Pearl Jam & Nirvana Hurt Black Sabbath’s Career

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For younger generations who may not be aware, before Nirvana, Foo Fighters and Green Day, rock, specifically heavy metal was home to Black Sabbath. The band was captained by the often completely “out-of-his-mind”, British born mad man, Ozzy Osbourne. According to the band’s drummer, Vinny Appice, “Video didn’t kill the radio star”, Grunge did.

Via way of Ultimate-Guitar.com, Vinny explains to Metalsucks.net, about the misfortune of releasing “Dehumanizer”, the final Black Sabbath album featuring Ronnie James Dio, during the 90’s grunge revolution.

The Dio-era of Black Sabbath was highlighted by the 1980 album “Heaven and Hell” which is still regarded among the band’s best works. While the “Dehumanizer” album proved that none of the chemistry was lost during their decade apart, Appice told Metalsucks.net in an interview that releasing the album at a time when grunge’s popularity was so substantial hurt its potential success – and that with tensions rising within the band, the lineup dissolved almost as quickly.

Vinny recalls:

“I think it was a lot of things. There are all these stories about infighting and issues with Ronnie and not getting along with the Sabbath guys. And yeah, there was some of that going on, and in some ways, I think it was part of the dynamic—sort of the yin and yang. But what screwed ‘Dehumanizer’ was that it was released right in the middle of when grunge was rising to the forefront.

“And here we are in Black Sabbath, trying to reclaim the sound of the early ’80s, and even though we made this monster of a record, we came off looking like dinosaurs.”
Pressed to further comment on the matter, Appice continued about Pearl Jam and the Grunge era hurting Sabbath:

“So, we released the record in the grunge era, and things were already getting weird in the band. And the result of all that was we had to play smaller places once we got out on tour. But the thing is, we got out there, and at first, it was going well. Everything was fine, and the crowds were small, but the people who did turn out really liked the album.

“It was a situation where we felt like if we could see it through, eventually, it would turn around because the quality of the music would win. But things started to go bad again, and we ended up breaking up like the first time.

“I think what broke us up was Tony and Geezer wanted to play Ozzy’s retirement show out in L.A., and Ronnie didn’t want them to do it. Ronnie was deadest on not having anything to do with it, and he didn’t want any of us to do it either. But Tony and Geezer disagreed, and Ronnie ended up having a blowout with those guys, and he walked out on the whole thing. But we had a tour to finish and wanted to do these last shows, so we got Rob Halford to sing with us.”