TonyIommibig Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi spoke with Jim Harrington of the San Jose Mercury News. Sections from the article appear below.

Discussing why after reuniting with Ronnie James in 2006, they decided to call themselves Heaven & Hell as opposed to Black Sabbath:

“I didn’t want to live on the Black Sabbath name with that lineup, because it stood for itself. And, of course, we went out as Heaven and Hell because we weren’t playing any of the Ozzy stuff. All the stuff we were doing was with Ronnie. Ronnie was a superb singer-one of the best. It’s a sad ending. But Ronnie did give it his all, right to the end.”

Discussing his health issues:

To be honest, I was wondering whether I could do (the tour). I have to treat life very differently now. This, for me, has been a big challenge. So far, it’s been OK. The medical thing is still going on. It’ll be ongoing, really, for life. It’s not going to go away. I just have to try to treat it. So I go back to England every seven to eight weeks for a treatment. Then it takes 10 days, two weeks, to start feeling normal again. Then we go back out on the road.

My whole life has changed. My attitude has changed toward everything. Life becomes a lot more precious. I appreciate when we’ve got the opportunity to get together and be onstage and play and do what I like to do.

I think my illness, in one way, has helped everybody, because it’s brought the reality of you really don’t know how long this is going to last. It was easy to take things for granted before. I think everyone now appreciates what we’ve got and what we get to do.

Read more at the San Jose Mercury News.


13 Responses

  1. I read his bio and I think that he is a really down to earth class act guy all the way. For me, this man is the absolute best ever and his one day in JETHRO TULL not working out may very well have given birth to metal as we know it. You have to appreciate all of his contributions as quality work ( loved those 1996 sessions with Hughes aka 8th Star). Best of luck to him and all that he has to endure. SABOTAGE, oh by the way is the second best album in music history behind SGT. PEPPER……Ironlcally no Iommi mustache on the awful cover…..

    1. Sorry for the confusion, I was caught up in the moment. Definitely mustache was there but an inferior one than usual

  2. When you think of great guitar players, you think of Iommi, Page, Blackmore, Clapton, Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhoads, etc. Iommi opened the door for everybody, although Page was out there with The Yardbirds before Zeppelin. I forgot Jeff Beck!

    1. You sir forgot Michael Schenker ( not to mention May, Gilmore and Slash). The album Schenker did in the mid-eighties called MSG was one of the most overlooked albums of the entire 80s. There is a song on it called LET SLEEPING DOGS LIE that is absolute killer. Jeff Beck to this day does not have a definitive song like Kashmir or Layla.

    2. Richman: You’re right about Jeff Beck. If he has a definitive tune it might be “Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers.” But he was never known for being a songwriter and I think he knows it, but he’s certainly great at selecting bandmates and choosing great material. I’d put “Blow By Blow” and “Wired” up against any instrumental albums out there.

      And Dave, as you know Hendrix opened up a ton of doors. Deep Purple riffs like “Speed King” are very Hendrixy. Blackmore did a tune with Rainbow – “Catch the Rainbow” – it’s virtually a cover of “Little Wing.” But I think Clapton might still be the most influential in terms of rock. Rainbow’s “Jealous Lover” would fit on a Blind Faith rekkid. So many Sabbath tunes also have that Cream influence – the whole Sabbath band with the jazzy drumming and heavy bass was influenced moreso by Cream than anyone else to my ears. Many rockers coming of age in the 1980s and later don’t understand how many Clapton licks and cliches are now just pure rock and roll vocabulary.

    3. Whenever I pop in a Hendrix CD, I’m still just amazed at the raw power and skill of his playing. Even more amazing when you consider that as a lefthander he learned to play a right handed guitar upside down because that was the only thing he could afford. Truly a special talent.

      There have been many after him…my favorite is Angus Young…but nobody in my mind can equal the power and cultural influence of Hendrix. How much more he could have done if he had lived.

    4. Never got into Jeff Beck. Fantastic player but its like listening to jazz. You can really appreciate all the talent, but you just kind of sit there wondering if there’s more to it.

  3. Understand this clearly…there is NO ONE more inspirational than Tony Iommi.

    He slices his fingers off…invents heavy metal
    He gets cancer…creates a #1 meal album and goes on tour

    You rock Tony.

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