British honour to Tony Iommi

The fansite for Tony Iommi fans celebrating his brilliant 50 years of dedication and service to music

Tony Iommi: Playing With Black Sabbath Is “Better Than It Was 40 Years Ago”


Mighty Tony Iommi — despite ongoing radiation and chemotherapy treatments to battle cancer — sounds as bluesy and fucking demonic as ever. Black Sabbath will perform at Mohegan Sun Arena with special guest Andrew W.K. (dark party!) on Aug. 8. Iommi spoke to the Advocate from a Houston tour-stop about playing with his old bandmates and working with producer Rick Rubin on the new album. (Interview to

-- When you step onstage with Ozzy and Geezer, do you still get the same feelings you did 40-some years ago?

-- It's a great feeling. You can't beat that feeling of walking onstage, especially with your old mates, you know. I think it's better than it was 40 years ago.

-- What's better about it?

-- You know, we've been through a lot of experiences, family things and so on. I think when it comes back to the original guys again, it feels really comfortable. You do get — it comes along with age, I suppose — anxieties and different other things. But when you get onstage and start playing, it all settles down.

-- Sabbath has always been a band of the people. And yet, the critical response to the new album has been incredibly positive. Do you get the sense it just took certain people a while to catch up with what you've been doing?

-- It could be, or otherwise it's because they haven't heard us for so long as the old lineup. But it really has been a great, fantastic response.

-- I read that the way Rick Rubin works is to encourage a sense of jamming, to get you guys playing and to see what speaks to him and what does not. But the sense I got is that you went into the studio with some songs that you and Mr. Butler had written already. How did that dynamic play out in the studio?

-- I think we were pretty open to stuff, but we did keep it more or less to our path. We'd go in with a song, and Rick might go, "Oh, why don't you maybe change the middle bit?" or something like that, or put in another verse or something. We tried those things. It was an exchange of ideas, really. If it didn't work, we'd say, "Oh, no, we didn't like that," and then we'd have another go at it. Rick's thing was more about getting the vibe going, making sure that the feel of the songs, for him, was right. We'd play, and then he'd maybe say, "That was good, but let's do another one... Can you make it a bit slower?" So then we'd do that, and he might say, "Yeah, that didn't feel right. Can you do another one?" until he got one that felt right.

-- When you play live now, how do the new songs fit with the more classic Sabbath material? Was there ever a temptation to play the whole album for one set, then classic songs for a second set?

-- I think the songs fit in great with the old stuff, and it's also great to have new songs to fit in, because we haven't had any for so many years. As far as the whole album: we haven't tried that yet. We are playing four songs off the album, but I'd be up for doing the whole thing. That's how we recorded it, so that's how we can play it. It's an album that is not impossible to do, if you know what I mean. We didn't go in the studio and put loads of stuff on. It IS live, so we could go on and play any of those songs.

-- Do you think Sabbath fans can expect more new music in the near future?

-- I don't know. It's a question that's been asked a few times. I don't really have an answer for you. At the moment, we're playing it — because of my [cancer] treatments and stuff — I can't commit to doing another two years, or anything like that. I have to play it as it comes now. While I'm doing it, I'm really enjoying it. If the rest of the year goes well, then we'll look at it and see if it's possible to do another album. It would be very nice to.


Mike Hamad for, 9 August 2013

Photo Lorraine Parker



This web content is owned, controlled and published by Tony Iommi fan team. It is not affiliated to Tony Iommi in any way, and acts independently, but always in the belief that it reflects the respect he deserves for his significant contribution to music over the past 50 years. This website is supported entirely by Tony Iommi fan team and is NOT FOR PROFIT. 2011-2016 All rights reserved. | Credits