Jimmy Kay and Alan Dixon from Canada’s The Metal Voice recently spoke with Former Black Sabbath singer Tony Martin on his upcoming Vinyl re-release of his 2022 ‘Thorns’ Solo album as well as his time with Black Sabbath. As well his time assisting the launching of Reggae boy band Musical Youth in the 80’s.
Tony Martin, former Black Sabbath singer, solo album “THORNS”, was released worldwide on January 14, 2022. The album is licensed in all of North and South America by Dark Star Records, and will be available to all other countries via Battlegod Productions.
The new album features Danny Needham (Venom), Magnus Rosen (HammerFall), Scott McClellan (who helped co-write the album) and Greg Smith who performed with Alice Cooper, Rainbow, Blue Öyster Cult, Pamala Moore and many more!
When asked about the ‘Thorns’ vinyl re-issue
“Believe it or not we’re still working on it sounds strange but we were asked to do some more tracks for a vinyl version of the album. I’m hoping for the anniversary or maybe just a little bit after that we’ll have the vinyl version and then other stuff you know to go with it. Also we didn’t manage to get any videos created yet which sort of we got held back with that people were so tied up so it all sort of got a step back but yeah we’re still on it. I’ve had some ear infections and stuff which took me out of action for a little while. Just stuff you know things that you don’t even think are around the corner and just pop up and you go oh crap you have to deal with that first and then sort of move on. It’s great still working with Scott (McClellan). He is sending me so much material it’s mad I can’t keep up with him to be honest. We’ve got some extra songs, they (label) wanted to take some songs off the album to get them to fit on a vinyl and I didn’t want to do that and so they said well there’s only one other choice and that’s to write more songs and then we’ll do a double vinyl release, with extra tracks and stuff like that, so okay that works for me. So I got in touch with Scott and sure enough he just started sending songs riffs and riffs unbelievable how prolific he is. Then it was Choice which one do we choose, so it just got like a little bit draggy like you know it was sort of dragging behind our own sort of tails if you know what I mean.”
Is there a release date fore the re-issue?
“I’m just discussing that with the record labels now. I’m not sure at the moment how quick or how slow they can get a vinyl pressed and into circulation so as soon as I know that then I’ll be able to sort of tell you what we’re looking at as a timeline um but all I can do really is do my bit. I was just gonna say once we get some videos completed that will sort of start to tell the story better you know um uh at the moment we’ve been concentrating on the audio part and because of the band or band the guys on the album are so spread out it’s really difficult to get them all in one place. As well we have to try and work out how we do it. We’ve been toying with green screen things and uh that’s got a certain success about it but um nothing quite like having all the guys in the same room together. “
When you were in Black Sabbath do you have any regrets for not speaking out at the time
“It comes under the band politics heading, well band politics are a really weird thing to begin with, it wasn’t my band Black Sabbath. I was hired to carry the Black Sabbath legacy forward which I felt honored and privileged to do. So I didn’t have and I still don’t have any say in what goes on you know. They’re re-releasing the Tony Martin’s (Era Albums). I have no idea what’s happening with it. I know it’s going to be next year but that’s all I know and it was the same back then that I never really knew anything. I had my own personal manager Tony (Iommi) had a manager, Geezer Butler had a manager, it was a bit like Spinal Tap everybody’s got their own manager. You’d speak to your manager, then he’d phone up somebody else’s manager to go down to them and then he’d come back up to me. So it was a bit mad you know being in the band and a lot of the time it was reading between the lines to try and get an idea of what was happening because direct questions didn’t really work. I used to say to myself I don’t understand, that the bloke stood like you know 10 feet away from me and they won’t speak, so oh just uh speak to my manager about it. Ah okay so there you go up to your manager across there managing down and back up again it’s just a nightmare. So speaking out as you asked it didn’t really happen like that. You sort of posed the question. It went round and round and round. I was on pretty good terms with the guys. I mean I could speak reasonably freely but I was told in no uncertain terms from time to time not all not always but from time to time there’s nothing to do with you and my manager. He (Martin’s Manager) used to get so frustrated and in fact he kind of did himself out of a job really because Sabbath was managed by Iommi’s guys and so my manager was just sat there twiddling his thumbs mostly for most of the time.”
Do you have any recollections if you or the Black Sabbath members at the time had issues getting paid
“I never had any real issues like that but Sabbath as a name band as an entity when I first joined they were very short of money but slowly we sort of built it up and we got it into a position where it was really working quite well and money was sort of starting to come in.”
When asked about how he felt when Rapper Ice-T was brought in for the Black Sabbath ‘Forbidden’ album
” I didn’t like it, Cozy Powell didn’t like it, Jeff Nichols was really uncertain about it. (Tony) Iommi was into it and his manager was into it but we were totally bemused in the beginning. So imagine somebody coming into the writing studio and trying to tell Cozy Powell how to play drums and Cozy looking at him going, are you sure about this? Yeah it’s gonna be great, well I don’t see it myself but I’ll give it a try. So it was just bizarre, just really bizarre you know and nobody was really getting it. I mean the thing for me was like when they sort of mentioned that IceT was coming and I was just lost because they never told me for what? They didn’t know what he was going to do, like a track or two tracks or the whole album but they didn’t say, so I kept trying to find out. Like I was telling you earlier on to find out information I’ll speak to my manager and so on. In the end I just couldn’t concentrate. In the end I didn’t know if I was singing on the album at all? When I was in the studio I said is this actually going out with my voice on it or is he just coming in to replace my vocals and like you know then sing it? I was very lost really and so I really don’t like the album because it brings back all of those memories. I never felt happy with it, not ever and yet there were some good songs on there and when we were in rehearsals putting the songs together. “
When asked about his involvement with the band Musical Youth in the 80’s
“Back in those days in the early 80s I mean I was a gigging musician grabbing any kind of work that I could at the time. Birmingham and England were famous for musicians. We’ve had everything from Reggae to Rock come out of this city. Well I’m a guitarist originally I started playing guitar when I was seven then and my name was put forward to help out with the kids in Musical Youth. The setup was the kids went to school, then their father Freddie Waite had a rehearsal studio in Birmingham. He picked out some really quite good musicians to take the role of each one of the kids, mine was the guitar. And then when the kids came home from school it was our job then to teach the kids what their father had written that day. So I was there for about a year or something you know with the kids um and we got on okay. Kelvin Grant was a bit of a monster you know, he’d come around from school like, oh man I don’t need one no white man teaching me to play no guitar. Actually look, your father has told me that you’ve got to learn this now. They were doing all right. They got really big. “
Tony Martin ‘Thorns’ Track Listing:
As The World Burns
Black Widow Angel
Book Of Shadows
Damned By You
No Shame At All
No Where To Fly
Run Like The Devil
This Is Your Damnation
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).