August 25, 2009.
I don’t think any amount of word combo put together by me will successfully capture the feeling of photographing the very people I grew up idolizing. Influence is a peculiar thing. It has the capacity to shift your perspective on life. I think you can’t be influenced by someone or something without being recognized by them.
Perhaps all this is not quite sitting with you, my gloating over this. But you see, being at the pit to photograph Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Vinny Appice, and Ronnie James Dio is not something I can explain to just anyone as to why it would be such a big deal. Unless you were a kid growing up in Dhaka, Bangladesh who had a sort of ‘calling’ upon hearing the opening riffs to Paranoid or Iron Man, or Heaven & Hell. If I could take you back to my high school notebooks – I’m sure they’re still there – you would see ‘Dio’ logo imprinted by hand on them, along with Iron Maiden, Sabbath and Metallica.
Our friends would have discussions about which album was better than which, who made Sabbath more Sabbath, does Iommi really wear thimbles – my friends I’ve seen them up close! All of us agreed on one thing – Ronnie James Dio is the voice!! Whether he was in Sabbath, or Rainbow, or going solo, his unmistakable voice certified the sound; my brother used to play ‘Holy Diver’ over and over and over (think he still rocks that album in his car). Who wouldn’t? I witnessed first hand from the pit – the man may have aged, the voice hasn’t.
This was my first live attendance of a concert with any combination of these guys playing. For some of you it may seem nothing. For me, watching Tony Iommi walk out stage left and over to where I was standing gave me the chills. Lord knows how many posters, magazines covers, videos, album covers I’ve seen with the man who essentially gave birth to the sound of Metal, it did not make me ready to see him that up close.
Ditto for Dio. It’ll take me thousands of more words to aptly go over how, when, and why Sabbath’s music influenced me. I have to shift the view and give you a photographer’s perspective. All those photos I’d cut out of magazines and pasted on my wall. I put an end to that. Because, my friends, I now have photographs of these legends of my very own, from my own POV. I cannot tell you what that’s like – god knows I’ve been trying since the first paragraph. I’ll never be able to look at their photographs the same way again. You still there?
Ok, let’s get to some good stuff.
Dio and Iommi continued their desire to record and tour after collaborating on the Black Sabbath: The Dio Years back in 2006. Iommi’s named the band ‘Heaven & Hell’ to be clear about what period of Sabbath’s life would this band represent. Basically, this is Black Sabbath with Dio with a different name.