TONY MARTIN Says BLACK SABBATH's Dispute With BILL WARD 'Seems A Bit Like A Publicity Stunt'

Metal Shock Finland's Ali Blackdiamond recently conducted an interview with former BLACK SABBATH singer Tony Martin. You can now listen to the chat using the audio player below.

When asked for his opinion about the contractual dispute that has caused original BLACK SABBATH drummer Bill Ward to pull out of the band's recently announced reunion, Martin said, "I don't get it. I really don't get it. And I'll tell you why. My [time] with BLACK SABBATH spans 10 years and I've heard all the stories . . . and not once did [the other members of SABBATH] ever speak badly of Bill. He's one of the original members. And that's why I don't get it. Because they've never had a bad thing to say about him, they've always rated him. He's had his little moments, like we all have, them included . . . but, basically, they love him and I don't quite understand why they didn’t give him time to get his thing together. He may have been out of the band for a long time. But set up some rehearsals or something — go and help him out. He's one of the brothers of the band. It seems a bit like a publicity stunt in that they're saying, 'Well, we can’t be bothered to go and do any rehearsals to get him to learn all the stuff again, so let's keep him for another time so we can have another reunion later on. A bit like a publicity stunt in that way. But I don't know. I mean, I wasn't privy to any of the conversations and I haven't seen the contracts that they were talking about, so I can't say for sure. But I just don't get it."

Interview (audio):

BLACK SABBATH released six albums with Tony Martin on vocals: "The Eternal Idol" (1987), "Headless Cross" (1989), "Tyr" (1990), "Cross Purposes" (1994), "Cross Purposes Live" (1995) and "Forbidden" (1995).

TONY MARTIN'S HEADLESS CROSS, the touring project led by Tony Martin, will make its live debut on Friday, July 27 at The Asylum in Birmingham, England. Tickets are £10 in advance and £12 at the door.

HEADLESS CROSS, whose live set celebrates the SABBATH album "Headless Cross", consists of the following musicians:

* Tony Martin (BLACK SABBATH, THE CAGE) - Vocals
* Danny "Danté" Needham (VENOM) - Drums
* Geoff Nicholls (ex-BLACK SABBATH) - Keyboards
* Dario Mollo (VOODOO HILL, THE CAGE) - Guitar
* Magnus Rosén (ex-HAMMERFALL) - Bass

A slightly different lineup of HEADLESS CROSS — with Martin, Nicholls and Needham as the only holdovers — was scheduled to tour the U.S. in 2009 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of "Headless Cross", but was forced to cancel the trek at the last minute, reportedly due to promoter issues.

In a 2011 interview with CriticalMass.se, Martin made it clear that he was not interested in reuniting with BLACK SABBATH again. "Not the band," he said. "But I don't have any problems with the people, though. For example, I would work with Tony Iommi, maybe. It's just that I wouldn't like to do the same thing that I did before. Just singing Ozzy songs, Dio songs and all the rest of it and my music being pushed aside. That was my issue."

Martin also revealed that made fans will, unfortunately, not see him on tour that much anymore. "It's just too hard," he explained. "Every time we go out on the road, we lose money. They expect us to play for free or for less and less each time and we can't run an operation like that. It's just not possible. That's disappointing, 'cause I want to be out on the road! It's a natural place for a musician to be. Playing gigs is part of the fun. But you can't do it for nothing, and if you have to sell your house or your car or have to get a day job as an electrician or something to pay to go and play, then that's no fun and it's also damaging to your family and your life."

Martin's last solo album, "Scream", was released in November 2005 via MTM Music. The CD featured legendary drummer Cozy Powell (BLACK SABBATH, RAINBOW, WHITESNAKE) on the track "Raising Hell" as well as songwriting contributions by another SABBATH member, Geoff Nicholls.

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