Former Black Sabbath singer Tony Martin was interviewed by the Metal Mayhem ROC podcast and recalled the times when he met Ronnie James Dio for a Black Sabbath tour after he had been invited by the guitarist Tony Iommi. Martin stated that Dio wasn’t happy about this invitation.
It’s been known that Black Sabbath had to work with many singers after they fired Ozzy Osbourne because of his severe addiction problems. So as one of them Tony Martin joined the band in 1987 as a replacement of Ray Gillen who had replaced Glenn Hughes a very short time ago. Black Sabbath released ‘The Eternal Idol,’ ‘Headless Cross,’ and their concept album ‘Tyr’ which mainly focuses on Norse Mythology.
However, Warner Bros paid a huge amount of money for ‘Dehumanizer’ and they wanted either Ronnie James Dio or Ozzy Osbourne as the lead vocalist. The band members chose Dio and they recorded the album which was released on June 22, 1992. Thus, Martin had to leave the band for a while but Tony Iommi wanted him to join them backstage during the Dehumanizer concerts in England. Probably, the guitarist didn’t tell anything about this visit to Dio.
Therefore, according to Martin, Dio was angry with both him and Iommi because of this situation and he started to ignore the singer’s presence there. When Martin tried to speak with him, he always disappeared backstage. His attitude toward him was so mean and reckless that Martin thought that he would hit him eventually. Also, when the vocalist said he is a big gan, Dio didn’t care and then the Black Sabbath singer reminded the host that he rejoined the band after the tour since Iommi couldn’t get along with Dio again.
Martin said in his interview that:
“Actually, Tony Iommi had invited me backstage to one of the ‘Dehumanizer’ shows here in England. I was backstage, and Ronnie was not happy — he was not happy. I think he was really angry with Tony Iommi for inviting me back there. I tried to catch his eye backstage. It was a relatively big affair, with people all over the place. Every time he walked past me, I went, ‘Ronnie!’ And he disappeared. ‘Ronnie!’ Eventually, I managed to catch his attention.
I said, ‘Ronnie! Come here.’ So he walked over, and he just stared at me. I thought maybe he was gonna hit me or something; he just stared. And I was trying to explain. I said, ‘Ronnie, I love what you do, man. I’m a big fan.’ I said, ‘You’re a hard act to follow.’ He said, ‘Good,’ and walked off. That was it. He didn’t stay. He just said ‘good’ and walked off. So that was my only conversation with Ronnie James Dio.
Ronnie wasn’t happy that I was there. He must have thought he was being put on the spot. Iommi, obviously, hadn’t told him that I was gonna be there. After the ‘Dehumanizer’ thing is when I rejoined. So there was stuff going on in the background and I don’t know what the issues were but they hadn’t been getting on well. Tony Iommi told me that it hadn’t gone well with Ronnie. I was back there after that. So my name has been attached to Black Sabbath for 11 years, more or less, without too much of a break.”
In 1997, Martin had to leave the band once again after Black Sabbath members decided to reunite with their original frontman Ozzy Osbourne as a part of their headlining tour, the Ozzfest. It seems that Black Sabbath members had to work hard to preserve their success in the middle of all these personal problems and lineup changes.