Tony Iommi Recalls ‘Nightmare’ of Black Sabbath’s ‘Sabotage’ – Ultimate Classic Rock


Tony Iommi said that a legal battle with their manager led to the “nightmare” of working on Black Sabbath‘s 1975 album Sabotage.

The band were in dispute with businessman Patrick Meehan, which meant they had to split time between going to court and going to their studio, and often experienced their sessions being interrupted by lawyers. The situation inspired the album title along with Geezer Butler’s lyrics for “The Writ.”

“Oh, it was a nightmare,” Iommi told Metal Hammer in a recent interview. “We’d get a writ and we’d end up having to go into bloody court in the morning, all dressed up, then try to get back to the studio afterwards to carry on working. It was hard to come up with things. You had to have two heads.”

Asked about the story of a lawyer arriving at the studio to serve legal papers, he replied: “That’s exactly what happened. They used to turn up all the bloody time. We never knew they were coming. If we did, we’d have disappeared sharpish.” He added: “I think the aggression definitely came out in the music when we played together. There is some really heavy stuff on that record.”

He added that, even though Sabotage took a year to complete, the band didn’t think of abandoning the project. “We’ve always fought through whatever was there. Without the music, we’d have all gone bloody loony. I think it actually it brought us all together as a band. Whenever we went through problems, we’d just fight through it together.”

Iommi also reported that he had plenty of riffs left over from the past, which he aimed to develop into new music. “There’s about four or five from the last Sabbath album I that we didn’t use. I listened to a CD with them on recently. I thought, ‘Blimey, that’s good, why didn’t we use it?’” He continued: “It won’t be a Sabbath album, I don’t think. I really don’t know. I’ve just had [engineer] Mike Exeter over to my house, and we put some ideas down, though.”