Black Sabbath: “The Eagles were recording next door, but we were too loud for them”

Album by album with the Midlands metal pioneers

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NEMS, 1975
A legal matter, baby. Great album, marred completely by m’learned friends.

TONY: It was a funny period for us. We had a lot of legal trouble: we were switching over from being managed by Patrick Meehan. In the court in the day and at night in the studio. The frustration came out in the music: we had a track called “The Writ”.
OZZY: By Sabotage we had proof we were being ripped off. Every quid he gave us, he had 20,000 himself. I remember us doing a tour for God knows how many months and he gave us a £1000 cheque. If you’ve never had £1000, you go, “Wow! A grand!”
GEEZER: One day he said I can’t write you any cheques, there’s no money in the bank – I’ve put it all “in Jersey” for you. Then we got the tax bill for the money he’d taken. So we’d not only lost the money, we had to pay the tax on money we didn’t have. Then we found out all our houses were in his name.
OZZY: I remember him saying to me one day, “Do you know how much I’m worth, Ozzy? Eight million pounds.” That was a lot of money. I should have said, “Most of that’s ours, you cunt.”
GEEZER: Dealing with the business side of things kind of ended the band from then on. Sabotage took 10 months to record – it wasn’t any fun any more. We were all turning to drugs and getting stoned the whole time. It was horrible. Luckily the tours still did incredibly well – so we made money off that.


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