In an era where peace and love had ruled the airwaves, being misinterpreted as evil would kill most bands career. Not Black Sabbath. In fact, guitarist Tony Iommi now says his band benefitted from religious groups pointing fingers at the band saying that they celebrated black magic and all that is evil.
For Sabbath fans or anyone who actually cared to listen to the lyrics of the band, it was quite obvious the band were not followers of black magic, and in the track “Black Sabbath” Ozzy even shouts “Oh no!” when he describes a demonic encounter.
Whether Sabbath was evil or not, the religious groups at the time were totally preoccupied with ridding the world of rock and roll, and especially, Black Sabbath.
In a recent interview with Metal HammerTony Iommi explained that all of that negative press from the religious right only helped to fuel the band’s reputation and stature.
Iommi, who by the way identifies as a Catholic, said: “I think in one way it helped us,” adding: “At one point we weren’t doing any interviews, so nobody knew much about us. I heard stories about people being frightened to meet us. But it created this thing, and people wanted to come and see what we were like. So the image was good and bad, really.”
Iommi also explained that: “Black Sabbath was actually just channeling its interest in horror films, ghost stories, and the occult into its music,” and that Sabbath found it hard to understand the backlash against at the time, even saying that he and a few others in the band took some of the criticism personally.
The band stood firm though, and as Iommi explained: “We had to get over a lot of fences, but we just forged ahead,” he said. “It’s the only way you can do it. You can’t just fall apart because of what other people say. You’ve got to believe in what you do. And we certainly did.”