BLACK SABBATH will begin a world tour this Saturday (April 20) in New Zealand, with North American dates penciled in for late summer and European shows scheduled in the fall.In a new message on his official web site, SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi writes: "We're finally out on the road and remembering what jet lag really is this far away from home. First gig is on Saturday. In the meantime, we've been doing some press and had an album-listening party. Seems to be well received, which is great news!" Iommi said in a new interview with the Birmingham Mail that singer Ozzy Osbourne was responsible for getting Iommi to deal with his cancer. Iommi, who has been undergoing treatment for a form of lymphoma since being diagnosed in January 2012, explained, "Ozzy was the one who kept on at me to go to the doctors because he was concerned about me. He has been very supportive since I was diagnosed. All the guys have been great. Even now, when we arrive at the studio, they ask how I'm feeling, if I'm up to it, making sure I'm okay."
The legendary guitarist told The Pulse Of Radio a while back than even when the original SABBATH members were apart or had some business issues between them, they were always okay with each other on a personal level. "We've always been talking," he said. "We've always been in touch with each other. There might be a lawsuit in the thing between us, but we still talk to each other like nothing's happened, you know." Iommi had to rally himself to fight back against the disease, saying, "Cancer meant death to me. I started writing myself off. I would lie awake at night, thinking about selling this, getting rid of that, and preparing everything: who should speak at my funeral and where I'd want to be buried. But I also kept thinking 'I'm not ready to go yet. I've got too much to do, and I like being here.'" Iommi says his treatments leave him "sick and tired" for about a week after each one, adding, "It takes around 10 days to recover from each round — but if that's what it takes I have to accept it." He admitted that working on a new SABBATH album with Ozzy and bassist Geezer Butler has distracted him from his illness, saying, "The album and tour have given me something to get my teeth into. It's not a case of taking your mind off the lymphoma — there's this little doubt: 'What if this pops back?'" The new SABBATH album, "13", is due out June 11 and is the first to feature Ozzy, Iommi and Butler in 35 years. Ozzy himself confessed earlier this week that he relapsed into drug and alcohol abuse for the past year and a half, but has been sober for the past 44 days.
While he dispelled rumors that he and wife Sharon were divorcing, she is apparently living apart from him for now. Sources have told TMZ that Sharon will not come home until Ozzy's been sober for at least a few months.