While we’re really looking forward to hearing what Black Sabbath’s 13 sounds like when it comes out in June, it nearly had a different drummer than Rage Against the Machine’s Brad Wilk, who replaced original drummer Bill Ward. Tony Iommi told Rolling Stone that producer Rick Rubin was pushing for Cream drummer Ginger Baker to play on the album. “I thought ‘Bloody hell?'” Iommi told RS. “I just couldn’t see that.”
Baker’s inclusion definitely would have fit in with the “Satanic blues” sound that Ozzy uses to describe the album. Rolling Stone says that Rubin sat the band down and played them their self-titled 1970 debut album to tell him what kind of music he wanted out of them. “I wanted to make and album that stood alongside their first four albums,” Rubin said. “The first album wasn’t a straightforward heavy metal record. You could hear the jazz influence, so that was the goal, and to capture that live interaction.” Butler says it was confusing, forcing the band to unlearn everything they’d learned.
The article also explains the long road to getting the album made, one that began over 12 years ago. Iommi said those initial sessions “didn’t gel,” and then Ozzy’s reality show The Osbournes took off, delaying the project for some time. And of course Bill Ward’s decision to sit out of the reunion (or his non-decision to get pushed out, depending on who you ask) derailed things until Wilk was brought on board. And then there’s Iommi’s cancer diagnosis, in which he’s only able to work for a few weeks at a time before taking a week off for treatments. He’ll have to adhere to that schedule over the next two years.
Song titles for the album include “End of the Beginning,” “Age of Reason” and “God is Dead,” which Ozy actually ends with the lyric “I don’t believe that God is dead.”