Why Black Sabbath’s ‘Forbidden’ Went So Badly Wrong
Former Black Sabbath singer Tony Martin recalled the background to the band’s most hated album, Forbidden, and said he didn’t think a reunion with guitarist Tony Iommi was likely.
For several years Iommi has discussed his desire to revisit the 1995 LP and also to record more material with Martin. But in a new interview with Ultimate Guitar, the singer revealed his doubts.
Asked if he changed his opinion of Forbidden, he replied: “No, it's still shit. To me, anyway. I can't enjoy it.” He said that, at first, the project felt promising. “We were still quite good friends, really … everything was quite good. And the songs [were] going OK.” That changed when the band’s management said rapper Ice-T was to appear on the record. “I mean, they're obviously thinking Run-DMC, you know? But it's Black Sabbath. And Cozy Powell kept saying, ‘I don't know how this is gonna turn out.’ And they were trying to tell him how to play drums. Like, you do know who he is, right? It's Cozy Powell.
“I'm actually in the studio, and I still don't know if I'm going to be on the album or if somebody else is singing it. Because they wouldn't tell me. … I can't concentrate. I can't sync my voice. I couldn't really make it work the way I wanted it to work.” Saying he was “fully expecting to be fired again” as he attempted to retain focus, he explained that "for that reason, Forbidden is a lost album to me. And I wish I had the chance to resing it because I could do a much better job, I think.”
Martin noted that the bad feeling that had infiltrated the band by that point became worse when Sabbath went out on tour, resulting in an environment of members telling each other to “speak to my manager.” Recalling that Iommi had three managers at the time, he added "that bad feeling never went away, really. And … the band started to really come apart from there.”
Asked about new plans associated with Sabbath, he said: “I can't see a reunion with Tony Iommi. He did say that there was a possibility that we could write some new material and then maybe add it to a release of some kind. But then the phone went dead for months and months. … I went down to his house, and he said, 'We can't do it … we can't release anything new under the Black Sabbath name. The Black Sabbath name now is only for the original members.’ … But he said maybe we can find some songs that we didn't use back at the time or something that we recorded at the time.”
Martin said he found “a couple of things” that might be appropriate but added that he has not heard from Iommi since sending them for consideration. But he noted that he recently received good news: “They now have got a record deal for the Tony Martin era. So that means that they can go ahead and rerelease the Tony Martin albums.”