Former BLACK SABBATH singer Tony Martin has issued a personal statement explaining his side of the story behind his dismissal from M3, the "classic WHITESNAKE" tribute group featuring Bernie Marsden (guitar, ex-WHITESNAKE), Micky Moody (guitar, ex-WHITESNAKE), Neil Murray (ex-WHITESNAKE, BLACK SABBATH), Jimmy Copley (drums, ex-PAUL RODGERS, GILLAN, BECK), and Mark Stanway (keyboards, ex-MAGNUM). The statement reads as follows:
"The past year has been about as stressful as it could get! I met up with Bernie Marsden just over a year ago with a view of rebuilding my career. The original thought was to let the SABBATH years lie and start over. I was keen to move on, but Bernie gave me a huge talk about the same thing he felt when the WHITESNAKE situation ended, and came to the conclusion that it was wrong to deny the past, that having been there and carved out that history why should it be ignored? …. I have to say it was convincing and it turned my focus right back around. The more I thought about it, it felt right. So why join M3 WHITESNAKE? Well, I'm STILL rebuilding my life after a second divorce and had to do SOMETHING to continue making a living, and since I hadn't yet taken the road to a solo career, it seemed a harmless, indeed positive way of getting back on the road. I still feel that. I have enjoyed being on stage and more than ever, even with the COMPLETELY different songs and ideas and personalities that was M3.
"The most important thing for me at this point in my life is survival. It's difficult to put across how low you can get sometimes, strange then to find relief in being fired!!!
"If you've been following the story, or if you know me, you will have heard me tell of the DEEP frustration I've had in getting any credible information out of M3,…right from the start, it has been phenomenally difficult to know, where we were playing, or when, or how much we were getting paid. It appeared absolutely stunning how these guys operate with such little to go on! But operate they do, and have done it this way for YEARS!!!! Neil kind of warned me at the outset that it was hard to find anything out but I had no idea! I began collecting e-mails and texts and every bit of information that came because I was sure there was going to be an almighty fuck up somewhere down the line, SOMETIMES I got information from YOU guys [the fans] before I got it from M3!!! Dates were being talked about in various places that I knew NOTHING about!
"Seems ridiculous even now, but Mickey was quite calm about it sayin' 'It's always been like this really, we just get on with it' …. OK…. So I tried to get on with it, Bernie kept sayin', 'Hang in there it's gonna be good.' But already I'm afraid I started losing patience and getting more and more frustrated with it and STILL learning the songs and the way the guys work on stage was beginning to wear thin! But I AM professional, and will do everything I can to make the show go on. Those 2 hours at the end of the day are the most important 2 hours in the day to me, and I am upset if I get something wrong or forget some words or ..whatever, 'cause it matters.
"I’d promised to work with it until Christmas 2003 and review it then to see if it was something we could carry on with. I honoured that promise. But when it came to Christmas there was NO talk of continuing, I had to almost force Bernie to talk to me to find out what the score was, I had MANY concerns about continuing and I am VERY vocal, even brutally honest when it comes to the wire!!!
"Doesn't look good at this point, so somehow we agreed to continue into the new year but I’m now starting to look towards a solo career, It was obvious that it couldn't continue with M3 for long, and I phoned Bernie to ask him to find a new singer. He said it would be a shame to give up after putting in so much hard work just to let someone else take the spotlight, and that if I left I’d be just singing cover versions for someone else, but that's EXACTLY what I was doin' in M3 so what’s the difference?
"I wasn't singing ANY SABBATH material or my solo material, it had been talked about but Bernie dismissed it because he said he'd tried that idea with COMPANY OF SNAKES and couldn't get on with the fact he was playing stuff he had nothing to do with. In the end I decided to hang in there and just get on with it.
"I think that was maybe the wrong decision, I should have insisted that it end and let them find someone better suited to their needs. And it is AMAZING how subtle but clique they are. There seems to be very definite lines that exist as to your standing in Bernie's eyes, you're either IN, in which case you have a fairly comfortable ride, or you're OUT, in which case the phone gets switched off when you ring and texts get deleted before they're read and it's made very clear that you're regarded as unimportant and not worth the time of day.
"I saw it for the first time when the original keyboard player didn't turn up for the first Russian tour, I joked about them at the time sayin', I hope I never cross you guys!!!! They laughed, Hmm!!
"It all sounds very depressing, but I have to say the time on STAGE was very professional and on the whole very enjoyable. I was getting great acclaim from mostly everyone that came to see the shows, and those involved in putting on the shows, and the crew AND some of the band, bearing in mind they have had the ultimate and original position of having David Coverdale in the band! It was one of the concerns I had from the beginning that my voice sounds nothing like his really, I'd explained that the only way I could sing the songs is the way 'Tony Martin' would sing them, EVERYBODY was more than happy about that at the time, Bernie even said that they'd had a previous singer that sounded almost identical to David but that it sounded like a 'covers band' so what I was doing was very original and apparently just what was needed. But that was then.
"Now we're in 2004 and eventually heading for Russia. THIS is where the whole thing finally falls apart. The country is not an easy one for westerners to travel around at the best of times, and we were doing some of the VERY long journeys by train. Can't give a written feeling of what this was like but I got video of most of this trip and someday I'd like you to see it! It was stressful but also grounding. There's no room for much in the way of complaining, but complain we did!!! At some point EVERYONE had some problem or dislike or whatever. It was Neil that gave us SOME idea of what we were to expect by sending us a few sheets of information about being on a Russian train. But still we got on with it, with moans and various quips and digs. As I mentioned before I'm very vocal and brutal at times and this was one of the times that got to me. Others had moments in hotels or gigs etc but this was one of mine!
"However the tone had already been set in the days leading up to the first show of the tour. It seemed that the shows were being advertised as WHITESNAKE and BLACK SABBATH, this had caught Bernie's attention in that he thought he had to clear it legally with various people. Normally it's standard practice to use the most sellable names on posters to put bums on seats, but M3 have a thing goin' on with David Coverdale that means they ain't allowed to use the name WHITESNAKE. It was just that the Famous names had been made extremely large with respect to the actual name M3 were supposed to be trading as. But it also caught my attention and I made a comment about it. Bernie immediately responded with 'It's got nothing to do with you!' I have to say this is one of those times when you wonder what makes you fly off the handle, but I did, I was furious, thinking how can using my name and history and everything that comes from it, have nothing to do with me? I wasn't singing any SABBATH stuff, or solo stuff, and wasn't getting royalties from the songs in the show, but they were using my name and SABBATH's name to advertise the WHITESNAKE show! But is that what he meant???? I’m cautious in admitting I'm not sure. But that's how I took it.
"I was so full of the past year and all the frustration, and disappointment and stress of rebuilding my life and career which had given me a stroke shortly before I went on the tour, that there was no question of it being anything other than a complete put down. A huge row followed in which I was ready to walk, and catch the next plane home. Bernie shoved me into a chair and started yelling at me and that was it, all hell broke loose and I called him every name under the sun that I could think of and began to peel back every injustice that I felt I'd had to endure during the past year.
"I STILL have, and ALWAYS have, had respect for Bernie's playing and song writing and told him so many times, that's something that I always will credit him for. But I think calling him a cunt, and telling him that he couldn't organise a piss up in a brewery kind of nailed it really!
"After that, the tour was fraught and bitchy and damn hard work!!! But still I got on stage, and did my job and no-body in the audience knew. I never take shit on stage with me, so, I just got on with it and finished the job. I'm glad I did. Russia will stay in my mind for many reasons, it is after all a fantastic country, but it's where M3 became ……M3. Of course they will continue, and probably with someone who can make better sense out of the quirks of the band than I ever did.
"I think personally the only way to put the music that I so enjoyed performing BACK into its rightful place is to get David Coverdale back on board.
"There's something VERY difficult about stepping into other peoples shoes, I've done it twice, and it's why I am convinced the ONLY way forward for me is SOLO!
"So look through the people and on through the mist, … and I'll be waitin for you there.
"Thanks for listening."