Former BLACK SABBATH frontman Tony Martin has issued a lengthy statement describing his thoughts on his new solo album, "Scream", out now through MTM Music:
"As a singer, [I have] worked on many projects, the most famous being BLACK SABBATH. Now, I have ventured out on my own once again to become a solo artist after 10 years of laying low.
"It's an exciting time of course but also a time of uncertainty. The industry I was part of with BLACK SABBATH is a very different place to the one today. Mostly, the technology has changed and it's had contradicting effects on the way we work with record labels. The download thing has affected the industry heavily, but the positive side is we no longer have to use large expensive studios to make music work. This new album is a product of these conditions.
"After leaving BLACK SABBATH, I didn't much want to be involved in music and only played part time when I wanted to, and though I was writing, it was mostly other styles of music to that of SABBATH. I was convinced that I should leave the SABBATH thing behind and find a new direction. Easier said than done!!
"I had been working in the heavy rock side of music for 30 years previous, and SABBATH was the last 10 years of it, so it was always hiding inside my writing, and usually appeared in some track somewhere. The songs I wrote over the years were never one definite style, I guess my first solo album, 'Back Where I Belong', got closest to being a particular style, but it wasn't a comfortable one. I still liked experimenting with music and mixing stuff, and liked the raunchy side that heavy music gives. The result of all this is that I moved back toward the dark side!!! Well, almost. I still write with every kind of direction. I found it impossible to write any other way, but it mostly now has an undeniably heavy attitude. Trouble is, it's untested. I have no idea how it will be received. What I do know is that there are some great tracks on this new album. Putting them all together is the brave part!
"Firstly I called the album 'Scream' and it was originally part of a trilogy called 'Clean, Mean & Scream' — three different albums incorporating all the styles I was interested in as a writer and musician. But the trilogy idea was too diverse for a solo release so I was forced to rethink the way forward and because of so many people asking for a heavy release, I decided to focus on that and separated 'Scream' from the other two titles.
"The tracks on the album are titled: 'Raising Hell', 'Bitter Sweet', 'Field of Lies', 'I'm Gonna Live Forever', 'Surely Love is Dead', 'Faith in Madness', 'Scream', 'The Kids of Today', 'Wherever You Go', and an extra track for Japan titled 'Unbearable'. The extra track 'Unbearable' that is on the Japanese release is a really important one for me because it was co-written with my eldest son. It is very much more punky than the other tracks and even borders on the 'rap metal,' but I love it and I hope it finds a place in the good books!!
"The words are very symbolic of being trapped in a situation and not being able to 'breathe' and needing a way out. The music is very energetic and contradicting and was great to play, the chords are a REALLY unusual sequence and is typical of the stuff that kids of today play. Great! 'Raising Hell' is also very special to me because it features the playing of Cozy Powell.
"When I was a member of COZY POWELL'S HAMMER way back in the early '90s, I was working then with Mario Parga (guitar) and Neil Murray (bass), and I asked Cozy if he had any drum patterns I could use to write songs around. He said he would record some, and he did! He gave me a tape that he had recorded at home with just drum patterns on it. No music, just Cozy Powell playing drums! Coool!!! After a while I put it aside, and eventually forgot about it. Then when I moved house four years ago, I came across the tape and began working with it.
"I have 22 tracks that I'm working on, and hope to one day release them. They are all completely new songs, unheard, and mostly written by me although I'm trying to get some of Cozy's previous colleagues to appear too. 'Raising Hell' is one of the ideas that I actually rehearsed with Cozy and recorded a demo for at the time. He said, 'It would be a good track for you to do on your next solo album' .. and here it is. After all those years I finally got it done. It was painstaking work to get this track finished, and it was important to do justice to his name. I decided to keep a RAINBOW approach for this track because his drumming on this was very reminiscent of that period.
"I have also co-written some of the songs on the album with keyboard player Geoff Nicholls, another SABBATH member of my years in the band. Geoff co-wrote 'Bitter Sweet', 'Field of Lies', 'Wherever You Go' and 'Raising Hell', and is a master at those spooky sounds and chords. This is where the SABBATH sound comes from on this album. His ideas were never really credited on the albums that SABBATH did, and a lot of the chord structures he did were how I came up with melodies, and sometimes the atmosphere of the keyboard sounds made it easier to make my lyrics work. Similarly these tracks have Geoff Nicholls sound all over them. Very atmospheric and moody, and powerful.
"'Field of Lies' was written about the Iraq war, and I had to build a guitar specially to record this song because we tuned down to A!!! For those of you that understand, that's 5 semitones down from normal concert pitch tuning! The only way we could get a sound that matched the album was to build a guitar! Mad or what?!!
"'Bitter Sweet' is the 'fear of dying'-type lyric that appears in a lot of SABBATH type songs. But 'Wherever You Go' was a complete departure from the rest and originated from a passage of music that Geoff played on keyboards with an acoustic guitar sound! The melody was great but we couldn't use it because it had been recorded partly with an arpeggio generator in the keyboard and we couldn't re-create the passage so I had to learn how to play it on REAL acoustic guitar. It sounds easy, but it took me a while! The melody and lyrics are very much more acoustic in style but considered and meaningful.
"I like these tracks. Geoff and I will team up for a small tour later in 2005 and possibly more songs on future albums. I have great respect for his work. Fantastic!!
"I have four children, all of them are musical in some way, and my youngest son Joe Harford has also joined me on this album. He played most of the guitar parts and solos and played endlessly through long nights with just bottles of beer and 20 different guitar sounds and instruments!!! I am very proud of them all. The sounds AND the kids!!! Joe will join me on the road for the tour also, bringing past and present together. He also has his own band called FREAK PORN EXPERIMENT and you can find them on the net. But they are a really interesting modern band. Nice name!!! Some of Joe's friends brought guitars and amps and all sorts of stuff to my house so that we could get the right sound for each track. Great kids. They deserve more beer!!!
"I am actually really interested in a lot of the music that the younger players make. It's great that rock and variations of it still ROCK!! Thanks dudes!
"The other tracks, 'Faith in Madness', 'I'm Gonna Live Forever', 'The Kids of Today', 'Surely Love is Dead' and 'Scream', are written by me but played with the help of other players and friends. I play electric violin on 'Scream' which I'm going to try on the road, that should be interesting!!!
"It's been a huge journey to put this album together, and I'm really pleased to have MTM Records and Avalon in Japan on the team to get it released. They are among the few that I trust to give you the full Tony Martin story.
In almost every interview I am asked what my influences have been that make my music work. It's all here in 'Scream', and it starts here and it starts now!
"The album was recorded at my house in, believe it or not, Headless Cross!! Yep I actually live in Headless Cross in Worcestershire England, and I have driven the neighbours insane with it so now it's your turn! Turn it up and go for it!!"