Tony Iommi says he's "not happy at all" with the release of new Dio-era Black Sabbath song, Slapback

Tony Iommi
(Image credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for ABA)

While most people were very pleasantly surprised when they heard the news about the release of a Dio-era Black Sabbath song that had never been heard before, Tony Iommi, as it turns out, did not share this enthusiasm.

Instead, the electric guitar legend has told Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk on SiriusXM that he is “not happy at all” about the release of Slapback, saying, “It’s left a really bad taste in my mouth.”

The track – recorded during the 1979 songwriting sessions that produced the band’s first album with singer Ronnie James Dio – was initially published to YouTube by Gary Rees, who is the stepson and executor of the state of Sabbath keys man Geoff Nicholls.

And though Geezer Butler quickly confirmed the track’s authenticity during his own SiriusXM appearance, Iommi has come out and voiced his disapproval over the unauthorized release of Slapback.

In conversation with Trunk, Iommi said (via Blabbermouth), “I’m not happy with [Nicholl’s estate releasing the song] – at all. And it’s left a really bad taste in my mouth. At that point, when we did that, Geoff wasn’t even involved in the band. That is actually Ronnie playing bass on that… and that was just in the lounge recorded on a cassette.”

Iommi’s revelation that Dio donned the bass guitar in the track seemingly contradicts Butler’s claim that he recorded the track, the bassist having told SiriusXM that it “was one of the songs we did before I left”.

“It’s just one of those songs that didn’t make the grade,” Butler continued. “That was right before I left. It was just a one-off thing. We just jammed it and didn’t think anything more of it. It didn’t really work.”

Discussing why Slapback never made it off the cutting room floor, Iommi explained, “We had one or two things that we’d jam around on and play on and stuff, but it [wasn’t] right for the album, so we didn’t put it into shape; we didn’t record it or anything.”

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.