"There's always a few people left over from the Black Sabbath concert, man."
- George Carlin, referring to the audience on his "On the Road" album
My long, rambling thoughts about the upcoming Black Sabbath album:
1) So Black Sabbath is FINALLY releasing a new studio album in June 2013. This is going to be the first full-length studio album released under the name "Black Sabbath" since 1995, and the first full-length studio album with Ozzy since the 70s. They announced plans for it on 11/11/11. (Nope, albums are no longer done in a matter of weeks like they were in the olden days.)
2) I have been an avid Black Sabbath fan since I was about 13. My level of Sabbath knowledge is right up there with my level of Carlin knowledge. I own every Black Sabbath album, from all line-ups. And I'll buy this one too, because not only do I like buying and listening to the newer works of artists I've come to know and love, but from the sounds and production process of it all it does sound like it will be a well-done product.
3) However, I'm reminding myself that this new album is NOT necessarily going to change my life, or suddenly become my favorite. I'm convinced that this sort of expectation is why most people end up disliking "reunion" albums, or for that matter movie sequels/prequels, etc. If you've been loving an album or movie for 20+ years, you've growth *with* it, and develop a certain affinity for it. That feeling doesn't happen when you listen to something for the first time, especially when you also have prior expectations of what it should be like. So I think expecting the new product to change your life in one month in the same way the other did over a period of 20 years, is setting yourself up for a let-down.
4) Some fans are pissed that original drummer Bill Ward has decided to not be a part of this. If there's one thing I'm used to by now as a Black Sabbath fan, it's line-up changes, so personally I'm not all that phased. He bowed out due to not being happy with the contractual obligations. I don't know what those were in detail, but I can make some guesses. The business of paying band members often comes down the mathematics of risk analysis: if people are still likely to buy tickets to see a band even if member "X" was replaced by somebody else, but won't buy tickets if member "Y" is not going to be on stage, then "Y" gets a bigger percentage of the pay than "X". The sad reality is that when you do the number crunching, drummers of reunion bands more often than not get a smaller cut than singers and lead guitarists do. This would hardly be the first time that Sharon Osbourne screwed Bill Ward out of a deal (this is the same woman who sent him a fax around 1997 to say his "services" were "not required" for the first Ozzfest reunion).
5) And one last thing: They keep calling this a "reunion" in the press releases. Bill Ward or no Bill Ward, how is this a sudden "reunion" if the three of them have been playing off and on together again since 1997? This "reunion" has been going on longer than their original time together! So that part's not exactly news!