Sabbath, Corporate Sabbath

Back in August, Birmingham Mail journalist Andy Coleman reported a development everyone suspected: The original Black Sabbath lineup had reunited to write a new album and to prepare for a tour. Hardly surprising given the May 2010 passing of Ronnie James Dio, who’d collaborated with Sabbath founders Tony Iommi (guitar) and Geezer Butler (bass) in the band Heaven and Hell, essentially the post-Ozzy Osbourne, 1979-onward Sab lineup. (For legal reasons, Dio and Iommi weren’t allowed to use the Sabbath brand.) With Dio gone, it made perfect sense for Osbourne and drummer Bill Ward to join what will surely be a profitable reunion.

Only problem is, Coleman let the cat out of the bag too early for the band’s managers’ liking. As a result, Coleman was slagged by Iommi, fans and other reporters as a glory-seeking nonsense-peddler.

Three months later, a Nov. 11 press conference held by the original Sab members confirmed everything Coleman had reported. The 1969 lineup will release an album next year. My 5-year-old could’ve told you this. Why the outrage, Iommi?

It’s because Sabbath is now, with bat head-biting Osbourne on board, a commercial entity designed to milk aging metalheads of their remaining dollars before they enter Valhalla. Fine. No one’s a bigger fan than me. Yet to watch Iommi’s non-denial denial of a Sabbath reunion is revolting. Is it worth a pretentious 11-11-11 presser to mudsling a journalist doing his job? Sounds like a corporate tactic from Sabbath, Inc. Consider this a breakup letter, then: I don’t need more corporate music.

Blame the holidays for my rants. OK, don’t miss these shows: Pistol Annies are packin’ country-music firepower in House of Blues at 11 p.m. Dec. 3. The Annies are an all-female supertrio—Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley. If you dig Dixie Chicks, the Annies will amaze you with empowering songs such as scorned-woman-placing-a-classified-newspaper-ad epic “Trailer for Rent,” hilarious rockabilly bitch “The Hunter’s Wife,” and desperate arson narrative “Housewife’s Prayer.” These gals’ lyrics are like complete novels. One of my favorite Vegas alt-rock acts Avalon Landing plays the Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon Brunch at 11 a.m. Dec. 4, at Mandalay Bay South Seas conference hall. (The brunch is open to the public; admission is $45; more info at The band just released a digital album on iTunes called Demos, Dead Ends & Do Overs, 12 songs frontman Mike Vargovich says “serve as Avalon Landing’s foundation for listeners, a starting point.” Avalon Landing is writing a full-length record to be released next year.

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