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Tony Iommi recalls how Body Count’s guitarist ended up producing Black Sabbath

Tony Iommi

Classic Rock

Tony Iommi recalls how Body Count’s guitarist ended up producing Black Sabbath

The Black Sabbath co-founder and guitarist Tony Iommi is currently promoting the new box-set “Anno Domini”, which has the albums with the singer Tony Martin on vocals. One of them is of course “Forbidden”, the final album Martin recorded as the vocalist of the Heavy Metal band.


Released in 1995, the band at the time was formed by Tony Iommi, Cozy Powell (Drums), Tony Martin (Vocals), Neil Murray (Bass) and Geoff Nichols (Keyboards). They were working with the record company “I.R.S.” and the label suggested that they should try to work with the rapper Ice-T at the time and he ended up recording additional vocals on the song “The Illusion of Power” and his bandmate in the group Body Count, the guitarist Ernie C, ended up being the producer of Sabbath’s album. But as Iommi recalled now in an interview with Classic Rock, that wasn’t the right choice. So that was one of the reasons why he was never really happy with the final mixing of the record.

Tony Iommi recalls how Body Count’s guitarist ended up producing Black Sabbath

“‘Forbidden’ has been a thorn in my side for years. I knew all about Ice-T and that he was good, but I didn’t expect him to bring along his guitar player to produce the album. When a band knows its sound and exactly what it wants, bringing in an outsider is very disruptive. I found myself on the sidelines. Our whole situation had become so frail.”

“I know why Ice-T and Ernie were brought in. I mean Aerosmith and Run-D.M.C. had had their big hit (‘Walk This Way’ revival). But I wasn’t even certain (if he) would be on the album, because Ice-T was coming in to ‘sing some stuff’.”

“When I asked whether that was one or two tracks, or more, nobody knew. (During this new mix for the boxset) I found some bits of guitar that Ernie hadn’t used. Within the obvious constraints, I managed to make things sound a hell of a lot better.”

He then recalled that Ernie C ended up producing the album because the record company wanted to. “Well, basically, it was the I.R.S., the record company. It just didn’t work, and nobody was sort of happy with that. But we went along, because (it was) the record company’s thing, and we got a bit overpowered, really. It didn’t go according to plan — our plan, anyway. It was not right for this, at all,” Tony Iommi said.

Although the album had mixed reviews since it was released in 1995, “Forbidden” became more accepted by the fans during the past decades. Besides the title-track, it has good songs like “Get a Grip”, “The Illusion of Power” and “Kiss of Death”.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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