After a long wait, we finally made it into the Digital Era!
Our first edition book was called "How Black Was Our Sabbath; An unauthorised view from the crew" (Pan Books)
We often wondered why the Publisher added 'Unauthorised' to the title, because after all, the stories told in the book were that of the people who were actually around at the time of the live events!
David Tangye and Graham Wright are the principal authors of the book, and they garnered the history of the Band from its first inception 1969, through to the demise of Ozzy Osbourne from the ranks in 1979.
With the rebirth of Black Sabbath over the past decade, we can now have an insiders peak at what was going on from the prospective of Graham Wright who has completed many of the recent past tours both here in England, and Europe.
This book is not a journalistic ramble as many of the other tomes out there are, regarding the true history of Black Sabbath. Here you can get an insiders peak at what was going down at the time, and view the most candid photos that are out there.
With the chance to complete a fully interactive e-book, you the reader will have the chance to not only read the book text, but also visit the website www.blacksabbath.co.uk and check out more exciting photos and images at your leisure! And for free.
Crewed Remarks - 'Classic Rock'
Another book that quite probably would not have been commissioned without the ubiquitous Osbourne presence, but in fact it is a more welcome and gentle read than most. Road crew memoirs tend to adhere to a Hammer of the Gods temple: disgruntled ex-employees embarks upon lascivious bean-spilling from a hitherto unglimpsed area.
Wright and Tangye – assistants to original drummer Bill Ward and Ozzy respectively – instead offer a far warmer take on the first years of Black Sabbath, as they evidently had too much of a good time to appear sour now. Nicely guided by Classic Rock's Carol Clerk, their book is a happy and unchallenging meander through the defining year so heavy metal's greatest band. The opening 100 pages or so a neat cuttings job with some nice detail on the genesis of the back from the streets of Aston, Birmingham –Ward, Butler, Iommi and Osbourne grew up within a few hundred yards of each other – and on their time as Rare Breed and The Earth.
Wright began his job with Bill Ward just as the band prepared to record 'Sabbath Bloody Sabbath' (released in '74), while Tangye joined Ozzy soon afterwards. Their first-hand accounts bring out the rising tensions within the band at that time: Iommi felt that the other band members were entirely reliant on him to write material: Ward was by now drinking heavily: Ozzy was married to Thelma and had a young family, he is, well Ozzy.
Former Sabbath roadies Tangye and Wright document our heavy metal heroes' journey from the early days trekking up and down the Ml in a Transit van to private jets and sell-out stadiums worldwide. The wobblers, the pranks, the groupies, the homebrew, the chicken massacres - it's all here with knobs on, whilst managing not to become salacious and distasteful in the form of some classic biographies we can think of.
Enthusiasts will recognise many of the anecdotes from Spinal Tap (the air base, anyone?), but there's plenty here that will get you giggling anew. Warm and wry, it's a great insight into a legendary band.
No band should write their own biography when there's a trail of roadies in their wake to recall the true sordid tale. That said, its hard to read the Black Sabbath crew's account of life on the road without hearing comedy Brummie accents and the sound of jangling keys. How Black... is a fond recollection of a time when four heavy rock buffoons could break America in six months. Unsurprisingly, the tales of idiocy gain extra laughs post Spinal Tap - Ozzy dropping a "Richard The Third" from a car window and so forth. All of which makes for a hugely entertaining read.
This "unauthorised view from the crew" gives an entertaining behind-the-scenes look at the band whose employees knew them as 'Slack Haddock'.
ANY SNOBBISH reservations one might have about the literary capabilities of the two roadies ("personal assistants" to Ozzy and drummer Bill Ward in Sabbath's '70s pomp) turned authors are laid to rest before the end of the foreword.
And the undoubted quality of passages such as, "Bumble was heading towards us, obviously fancying another go at me. I had to deprive him of that, so I gave him the old 'one-two' and he went down like a bag of shit", combines with meticulous research (who else knew that the figure of 36,000 members attributed to the Mothers Club in Erdington was probably unreliable because "a lot of people were so stoned they joined many times over"?) to render How Black Was Our Sabbath a worthy addition to the treasury of metallic anecdote.
The general story has been told many times, but what falls out of this telling - by two seasoned members of the crew - is a surprisingly competent and unsurprisingly friendly, warm, family-like rollick through the lives of our favourite hapless heavy metal blokes. And it's all from behind the scenes, including at recording studios, backstage, in transit (of all types), at home in Birmingham, Graham and David adding the richness of personal familiarity and British humour to the thing.
Bonus to this very readable and fresh-facted book is no less than four photo sections, each stuffed with previously unseen shots including photos of shockingly memorabilia like Earth and The Mythology tour posters. I loved it, mainly for its good vibrations and very human look at the larger-than-lives phenom that was Sabbath and their out-of-control invention.
In closing, here's Bill Ward himself, on the book, from a chat I had with him a few weeks back: "I had a really good laugh; I thought it was great. I called up Graham a few weeks back and talked to him. I thought it was bloody great. There were some great pictures. For me, it was really good, because these are pictures that I've never seen, or hadn't seen for years. It was just nice; it brought back a lot of great memories, because there was so much camaraderie, so much union between us. We were just having the time of our lives. At least I was, but it seemed like everybody else was too. Those were absolutely great days."