Radio.com Inside Out: Birmingham, the Birthplace of Metal
By Brian Ives
October is Metal Month at Radio.com. Throughout the month, we’ll have artist interviews as well as mini-documentaries about metal, metal fans and the birthplace of metal. And book reports: reading is fundamental, even for headbangers, and we’ll have reviews of some of the best recent metal biographies and retrospectives. Horns up!
Jason Newsted, who played bass in Metallica for 15 years (and Ozzy Osbourne‘s band for a year), sums it up nicely: “Black Sabbath is timeless, ageless, and I guess could be considered the godfathers of our kind of music.”
Most metal artists and fans can agree: Sabbath is heavy metal’s ground zero. But what was ground zero for Sabbath? The original lineup — Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward — hailed from working class Birmingham, England, in the rubble of World War II. The bleakness of the bombed-out factory town was reflected in their music, and also in that of Judas Priest, who debuted just a few years after Sabbath hit the scene.
Miraculously, both bands are still active today, albeit without all of their classic-era members. Osbourne, Iommi and Butler recently released 13, the first Sabbath studio album to feature Ozzy in 35 years, and it topped charts worldwide. Meanwhile, Judas Priest, with a new guitarist Richie Faulkner has been touring and — as frontman Rob Halford tells Radio.com –– working a new album of their own. In the video below, Halford, Faulkner and Newsted, as well as Jerry Cantrell of Alice In Chains, Corey Taylor of Slipknot and Stone Sour, Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal co-authors Jon Wiederhorn and Katherine Turman, Merciless Book of Metal Lists co-author Howie Abrams metal writer and DJ Zeena Koda and more discuss the impact of both bands on metal as we know, and how their hometown affected the music.