Why TONY IOMMI And TONY MARTIN Can’t Legally Record New Music Under BLACK SABBATH Name

Former BLACK SABBATH singer Tony Martin says that he has no idea what is going on with the proposed reissues of the albums he recorded with the band.

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 guitarist Tony Iommi reunited with SABBATH‘s fellow original members.

Martin discussed the possibility of the LPs from his era of SABBATH being reissued in a brand new interview with Canada’s The Metal Voice. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “We had a guy in BLACK SABBATH called Geoff Nicholls. He was the keyboard player. He died four years ago. And when we [were] at Geoff Nicholls‘s funeral service, I bumped into Tony Iommi there, and he said, ‘I’ve got loads of stuff to play you. And we have to get together and see if we can write some new songs. And then maybe we can re-release the Tony Martin-era albums.’ And I thought, ‘Well, that’s cool. Okay. Whatever.’ Then the phone went dead for ages — months and months and months and months. So I called him back and he said, ‘Come over to the house and we’ll talk about it.’ So I said, ‘Okay.’ So I went to his house and he said, ‘We can’t do it.’ And I went, ‘What?’ He said, ‘We can’t do it.’ I said, ‘Why not?’ He said because there’s an agreement with the guys of SABBATH that they can only release something [new] under the SABBATH name if it’s the original SABBATH members. Nobody else can record anything [new] under the SABBATH name…. What he said was what we can do is reissue the albums. We can’t add anything to it. So what we’re expecting, if he ever gets around to it, is for the Tony Martin-era albums, apart from ‘Eternal Idol’, ’cause that’s owned by someone else, to be reissued. Remixed probably in the case of ‘Forbidden’, but I think it’ll just be as it was… [We can add] only stuff that’s already been recorded at the time.”

According to Martin, he has already found loads of recordings in his personal collection that would be perfect for inclusion on proposed issues of the SABBATH albums from his era of the band.

“I’ve searched through… I’ve got hundreds of tapes — things from the writing sessions,” he said. “I’ve got the tapes when Eddie Van Halen was with us writing on ‘Cross Purposes’. I sent that over to Tony. That appeared on YouTube; I don’t know how that got out. But I’ve got all sorts of stuff like that. And I thought that was the kind of thing that they would reissue the albums with. But I have no idea. You probably know more than me.”

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.”

Original SABBATH singer Ozzy Osbourne filed a lawsuit against Iommi in May 2009, claiming that Tony illegally took sole ownership of the band’s name in a filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Osbourne sued Iommi for a 50 percent interest in the “Black Sabbath” trademark, along with a portion of Iommi‘s profits from use of the name.

The Manhattan federal court suit also charged that Osbourne‘s “signature lead vocals” are largely responsible for the band’s “extraordinary success,” noting that its popularity plummeted during his absence from 1980 through 1996.

Lawyer Andrew DeVore argued that Osbourne signed away all his rights to the BLACK SABBATH trademark after he quit the band in 1979.

Osbourne‘s lawyer, Howard Shire, called that agreement a “red herring” that was “repudiated” when the singer rejoined in 1997 and took over “quality control” of the band’s merchandise, tours and recordings.

In June 2010, Ozzy told The Pulse of Radio that the lawsuit between him and Tony had been settled and that everything was okay between them.

Martin‘s new solo album, “Thorns”, will arrive on January 14 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.

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