Former BLACK SABBATH singer Tony Martin says that it was “a pleasure and an honor” to front the band for nearly a decade after joining guitarist Tony Iommi at SABBATH‘s “low point.”
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.
“It was a pleasure and an honor to be part of the band’s history,” Martin wrote in response to an Ultimate Guitar Facebook post about a feature on his era. “Most bands have gone through changes… pun intended… but SABBATH was one that did more than most…
“The era that I was involved in was after the band had been mostly exhausted — financially, credibly and territorially — there had already been five singers associated with the band BEFORE I even got there! It was a low point and when I joined them, it really was a challenge!
“What we were able to do was capture territories that were not normally strong for SABBATH. We opened up Russia and Asia and Europe where SABBS had never been before… the Eastern Bloc was opening and South America and Korea…
“We worked hard to get the name back up and did some great works. ‘Headless Cross’ was significant in that we had Cozy Powell (drums) and that was an honor, too. We did lift the band again, to the point where it was set for a reunion with the original members, which is the only other place they could go!
“Thanks for honoring this era; it was important in the band’s history.”
In a 2012 interview with Über Röck, Martin said that he was “surprised” to see Iommicriticizing 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.”
Three 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.”
Last year, Iommi spent time in the studio remixing “Forbidden” for a 2019 release. The LP, which features Martin, Powell and bassist Neil Murray, is often regarded as SABBATH‘s worst studio recording.
Martin‘s last solo album, “Scream”, was released in November 2005 via MTM Music.