Planet Rock News

Planetrock_large Ozzy Sues Iommi In Sabbath Battle: A legal battle between former bandmates Ozzy Osbourne and Tony Iommi has broken out over the use of the name Black Sabbath.

Ozzy has filed a suit in the US that claims that it was him, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward that saved the Black Sabbath brand in the 90s when Tony Iommi was playing clubs with a revolving door of musicians. He claims that as a result of the Sabbath brand being “literally in the toilet” when they helped save it, the four members should all equally share the name.

In a statement, which you can read below, Ozzy asks Tony to “do the right thing”.

Rolling Stone Magazine speculates that the lawsuit could be a result of Tony Iommi suing Live Nation after the ticket agent continued selling Sabbath merchandise after a deal had expired – a deal which Ozzy and his management team had set up.

There’s no response from the Iommi camp just yet, but here’s the Osbourne statement:

“It is with great regret that I had to resort to legal action against my long term partner, Tony Iommi, but after three years of trying to resolve this issue amicably, I feel I have no other recourse. As of the mid-1990’s, after constant and numerous changes in band members, the brand of ‘Black Sabbath’ was literally in the toilet and Tony Iommi (touring under the name Black Sabbath) was reduced to performing in clubs. Since 1997 when Geezer, Bill and myself rejoined the band, Black Sabbath has returned to its former glory as we headlined sold-out arenas and amphitheatres playing to upwards of 50,000 people at each show around the world.  

“We worked collectively to restore credibility and bring dignity back to the name ‘Black Sabbath’ which lead to the band being inducted into the UK and US Rock & Roll Hall of Fames in 2005 and 2006, respectively. Throughout the last 12 years, it was my management representatives who oversaw the marketing and quality control of the ‘Black Sabbath’ brand through OZZFEST, touring, merchandising and album reissues. The name “Black Sabbath” now has a worldwide prestige and merchandising value that it would not have had by continuing on the road it was on prior to the 1997 reunion tour.

“Tony, I am so sorry it’s had to get to this point by me having to take this action against you. I don’t have the right to speak for Geezer and Bill, but I feel that morally and ethically the trademark should be owned by the four of us equally. I hope that by me taking this first step that it will ultimately end up that way. We’ve all worked too hard and long in our careers to allow you to sell merchandise that features all our faces, old Black Sabbath album covers and band logos, and then you tell us that you own the copyright. We’re all in our 60’s now. The Black Sabbath legacy should live on long after we have all gone. Please do the right thing.”

Hendrix Roadie Claims Death Conspiracy: A former Jimi Hendrix roadie has claimed that the legendary guitarist was murdered by his manager.

The Mail Online reports that in a new book entitled Rock Roadie author and former road crew member James ‘Tappy’ Wright claims that Hendrix’s manager Michael Jeffery admitted to him that he killed the guitarist.

The Mail quotes the book as saying: “I can still hear that conversation, see the man I’d known for so much of my life, his face pale, hand clutching at his glass in sudden rage.”

Wright apparently claims that Jeffery told him: “I had to do it, Tappy. You understand, don’t you? I had to do it. You know damn well what I’m talking about. I was in London the night of Jimi’s death and together with some old friends …we went round to Monika’s hotel room, got a handful of pills and stuffed them into his mouth …then poured a few bottles of red wine deep into his windpipe.

“I had to do it. Jimi was worth much more to me dead than alive. That son of a bitch was going to leave me. If I lost him, I’d lose everything.”

Jeffery had apparently taken out a life insurance policy on Hendrix worth $2m with himself as the beneficiary. The manager apparently made the confession a year after Hendrix had died and two years before he himself died in a plane crash.

Conspiracy theories have been rife since the day that Hendrix died on 18 September 1970. The official cause of death was “barbiturate intoxication and inhalation of vomit.” 

We suspect that we may hear more about this new claim in the next few weeks.

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