Sanctuary Records will re-issue the debut album from Birmingham heavy metal band QUARTZ in early 2004. Originally issued on Jet Records in 1977, the album was produced by BLACK SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi and features guest appearances by Ozzy Osbourne and QUEEN guitarist Brian May.
Considered one of the leading NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal) bands, QUARTZ guitarist Mike Hopkins had previously played with John Bonham's WAY OF LIFE while second guitarist Geoff Nicholls would join BLACK SABBATH in 1979. Drummer Malcolm Cope was involved with pre-production for BLACK SABBATH's "Born Again".
Over their career QUARTZ toured heavily — playing the Reading Festival three times ('76, ''77 and '80) — and touring as support to the likes of UFO, IRON MAIDEN, SAXON, GILLAN and RUSH. The band released four albums.
The following is an edited extract from Garry Sharpe-Young's acclaimed BLACK SABBATH biography "Never Say Die" (more info):
QUARTZ was on the rise and having Tony Iommi acting as producer on their album lent extra kudos. "Working with Tony as a producer on our debut record was great, very different to some of the big name producers we had used in the past," reckons Malcolm Cope. "Tony put guitar on two tracks on the record and even played his flute on 'Sugar Rain'. He's a great flute player. Not many people know that."
Contracts kept any notion of actual performance credits out of the public arena as acknowledged by Geoff Nicholls. "Tony had produced the record and he was obviously going to play on it too. It's just that we couldn't say that at the time for legal reasons. He did quite a bit on the record actually, a couple of solos. Ozzy sang on 'Sugar Rain' too. Again, we weren't allowed to credit him."
It would not only be the SABBATH duo that featured on the record. Tony's friend Brian May of QUEEN fame was invited down to the recording studio. The man would get to add a splash of that famous hand made guitar onto the track "Circles", once more featuring a certain Mr. Ozzy Osbourne on backing vocals. "Ozzy tried to put some harmonica on too," laughs Malcolm.
"Circles" inexplicably never made the album, only appearing as the B side to the subsequent "Stoking The Fires Of Hell" single.
The Sanctuary re-release features many bonus tracks, including "Circles", and liner notes from Garry Sharpe-Young. A detailed QUARTZ biography and discography can be found at Rockdetector.