Archived News 2010
December 18, 2010: You can now preorder Tony Iommi's upcoming biography, Iron Man: My Life with Black Sabbath and Beyond, at Amazon.co.uk. Published by Simon & Schuster, it will no doubt be a fascinating firsthand account of Sabbath's history, though at 352 pages, it'll be interesting to see just how in-depth Iommi goes into their more tumultuous aspects.
December 17, 2010: No terribly exciting news to post. With the recent death of my aunt, I've been busy with family and whatnot. That aside, progress on the third draft is coming along well. I'm finally seeing something close to a final draft, and actually liking what I'm seeing (which for a perfectionist like me, doesn't come easy). There is still a lot of work ahead. With Geezer Butler posting the news recently that Sabbath won't be reuniting till 2012 the earliest, I feel a bit of pressure removed to coincide with their reunion. That said, my goal is still 2011 (though much will depend on the publisher, should I find one that understands the scope of this project). It does still amaze that as I go through this polishing process, I continue to discover insights and layers of meaning in Sabbath's lyrics. Even as a hardcore fan of many years, I don't think I quite recognized the sheer depth and breath of this band. If I can convey some of that in this book, I'll be happy.
December 5, 2010: I feel very humbled and privileged to welcome onboard the great John Howe, who's works I've admired since before I even read The Lord of the Rings. His artwork took hold of my young imagination from the start, and I find him ‒ along with Alan Lee and Ted Nasmith ‒ to be the definitive interpreter of Tolkien's work, as well as a great artist unto himself. Check out his site here.
November 28, 2010: I'm back after a delicious veggie Thanksgiving dinner to announce a new page on this site where I'll try and gather some cool Sabbath-related links for you guys to enjoy. For starters, I've added a link to Sabbathlive.com. A lot of you will remember Robert Dwyer's great site dedicated to all things Sabbath. I've also added EdTrader's archive of rare videos. More to come as time allows.
November 17, 2010: Welcome onboard the great Anton Seminov (Gloom82 on Deviantart)! Check out his haunting works here.
November 8, 2010: Inspired as I've been by so many of the artists I've had the privilege of meeting and interacting with, I've written a small tribute to the artist on my blog. Hope you enjoy.
November 8, 2010: I'm very pleased to announce that the brilliant Pavel Zacek has joined our team. If you're not familiar with his sumptuous surrealistic works, please check them out here.
November 8, 2010: Well, I've officially changed the subtitle. While I liked the idea of using one of the band's song-titles for the book's name, I was looking for something that better reflected one of the major themes found in their lyrics. Besides that, so many books on the band have used their songs as titles, that it's become almost clichÚ. "Prophets of Darkness and Light," I think, does a good job of encapsulating the role Sabbath embodied with their music and words, their doomy, apocalyptic warnings, their cosmic/Messianic expressions of hope, and the general melancholy and woe that defines what it is to be living in a world of suffering. While "Behind the Wall of Sleep," metaphorically expresses where much of mankind is at, "Prophets of Darkness and Light" describes who Black Sabbath were as musicians taking the mantle from the protest singers of the '60s, and carrying the torch through the '70s and beyond, where it would would be later passed on to bands like Dead Can Dance, who would expand on the idea of expressing exhortations of social criticism and spiritual light through powerful dark music and words.
November 6, 2010: I now have a blog!: http://blacksabbathlyrics.blogspot.com/
I've never been quite sure what the bonus is to having a blog over a website, or how to not duplicate content from one to the other. Unless I hear otherwise, I'll try and have exclusive content on each. I'm about to embark on a major rewrite for the next draft, so I'm not sure how much extraneous writing I'll be doing anyway, but we'll see. I'll try and keep everyone up-to-date. One thing--which I think I noted below--is that I've come to realize that the book is going to need as long as it's going to need. I can't rush the process. The thing is HUGE, and besides the need to trim it down, I want to make sure that each entry is good unto itself. While the bulk of the research and writing is done, the shaping/editing portion is a task all its own. And I still need more artists!
November 1, 2010: I'm very pleased to announce the lovely and talented Aunia Kahn to our small, but growing group of talented artists. You can find her fantastic works here.
October 24, 2010: More exciting additions to our family! Welcome two great artists, Natalie Shau and Erlend M°rk. Click on their names to see their amazing works!
I've reversed my 10/14 methodology and gone back to browsing as the best method of finding quality artwork. Artists don't neatly categorize their work by traditional naming conventions. Also, by browsing (especially on a site that deals strictly with professional artists like Beinart.com) you come across different interpretations and ideas that you may not have at first conceived. I find this is more interesting (and less frustrating) than trying to target a specific idea (though I'll likely still employ that method from time to time). As regards the fact that it's time consuming, well, it is. There's just no getting around the fact that if I want to do this project right, it's going to need whatever time it needs. Ideally, I would have started this project a good year earlier. But short of a time-machine, I'll have make do. The book will come out when it's ready. Hopefully, I'll have a supportive publisher onboard by that time. Otherwise, I'll self-publish it until I can secure one. Any thoughts or suggestions, feel free to drop me a line.
October 21, 2010: Welcome aboard Carlos Huante, who's great monsters (human and otherwise) can be found at his sites here and here!
October 14, 2010: Welcome aboard Chastity (PulseX on deviantart)! She's actually the first (of what I hope will be several) artists that I found utilizing my new method of searching for a specific image. In this case, was looking for the right concept to represent the title "Swinging the Chain" from the Never Say Die album. Titles give you a lot more leeway to play with; you can be more abstract with the imagery then when you're linking to a specific lyric (of course, some lyrics are more abstract than others). That said, I often have a strong idea in my head (as was the case with the lyric noted below on the 10/9 entry), or I'm looking for something that's striking. I found Chastity's very cool images on deviantart, and a particular one that just perfectly embodied the idea of what "Swinging the Chain," as a concept, meant to me based on my understanding of the song, namely oppressed innocence, but not in a hopeless sense, but with the potential for inherent justice that will later arise when retribution is brought upon the tormentors. And Chastity's image just nailed that, and was so beautiful in addition. Anyway, great stuff! Check out her site here!
October 9, 2010: It can be a challenge looking for the right picture to capture what you imagine when you hear a certain song or lyric. I've tended to browse for art, meander through online galleries in search of that special something, and in so doing have discovered so many great artists. But that's not easy to find. I'm privileged that quite a few have condescended to lending their works to me. But as I'm nearing the median point, my approach to finding art has to change, otherwise, I can browse forever without ever zeroing in on the certain pieces I need. For example, a relatively expressive line from "Planet Caravan" (from the Paranoid album) reads, "While down below the trees/bathed in cool breeze/silver starlight breaks dawn from night." That might seem simple enough to find. It's basically a gorgeously poetic description of the dawn. I myself have taken numerous dawn/dusk pictures. Nevertheless, this proved a lot more difficult to locate because the image my head, as generated by the magic of the song, was more elegiac than your run-of-the-mill dawn photo (and I say that realizing that I don't think there's anything run-of-the-mill about dawn or pictures of dawn). I just wanted something different. And then I discovered Julia Starr's great photo manipulation, and said, "That's it!"
So that's my long-version story of how I'm going to try and target certain lyrics to see if I can track down the specific images that best represent them (in my mind's eye). I'm sure there's a better way of going about this whole thing, but until I discover it, my trial-and-error approach will have to do. True, I'd have liked to see this book out by 2010, but the reality is more like 2011, which is fine. In its own way, it may prove fortuitous as that date will hopefully coincide with the reunion of Black Sabbath for one final tour (and possibly even one final album).
On a not-entirely unrelated note, I've been meaning to address the issue of my appreciation for the band's music, especially now that I'm so immersed in studying and listening to it. Well, I have to say that Black Sabbath continues to entrance me. That doesn't seem to change with the frequency or intensity of listening. Without waxing philosophic, they're in my head, heart and soul. Their music and lyrics continue to impress and move me, really to the point where I can't comprehend someone not recognizing their brilliance. Oh, I get that for many people, heavy rock just isn't their thing. Some don't care for Ozzy's voice, or the somber and bombastic blues-based riff music. That's fine. What I'll never understand, however, is any purported music-lover not recognizing (even if only intellectually) just how amazingly talented and unique this band was. That they started (or more accurately helped shape) an entire genre or two is quite tertiary to me in comparison with their musical diversity, profundity and sonorous timber. I guess one would have to listen to more than "Paranoid" and "Iron Man" to really get that, let alone experience the resonant emotional experience that their music engenders.
I know of few bands that have come close to taking a similar approach to reach a similar end. I think Dead Can Dance have done that, sort of that concept of light shining through darkness. I think the classic-era Moody Blues in their own melancholy way did that. And, of course, I'm one of those kooks who think Sabbath have more in common with The Beatles and The Shadows then they do the artists of the genre they helped inspire. There are certainly elements of Sabbath in Judas Priest and early Iron Maiden, as there are in newer bands like The Sword and Wolfmother, but I find that in the heavy metal genre as a whole, there are more conscious imitations (or worse, surface borrowings) than there are organic aesthetic similarities. Do you understand what I'm saying? In the final analysis, Bruce Eder's (of Goldmine) telling of the old joke that Black Sabbath is the music of dreamers and societal dropouts is true. The positive in that is that if you're attuned to those vibrations, you're in for a lifelong love affair with this music. For those who can't hear it, I hope there's something else that can give you a similar emotional doorway.
I had a relative over tonight who just didn't get this music at all. His brain wasn't wired that way, or perhaps he merely hadn't had a chance to acquire the taste. But for me, at the ripe old age of 11, I heard it immediately. It was as if it was meant for me, and it changed my world forever. I think my response was: "WHAT IS THAT?! THAT'S GREAT!! PLAY IT AGAIN!" I was that excited. And I still am every time I pop in one of their CDs. Art is a gift to mankind, the select among mankind who feel and understand it. Whether you paint it, play it, direct it, act it, sing it or build it, to the real enthusiast it's something that you just can't get enough of. It brings you into another plane, a higher state of joy -- which is a rare thing in this world, and worth cherishing.
October 6, 2010: Welcome aboard the great Julia Starr! Her ethereal images can be found here. The work I'm using from her (and several others was a challenge to find), and worthy of a short article, which I feel inspired to write about (probably in the next few days). Anyway, give her work a look.
October 4, 2010: Into my favorite month, and we have another fine artist join us. Please welcome the great Daniel Zrno (Quetzy to you Deviantart fans). Check out his beautiful photographs here.
October 1, 2010: Making up for lost time, I've found another artist to join our talented crew, the brilliant Erik Schumacher, aka Kire1987 on Deviantart. Check out his site here!
This stormy start of October brings us some good news! Visionary artist John Clementi (aka. alsobroken at Deviantart.com) has joined us! Welcome him and visit his site!
September 29, 2010: In unexpected news, Blacksabbath.com posted today that Sanctuary in the UK is releasing a Black Sabbath box set, likely of the material they remastered and released over the last 18 months (though that's not yet confirmed). Read the press release to see what's included (and see that site for images). Guess I'll have a version for home and the car!
The release date purports to be Nov. 15th. Note: This is a limited edition.
Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Bill Ward - four names that resonate throughout Rock's recorded history as clear and sublime as the haunting bell that tolls the opening to their eponymous debut album from 1970.
Collectively, they formed Black Sabbath and forged the most haunting and hypnotic rock sound of all time. From humble beginnings, the Birmingham quartet enslaved the minds and souls of millions of rock fans around the world and continue to do so into the new millennium. The musical genre they created inspired countless musicians and spawned countless bands. Hailed as Metal's originators, their musical contributions to the world are still formidable and current forty years later. Their unique sound still echoes in many of today's greatest Metal bands. Black Sabbath, established now in the forever of Metal's ongoing musical progression, beckon and await you to enjoy their triumphs within.
This deluxe box set contains all the Ozzy era Black Sabbath albums housed in a Black Cross, the box also contains a 100 page exclusive Illustrated discography featuring rare covers from throughout the world.
The box set will include:
- Complete albums set in exclusive Japanese Miniatures, housed in Cross with
Master Of Reality
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
Never Say Die
We Sold Our Souls
- Containing a complete 100 page Ozzy Years Discography
- 3 Exclusive Radio Documentaries
- Guitar Pick Set
September 28, 2010: Well, it took ten days, but the new laptop is up to speed. I have lost some of the artwork that was sent to me (I'll be contacting some of you to have you re-email me high-rez versions), but otherwise, I'm back to work.
We've got three fantastic new artists to welcome onboard! These guys are brilliant, so definitely check out their websites!
Mia Bailey Hopper
September 18, 2010: Some good news. The hard-drive of my former computer cracked (not crashed, but actually cracked, according to the tech at BestBuy), which left me with no computer for a bit. The price to repair it, proving cost-prohibitive for an older computer, I decided to get a new laptop. Only problem: No FrontPage, therefore, no updating my site (sites, actually). I finally picked up FrontPage 2002, and here I am! In addition, I've not been idle during this time and we have two new artists to welcome onboard. But first let me test my new program and see how it functions.
August 16, 2010: Please welcome the great David Defigueredo onboard, and check out his darkly surreal beauties here!
A minor update on my progress. Work on the book continues, albeit at a slower pace as I'm forced to work two part-time jobs to bring in enough to pay the bills (the life of most working creative types). But it continues, and more importantly, it improves through the process of trimming, revising and correcting. Editing is what shapes the work, and is really a crucial stage, as it cuts off the excess, finds gaps in logic, and generally conceives better and smarter ways of telling the tale that needs to be told. The third draft is also a difficult one because you've seen your work so much by that point that it's often difficult to maintain objectivity, and sometimes, to just not mentally gloss over things.
That's why, ultimately, any aspiring writer *needs* the help of outside editors and proofreaders. There's no two ways about that. As a former reviews editor (for The Baum Bugle), I've read and reviewed countless published works that suffered because they didn't employ the benefit of a proofreader/editor. Even the great J.R.R. Tolkien himself, a Professor of Linguistics at one of the most prestigious universities in the known world, Oxford, utilized the abilities of his son as proofreader/editor for his work.
The other necessary tool for doing a proper 3d draft revision is the one thing we rarely seem to have, time. Time allows the author to disconnect a little from his former drafts, so that when he approaches it again, it's with fresh eyes, enabling him to take the critical approach necessary towards the former draft. It's a lot of work, this process. People who haven't written a book don't realize just how much work it is, and just how frustrating, exhausting, time-consuming and nerve-wracking writing can be.
Like any creative endeavour, it's very much a process of exposing yourself, but trying to do so in a way that makes you look your best. In the end, you just have to let go and hope that you've done enough to make this work the best you possibly could, so that in ten years time, you can crack it open and say, "Hey! That's not too bad!" Ultimately, the writer is the harshest critic of his own work, and the one who has to live with the praise (hopefully) and condemnation (inevitable), and that mostly from himself. And for what? Writing is not going to make anyone wealthy these days (unless you're already an established name, or have really good contacts). We do it for the love of the craft and the subject for which we're writing about. If others come to love and benefit from what we've done, that's the real gain that we receive, that, and the sense of accomplishment from a job well done.
Signing out for now!
July 19, 2010: I'm pleased to announce that the superb Eric Pouhier has joined our ranks! Click his name to visit his photography site.
July 14, 2010: Sorry for the delay in posting updates! We have a new artist to welcome onboard, the excellent Norberto Villanueva! Click on his name to check out his photographs.
Editing on the book is proceeding apace. My first editor, Rich Handley (author of The Planet of the Apes Timeline) is helping me make judicious trims, while a new second editor, the great Derek Stevens (A Leaf Falls Skyward), is making his own way through. Between these two professionals, I've no doubt this book will be the best it can be.
May 22, 2010: Please welcome two very talented artists: Seth Collett from South Africa and Marcela Bolivar from Columbia. Their vivid and haunting works can be found here and here.
May 16, 2010: Some very sad news just broke: Ronnie James Dio has died today at the age of 67. Ronnie had been battling stomach cancer for some time and had hoped to beat it. Fans and all who respected his talents bow their heads in silent prayer. In his illustrative career and with his soaring, operatic voice, Ronnie James Dio fronted Elf, Rainbow, the later incarnation of Black Sabbath, recently known as Heaven and Hell, and his own successful band, Dio. He will be sorely missed. "Today my heart is broken," said Ronnie's wife, Wendy, "Ronnie passed away at 7:45am 16th May. Many, many friends and family were able to say their private good-byes before he peacefully passed away. Ronnie knew how much he was loved by all. We so appreciate the love and support that you have all given us. Please give us a few days of privacy to deal with this terrible loss. Please know he loved you all and his music will live on forever."
May 16, 2010: The super-talented Janet Chui has joined us! Check out her excellent images here.
May 10, 2010: Please welcome the very cool Melissa Bond, whose eerie artwork and photographs can be found here.
May 3, 2010: Lots of new artists coming onboard! Welcome the magnificent Ania Bibulowicz, better known as Ania of the Dead! You can find her crepuscular creations here.
May 1, 2010: Welcome aboard the fantastic Laurie Lipton! You can find examples of her moody, evocative work here at her site!
April 30, 2010: Welcome aboard the renowned illustrators Wojciech (Voytek) Nowakowski and Christophe Vacher! As we forge ahead with so much exciting talent, I continue to strive to make the text as worthwhile as the art. My friend and editor Rich Handley has begun proofreading/editing the 2nd draft (now at 545 pages!) as I continue the search for a publisher. There's been some suggestions to self-publish the book in two volumes, so as to save the cost for consumers, which I'm considering. We'll see. More news to come!
March 12, 2010: We have a new photographer onboard! Welcome John and Vickie Dicus of Rivenrock Gardens! This couple is doing some very cool things out in California, including producing organic cacti. This stuff is awesome and good for you! Check out their site at www.rivenrock.com.
February 13, 2010: Today is the 40th Anniversary of Black Sabbath's debut album! To commemorate the event, I've posted a link to a sample entry from the upcoming book, Black Sabbath's first official song (not counting the still unreleased "A Song for Jim"), "Wicked World". To read this entry, click here.
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