Jim Harrington of the San Jose Mercury News recently conducted an interview with the legendary BLACK SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.
On BLACK SABBATH's comeback album, "13", reaching No. 1 album on the U.S. chart earlier this year:
Iommi: "We are very pleased. It's just quite a shock to have our first No. 1 record (in the U.S.) after being around for 45 years."
On why BLACK SABBATH's 2001 attempt at a new studio album was unsuccessful:
Iommi: "It just wasn't right. Nobody was on the right page. So, we abandoned the whole idea. But I always thought — or, at least, really hoped — we would do another album."
On the Ronnie James Dio-fronted version of BLACK SABBATH recording and touring under the name HEAVEN & HELL:
Iommi: "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 & HELL because we weren't playing any of the Ozzy [Osbourne] 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."
On drummer Bill Ward's absence from the "13" recording sessions:
Iommi: "It would've been nice to have had Bill involved. But we waited long enough for Bill, and what can we do? We can't make him do it. It was his decision. It was sad."
On how "13" stacks up to BLACK SABBATH's classic albums:
Iommi: "We haven't done this album just to do one, because we didn't need to do one. We wanted to do one for ourselves. I think it holds up. We love all the stuff we've done (on the album). That's the only way we could do it. Everybody had to be 100 percent into it and really want to do this album. Everybody had to be on the same page."
On touring despite being diagnosed with lymphoma in January 2012:
Iommi: "To be honest, I was wondering whether I could do (the tour) as well. 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."
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