Legendary guitarist Tony Iommi was asked by Total Guitar magazine what the guitar means to him, 49 years after forming BLACK SABBATH. “It’s a way of expressing your inner self,” he said. “But I don’t sleep with the guitar now, when I did in the early days, mind! It has always meant something very special to me, and it brought out parts of me that you couldn’t bring out normally from within.
“Being able to write music, being able to play an instrument releases something in you that you wouldn’t normally be able to do… that I wouldn’t normally be able to do. And the guitar did that for me. It taught me a lot, really.
“When I feel like it, I go and play now. And at the moment I’m really far away from it because there’s so many other things going on, the last thing I want to do is pick up a guitar! But when I do pick it up, I really enjoy it. And I liked it when I could sit with the band and come up with ideas and come up with riffs. Or at home I come up with riffs. Then I’m in my element.”
BLACK SABBATH brought its farewell tour to an end this past February in the band’s hometown of Birmingham, England.
Iommi was diagnosed with lymphoma in early 2012, shortly after SABBATH announced a reunion tour and album. He underwent treatment throughout the recording of the disc, titled “13”, and the subsequent tour to promote it.
Iommi said in 2016 interview that “the lowest moment” for him was being diagnosed. He explained: “You automatically wind yourself up saying, ‘That’s it then,’ but that is not always the case. When they tell you, you think, ‘Oh God.’ That was a low time. I have had a few low times in my life like everybody has, but that was one that stuck in the head.”
The BLACK SABBATH guitarist successfully underwent an operation in January 2017 to remove a noncancerous lump from his throat.