A New Line Up Is Born
Two very successful albums brought Sabbath back to light. No doubts about that and the overall music quality has stood the test of time. But as with your former girlfriends it just wasn't meant to last. Various auditions tape were sniffed through with a select few making it to the jam session level. Nicky Moore of the band Samson was picked out but his look was the downturn factor. It wasn't long until David Coverdale's name comes up. Iommi and Geoff Nicholls meet up with him and Cozy Powell at the world famous Rainbow. It was indeed talked highly about the factions joining. They didn't talk for awhile and the news turned up that Whitesnake was to be Cozy's and David's future. Don Arden come to Iommi with who he thinks would be the perfect man for the job. On the phone goes Iommi and on the other end is Ian Gillan. The singer of Smoke On The Water, the 1970's hit of Deep Purple. Ian actually agrees to meet him half between where the two lived. Which happened to be a bar called The Bear. Ian pulled into the parking lot with his damaged car. He was hit by another driver on the ride up. The rest of the night is a bit of a blur for the two. Ian wakes up the next morning with a phone call. His manager Phil Banfield asked him if the next time he joins a band that he should at least consult his firm first. Ian had no memory but he had joined Black Sabbath. The news papers somehow had the scoop on the union. When asked later on about his Sabbath days Ian said that he knew Deep Purple were to reform. This would be a perfect time slot filler. And he was to join Black Sabbath not no super group. Geezer Butler and even Geoff Nicholls has steadily maintained the opposite. It was the people with the money, the managers that plotted forward with the Sabbath name. Ackward is a kind word to express what this group of people looked like. The press also backed this mindset. Leading to jokes like Black Purple and Deep Sabbath. Bill Ward's involvement was in the air. Reported a few times that he had rejoined the band. But it wasn't set in stone so to speak. For a month Quartz's Malcolm Cope worked the drums for the writing sessions. But he told the story that he knew Ward was coming in. He drummed simply, just going along with the songs. He stayed on when Bill came back and was basically Bill's P.A. for the album.
Disturbing The Studio
Black Sabbath began the album May 1983 at The Manor Studio. For Ian he didn't change his vocal style or lyric writing. On Trashed it followed the blue print of lyric writing as Smoke On The Water. A song about a real life situation with a linear story telling words. The story that birthed the song was there was a go-cart track on the studio grounds. The band was gave this Ford Granadas cars to run around in. Seen as being cheaper than hiring drivers to get them from place to place. After a night of drinking Ian has the idea of racing the track in these cars. Heading on it a full speed Ian hit a bank of tires and flipped the car. It rolled down hill and just a few feet from going in the pond. Geezer's best moment on the album comes in the way of Disturbing The Priest. Bringing back the bass pedal effects used on Sign Of The Southern Cross from the Mob Rules album. The lyrics come from Iommi searching for a particular sound he had in his mind. Placing his guitar amp stacks in the outhouse of all places to get a unconfined sound. Iommi would be up into the late hours working on his music. One afternoon a knock on the studio door comes from a representative of the local clergy. He stated that the loud noise was causeing disturbance to the local priest. Ian after hearing this mirked that the priest were keeping the band awakw during the day with their church bells. Stonehenge comes from the mind of Geoff Nicholls. Written after his visit to the real Stonehenge. Geoff played the powerfull keyboard chords while Geezer supplies help for the bass pedal board again. Iommi was to play a guitar riff over it but apon listening to the song it ws great as was. Ian worked on some spoken word dialog for it but was quickly dropped. Perhaps one song that belongs in the underrated library would be Keep It Warm. Written for Ian's girlfriend at the time. (Now his Wife). Keeping the vocal harmony very well in Ian's wall comes the title track Born Again. The greatness of the song is too covered up by the sound mix.
The Mix Is Trashed
Ian had planned a short holiday after the album was mixed. Before he left he stood by the studio desk and liked the album mix was sounding. He went to his vacation leaving Iommi and Geezer thinking that this was to be the final mix. Ian even had a cassette copy made for him to take home. Ian told the story that Geezer was unhappy that his bass wasn't loud enough. So he completely remixed it himself in London. Making it unplayable for radio broadcast. But Geoff Nicholls tells that isn't so. His side is that Iommi had the decision to remix the album. They were plagued with some low quality studio tapes. Also the compression was off center. On the multi-speaker system in the studio it sounded great. But a cassette of it played in a car sounded like crap. So it had to be redone short notice. All these years later Ian thinks the album mix makes him puke. But that wouldn't be the thing that would give him the vomits. Almost 30 years later the mix bring up discussion and argument. Some fans love it, some can't stand it. But that wasn't the only album release problem. Steve Joule was employed to make the album cover art. Steve wanted to present Sabbath a cover they wouldn't like. Sighting his alliance with the Osbourne company. So taking a old magazine cover of a baby it was drawed with devil horns and claws. All red was the baby but the response was white cold. Ian was very verbal on his dislike for it. Even 30 years later after. The cover has made every list of the world's worse album covers.
Completing an album and a ticket selling tour was a challenged. Both in the money sense and fan acceptance. Dio expressed that he wanted to know the clown that put this together. He is too non Sabbath in his vocals. Things were further showing the ill means that this band could experience with the first press photos. The other guys in their black clothing while Ian sported his jeans and vest, blue shirts and the rest. Ian has since explained his fashion at this time. Saying he didn't wear the 'uniform' because he didn't want to. It wasn't even mentioned to him by Tony or Geezer. He just wanted to dress like himself and that's what he was gonna do. Bill records the album but he honestly says he's scared about tour at this point. He wasn't health enough to live on the road. A fellow Birmingham mate in Bev Beven is contacted by Iommi to go out on the road with the band. At that time he was in ELO but he earned his chops in The Move back in the late 60's. The band with new drummer began rehearsing at the Light & Sound Design when the tour designers asked for ideas to put into the stage set. Geezer mums out in one word "Stonehenge". Then asked how he sees this in his mind. Again an answer in one word "Lifesize". The full stage dress rehearsal comes to the NEC. During the day the Stonehenge set arrives through the door. These 40 foot glass fiber structures come in. They stand above the band's heads. Over shadowing them like an eclipse. Having everyone afraid that these things would fall on them. The setlist was a surprise to most fans as some old Ozzy era classics in Rock N' Roll Doctor and Supernaut were revived. A great number of songs from Born Again come in and out of the show. Born Again, Zero The Hero, Digital Bitch, Keep It Warm, Hot Line, Disturbing The Priest. The most surprising of songs played was Smoke On The Water. A major hit from the Deep Purple band featuring Ian. Apparently Iommi mentioned that doing the song was a good idea. Tony's way of playing it to my ears is better than Blackmore's. Geoff did tell that another DP song was talked about and a few bars played of was Black Night. Also an ELO song Evil Woman was joked about. Ian many times has shared that he had trouble remembering the Ozzy and Dio Lyrics. Leading to him forgetting them on a regular bases. He'd have the lyrics on a sheet in front of him. But the stage smoke would cover the sheets. Making that too hard to do. He keep on just blowing and bending down to get to his sheets. After the first couple of shows it was clear it wasn't gonna work. So the words were screened on monitors. They too were blanked by the smoke and stage lights. So it got to a point that if the words won't come to him he would just do his well known screams to mask it.