Tony Martin was the voice of Black Sabbath for nine years. It was such an honor to have the opportunity of interviewing him during his first Brazilian tour.
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 interesting. 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, so, little conflicts there.
Maila: When you joined Black Sabbath, this is a feeling all the fans had, the band changed a lot. Your singing style, some kind of hard rock influence, ballads came out etc. Was it your influence, your face in the band or you think the band would have taken this way anyway without you?
Tony Martin: So, this is how we worked: I put the song 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 Toni Martin songs turned out.
Maila: Toni Iomi was your “special friend” in Black Sabbath, was he your best friend? Are you still 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 things, but we were good friends as well.
Maila: And you started your solo project right after leaving the band or joined another band? What happened after Black Sabbath?
Toni: Well, I started solo pretty much soon, straight away. I thought it was it, I really thought 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 I 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: And have you ever done any different work with any different style besides rock?
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 he´s smoking and drinking, he can do it sitting down, laying down but I can´t. I have to really work hard to keep doing it.
Maila: And you´ve always been so careful or this is something that just happened through your experience?
Toni: 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.
Maila: Have you already met each other?
Toni: 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: Yes and this is what I´d like to know. What are your expectations about this concert with musicians you´ve never heard about?
Toni: No idea, I have no idea.
Maila: Haven´t you ever heard anything these guys had done?
Toni: Yes, 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 involved. So it will be interesting to see how the Brazilian guys will do it.
Maila: And what can we expect from you?
Toni: I´m not saying. I´m not saying nothing, It´s a secret, it´s a secret. It´s all Black Sabbath stuff.
Maila: Well, our time is up so I´m gonna do one thing to finish. I´m gonna give you one word, and you will give me 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
Toni: Well, there is just so much. You know when I started it was just called rock music. Then it was heavy rock music, then it was heavy metal, then it was thrash metal, death metal, it´s the same back! How does that work?
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?
Maila: Yes, I can do it.
Love – Love it
Hate – Love it, they are all good inspirations for the song.
The most important thing – Family
Stage – Fright
Home – Well, England, it´s where my heart is. I like it back in England.
Tour – Ah, not get any, well, what´s the production company´s name? ok. Headbanger (the Brazilian production company).