On July 27, BLACK SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi returned to London, England’s Regent Sounds (now a guitar shop), where the band’s first two albums (“Black Sabbath” and “Paranoid”), were recorded to take part in an question-and-answer session about SABBATH‘s forthcoming “Ten Year War” box set and his time in the pioneering heavy metal band.
SABBATH finished its year-long “The End” farewell tour on February 4 in the band’s hometown of Birmingham, England, closing out the quartet’s groundbreaking forty-nine-year career with an emotional fifteen-song set.
Speaking about his plans for the future, Iommi said (see video below): “For me, it’s good to have some time and to be able to look at things and what I wanna do, because for nearly fifty years… [I] never [had] time to really come down, because you’re getting ready for the next tour or the next album or the next interview.
“The thing is I’m actually doing more now… I mean, I thought we were gonna come off tour and I’d stop and I’d put my feet up and [I thought], ‘That’s what I wanna do,’ but I haven’t had time,” he continued. “[We’ve been working on] the [forthcoming] DVD, and I [have been overseeing] the mixing for the DVD, of the music. Everybody else is sunning it up in L.A. But, you know, it’s what I do. It’s what I’ve always done. So I haven’t really had time to [think about what I want to do next]. I get offered a lot of stuff, and you can keep doing it forever, and I just wanna think about what I wanna do and take on different things that I really enjoy.”
Iommi, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2012 and is currently in remission, made it clear, however, that SABBATH is definitely over as a touring act.
“As far as touring, yeah,” he said. “I wouldn’t wanna tour the world again. For me, I get pretty tired of doing it now. I love [being] on stage — that’s the ultimate thing — but people don’t understand the rest of it. They just see you there for a couple of hours and they don’t know it’s taken you eight hours to get there, [plus] doing interviews and press before the show, and then after the show, you’ve gotta wind down and [get back] to the hotel. Sometimes you don’t get back to the hotel until four o’clock in the morning.”
Iommi also addressed Bill Ward‘s absence on the final BLACK SABBATH tour, which saw the founding member replaced by session drummer Tommy Clufetos.
Ward backed out of the SABBATH reunion in early 2012 after being offered a contract that he called “unsignable.” It was rumored that SABBATH wanted to bring a second drummer on the road to share duties with Ward, reportedly because he was unable physically to play full shows.
“It would have been nice to do these last shows with Bill, but it just didn’t happen,” Iommi said. “And it’s silly, really, because it was over nothing. Even if he’d have played a couple of shows, it would’ve been great.”
Iommi continued: “I don’t think he quite realizes how hard it would have been on him. So we wanted to bring another drummer just in case Bill” — who has reportedly had two heart attacks in the past two decades — “ended up saying ‘I can’t do it’ for a couple of days or whatever. It’s too risky to go out and then have Bill say ‘I can’t do it,’ and you have to cancel [a show] on seventy thousand people, or whatever it might be. It’s very hard, and it’s not fair on the fans and it’s not fair on him.”
Ozzy told The Pulse Of Radio during SABBATH‘s last tour that Ward was not in shape to participate. “Bill Ward has got the most physically demanding job of the lot of us, ’cause he’s the timekeeper,” he said. “I don’t think personally he had the chops to pull it off, you know. The saddest thing is that he needed to own up to that, and we could have worked around it, whether we had a drummer on the side with him or something.”
Ward was reportedly insulted when SABBATH offered him a contract stipulating that he would only play a portion of the show each night, with another drummer along to take over.
BLACK SABBATH chronicled its triumphant final concert in the upcoming documentary “The End Of The End”. The film will screen at over 1,500 cinemas worldwide for a one-night-only event on September 28.
“The Ten Year War” — a limited-edition vinyl box set — will be released on September 29 via BMG. It brings together SABBATH‘s eight Ozzy-fronted albums, plus a swathe of other rarities, all housed within exclusive artwork created by renowned street artist, graphic designer and activist Shepard Fairey.