When your name is Black Sabbath, you’re not masking your associations. In a recent interview promoting the band’s latest album ’13,’ the band’s first with frontman Ozzy Osbourne since 1978′s ‘Never Say Die,’ guitarist Tony Iommi opened up about their dalliance with the occult.
When discussing the band’s Satanic image, which has been criticized as “disingenuous,” “a cheap thrill” or ultimately false, the guitarist reminded the interviewer that Sabbath never did any sort of onstage sacrifices. He admitted that the band “dabbled” in the occult early on, but the members have never converted and did not become hardcore Satanists.
“It was creating music, and that’s all I do,” he told the BBC. “I don’t try to create anything to destroy people or to upset anybody. It’s helped more people than they say.” He also recalled how the band began going down that road, saying, “When we did the first album the record company did the cover, and that’s what done it — the inside was an upside-down cross and that’s what started everybody off.”
While lyrics of bassist Geezer Butler have been cited by the media as possible inspiration for murders and suicides, Iommi, while sympathetic, was quick to defend the words as not going too far, saying, “The lyrics are what happens in the world. What Geezer would write about is what he’d seen and felt and what we were going through.”
When asked if he accepts responsibility, Iommi said, “Geezer said to me he has to write powerful lyrics to go with the powerful riffs … it was probably my fault then!” But through it all, there was never an intent to mislead anyone, at all. “We believe in what we did. You can only judge by…we’ve been in it for 45 years. You answer it,” he said.
In other Iommi news, he has hired Heavy Leather NYC to craft his new guitar straps. ”The guitars I use are pretty heavy and it makes a huge difference when you’re playing a long show to have a comfortable strap,” he said. “That they also look great is a real bonus!”