of 67.