Sabbath Colors

When I started playing music in bars, back at the end of the last century, it surprised me to learn that some of my favorite songs to perform turned out to be those I never had paid any attention to in the first place. A medley of AC/DC’s Back in Black/Highway to Hell, for example, or even better, Black Sabbath’s War Pigs. I didn’t even know what that one was called when John from the post office inserted it into a random jam we had going on; the next time I said we should play it, John pointed out that I wasn’t doing the cymbal part at the beginning correctly, and I had to admit I’d never heard the song before, except when we’d played it the first time.

The other day I was talking about my love for playing War Pigs, 50 years after the song appeared, and it occurred to me that there must be other colors of sabbaths, not just black. Questions like this are exactly why the Internet has been invented, and it wasn’t hard to find Pink Sabbath – a frenetic 2009 song by the Scottish band Dananananaykroyd (named for some reason in honor of the comedy legend), as well as a California female band that calls itself a ‘siren folk metal’ outfit. (Who haven’t updated their Facebook page for a few years.)

There’s also Brown Sabbath, the side project of an Austin-based band called Brownout, which itself is the side project of another band called Grupo Fantasma. If you’ve ever wanted to hear a 9-piece Latin funk horn band playing heavy metal songs like Iron Man, Seattle’s KEXP-FM has got you covered.

p.s. Black Sabbath’s Bill Ward definitely knows how the cymbal parts of War Pigs should be played. To see how much fun the song can be to perform, check out Ward on drums in Paris, 1970, especially starting around minutes 3:05 and 5:15.

p.p.s. The Internet being what it is, you also can find a short Pink Floyd/Black Sabbath medley on YouTube, from 2009, being played on the accordion by a guy named Steve, who – according to Google Translate – is entertaining the folks at a festival called the Sausage in Turija, Serbia.

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