Interview with Tony Martin
Tony Martin was the voice of Black Sabbath for nine years. I interviewed him in two accasions: this one, during his first Brazilian tour; and a second time during his second tour in Rio, a video interview.
Maila-Kaarina: You sang with Black Sabbath from 87 to 96, becoming part of the Heavy Metal history. How do you see yourself as a musician in this context?
Tony Martin: Well, I don´t know. It´s changed since I started with Black Sabbath. It´s been an evolving thing. Being part of one of the biggest bands in the world. It´s quite impressive. So, I don´t think of myself as a historical figure, but I´m very aware I was in one of the most famous bands, thus, little conflicts there.
Maila: Black Sabbath changed a lot during yout time a their singer. Do you consider yourself as the reason for those changes in their music?
Tony Martin: So, this is how we worked: I put the songs together, then I would take them back to the rehearsals, and I´d give them 3 copies, completely different, of every song. Each song would have a different melody, different story, a different thing, and they would choose which one would be the best, and then we would work that along. So it was basically done to me the way these Tony Martin songs turned out.
Maila: Tell us a little about your relationship with Toni Iommi. Have you ever been good friends?
Toni: No, I mean, all of them are 10 years older than me, so we were almost a different generation, so we were not really close friends because we didn´t do the same things, gathered our lives or something, but we had a friendly relationship.
Maila: What happened to you after Black Sabbath?
Toni: Well, I started solo pretty much soon, straight away. I thought it was it, I really felt that I was going solo. But then the phone rang, and they asked me to go back, which was a hard choice. I had to say no first because I was already writing my own thing. So, that was kind of hard, but eventually, I did go back. But I always wanted my own solo career.
Maila: And have you ever stopped working with music? Have you ever taken a break?
Toni: Yes. After the final thing with Black Sabbath, I really didn´t want to continue, and I stopped for nearly 10 years, raising a family, building a house…
Maila: Have you had different experiences as musician outside of rock/ metal?
Toni: Yes, I have my full career because I´m 52 now. I´ve worked with sorts of musicians. I started working when I was 7 years old, and I worked with soul artists and pop artists, and Jazz artists, doing different things. But that is over 35 years, so…
Maila: I´ve heard you are very careful with your voice. You really take care of it, not even talking during the days you have a concert and everything.
Toni: I have to do that because I´m not a natural singer. People who are natural singers like Glenn Hughes, he´s just a natural singer, he could sing whether smoking and drinking, he can do it sitting down, lying down but I can´t. I have to really work hard to keep doing it.
It gets worse when you get older, so, as being older, you have to take more care of your voice.
Maila: This is not your first time in Brazil. You´ve already played in São Paulo 15 years ago with Sabbath. This time you are playing solo with Brazilian musicians and a couple of your own guys. Tell us about this curious line-up.
Toni: Brazilian musicians, but I have two of my guys with me: Danny Needhan, the drummer, he´s a fantastic player, and I have Geoff Nichols who had played the keyboards for Black Sabbath. But the other guys will be Brazilians.
I only them once, very quickly, it´s a bit scary for me cause it´s the first time. I´ve never played in a band with people I don´t know.
Maila: What are your expectations about this concert with musicians you´ve never heard about?
Toni: No idea, I have no idea. I know they are very good and professional musicians, but that doesn't mean they can play Black Sabbath stuff. Because, you know, the material we will do is quite complicated. It is not just rock n´roll like Paranoid´s Black Sabbath, it´s not. Headless Cross is full of stuff, sounds, computers, choirs, all sorts of stuff. It´s a bit more evolving. So it will be interesting to see how the Brazilian guys will do it.
Maila: To finish off, let's play a game. I´m gonna give you one word, and you will provide me with the first word that comes out to your mind:
An idol – Eternal
The 70´s – Flares
The 80´s – I don´t think I was there. Hair! I had hair!
Black Sabbath – Me!
Rock – Complicated
Singing – Hard
Family – Love them
Fans – Cool!
A hobby - Music, ah…highs and lows.
A friend – I don´t have any friends…Do you wanna be my friend?
Love – Love it
Hate – Love it, they are all excellent inspirations for a song.
The most important thing – Family
Stage – Fright
Home – Well, England, it´s where my heart is. I like it back to England.
Brazil – Cool!