Black Sabbath Tried to Replace Ronnie James Dio on ‘Dehumanizer’
Former Black Sabbath singer Tony Martin said he was invited to rejoin the band as it worked on the 1992 album Dehumanizer, after Tony Iommi told him the reunion with Ronnie James Dio wasn't “working out.”
Martin’s dismissal paved the way for the lineup that recorded Mob Rules to work together again. But in a recent interview with Almost Human, he said he attempted to record his own vocals for Dehumanizer but ran out of time.
“They fired me … I didn't see that coming at all,” he said. “I was walking out of the door to go to rehearsals for the next album, and the phone rang just as I was leaving the door. And my manager … said, ‘They don't want your services anymore.’… I just didn't see that coming at all.”
You can watch the interview below.
Martin added that, a few weeks later, he ”got a call from Tony Iommi saying, ‘This isn’t going very well [with] Dio … can you come back?’ And I said, ‘No, I can't come back – I’ve already started doing my solo stuff and I’ve moved on.’” Iommi called again a few months later to ask, “Are you sure you can't come back? It's really not working.”
This time Martin agreed and went to the studio where Sabbath were recording. “I did try to get some melodies and stuff, but they were short of time – as usual – and I said, ‘Look, if I’m going to do this, I need to rewrite this whole thing. I need to take it away and sit with it and work it out.' They said, ‘We don't have the time for that.’ [I replied], ‘I’m going to have to leave it with you. Probably the best thing to do is just continue with Dio, and then we'll talk afterwards.’”
Martin noted that "even through the Dio period, there [were] connections. … I was still talking to Tony. In fact, I went to the show in my hometown with Dio. … Dio wasn't pleased at all to see me there, ‘cause, obviously, Tony Iommi had invited me. … Dio comes offstage, and I'm still backstage. He was not impressed with that at all. ... I just couldn't get anything that was going to sound better than what they'd done. … I have to make it sound like Tony Martin. There's no point in asking me to do it if you don't want me to sound like me. … I did try and I did put some demos down.”
He added that he had some “horrible quality” copies of those attempted recordings. “I did give it a go," he said. "But I don't think I could better, really, what they'd done. So we sort of moved on, really.”
When Dio left Sabbath again later in 1992, Martin returned full-time the following year, only to be dismissed once more when the original lineup with Ozzy Osbourne reunited in 1997.