I was looking for something and came across this old letter that was once included with a cassette that Tony Martin sent me back when I was building his very first webpage back in the day… Wow. Memories.
When I first heard Black Sabbath with Tony Martin, I was absolutely blown away. That guy had a voice that was beyond anything I had ever heard.
People said that he was trying to copy Ronnie James Dio, but I don’t think that Dio and Tony had much in common, except for the BIG voices. The biggest difference was that Dio never did any high-pitch singing, he might have had the range but he didn’t use his voice that way. Tony could do more. To this day I think he is one of the most underrated heavy metal vocalists.
The first time I met Tony was at a Black Sabbath press-conference in Copenhagen 1990. They were playing at KB-Hallen and the press conference was a few hours before they went onstage.
The whole band was there – Tony Iommi, Cozy Powell, Neil Murray and Tony Martin. I even remember kind of how they were sitting cause it wasn’t a regular press conference where the band would sit behind a table in front of the press. This was two tables pushed together with the band and us journalists sitting around it.
Cozy was on the short end, to my left, Tony Martin was on the opposite short end and Tony Iommi and Neil Murray were sitting right in front of me. I think we were about 5 or 6 reporters and if I recall it correctly, it was in some sort of restaurant or bar or something, cause there was a lot of noise and activity going on around us. I’ve got the whole thing recorded (I recorded every interview I ever did, so there’s….a lot of stuff laying around the house…!) – I’ll post it here when and if I find it.
At that particular press conference I remember thinking that Tony Martin was kind of a “know-it-all” sort of guy, wasn’t too impressed by him as a person. On the other hand, I was a big admirer of Cozy Powell, I could not believe he was sitting that close to me. He was a legend!
But the show that evening….. Oh. My. God.
To this day, that is one of the best concerts I have ever seen. Tony Martin sang like a GOD! He blew the roof off that arena, it was an experience I will never forget. Tony Iommi was this cool guitar hero, there is just no one like him. He’s the master of riffs, the inventor of heavy metal, you can’t get closer to being immortal than that.
I felt like I was floating on clouds when I went home that night. I can’t even explain that feeling, it was all just a big, fat “WOW….”.
Fast forward to 1995. Karlshamn Hotel, Sweden. Black Sabbath headlining Sweden Rock Festival. Had an interview scheduled with Cozy and Tony.
Cozy and I were down in the restaurant, chatting, Tony was late. When he arrived he went: “Oh, it’s YOU!” when he saw me. I think I had written him a letter or two telling him what a fantastic singer I thought he was, so he recognized me.
Cozy Powell & I, 1995 (of course I had to BLINK on the ONLY photo I’ve got of him and me! Pfff… :( )
It was a great interview and I got along really well with both gentlemen. Cozy was a funny guy, I liked him instantly . Tony was more the serious type but I enjoyed talking to him cause this time he gave me the impression of being an intelligent guy. Guess it was mutual because we decided to get together after their show, down in the hotel bar.
Tony ordered something to eat from the bar menu, I just had a drink. It was great just talking about everything and anything, he was very easy to talk to.Our conversation was interrupted by fans who wanted him to sign stuff, which he did, others just wanted to talk – and being as drunk as people get at festivals, most of them were pretty rude.
Tony just politely told them: “I’m sorry, but I’m kind of in the middle of a conversation here…” and nodded in my direction. One guy went: “Ooooh! I’m sorry, I didn’t know you were here with your girlfriend!” I told him I wasn’t his girlfriend.
That’s the thing. Being a girl talking to a musician always seems to confuse people. Either they think you’re a groupie or they think that you must be a girlfriend. To this day it’s as if a lot of guys don’t understand that there are female fans out there too.
The difference between those guys and me being that I don’t get stoned out of my mind and then throw my whole record-collection in the artists face while telling him how fabulous he is. I am interested in TALKING to somebody whose music inspires me, I want to get to know that person. And that’s how it went with Tony. We got along great.
So we decided to hang out in Copenhagen when Black Sabbath came back in the fall that year on the “Forbidden”-tour. :-)
[to be continued….]
My favorite Black Sabbath-lineup, with Cozy & Neil.