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Old Jul-22-2005, 10:12 AM
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Icon33 Black Sabbath veterans are "Fused" for Ozzfest

Black Sabbath veterans are "Fused" for Ozzfest

Asbury Park Press

It's a strange thing how Tony Iommi keeps having bitter breakups with Black Sabbath singers — followed decades later by happy reunions.

Iommi is the founding guitarist for Black Sabbath, and the only member to participate in every lineup since the band formed in drizzly Birmingham, England, 37 years ago. (Black Sabbath is headlining the Ozzfest 2005 tour set to land in Holmdel this week.)

Founding Sabbath singer Ozzy Osbourne - the namesake of the tour - was booted out of Sabbath in 1979 after a stormy period of band infighting and substance abuse. Today, Iommi and Osbourne are reunited in Sabbath.

History recently repeated itself for Iommi, with likewise happy results.

In 1989, singer/bassist Glenn Hughes (Trapeze, Deep Purple) joined Black Sabbath for a one-album hitch. Hughes, who is now clean and sober, admits he was hardly on his best behavior at the time.

Now, like Iommi and Osbourne before them, Iommi and Hughes have let bygones be bygones. Hughes is singing for Iommi's solo band; their second album together, Fused (Sanctuary), is out this month.

"I got in touch with Glenn and we decided to get together and let's see how we get on," Iommi says from England.

"He came over and we just started writing again. It all clicked in very, very quick. We got a drummer (Kenny Aronoff), just to jam along with us. We just started writing, and it felt really good.

"The excitement was ridiculous. We were like a couple of kids. We really got a thrill from what we were doin'. We really appreciate what we've got and the chance of being able to write together again."

On Fused, Iommi and company played their parts with few overdubs or digital tricks.

"We wanted to capture it live and all play together," Iommi says. "It enabled us to play in the studio live, which was good fun. Particularly on the last track (I Go Insane), which is quite a long track. Playing that live was really a test because if you make a mistake in it, you've gotta do it all again.

"So I think it kept us all on our toes."

Iommi considered pulling double-duty at Ozzfest 2005; that is, playing two sets per show, one with Sabbath and one with Hughes.

"We did actually think of that first," Iommi says with a laugh. "But it's probably a bit strange to go on before ourselves, if you know what I mean - to go on with Glenn and then go on with Sabbath. I think on this occasion, we thought it best just to do it with the Sabbath lineup. But certainly, in future, I'd love to do some (live) stuff with Glenn."
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