Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven & Hell with Black Sabbath - Tony Iommi, T.J. Lammers (2011)
Chapter 73. Flying solo with Glenn Hughes
After the Forbidden album the deal with I.R.S. Records expired and to all intents and purposes Black Sabbath was on hold. I talked to Phil Banfield and Ralph Baker about working with a singer when I heard Glenn Hughes was coming to England. He came over to see me, and we started writing songs really quickly. He was singing and playing bass. It was only a bit of fun really; what we did wasn’t intended to be released. It was just something to see what we could do. Also I needed to work because at that point I wasn’t doing a fat lot. I needed to keep myself going.
Glenn suggested getting Dave Holland, who, years ago, was the drummer with Judas Priest. Dave came over and played a bit on this electric kit. We put some ideas down and we went into UB40’s studio, called DEP, so that we could demo the stuff properly, with Dave playing a real kit. We recorded all the songs and then left them because I went to do the first Black Sabbath reunion tour with Ozzy, after which I started to work on my solo album, which went in a different direction altogether. That’s why these DEP sessions just got lost, forgotten about.
After a while these things came out as a bootleg. I thought, how did they get it? I asked Glenn and he said: ‘I don’t know.’ There were only so many people who had access to the tapes. It could’ve been somebody at the studio, someone to do with Glenn or Dave Holland, or someone to do with me. We never did find out.
Some time at the beginning of 2004 my guitar tech, Mike Clement, was at my studio at home transferring boxes of cassettes of riffs on to CDs. He came across a couple of the tracks from the DEP sessions and said: ‘Why don’t you put them out, they’re really good!’
These tracks coming out on bootlegs was a real pain anyway, so I said to Ralph Baker: ‘We’ve got to do something about this. Maybe we should mix this album and finish it and put it out ourselves. Just to kill the bootleg stuff, really.’
We remixed the tracks, I added a couple of guitar bits and changed a couple of things. And I had to put a new drummer on because, in the meantime, Dave Holland had been done for molesting young kids. I was terribly shocked when I heard about that. I couldn’t believe it. I was watching the news one morning, and they went: ‘Dave Holland, Judas Priest …’
You could have knocked me over with a feather; I had no idea he was like that at all. I remember Dave playing on one of the DEP sessions one day and he brought this young lad. I never thought anything of it. He said: ‘This is so-and-so, I’m teaching him to play drums, he’s a student of mine.’
He was probably about eleven or twelve years old or so, maybe a bit older. But when I found out about all that, blimey. He was sentenced to seven or eight years in prison. We thought, we can’t release these with Dave on them! So I took his drum parts off. We brought in Jimmy Copley, a really good player who I knew from Paul Rodgers’s solo stuff, and he did all the drums at my house. Because there were no click tracks on the tapes, he basically had to play to Dave Holland’s tracks. It was a bit awkward, but Jimmy did a real good job.
They were just demos, we didn’t go into the sounds and stuff, they weren’t intended for release. But when the album, The 1996 DEP Sessions, was released in September 2004 it was received very well. And after all those years, it finally killed the bootlegs.