TONY IOMMI Hopes To Remix BLACK SABBATH’s “Born Again” Album: “It Would Be Nice So We Can Have A Better Sound On It”

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In a recent interview on SiriusXM’s Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk, legendary Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi shared some thoughts about plans to remix the “Born Again” album for a future release. This 1983 record is notable for being the only Black Sabbath album with Deep Purple‘s Ian Gillan as the lead vocalist and the last studio album featuring drummer Bill Ward.

Iommi explained the long delay in the remix process, stating, “Well, eventually we got the tapes, but we couldn’t find them for years. We didn’t know where they were. And my manager located somebody, and they were in a record company, in their archives tucked away somewhere in one of the record companies. I don’t know how they got them, but they did. And so eventually we got them, and then we’ve had them, or we are having them transferred, ’cause obviously it’s tape. And so we’re having them transferred so we can have a look at that. And that’s sort of a plan as well; I’d like to do that. And I know Ian would like that to happen as well. Well, Geezer would as well, I’m sure.”

Reflecting on the album’s reception over the years, Iommi noted, “A lot of Sabbath fans have rediscovered ‘Born Again‘ in the four decades since it was originally released. Yeah, it’s funny. That does happen… And it’s the same as the Tony Martin stuff as well. People didn’t know of it at the time, and then it’s word of mouth that gets around and the Internet, and they get interested, and eventually, they go, ‘Oh, yeah, it’s good.’ And that’s what’s happened with ‘Born Again’ a little bit.”

“It’s funny how that works. Later on, a new generation comes in, and then people get to hear, the original fans will hear it and go, ‘Oh, yeah, I forgot about that record.’ It is funny how it all works, but it’s great.” Iommi added. “It’s great that it does. And that’s why I’d like to present that again, have a look at that and see what we can do with it.”

Iommi and his bandmates were initially dissatisfied with the sound quality of the original release. He recounted: “I know we weren’t very happy with the sound. But a lot of people accepted the sound, really — certainly now. At the time, it was, ‘Oh my God.’ Because we went on tour, left it to somebody else, and when we heard it, we nearly had a fit. It was at the top — I think it was No. 4 on the chart in England at the time. We tried to stop it, but it was too late by the time we’d heard it. And it just sounded really muffly; it was nothing like when we left before we went on tour. So it would be nice to get it so we can get a better sound on it, really…. There are some great songs on that album. There really are.”

Ian Gillan shared a similar sentiment during an interview with Spain’s RockFM in 2022: “I threw my copy out the window of my car.”

“I was disappointed. I didn’t have the mentality of all the guys in Black Sabbath. I loved it. I had a fantastic year; it was insane. But when we finished the mixes… I still have a cassette at my home of the monitor mixes of ‘Born Again’, and it sounds fantastic — just on a cassette. And that’s the last thing I heard in the recording studio. When I heard the album, I went, ‘What is this?’ The bass rumble was a bit too much for me,” Gillan explained.

“There’s a famous line in a famous movie called ‘This Is Spinal Tap’ that has two or three references to Black Sabbath in it. And I don’t know where these may have come from, but one of them was ‘This album is unplayable on American radio,’ because of the bass end. And so it was — unplayable on the radio. I was disappointed in the final production mix,” Ian added. “I don’t know what happened between the studio and the factory, but something happened. So that was a disappointment. Having said that, I love some of the songs on there. And Trashed is one of my favorite rock and roll songs of all time, and even more so because it’s a completely true story.”

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