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Born Again wasn’t a true Sabbath record

Metal Edge magazine has an in depth retrospective interview with Geezer Butler, touching, among other things, on the various interactions of the Sabbath camp with various members of the Purple family. Here’s an excerpt covering Gillan’s stint with the band.

What are your thoughts on the controversy surrounding the Born Again record?

Butler: I have to say, I actually liked most of the songs on the Born Again album. I didn’t particularly like a couple of lyrics, but I thought there was some good stuff on there. And I recently listened to it a couple of years ago, and after not hearing it for some time, I had forgotten how good of an album it was. The issue was, once again, once we got out on tour with Ian [Gillan], we found that he didn’t bother to learn any of the lyrics to the old Sabbath tunes. I thought that was ridiculous. I mean, if you’re gonna go out on tour with us, give it your all, or maybe get a monitor or something.

But again, it was obvious that Ian wasn’t 100% into it, and then in the middle of the American tour, he finally revealed to us that Deep Purple was getting back together, which screwed us.

Many people feel that Born Again shouldn’t have been called a Sabbath record at all.

Butler: We agreed, and we didn’t want it to be. But that was the problem we always had; we’d go to the record company and tell them things like, “Look, we’ve got three Sabbath guys, and Ian from Deep Purple, who has an R&B core, we don’t want to call this ‘Black Sabbath,’ ” but they weren’t having it. They’d tell us, “Okay, you don’t want to call it ‘Black Sabbath?’ Then retire or go somewhere else. We don’t want you.” The truth is – like several of Sabbath’s records – Born Again wasn’t a true Sabbath record, but we got stuck calling it as such. I regretted it then, but I’ve gotten used to it now.

Read more in the Metal Edge.

66 Comments to “Born Again wasn’t a true Sabbath record”:

  1. 1
    Heepfan says:

    Born Again is a fantastic record. The only thing I don’t like it is the mixing (and the cover !).

  2. 2
    Scott Mcnay says:

    Great record with terrible mix. Personally, I’m one of the handful of folks that love the cover.

  3. 3
    MacGregor says:

    Geezer’s new book will be interesting indeed, I will have to keep an eye out for it. Yes the good old record company, that as Geezer says has happened often throughout their time & he wasn’t even there all the time when it did occur. Cheers.

  4. 4
    Reverend Harry Longfallis says:

    Saw them with Gillan in Long Beach in 1984. Great show! About the name, I think three out of four original members would normally be close enough to keep the name, but most of Gillan’s lyrics on Born Again weren’t dark enough. (But Disturbing the Priest is a true Sabbath classic!)

  5. 5
    Gregster says:

    Ahhh…Record companies & trade names…

    But business is business ! And you’d be crazy not to use previous success to keep you going…Why would you close an open door to a good-thing ?


    Peace !

  6. 6
    Adel Faragalla says:

    For me Born Again is Like Slaves and Master.
    They are both great albums but neither should be called a Black Sabbath or Deep Purple albums.
    Makes you wonder how important a front man is in any band.
    For example, would you call Metallica the same if they didn’t have James Hetfield fronting them.
    Peace ✌️

  7. 7
    ivica says:

    1983 year , Ian Gillan left for Black Sabbath? it was a shock for me. My singing God who sang exciting vocal performances “”Living Wreck”, “Child in Time”,”Speed King”,Fools, “Gethsemane (I Only Want To Say)”,No One Came, “When a Blind Man Cries” ,”Space Truckin'(MIJ),”Strange Kind Of Woman” (MIJ) “Fighting Man, If You Believe Me” ,”No Laughing In Heaven” etc etc
    Now he’s going to sing Ozzy’s song at the concert?…oh my God (“God Is Dead?” 13):)
    Born Again is a good HM album, OK and DP has elements of HM, but I get bored after a while — I don’t like the HM template, narrow way.
    There were no keyboards, with Ian’s voice.. “Smoke” at the concert, sounded like Beastie Boys “Fight For Your Right”. Followed by the first reunion. Returning to the natural environment, connecting … in “Perfect Strangers”, Wasted Sunsets, Knocking at Your Back Door”,”Gipsy Kiss”…..

  8. 8
    Johnny Philon says:

    For me, this is an exceptionally great album. The mixing could of been tweaked much better than it was. But in the end, time is money. One of my best “go too” albums when I get the feeling of insanity. Ian’s haunting screaming and evil laughter just reassures me that I’m not the only one that takes that step to the darkest side of our soul. All contributed to this masterpiece in harmony.. period.

  9. 9
    James R. Poissant says:

    This is my overall favorite Sabbath record!

  10. 10
    Fernando Azevedo says:

    “Born Again” is one of the most revered Sabbath albums here in Brazil and it is not known why. In my opinion the only problem is the bad mixing.

  11. 11
    Cory blum says:

    Born again was a great album! Sabbath & deep purple rare album!

  12. 12
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Geezer, in the Ozzy era the main lyricist of Sabbath (because Ozzy doesn’t really ‘do’ lyrics), seems a little wistful when he mentions his second thoughts about Ian’s lyrics.

    To me, Born Again is the one Sabbath album whose lyrics I can identify with the most. They often tell little stories about actual occurrences (Trashed, Disturbing the Priest or Digital Bitch) rather than offering the adolescent fantasy escapism Geezer and Ronnie dealt in (to be fair, Geezer’s lyrics are way better than Ronnie’s). I think it’s typical Gillan brilliance to write a song about a representative of organized religion being bothered by a band called Black Sabbath rehearsing and recording in his parish, yet describing it as a cultural antagonism and not some “good vs evil forces”-crap plus calling it “Disturbing the Priest” in a witty pun on “disturbing the peace”.

    And Born Again sounds plenty Sabbath to me. I think the chief component of their sound is not the varying lead vocalists, but the Tony Iommi/Geezer Butler tandem which is as closely knit as the Blackmore/Lord tandem was in its prime. Any album featuring Tony and Geezer is to me a Sabbath album and any album with just Tony, but no Geezer is to me just an album attempting to sound like Sabbath. If you wiped Gillan’s vocals off Born Again and released just the instrumental tracks, you would have to be deaf to not realize it is them after a few seconds into the intro of each song. The riffs and the dystopian feel of just the instrumental music on Born Again oozes Black Sabbath. (More so than in the first Dio era actually.)

    For some reason I was unaware of Ian having joined BS until I actually heard ‘Disturbing the Priest’ in 1983 at my then favorite record store drinking hole while leafing through the record sleeves looking for new releases. I heard the intro and thought “Oh, a new Sabbath album, who will be singing, now that Dio has a solo career?” and then Gillan’s immediately recognizable voice made an entrance. And I turned to the record store owner (whom I knew well, he was a Deep Purple nut like me) and said: “This sounds like Sabbath with Gillan singing …” as he deadpanned “It is!”.

    Going back to the (un)holy Iommi/Geezer tandem of doom: Seventh Star, Eternal Idol, Headless Cross, Tyr & Forbidden all sound considerably less Black Sabbath’y to me than Born Again (which doesn’t make them bad albums!). The latter is to me simply what it says on the tin: The Sabbath guys playing, with Big Ian singing over what they have provided. And man did it turn out brilliant, the music, the riffs, the lyrics, the vocals, the unsettling garish cover seemingly straight out of a Roger Corman B to C movie and, yes, even the blurry, hazy, dungeon’esque production and mixing job which predated Grunge several years.

    The album’s only drawback is that it wasn’t a double LP with more material! It’s one of the most joyful albums to listen to during a manic depression bout ever. ; – )

  13. 13
    Kick Koopman says:

    To me this is the best Sabbath album and indeed, Disturbing the Priest is a jewel. The mix is bad but after all these years I feel this is how it should sound.

  14. 14
    Mike says:

    I just listened to the album it’s a Deep Urple album featuring Black Sabbath. there isn’t a single song on there that can even remotely be called a Black Sabbath song. it is a great album though and maybe Ian should have put it out as his own and credit Black Sabbath as the backing band.

  15. 15
    Marcelo Soares says:

    It’s not personal against Sabbath. Ian often forgets his own lyrics also, but he always sings them with a rare skill. He uses his voice as an instrument. Anyway, the screams he introduced on War Pigs elevated the song to another level. As a fan of Ian first and Black Sabbath also, I am glad they shared stages for a while.

  16. 16
    Uwe Hornung says:

    It was never meant to last forever, but it was an interesting detour for both of them. Nothing to regret either in Sabbath’s or in Ian’s canon.

  17. 17
    Nino says:

    I’m not a big fan of Black Sabbath and the only album I really like is Born Again. And Gillan is really great on it, if there are problems, they don’t come from Ian, and the fact that it’s not a typical Sabbath album, that’s a plus for me.

  18. 18
    john says:

    @ and all those who says the same, again and again. I REALLY don’t understand why should S&M not be considered a Deep Purple album. It absolutely is a Purple album, more than the Come taste, Bananas or even some of the Ezrin years.
    Slaves and Masters is one of the great three of the reunion, with Ritchie still high and mighty, only much more AOR and full of stupid lyrics, due to JLT, who, on the other hand, has a fantastic voice.

    Love that record (as all the other ones).

  19. 19
    joanmasip says:

    About Gillan leaving Sabbath and returning to DP. Thank God he did it. Black Sabbath wasn’t his place at all (Born Again is quite good, but not the best from BS by far. Gillan’s voice didn’t belong. Ozzy’s, Dio’s, even Martin’s, did, but not Gillan’s, nor Glenn’s -although I think Seventh Star is a better album than Born Again-)

  20. 20
    Mark pozzi says:

    Best Sabbath album right up there with the dio and the ozzy stuff very moody and Ian’s voice sounds like nothing I’ve heard before up to that point.

  21. 21
    MacGregor says:

    @ 14 – Excellent humour Mike.
    @ 12- I noticed you didn’t include Cross Purposes in that listing, is that because Geezer is playing with Iommi at that time? I agree with most of your comments though, although the lyric one leaves a bit to be desired Uwe. Geezer writing adolescent fantasy escapism? Now that is good comedy indeed. He delved into all sorts of themes. A much more interesting lyricist than Gillan in my book, but we all have our enjoyments for different reasons. Also Seventh Star is not a Black Sabbath album, it was never meant to be & never will be.
    @ 19 – I agree regarding Gillan’s voice not fitting in with Iommi’s riffs etc & I have stated that often here. I do like some of the songs on Born Again & if you ever need to annoy your neighbours Disturbing the Priest will do that, played rather loudly of course. In regards to Iommi’s solo album Seventh Star, that is a different style in so many ways with ballads, blues etc as it was written & recorded as a solo album. It is a cracking album Seventh Star, very good songs. To me there are only a few tracks that cross into ‘Sabbath’ territory, In For the Kill & the title track & as you stated Glenn Hughes voice isn’t really suited either to Iommi’s riffs, but it sort of works out ok. Cheers.

  22. 22
    Jon R says:

    Love that album. Dark as hell, and Gillan really brings it. Most bands aren’t even fortunate enough to work with one epic vocalist.

  23. 23
    Frater Amorifer says:

    The bottom line for me is, bands change their lineups. Especially the few from the old days (60s-70s) that are still around. In a lot of cases, as long as the music retains the vibe that made them what they are, the band still deserves to keep the name. I’d definitely include all of the DP lineups in that, including Mk IV and Mk V. Some are better than others, but they all deserve the DP name. So we should all get over it, enjoy the bands that are still here, and stop whining for Blackmore. You don’t hear all the Deadheads still crying for Jerry, do you? No, they carry on and enjoy Dead & Co, now down to two original members from 1965, but still sounding great, in their own bizarre way. If Dead & Co. wanted to keep the Grateful Dead name, with two of the five original members, I’d be fine with that.

  24. 24
    Kyle says:

    I like the riffs and keys on Zero the Hero. The keys give it a B horror or sci-fi movie quality. Black Sabbath or at least heavy metal worthy, and that album cover looks like a bootleg cover.

    P.s., Were B.S. imitating “This is Spinal Tap” on this tour or vice versa? Both bands had Stonehenge props and dwarves.

  25. 25
    Tye Andrews says:

    I loved it! Especially the cover!
    Disturbing the priest, Keep it warm, Trashed! Great High School memories jamming that Great Black Sabbath “Album”!

  26. 26
    Duane Harbison says:

    If anyone has any doubt about this lineup they should of seen them in concert. It was a awesome fucking concert, forgotten lyrics or not

  27. 27
    Victor Duncan says:

    For me the best metal album from Black Sabbath, it’s hard, lot of guitars, the howling of Ian is fantastic. I love this album.

  28. 28
    Tom S says:

    I was following this very closely as a Sab-obsessed teen at the time–as close, anyway, as one could in the pre-internet age, via Hit Parader, Circus, Faces, etc–and there was no talk whatsoever of this being anything other than Black Sabbath. In fact, I can remember an article in Faces (with some great Mark Weiss photos) during the tour, where they even talked about a follow up album. Now, I have no doubt that Gillan always had his eyes on that Purple reunion, but I can’t help sensing some revisionism about this from the OG Sabbath guys. Not that I care either way; I just find it curious. I saw the tour in Cleveland and it was the coolest thing I had ever seen up to that point of my young life! Peace out.

  29. 29
    Madman Mark says:

    It’s not easy to replace Dio a phenomenal vocalist that he was. Getting Ian was interesting and despite what people think about the album. This is a great under rated album. Maybe Tony Iommi can remix it to sound even better. To say it’s not a Black Sabbath album is then saying the final 3 Pink Floyd albums are not Pink Floyd because of Roger Waters not being in the band anymore. The album cover is a bit creepy but still say what you want. 1983 was a great year for rock and metal music. Go and look for yourself to see what bands and albums came out that year alone. I’ll name some Metallica Kill’em All, Def Leppard Pyromania and my number one band of all time Pink Floyd The Final Cut.

  30. 30
    MacGregor says:

    @24 – Spinal Tap had there rather smaller Stonehenge, after the diabolical rather larger Sabbath one. Didn’t it get taken out into a field somewhere & burnt, it was far too big & whoever thought of that ‘original’ idea, well, it is rock ‘n roll excess isn’t it. Cheers.

  31. 31
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Yes, MacGregor, Cross Purposes features the unholy Sab tandem of Tony and Geezer, that alone qualifies it as a true Sabbath album in my ears.

    And also yes, Gillan has an idiosyncratic voice forever identified with Mk II, but that doesn’t mean his voice cannot work in other contexts. He sounded great in as varying musical environments as Jesus Christ Superstar, Ian Gillan Band and Black Sabbath.

    And Seventh Star is to me a raspberry of an album, no matter which moniker it is under. The music is second rate Dio era Sabbath without any edges and poor Glenn has to sing over the dirge, his otherwise elastic phrasing constrained by an attempt to sound grim. Terrible. Born Again was edgy, Seventh Star is lame.

  32. 32
    Gregster says:

    Hmmm…This comment from Uwe pulled-me-in to say something…

    qt.”Cross Purposes features the unholy Sab tandem of Tony and Geezer, that alone qualifies it as a true Sabbath album in my ears”…

    Good people that get-it-on playing-well together is an awesome, even an inspired event to have happen, yet alone witness…And I can understand singers, & even other instrumentalists having to move-on, or get changed-out…And up-to-a-point, I also agree with your comment as quoted, but there’s a certain quality that Bill Ward has as a musician that makes the band Black Sabbath whole imo…

    Possibly one-of-the-most understated drummers in history, & yet Bill Ward’s prowess equals that of Bonzo, & Ian Paice, but with a healthy dose of swing & finesse to boot.

    Dearly missed but not forgotten Mr.Ward ! It was BW’s drumming that drew-me-in to the tunes of BS many years ago.

    Peace !

  33. 33
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Legend has it that the Stonehenge props became so huge because they were ordered by Geezer with measurements that were intended metric, yet where misunderstood as imperial*** by the production team. That blew up the scale by 250% and everyone except for the home delivered dwarf was affected.


    ***an archaic measurement system defying decimal logic still in waning use in some of the more remote areas of the world

    Well, at least Sabbath had the largesse (pun intended) to NOT nickname their height-challenged freelancer (who crawled over the props in a red baby costume with horns screaming as part of the intro, all in impeccably good taste of course!) ‘Ronnie’. Unlike what Ozzy did in a misguided swipe against his Sabbath successor.


  34. 34
    MacGregor says:

    According to this story it may have been a coincidence of sorts regarding the Stonehenge scenario. Who did it first etc? Maybe the Spinal Tap guys did precede the Sabs debacle? Cheers.


  35. 35
    MacGregor says:

    As much as I like Geezers bass playing, I know what you mean as he is an integral part of Sabbath. However one thing is for sure, Iommi doesn’t necessarily need Geezer but man oh man Geezer needs Iommi. The Heaven & Hell writing & recording sessions in 1979/80, Geezer wasn’t there at the time, Geoff Nicholls & Craig Gruber initially laying down the bass guitar & the songs were complete it seemed & then Geezer returns & replaces those players efforts with his own playing. The Born Again era was a grumbling affair for Geezer as we know. Come the Dio return of 1991 & the Dehumanizer album & tour he opts to stay on for the Tony Martin led Cross Purposes album & tour. Geezer leaves disgruntled & wait for it, says ‘Sabbath are not heavy enough, they are sounding more like Rainbow these days’ was a complaint from him I read after his departure. He then joins the O$Bourne circus for one album & tour I believe & then jumps ship again, not happy it seems. Forget his woeful GZR experiment, terrible that is. He needs the Iron Man, the riff Meister & a decent lead vocalist. Iommi recorded some of Sabbath’s heaviest material without Geezer. I followed Iommi for the songs & riffs etc. Headless Cross, Eternal Idol, Tyr have some great songs & are as heavy as you could get. I was bitterly disappointed in 1989 that the Headless Cross Australian tour was cancelled. I was looking forward to not only Cozy hammering at the gates, but also Neil Murray on the bass & Tony Martin when he was at his best vocally. It doesn’t seem to matter to many that Geezer wasn’t there, those albums have a decent enough following & good respect.. Not to worry as he was back with Dio & Appice with the ‘Heaven & Hell’ album & touring. then of course back with Ozzy again with Iommi. It seems he is lost without Iommi & without either Ozzy or Dio. Obviously they are the two most commercially successful Sabbath lineups that he feels comfortable in. I am glad I have witnessed Geezer & Iommi together 3 times, crunching out those riffs & songs, wonderful it was. 1980, 2007 & 2013. His new book will be interesting reading. Below is a recent interview with Neil Murray, a good read it is. Cheers.


  36. 36
    Rascal says:

    Gillans voice on ‘Born Again’ was exceptional, for me it encapsulated his many vocal capabilities.

    If I was introducing somebody to Gillans voice I would pick the ‘Born Again’ album first.

    Vocally at this time he was untouchable.

  37. 37
    Kerdik says:

    Love the Born Again album, its awful mix is part of the charm, and i think that… Ian’s live interpretation of the song ‘Black Sabbath’ is one of the best, if not the best- period (his ‘Heaven & Hell’, instead, was a complete disaster!)

  38. 38
    Uwe Hornung says:

    It’s impressive to see how many people here dig Born Again! There was a time, when that album was only ever mentioned in passing and with derision (though it made UK Top Ten at the time – granted, sheer curiosity might have had a lot to do with that).

    That Neil Murray interview, if it’s the one I think it is (MacGregor’s link doesn’t work, as usual: inherently good ideas sloppily implemented, tsk, tsk, tsk …), is a treasure trove of info and well worth a read.

    Geezer needs Tony more than vice versa? Yes, that’s true, just like Jon Lord needed Blackmore more than vice versa, but Blackmore on his own could never recreate the Purple sound he had with Jon, it was only sufficient for Rainbow. Geezer and Jon share the fate that they are both not hard rock songwriters, but they have an uncanny ability of meshing with their respective lead guitarists to forge an idiosyncratic sound. Neil Murray is technically a better bassist than Geezer (he’s technically a better bassist than most bassists in fact, he’s the Rocco Prestia of hard rock bass playing), but even he couldn’t recreate the sound only Geezer gets with Tony Iommi.

    Outside of Sabbath, Geezer is lost. I saw him in Phoenix, Az, on the initial Zakk Wylde-introducing tour of Ozzy (back then Zakk was still skinny as a rake and tattoo-lessly pretty boy androgynous). Geezer looked and sounded out of place. I’ve read that he really didn’t like aping mostly Bob Daisley’s bass lines either even though he rated him highly as a fellow bassist. Ozzy’s music is way too pop for Geezer’s style of playing. Black Sabbath are at their core a glorified blues band, that is where he is at home.

  39. 39
    Scott Brooks says:

    The only issue I have is Geezer’s bullshit about them not wanting to call the Born Again period Black Sabbath. I was a huge fan back then and bought pretty much every magazine that came out that had any kind of article and/or interview concerning Sabbath, and at no time did they ever say or suggest it was anything other than it being BLACK SABBATH born again. Hell, if they were going to call it something else then why bring back Bill Ward and bring back old roadies and producers.
    The only time I know of that it supposed to be something other than Black Sabbath was the Seventh Star album (which in later years I question if was really recorded as a Sabbath album and Iommi gave the spin that it was supposed to be his solo album in case fans were pissed off with a whole new line-up).
    I remember watching the Black Sabbath Story Vol 1 and Vol 2 on VHS back in 1992 and first hearing Geezer spew the bullshit about Born Again supposed to have been called something other than Black Sabbath. I thought he’s just trying to rewrite history and have his moment of saying there was a time when they were forced to use the Sabbath name against their wishes since Iommi had his period of that happening. 😉
    And something that contradicts the hell out of that is the story of Ian joining after getting wasted, waking up the next morning and his manager calling him saying how he wished Ian would inform him before making the decision to join Black Sabbath.
    I do recall there being a very brief moment when Ronnie joined and they tossed around the idea of maybe calling the band something different but immediately realized what a mistake that would be because they would then have to go out and tour as a new band and be an opening act instead of established headliners, and they quickly dismissed any idea of calling it anything other than Black Sabbath. 🙂

  40. 40
    Leslie S Hedger says:

    I can’t stand Ozzy’s voice so this is the only BS album I own. Gillan does a great job!

  41. 41
    Montague Winters says:

    Geezer doesn’t realize that Born Again conquered a huge new generation of fans that follow them to this day.

  42. 42
    DeeperPurps says:

    MacGregor @35. Good article about Neil Murray’s time in the extended Purple/Sabbath families. I saw Neil play with Cozy Powell, Tony Iommi and Tony The Cat Martin on the Tyr tour in Austria in 1990. Great show. The combination of Cozy and Neil was thunderous – like a stampede of Mastodons…heavy, real heavy.

  43. 43
    MacGregor says:

    @ 31 – “And Seventh Star is to me a raspberry of an album, no matter which moniker it is under. The music is second rate Dio era Sabbath without any edges and poor Glenn has to sing over the dirge, his otherwise elastic phrasing constrained by an attempt to sound grim. Terrible. Born Again was edgy, Seventh Star is lame”. I will not let this pass. The ‘Dirge’ simply isn’t there it is a different album to any Sabbath album in many ways & good songwriting & playing by all concerned. And the glorious thing about it is Glenn Hughes singing, not trying to be Stevie Wonder or the like. Just singing the songs how they should be, wonderful. He might have been told, ‘keep it straight Glenn, no funk or soul, get it! I have been told by Sabbath fans they like it more than the Dio era because it isn’t trying to be heavy & dark etc, not from the same angle at all. ‘Second rate Dio era’, you are fast becoming a comedian Uwe, keep it up. Cheers.

  44. 44
    MacGregor says:

    @ 32- Bill Ward indeed Gregster. Seeing that he was missing at the gig in 1980 was really disappointing for me, he started the Heaven & Hell album tour, but pulled out for personal reasons, health etc. Again that happened with the Born Again album & tour, he fell back into alcohol again after the other guys stupidly went out on a binge session leaving Ward at the Manor, I do believe all by himself. He then found a bottle somewhere & was completely hammered when the others returned, from my memory of reading Iommi talking about it many years ago. Hence he didn’t partake in the Born Again tour at all. They then wheeled him out in 2011 for the media scrum proclaiming the original four were back etc. Most people were well aware of his health & inactivity after the late 90’s reunion & heart attack & other health related issues. Most of us had the feeling he would not be touring the world with Sabbath & hoped that maybe he might record a new album with them, however Ward declined due to certain demands etc. It was predictable, did the other guys know that, most probably but they were no doubt hoping for a miracle I don’t know. It was a sad way for Ward to officially end his tenure with the band that he played such an important role in. I still haven’t heard any of the drummers who have been affiliated with both Sabbath or O$Bourne’s circus get it right in regards to his style. That does happen though in many aspects with musicians having to replace another musician. Everyone has their own way of playing their respective instrument. It is the way of things. Cheers.

  45. 45
    Kick Koopman says:

    @Rascal; I totally agree! From his creepy laughter to his chilling screams, Gillan really hits it.
    @26; I have seen them live in 1983 in Zwolle. It was so loud that my sister-in-law collapsed during Disturbing The Priest….

  46. 46
    MacGregor says:

    @ 42 – DeeperPurps I do remember you talking a while ago about seeing that lineup & it’s impact on you. I still loathe thinking back to those cancelled dates in Australia in 1989, very disappointing at the time. I can just imagine Uwe reading the ‘like a stampede of mastodons’ line. As we all know he really likes Cozy stomping all over everything, especially bass guitarists, ha ha ha. Thanks again for the reminder. Cheers.

  47. 47
    MacGregor says:

    It is good to see all the comments regarding Born Again, so many & we have talked a little here in the past about this album but this time it seems there are more followers than ever. Regarding Gillan being completely smashed & agreeing to join Sabbath that is pretty funny. That dreaded next morning hangover after a big night, ‘I did what, never, not me’ while his manager is ripping into him, ha ha ha. Also the money & the fact the Sabs were paying for everything would have been somewhere there in the thinking. After all the financial woes he went through with Gillan the band & other things, it would have been bliss to not have to worry about any expenses for once & also getting paid to do the album & tour. Cheers.

  48. 48
    Gregster says:

    @44…Very true about Mr.Ward, & good post. Also, I do pop-in to his web-site every-so-often, & some details of the contract made for the “13 World Tour” have leaked out over time, & the issue was that apart from poor monetary gain for him, the band only wanted him to perform 3-tunes a night, for fear of his poor health claiming his life…So it was / remains a complicated affair, where it’s too late to do anything now about it !

    I do feel that if he was available to deliver-the-goods on that album, it would have prompted a fitness routine, that would have seen him survive the tour also imo.

    That said, the tour was fine, I have a DVD copy of the Melbourne show, & thought that it all went-down surprisingly well. Mr.Clufetos put on a pretty-good display of showmanship behind the kit. The band sounded good, but the drums were down-in-the-mix imo, especially since you could see they were being pounded hard, but you couldn’t hear that, they were perhaps mixed-in softly.

    Peace !

  49. 49
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I saw the Powell/Murray rhythm section with Sabbath too and – this will surprise you, Herr MacGregor! – I thought they pretty much fitted that specific musical format. Of course, Murray couldn’t play with Powell like he did with Ian Paice and Powell had none of Ward’s (or Paice’s) swing, but by that time you had gotten used to Sabbath having heavy-handed drummers like Vinnie Appice.

    I also thought that Powell’s “take no prisoners”-approach to drumming worked well with the short-lived Emerson, Lake & Powell venture. Cozy had a sense of drama in his drumming, which quickly overstays its welcome with me, but it had its place in that keyboard-led trio format.


    When Powell was not required to swing, the fact that he couldn’t didn’t become an issue, simple as that. And lest we forget: Brian May was a glowing fan of the Powell/Murray rhythm section.


    I guess that is some type of recommendation. May explicitly took Since You’ve Been Gone into his live set because Cozy had drummed on the Rainbow version. Which is kinda ironic as Cozy initially disliked playing the song so much that he refused another take of it when Roger begged him to play a little looser during the recording sessions for Down To Earth. So to Roger’s eternal chagrin, you hear Cozy’s only second, still somewhat stiff take on the finished track. But in later years, Cozy realized that he had drummed on a veritable hit and changed his mind about the song.

    All that said, Seventh Star still sucks, Herr MacGregor! The title track and No Stranger To Love just about scrape by.

  50. 50
    MacGregor says:

    Yes Cozy didn’t like the commercial side of certain rock bands he was in, to an extent. Rainbow were becoming far too pop orientated although in a decent enough way, sort of. I will never forget Blackmore commenting on a new singer & drummer in Rainbow in 1980/81. In regards to Cozy leaving, ‘Cozy now has plenty of time to pursue his hobby of fast cars & motorcycles’, something like that from my memory. I bet it wasn’t that at all of course, Blackmore sarcasm. I would think Cozy wouldn’t have put up with too much of Blackmore’s antics & eventually told him where to go. Same with Whitesnake & Coverdale. Neil Murray said in that interview Cozy likes to be involved in the studio etc, an up front sort of a guy as his drumming shows. I like the ELPowell album & there is some good professionally filmed footage of a concert online. He certainly puts the boot up the band & that is what Emerson & Lake wanted at that time. Of course the media jumped on the P for ELP. but it wasn’t decided like that at all. Cozy was the man for the job as they both were acquainted with him it wouldn’t have mattered what his surname was. He did suit Iommi’s vision at that time with Sabbath & also helped to lift their diminishing profile somewhat, another big name to add & Neil Murray also no doubt. Especially in Europe & Britain. Germany & a few other countries north of there were always receptive to the Headless Cross & Tyr albums. I have watched some live footage online of the Tyr or the Headless Cross tour from Russia I think it was, but the poor quality doesn’t do that powerful sound any justice. When Dio returned in 1991 Cozy wasn’t being accepted too well from both Dio & Geezer. Iommi wanted him in, so the horse accident that injured Cozy put paid to any uncomfortable dealings with the drummer situation. Geezer didn’t like Cozy’s style, too busy etc was what I read. I do like the Dehumanizer album & it has a lot of strong songs but the industrial sounding production of it leaves a lot to be desired. I loathe the drum sound, too garage band sounding for me, especially after Cozy’s more professional sound. It was the grunge era of course so that Mack guy producing the album would have been trying to make Sabbath more relevant sounding. That era of metal & grunge buried both Sabbath & Purple in many ways, especially in the USA. I did own the Brian May album Back to the Light also, a few good songs there but May isn’t a strong vocalist for the harder rock songs, good on the mellower songs though. Cheers.

  51. 51
    Uwe Hornung says:

    True, Cozy’s preferred drums production sound always reminded me of drum clinic demonstrations – and that sound fell into disfavor with the advent of Grunge, it was all of a sudden perceived as dated.

    Cozy liked his drums to sound mighty, but very clean. It always makes me smile when I think of the incident when Paiste proudly presented him with a newly developed set of their very assertive, throaty and even noisy sounding ‘Rudes’ cymbal series – and he proceeded to dislike the sound of what they thought would be his dream cymbals almost immediately because he found the sound too messy and all over. The Paiste representatives were heartbroken about it. ; – )

    I get Geezer’s concerns though. If you play with Cozy as a bassist, you have to submit to his style, Murray did that to perfection (and, onsequently, the two became an item not only for Whitesnake, but also for Black Sabbath, the Brian May Band and the Peter Green Splinter Group). The way he played with Cozy was markedly different to how he played with Jon Hiseman or Dave Dowle or Ian Paice, he sacrificed all the rhythmic ornamentation in his playing ’cause with Cozy you are not gonna hear that anyway.

    But that’s not how Geezer’s bass playing works – he expects a drummer to play around him (like Ward always did intuitively well) because Geezer essentially follows Iommi’s playing, not what the drummer does. He wouldn’t have changed his style to gel more with Cozy. Colin Hodgkinson couldn’t/didn’t want to do that either, which had him receive his marching orders from the fanged ones pronto.

  52. 52
    MacGregor says:

    That Paiste cymbal story is a good one, I can just imagine that & Cozy frowning & holding back & then eventually telling them straight. He calls a spade a spade. Classic. Regarding Geezer’s playing I do remember an older interview with him talking about his origins as a bass player, initially from being a guitarist. He said he just started following Iommi’s riffs. Of course he went further than that eventually but that is his trait in Sabbath & it works so well. I was dubious though at the Dio reformation in 1991 as to how long or how is this going to work, when reading about Powell being the drummer. Because of his upfront manner & power & style etc. So it wasn’t a surprise at all when Vinny was announced as the predictable choice in regards to getting the Mob Rules line up together again. I would have preferred Cozy just to see what they could have come up with. Something totally different. The Dehumanizer lineup didn’t last long anyway although for different reasons. The other interesting thing also is that in 2005 when the ‘Heaven & Hell’ reformation was happening Bill Ward was initially on board. He then bailed out for personal differences with certain band members apparently. What is it with drummers, throwing their weight around, jumping up & down with tantrums & everything else it seems. Someone should just tell them ‘listen here, just shut up & sit down & play’. Although trying to get away with that with the likes of Ginger Baker, Keith Moon, John Bonham & even Cozy could have been a fine & potentially ‘dangerous’ line to cross. Cheers.

  53. 53
    MacGregor says:

    I forgot to include Ian Paice in amongst those terribly moody bossy drummers. Intimidating poor Roger Glover like that in 1969, ‘listen, I lead you follow’. Sheesh, Glover could have been excused for thinking, ‘not only do we have a moody guitarist but also a bossy drummer, what is this band? Cheers.

  54. 54
    Dr. Bob says:

    At the time that the album came out my favorite band was, and still is, Deep Purple 1a and Black Sabbath 1b. I am of an age where I became a DP fan in the early 80s and which led me to Gillan & Rainbow. So when I saw that Ian was Sabbath’s new singer I was gobsmacked and absolutely loved the album. I saw them play in the Meadowlands and thought that Ian was brilliant doing the Ozzy songs adding screams & cackles to great effect. My friend & I were shouting SOTW for the encore and probably the only ones in the arena who were elated when they did it. There was a moderate quality bootleg of the show in Montreal in circulation called Black & Blue which might have been a play on an alternative bandname. Gillan sang the right lyrics by those shows.

    They didn’t fix that awful album cover, but reissued a deluxe remastered rdition in 2011 with an additional studio song and second disc with high quality live material from Reading But it wasn’t remixed because the original tapes orgininal master tapes were lost. They were found a couple of years ago and Iommi said that he might do the remix and release it.

    Iommi speaks very fondly of Ian and has collaborated with him on recordings for charity over the years. But it sounds like Butler may hold some anomosity. I also wonder what specific lyrics bugged him?

  55. 55
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Herr MacGregor: I know that quote from Little Ian to Roger about taking the lead too, but as a matter of fact, Paicey is so musical as a drummer, he doesn’t force any bassist into a certain style. He played similarly well with bassists of most varying styles such as the three Purple bassists, Paul Martinez (reminiscent of Glenn Hughes in style), Neil Murray (reminiscent of the great Gary Thain and possibly the most expressive rhythm section team Paicey was ever a part of), Craig Gruber (I saw the two with Gary Moore) and Paul McCartney. In the Murray interview you recently linked, Neil made special mention of what a fine ear Little Ian has and how easy it is to play with him as he leaves a bassist sufficient room, something that is not the case with Cozy who was a more physical player and demanded the same from any bassist who played with him.

  56. 56
    MacGregor says:

    Yes the Ian Paice saying is all good fun, just thought I would lump him in with the other lot for good measure. I watched a Paice interview a few weeks ago no doubt most people here have seen from 2021. He talked about his time with Gary Moore & the habit Moore had of over rehearsing everything. Said it drove him mad, so to speak, which it would, anything over done unnecessarily does. I didn’t realise Craig Gruber played bass with Moore, although the albums I used to own probably stated that unless he only played live with the band. I remember Paul Martinez from PAL & Robert Plant’s band. Witnessed that band live in 1983, a wonderful concert it was & all stunning musicians with Richie Hayward (Little Feat) on drums. Cheers.

  57. 57
    Gregster says:

    Hearing Cozy behind-the-kit is like listening to a whole marching-band-ensemble doing their-thing on a show-day-parade. Big, powerful, forceful,& precise, that certainly suited Rainbow well imo. Plus he was happy to show-off with what was one-of-the-most musical drum-solo’s in history to be performed by anyone I’ve heard. And his popularity through the years as a drummer is hard to challenge, with so many top-acts he worked with. I’d say that many people know of the name Cozy & his skills, but maybe don’t recognize the vast amount of people he worked with.

    RIP Cozy.

    Peace !

  58. 58
    eatablepanties says:

    Tipper Gore says devil worshipers, Dee Snyder says were not gonna take it!

  59. 59
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Now Gregster is rewriting history: “Big, powerful, forceful & precise.”

    All three, yes, but not the last. It’s a bit like saying that General Patton always followed the chain of command.


    Cozy was anything BUT a precise drummer. He rushed like hell (Blackmore and Tony Carey have jointly said as much; it saw him have to leave Peter Green’s Splinter Group because he just couldn’t play laid-back, Cozy was always ahead of the beat) and he cut corners in his breaks (which got him fired from Mr Perfectionist Gary Moore according to Bob Daisley who saw it coming knowing how Cozy had played with Rainbow). He hated playing to a click (which Little Ian has grown accustomed to though he was initially against it, but now says it makes sense when recording some songs, he also says he’s grown better at it over time).

    Cozy is uncomfortable here in the ballad part and only comes into his own when he can do his trademark fast shuffle towards the end.


    That’s not to say that Cozy didn’t have charisma and a larger-than-life image or that the sheer physicality and adrenaline-rush of his playing could not inspire a band.

    And he certainly didn’t fail to entertain if allowed to play to his strengths.


  60. 60
    MacGregor says:

    @ 58 – well before Snyder, The Who said it.

    Welcome to the camp, I guess you all know why we’re here
    My name is Tommy and I became aware this year
    If you want to follow me, you’ve got to play pinball
    And put in your ear plugs, put on your eye shades
    You know where to put the cork

    [Verse 2]
    Hey you getting drunk, so sorry, I’ve got you sussed
    Hey you smoking mother nature, this is a bust
    Hey hung up old Mr. Normal, don’t try to gain my trust
    ‘Cause you ain’t gonna follow me any of those ways
    Although you think you must

    We’re not gonna take it
    We’re not gonna take it
    We’re not gonna take it
    We’re not gonna take it

    [Chorus 1]
    We’re not gonna take it
    Never did and never will
    We’re not gonna take it
    Gonna break it, gonna shake it
    Let’s forget it better still

  61. 61
    MacGregor says:

    I see Sabbath’s Born Again has made it into the top 50 worst album covers. I am very surprised their diabolical Forbidden cover isn’t also in there. When I stumbled onto that album upon it’s release, I wasn’t aware that they had a new album out. I thought it was a cheap best of or something initially, then realised it was the Tyr lineup again & did wonder why? I bought it of course being ever so faithful. Little did I know a Rapper was producing it & another one was guesting on vocals on a song. NOT impressed. There are one or two good songs on there however Tony Martin’s vocals are shot to say the least. One of ‘Sabbath’s’ poorest records indeed. No wonder Cozy told them to shove it. Cheers.


  62. 62
    Gregster says:

    @59…LOL ! I better reword that statement of mine regarding Cozy…

    “Big, powerful, forceful & precise most-of-the-time”…

    When I think of Cozy, I always see him with arms & legs flying-around playing along to the 1812-overture…Somehow he got-it-to-work, & it defined him there for a while, especially when drum-solo’s were on the decline with bands leading into the 1980’s. (( But that never stopped Neil Peart either lol ) And though Ian Paice had some extreme moments at last months Monsters of Rock, no solo was performed, at least with the footage I watched…Great show btw).

    Peace !

  63. 63
    MacGregor says:

    @ 62 – never let Uwe intimidate you Gregster, never. Poor old Cozy would be spinning in his grave, unless he was cremated that is. One day he may return & seek justice & Uwe will be running for the hills. We could also devise a cunning plan though & leave Uwe lost for words, although that could prove to be difficult if not impossible, he he he. Although I do like a challenge! I don’t know, I watched that clip with Gary Moore & Phil Lynott & I didn’t notice anything untoward in the quieter moments although Lynott did go back to Cozy & was engaging in some form of exchange. Maybe Phil was saying to Cozy ‘it goes like this’ or something else. I did notice Gary Moore’s incredibly loud guitar solo though, sheesh it seemed like even Cozy was drowned out in the overall mix. They were both strong minded people & no doubt probably clashed for several reasons. I also remember those live clips with the Jeff Beck Group & Cozy didn’t seem to have any trouble laying back there at all with the quieter moments. Although that was pre Rainbow & from then on Mr Powell did flay into those drums a lot more. However with Keith Emerson & Greg Lake he did ok with the quieter music sections. I did watch a few old interviews recently with Iommi & Powell promoting the Headless Cross album circa 1989 & the interviewer asked Cozy about his short stay with Gary Moore. Cozy was a little sheepish & said something quietly about differences between them & quickly said ‘it’s all good & I wish Gary all the best’. Cheers.

  64. 64
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Look at that kangaroo pack ganging up on me!

    : – )

  65. 65

    The album is great. The cover is awesome.

  66. 66
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Like an LSD trip in a Satanic congregation gone wrong!

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