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This Week In Metal (20/10/14 - 26/10/14)

The 'No Bill No Sabbath' contingent have been rather quiet since the much­-loved drummer's shoulder surgery and intestinal trouble put into perspective his controversial absence from recent Sabbath activity. They'll be crossing their fingers that Bill (who this week advised aspiring drummers to study the "exceptional" performance skills of Lars Ulrich) will be fit enough to take part in the band's final farewell plans for 2015, and so will Ozzy Osbourne: "The only thing sad about it is I hope Bill Ward can get his stuff together to do this," the singer told Esquire Magazine. "One of the biggest things I'm proud of in my life was that Black Sabbath wasn't a band that was created by some business mogul in London or New York." Having asserted the importance of Black Sabbath's independence from controlling business interests, Ozzy remarks that "the record company wants us to do one more record." So do we, Ozzy! The legendary frontman was also reminiscing this week about meeting a real­-life War Pig...

“I met Tony Blair once and he’s looking at me,” Ozzy begins, seemingly edging towards a punch-­up. “He comes over, and it’s just when the Iraq war had started, and I thought he was going to say, ‘You could do very good for the country by doing a song for the troops,’” he continues, as if the Prince Of Darkness is a natural successor to Dame Vera Lynn in the upbeat patriotic song stakes. “But he goes, ‘Do you know I was once in a band, but I couldn’t quite get the chords for Iron Man.’ I’m like, ‘is that all you’ve got to fucking say?’ We vote for these people and they never seem to pull off all this shit they promise us to get in,” he adds, like he’s only just noticed. Unfortunately Ozzy didn’t ask Blair how shit he must be if he couldn’t work out the Iron Man riff.

Blair’s Iron Man fail brings us neatly onto Nick Oliveri’s Robot Man win. In 2011, the ex­-QOTSA/Kyuss bassist was raided by a Special Weapons And Tactics team after locking himself and his girlfriend inside his home following a domestic dispute. This week Oliveri revealed he wrote The Robot Man (from his recent solo album Leave Me Alone) as a grateful tribute to those SWAT guys who engaged him in an armed stand-off. “I’m actually going to give that song to the Hollywood Police Station,” he told Antiquiet. “They were all very nice to me actually worried about my wellbeing, and they didn’t have to be. I had a robot break down my door, so I wrote The Robot Man.” Despite this warm accord, Oliveri hasn’t softened his attitude towards rozzers, adding “I still feel like I don’t need them in my home… I’m against the things they stand for, but I can’t say they’re bad people. I won’t go for coffee and donuts with them.”

Seems Machine Head motormouth Robb Flynn won’t be going for coffee and donuts with Children Of Bodom’s Alexi Laiho any time soon, even though they were supposed to be touring North America together right now. MH cancelled the dates last month in favour of finessing the production of their new album, at which point Laiho assured Bodom fans (dubbed the ‘Hate Crew’) “This had nothing to do with me or COB. But hey, you know what? Shit fuckin’ happens, life goes on.” Fairly discreet and restrained given that their plans were ripped up at short notice due to another band’s long-­winded knob-­twiddling. The Hate Crew were quick to blame Machine Head as it was their fault ­whereupon Robb took to his blog to declare “Alexi’s little bitch­ass response certainly got the Hate Crew fired up. Hate Crew? More like Alexi­ain’t­-that-Great-­Crew!”, followed by similarly tenuous examples of passive-aggressive wordplay, before going on to brag about how the band’s fans ­dubbed ‘Head Cases’ ­are “armed to the teeth and defending us to the bitterest of deaths,” as if they were trained soldiers rather than riled­-up metallers with a smartphone. “For every person that complains about the tour getting cancelled the Head Cases are like, ‘Shut the fuck up­ life goes on, M F’n H to the death!!!’ …Shit DOES happen, and sometimes life DOESN’T go the way you want it to.” Which, confusingly, is all Alexi said in the first place. Metal feuds ain’t what they used to be…

Chris has been writing about heavy metal since 2000, specialising in true/cult/epic/power/trad/NWOBHM and doom metal at now-defunct extreme music magazine Terrorizer. Since joining the Metal Hammer famileh in 2010 he developed a parallel career in kids' TV, winning a Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award for BBC1 series Little Howard's Big Question as well as writing episodes of Danger Mouse, Horrible Histories, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed and The Furchester Hotel. His hobbies include drumming (slowly), exploring ancient woodland and watching ancient sitcoms.