Metal Hammer (UK)

BLACK SABBATH: THE END (February 2017)

After almost five decades, metal’s founding fathers finally brought down the curtain on a storied career. Rival Sons were the band chosen to open their final tour What aspect of the tour meant the most to you?

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It wasn’t just the end of an era: it was a line drawn in the sand. The moment where we were officially saying goodbye, not just to one of metal’s most important bands, but to the band: the starting point, the raison d’être, the very thing that made this magazine able to exist in the first place. Long Beach rockers Rival Sons had the honour of going along for the ride as Black Sabbath went out on the road one last time.

How were you approached to support Sabbath’s farewell tour?

Scott Holiday (guitar): “We were playing an awards ceremony in Los Angeles and Sharon and Ozzy were front and centre. Both Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne approached us afterwards and they had nothing but great things to say; they loved what they saw and heard so they said we needed to open for Black Sabbath’s next tour! We graciously and happily agreed to do it – who wouldn’t?”

How did the shows go?

“Every night, there was a real arm wrestle when you have to prove yourselves to the crowds, which makes you work harder and be better. It was an unbelievab­le feeling for 13 months standing next to this ultra-legendary band in arenas. It was more than I ever dreamed, and we all became very close.”

What was the downtime like between shows?

“In the first week, I realised I was rooming next door to Ozzy and Sharon. We went right into Christmas on the tour and one morning, I could hear them waking up and singing Christmas carols to their grandkids on the phone, which was wonderfull­y endearing and surreal.” “I watched Tony Iommi very closely every night on the tour, watching his hands and feet and how he interprete­d their songs to fill up stages. It was touching, heart-warming and inspiring to see the integrity, fervour and intention they all still attached to their music. It brought me to tears on several nights and gave me a lot of hope for my own music going forward. What everybody got from that last tour was some of the best playing Sabbath have ever done: they were warm, focused, present individual­s. Even though they were ‘scary Black Sabbath’, they put a lot of love on that stage and I took that with me every night.”

Are there any bands that can fill the void Black Sabbath left behind?

“I HEARD OZZY AND SHARON SINGING CHRISTMAS CAROLS”

Scott Holiday, Rival Sons

“I think people’s hearts move on to different things. They’ll find new bands that make them feel fantastic, but if you want to hear Black Sabbath, nothing is going to scratch that itch but Black Sabbath. I had the honour of giving them their Lifetime Achievemen­t Grammy and that night, I said it’s difficult to pinpoint the beginning of rock’n’roll: we don’t know if it was Elvis Presley, Little Richard or Chuck Berry, but we know without a doubt where heavy metal begins – that’s with Black Sabbath.”

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