More info on the Dio/Iommi/Butler/Ward HEAVEN AND HELL project

Let me start by saying that the following information and comments are from Joe Siegler, the webmaster for Black-Sabbath.com (the best unofficial website for Black Sabbath on the Internet). If I’m not mistaken, I believe Joe is also the webmaster for Bill Ward’s official website and Geezer Butler’s official website. I frequent Black-Sabbath.com and I am also a member of his mailing list, I can honestly say that he is the best source for Sabbath related news and history. The following information is straight from Joe, it was included on his website and his Pilgrims Of Sabbocracy newsletter. Please go over to Black-Sabbath.com and check it out.

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From Black-Sabbath.com (Joe Siegler, webmaster): 

Subject: Heaven & Hell Rising in 2007?

This oughta start some conversations on the mailing list. :)

File this story under the “very interesting rumour” department…

I’ve gotten quite a few emails about this subject today, and I wasn’t
planning on saying anything quite yet, but the fact that I keep
getting emails has prompted me into saying something.

There is a story running today that claims that Ronnie James Dio, Bill
Ward, Geezer Butler, & Tony Iommi are going to be touring in 2007
under the moniker of “Heaven & Hell”. First off, let me copy the
article verbatim, and then I’ll have a few remarks about it:

– Start of Story –

    Madrid, Spain-based webzine Rafabasa is reporting that former
    BLACK SABBATH members Tony Iommi, Ronnie James Dio, Geezer Butler
    and Bill Ward will rejoin forces once again under the HEAVEN &
    HELL banner for a number of festival appearances next summer.

    According to Rafabasa, the four members cannot tour under the name
    BLACK SABBATH or “BLACK SABBATH with Ronnie James Dio” due to
    legal reasons.

    No tour dates have yet been confirmed, but the band’s booking
    agent is allegedly offering the group to the promoters of the most
    important heavy metal festivals that are set to take place next
    year.

    If the report is to be believed, HEAVEN & HELL will play a set
    consisting of selections from every single SABBATH CD that Ronnie
    James Dio appeared on: “Heaven & Hell”, “Mob Rules” and
    “Dehumanizer”.

    In an August 16, 2006 appearance on the syndicated radio show
    “Rockline”, Dio had the following to say about the possibility of
    further collaborations with BLACK SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi:

    “We’ve already written one [new] song together. The reason for
    that is that there’s a release coming out, it’s called ‘Black
    Sabbath: The Dio Years’ – they’ve already done one, of course,
    ‘Black Sabbath: The Ozzy Years’; that was the beginning and,
    really, the best part of it all – but they’ve decided to do one,
    again, ‘Black Sabbath: The Dio Years’, and we wanted to make it a
    little but more special, not just give you things you’ve not heard
    from a live perspective. These are two things you’ll never hear
    again – two new songs. We are going to do that. It’s been fun
    already. The one we’ve done – the one that I’ve done with Tony has
    been really wonderful – just great to realize how magnificent a
    player he was. You forget that after 10 years at a time that you
    don’t work with someone. So we are gonna be doing that. And I hope
    you’ll like it. I think it’ll be great.”

    On the rumors of him possibly rejoining BLACK SABBATH, Dio said,
    “There’s always rumors about everything – about a RAINBOW reunion,
    about a BLACK SABBATH reunion. Our purpose was to do this because
    we wanted to have this product be a bit more special than anything
    else – not just, ‘Here’s a live track you’ve never heard before.’
    I mean, that’s cool, but I’m sure people have heard that. We
    wanted to do something a bit more special, so the whole band would
    write and play these songs, and. They’ve wanted to hear them long
    enough, so here they are. But it’s not anything that we’ve talked
    about leading to anything other than that. No, it’s for that
    project.”

— End of Story —

A few remarks by me on all this:

Today was not the first time I had heard these rumours. Running this
site I hear all kinds of things, and generally I tend to discount them
- but this one had some more weight to it, so I decided to do some
poking around on my own. While I can’t get anyone to officially say
anything about this, it does seem to have the air of an authentic
story to me. Heck, I can’t get any official word about who is even
playing on the new tracks for the Dio Years set, besides Iommi & Dio.
One would hope it’s the same four guys (Iommi/Butler/Ward/Dio), but I
can’t get official confirmation of that one, either.

So it’s known that the Dio Years box set is happening. When – who
knows, although I would imagine sooner rather than later. What the
contents of the set are is also officially unknown. I’ve been hearing
some rumours about specific content, but I don’t really want to spread
any more FUD about that issue, so I’ll leave that out for now. Suffice
it to say if what I heard is true, fans will really like it.

The other issue I wanted to say something about was the bit about
legally not being able to call themselves Black Sabbath. A few points
about this.. Ronnie has stated on many interviews and on his website
that he would not be rejoining Black Sabbath. Assuming you take that
as true, the rumour I heard that it was a choice to call themselves
Heaven & Hell and not Black Sabbath should be taken as correct. The
other side to that is the ownership of “Black Sabbath”. It’s always
been my knowledge that in the mid 80′s Tony Iommi bought all the
rights, and to this day retains such ownership. There was a lot of
stories that in order to get Ozzy to come back in 1997, some of that
ownership would have to be given to the Osbournes. Now I want to say
this. I am a fan. A somewhat connected fan, but I still am a fan. I’m
an idiot if I think I know everything – I do not. But I do pay
attention, and I have never seen anything that tells me that the
ownership situation of “Black Sabbath” has changed. My educated guess
tells me that this bit about legally not being able to use the name
Black Sabbath is incorrect, that it’s a choice to do that. If I hear
anything factually to counteract that, I will retract my opinion here.

Having said all this stuff, this is a very exciting possibility. To
sum up:

Known Facts:

  * There will be a “Black Sabbath: The Dio Years” box set.
  * Said box set will contain at least two newly recorded tracks.
  * Tony & Ronnie collaborated on the newly recorded tracks.

Rumours/Speculation:

These are all unconfirmed – so don’t take it as fact, eh? :)

  * Geezer Butler & Bill Ward will comprise the rhythm section on the
    new tracks.
  * Iommi/Butler/Ward/Dio will tour in 2007 as “Heaven & Hell”.
  * They are not billing themselves as “Black Sabbath” due to legal
    reasons – FALSE, see update below.
  * The Dio Years set may include the video mentioned by Dio on the
    Live Evil recordings.

Hopefully I can get some official confirmation about this stuff now
that the “word is out” so to speak. I do work for Bill Ward & Geezer
Butler, and am fairly friendly with Tony Iommi’s people, so hopefully
I can find out something I can officially talk about. The only
“official” things are the three things listed above as “facts”. The
rest is speculation. I hope it’s all true. And if they do tour, they’d
better come to Dallas, dammit! :)

Hmm… Dio replaced Ozzy back in 1979, and now it’s (in a fashion)
being done again in 2007. Does this mean that a TV show with Ronnie
going “WENNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNDY, the dog crapped on the carpet
again!” is far behind? ;)

UPDATE Sep 28: I’ve since gotten email from an official source that
wishes to remain anonymous that I was 100% correct on the legal
situation with Tony Iommi and the name “Black Sabbath”. It’s still his
sandbox, so there’s no legal reason that would stop them from going
out under the name Black Sabbath should they choose to. Should this
all come off, and the name “Heaven & Hell” is used, it’s my belief
that it was some artistic choice, and not a legal one.

Joe Siegler
siegler@black-sabbath.com

Dio to reunite with Iommi/Butler/Ward in HEAVEN AND HELL

From Bravewords:

Even though their respective managements have not officially released any information, Rafabasa webzine in Madrid, Spain is reporting exclusively that starting in June, 2007 there will be a reunion tour of a group going by the name HEAVEN & HELL.

At this time, there are no dates confirmed, but the tour booking agent is offering the band to the promoters of the most important heavy metal festivals taking place next year.

Under the name Heaven & Hell you will find TONY IOMMI, RONNIE JAMES DIO, GEEZER BUTLER and BILL WARD.

Evidently if everything is confirmed, they will be playing a set consisting of music from every single CD that Ronnie James Dio performed with BLACK SABBATH, to include Heaven & Hell, Mob Rules, Live Evil and Dehumanizer.

The reunion cannot tour under the name Black Sabbath, or BLACK SABBATH WITH DIO, due to the fact that the copyright of the name is the property of OZZY OSBOURNE and his wife/manager Sharon Osbourne.
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For more information on this story, head over to Black-Sabbath.com (run by Joe Siegler), probably the best website for Black Sabbath news and history.

—- Steve