Friday, November 11, 2011

These Go To Eleven: Black Sabbath Reunites!

Your dreams have been fulfilled:

I could care less about the new album, and even those who claim they're excited probably won't listen to it at all after 2012.

I'm not suggesting that it won't be any good-The Devil You Knowproved to me that the musical dynamic of Sabbath can be heavier than anything Iommi and Geezer Butler have done since the original Sab-but there's nothing that they can produce that will get people reaching for it more than Paranoid or Masters.

But there is a good chance.

1.) The Sharon Factor-If there's one person that could fuck this thing up more than anything, it's Sharon Osbourne. There could be issues with money. Just suppose she's concocted a lame deal for anyone other than Ozzy-which is highly probable-and one of the other members decide at the last moment that they don't particularly like the manner in which Ozzy is getting larger sums of cash. Like I said: I'm betting that this is already taking place, but whatever "crumbs" they are doling out to the rest of the band is head and shoulders more than what they've ever made before. The other concern with Sharon is how she's going to impact the song selection, the commercialization of the new album, the interaction between members...I mean, this could all go terribly wrong if she doesn't allow Ozzy to cohabitate with his old bandmates somewhat. If it's separate buses, separate dressing rooms, and separate riders, then this will feel less like a reunion and more like a money grab on the most superficial level. Fear Mrs. Osbourne because she could give two shits about how great Black Sabbath could be musically, she only cares about how great Black Sabbath could be to her purse.

2.) Ozzy-Even on the television show, he looked frighteningly fragile. There's a feeling that his rebellion is now limited to photo shoots and studio trickery. My wife likes to tell the story of how he would shuffle around the stage when she last saw him live...and that was 10 years ago. If there's anything left from a live performance standpoint, let me know-seriously-because the idea of Ozzy shuffling around like a grandfather who's Rascal scooter is in the shop while barking through "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" scares me more than the Speak Of The Devil version of "Iron Man." Is his vocal range gone? Because the last time I heard Ozzy was through the aid of some studio tricks, not to mention that I could barely understand him whenever he spoke.

3.) Bill Ward-I've spoken about this before, so I won't go into too much detail about Bill's health. But let's be honest, Bill was a madman during those early years, the ones where you saw this bearded wild man on the drum riser, beating the shit out of his instrument and thundering out a slow 4/4 rhythm for Tony to crunch craniums to. I hope he's working out. Not from a relationship perspective, but from a treadmill one.

4.) Rick Rubin-I do believe that there was a time when the name Rick Rubin on the album credits meant something. I also believe that he started to believe that himself. The reality is that Rick Rubin has not had the best track record post-2000, and some of his executive "producer" roles have been nothing more than that of an editor and sequencer. He may be able to pick the best songs, but I'm not entirely convinced that he's able to get the best performance. For the Sabbath reunion, he Tweeted "When I've sat with them and they've played it sounds remarkably like Black Sabbath. As long as it sounds like that." No shit, Sherlock. Who else would they sound like?

5.) The New Album-What if it does suck? What if Rubin gets vetoed by Sharon and we get an hour-long album that rivals the shittiness of Never Say Die!. What if their songwriting skills haven't improved after 33 years? One of the things that I enjoyed most about Dio reuniting with Sabbath was how Ronnie brought some really great songs to the table for the ocassion. What if Ozzy can't do that or what if he's too lazy to? Personally, I don't think they can get any worse from Never Say Die!, but there's not a chance it will be better than Sabbath Bloody Sabbath which wasn't that good to begin with.

The fact that there's at least five points of worry with this whole thing, I need to come clean an admit that none of it will be enough to get me NOT to consider getting tickets to a show. This band is the big bang of heavy fucking metal, and the decision to announce this reunion on 11.11.11 is a bit demeaning to the genre as a whole. I mean, I get it, it's cute and I'm all about watching Spinal Tap for the millionth time (I will, later on tonight, rest assured). But to use Nigel Tufnel's "one louder" reference as the backdrop for this announcement that I've been waiting in anticipation for years shows me that they're not taking the genre that they built the foundation for, all that serious.

Here's a clip from their first reunion over 10 years ago. Check out how awesome Geezer is! Check out that awesome solo Tony gives! Check out how Bill looks like he's having a heart-attack on his close up shot towards the end! And more importantly, check out how many chicks lift up their shirts!

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