Tony Iommi is a guitar GOD, if not THE guitar GOD. And that is fact, fact does not need to be argued or defended...It just is. He is the guitar God's, guitar GOD. He is the king shit and that is that. He knows it too...In a recent issue of Revolver he makes a comment that he thinks the term is used to liberally these days. Yes he is aware of what people think of his musical skills and his influence on rock n' roll, but he also seems to be quite humble.
The media has had a field day over the years pounding a wedge between Iommi and Ozzy, that's what sells magazines. As you might imagine the truth is much tamer and Iommi and Ozzy do not harbor any sort of deep animosities for each other. Sure they've had a few arguments as any friends have but in the end I don't think there was nearly the hatred as the rock magazines of the 80's like Hit Parader and Circus would have had anyone believe. Story after story describes ample opportunity for Iommi to really take shots at the Ozz man, but he often seems quick to point the finger back at himself. Sure, Ozzy comes across as a drunken buffoon for much of the history of his time with Sabbath but Iommi doesn't make any attempts to hide from his own cocaine abuse. It seems as if every other chapter starts with "I was doing a lot of coke again by this time" leaving the reader to wonder if and when he ever slowed down on the Peruvian booger glaze.
Iommi's tome is probably the most complete history of Black Sabbath you ever find and it is choc full of trivia for the geekiest of metal nerds to get all giddy about. It follows the story of the Sabs from Iommi's early pre-Sab bands through his entire run with every variation of the band. The dude just wanted to jam, he loves music and loves the guitar but sometimes people cant hang as tough as he can. Touring wears people out, bad record deals and poor finances wear people op and bad career advice from greedy record lables wears people out. When the dust settled Iommi was always the last one standing, often in need of new band members. Some might say he should have dropped the Sabbath name for some of those albums, but the fact is he tried. The bullish record labels wouldn't allow it and he was often forced into putting out another album under the Sabbath moniker.
One area that it felt like he tip toed around on was his true feeling s and thoughts on his business relationships with Sharon Osbourne. There is no mention of the lawsuit from a few years ago where she attempted to make a grab at the Black Sabbath name. I suspect his skipping this matter was out of respect for his friend Ozzy while knowing that they would most likely find a way to work together again in the future. And just as the book was coming out the Gods of Metal made the announcement that they would reunite again for an album and tour.
I now have a new found respect for the Tony Martin era Sabbath albums and am on a mission to add those to my collection. I skipped over them when they were released and as the years went on I never really considered them Sabbath albums as I had fallen prey to the propaganda of the 80's music rags. Three decades later I am for the first time really discovering those albums.
Of all the books by rock stars that have come out in the last decade this is probably the most essential. Iommi is a probably one of the more intelligent of the big time rock stars and it shines through in this collection of his thoughts. I have always respected and admired Iommi as a rock god, but now I feel like I can respect and honor him as a person too.
End Note: And so as I concluded this write up last night I had no idea that come Monday morning it would be all over the news sites that Iommi has been diagnosed with Lymphoid cancer. My heart sank into my stomach as I read this horrible news because of what at first were reasons of my own greed. No more Sabbath reunion tour...no more Sabbath album? It was only after I was able to catch up with my spinning emotions and recognizing these horrible thoughts for what they were that I was able to again find the connection to this man that I had found in reading his book and recognize him again as a living, breathing, caring and compassionate human. I set my greed aside and focused positive energy toward his healing. My thoughts are with this iconic man, this legend, as he and his family cope with this tragic news and begin their healing process.
Tony Martin on vocals and Cozy Powell on drums!