“We got slammed by the press. In America, they called us satanists”: Tony Iommi recalls Black Sabbath’s early days
“Nobody understood what we were doing, because it was so different.”
Image: Gary Wolstenholme / Getty Images
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Speaking to The Telegraph, the band’s co-founder and guitarist says: “When we started, there was no template for heavy metal. We didn’t even call it that.”
“We liked blues, jazz, dramatic horror movie scores, even a bit of classical, Holst’s Mars, when it gets really dum-diddly-dum, I love all of that.”
Iommi adds that the band didn’t get much love from the public at first due to how unconventional their music was, saying “Birmingham [Black Sabbath’s home city] didn’t want to know us.”
“We got slammed by the press. In America, they called us satanists. Nobody understood what we were doing, because it was so different.”
Five decades on, the heavy metal icons have become the darlings of Birmingham, though that has not stopped the band from doing things “outside of the box”.
Iommi, for one, has been working on music for an upcoming Black Sabbath ballet (premiering 23 September) helmed by Birmingham Royal Ballet director Carlos Acosta.
“I’ve never been to a ballet in my life,” the musician admits. “But Sabbath never closed ourselves to other music. If you want to make something original, you’ve got to do things outside of the box. And this is right out of the box!”
In other news, Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler recently revealed the one thing he’d change about the band’s career.
“I’d like to have been more of a business person when we first started,” he said on an episode of The Rock Podcast With Denny Somach. “But of course, we didn’t know anything about the music business or any business as far as that goes.”
“I do wish that we had gotten a lawyer and an accountant right from the start, so that we wouldn’t have been so badly ripped off in the ‘70s like we were,” he added.