[This is me with my Tony Martin-CD's]
I discovered Black Sabbath at a pretty late stage, in 1989. I knew who they were and what they sounded like, but Sabbath with Ozzy didn't quite hit the right button for me. My best friend at the time, Blackie, persuaded me to go to a Black Sabbath-gig in Copenhagen 1989, and after many "come on!"-s, I went.
I hadn't really heard about Tony Martin, and I didn't expect much, so instead of standing in the front-row, like I usually do at concerts, I took a seat up on the upper section. But when the music began, and the guy on stage started to sing, I couldn't believe what I heard. He was absolutely AMAZING, no other singer that I ever heard could sing like that..! That evening started it all.
I was working as a heavy metal-reporter at the time, and one year later, in 1990 I met Tony & co at a press-conference in Copenhagen. No big deal really, I was there to do a job, not to act like a fan, so I never mentioned anything to Tony about me being a big follower of his work.
The years went by and I didn't think much about making a big deal out of my "fan-ship", until 1994, when I decided that I was gonna write Tony a letter and explain what an excellent singer I thought he was. The letter ended up being 101 pages long...
Shortly thereafter I received a letter from Tony saying something like, "thanks for your support"(this was in August -94).
In the summer of 1995 Black Sabbath came to play at the Karlshamn Rock Festival (on June 16th to be more precise) and I was still working as a journalist, except, this time Tony knew who I was and that I was a big admirer of his music.
I did an interview with Tony and Cozy (which was not a coincidence, I had talked to EMI and specifically asked for those two guys! Read about it HERE) The interview went really well, but I had thousands of questions "off the record" about Tony's career outside of Sabbath and a bunch of other things, so I decided to go back to the hotel after the show and try to talk to him as a fan, not a journalist. It went really well, I found Tony very easy to talk to (although I was so nervous that I totally forgot everything I had been planning on asking him!) and I got answers to many of my questions.
In the fall the same year (1995) Sabbath came back for the "Forbidden"-tour, and did a few shows in Sweden and Denmark. Two days before they played in Copenhagen, I went to their hotel (after a few years of working as a reporter and being a big music-fan chasing for autographs, you just know where to go..!).
I was waiting in the lobby when Tony Iommi came walking towards the elevator. He looked at me and said: "I know you from somewhere, don't I..?". I explained that we had met briefly in Karlshamn, and he remembered me as being the big Tony Martin-fan. He told me to stick around cause Tony would be down pretty soon.
But I managed to miss him because I was staring at some painting (what else can you do in a lobby?!). I caught a glimpse of him as he was walking down the stairs. I hurried out on the street and caught him right outside an antique-store. I was like, "now what?!". So I tapped him on the shoulder and went: "Mr. Martin..?"
He turned around and looked very surprised, like "what are you doing here?". I ended up walking down Copenhagen's "Stroget" with Tony. We went to HMV and to a music store (he needed a harmonica). Then we went to a boutique for men, cause he was looking for some new clothes, and to an exchange office cause he didn't have Danish cash, etc... We kept passing Tony Iommi and Geoff Nicholls going the other way. I found out a few things that day too, about singing, songs, lyrics, tours... As we were talking we got lost! I should have been able to find the way back, but I had been so concentrated on what Tony was talking about, that I hadn't been paying any attention to where we were going. If it hadn't been for Tony bringing a map, I would have missed my boat (well, a hoovercraft or whatever they call those fast things) home to Sweden..!
That was, needless to say, a big day for me!
I went to all the shows in Sweden and the one in Denmark. I met the band many times during that tour, and found Neil Murray and Geoff Nicholls to be very nice people too. Tony Iommi is pretty reserved, so I didn't get to talk to him that much.
But it was like Christmas over and over again for each show I went to - I enjoyed every minute and every note of that powerful voice that Tony posesses. Who knows, that might have been a farewell tour with that particular line-up...
I saw the last European show at Shepherd's Bush in London too, and met Tony, Tony, Geoff, Neil and Bobby right after the show. That was the last time I saw them.
I was living in the States for a year (1996-summer 1997) and while I was there I sometimes didn't have anything better to do than to have verbal battles on the Black Sabbath mailing list (ahem...!). I probably qualified myself for the Bitch of the Year during that period. Well, anyway, I used to print out those lists and send them to Tony, and one day I got an e-mail from Tony saying something like "you must be totally insane!!".
I didn't even believe that the mail was from Tony, I thought somebody was just pulling a prank on me..! So I asked him to prove that he was who he said he was. Imagine how embarrassing it was to find out that it really WAS him!
Tony's kept in touch ever since.
But make sure to check out the interview with Tony Martin and Cozy Powell from the Karlshamn Festival! It's right HERE.