As expected, the four original members of Black Sabbath – Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward – announced today they will reunite and tour in 2012, including a headlining set at the Download Festival in June. The surprise news was that the reunion will include a new album, produced by Rick Rubin, due next fall.
Host Henry Rollins, who introduced himself at the famed Whisky A Go Go on the Sunset Strip as the "press liaison," talked about the impact of the band, both generally and in his own life.
"I was a very alienated young person," Rollins said, "and when I heard Black Sabbath I realized my life had a soundtrack. I realized there were people out there using music to make great statements. When I heard 'Iron Man,' high school became powerless over me. This is true outsider music."
Then Rollins brought Rubin and the four Sabbath bandmates to the Whisky stage, where they'd played 41 years earlier to the day. Rollins hosted a Q&A before the band answered questions from the assembled press corps.
"Why now?" Rollins began. Osbourne summed it up: "It's just time," he said. Those sentiments were echoed by Iommi, who said, "It’s now or never. We get along great. Everything’s really good."
The band also credited Rubin's persistence for helping get them back in the studio. "He phoned us every five minutes," Iommi joked.
"I’ve known Rick for many years," Osbourne added. "He wanted to do it a long time ago."
With the album and tour not due until next fall, it's clearly early in the process. But the quartet has begun rehearsing. Rubin said it sounds like the four guys in Black Sabbath getting together and playing, and Butler agreed.
"It’s really back to the old Sabbath style and sound," he said.