And guitarist Tony Iommi says the audience response to their low-key show in Birmingham last month was the boost he needed as he fights back from cancer.
Black Sabbath with close the Download festival at Donington, UK, next Sunday. It’s one of only three shows they’ll play with Iommi this year after his health issues prompted the cancellation of their world tour. Their hometown warm-up was the first.
The guitarist tells NME: “What I’ve gone through the last year, I’ve been living in a different world. To be able to come back on stage and get that is fantastic. It really boosts you up.”
They performed with Ozzy’s solo band drummer Tommy Clufetos after original sticksman Bill Ward dropped out, saying he’d failed to reach a contractual agreement.
Iommi says: “We’ve had our ups and downs over the years, feuds, this, that and the other. It all sorts out and the friendship never goes away, whatever’s going on. This band is strange like that.”
Discussing the new album, their first with Osbourne since 1979, the guitarist explains: “It’s certainly taken on the flavour of the old stuff, but we’ve put a newer look on it.”
Bassist Geezer Butler says producer Rick Rubin steered them in that direction. “Rick sat us down and put the first album on and said, ‘Listen to this,” Butler reports. “We were sort of, ‘Yeah, it’s the first album.’ ‘No, imagine it’s 1969, you’ve just done that – what would you do next?’”
Osbourne explains their working mantra is: “Where would we be now musically if we’d stayed together?” He adds: “We’ve written about 15 songs so far. Whether they all get on an album I don’t know. We keep on writing.
“Next year, 2013, is a good clue to what we’re going to call the album.”
Meanwhile, Black Sabbath have asked fans to get involved in the making of a video for classic track Iron Man. They explain: Back in 1970, bands didn’t release music videos. We’ve decided to take Iron Man and make a video made entirely out of footage of you, the fans! For more info on how to get involved from anywhere in the world click here.”