BLACK SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi spoke to The Herald about the fact that lovers of rock music have lost so many of their icons in recent years. While some of them passed away from drugs and alcohol, many have died from reasons other than substance abuse.
Asked why some musicians of Iommi‘s generation survive and others don’t, the 70-year-old guitarist responded: “I don’t know. I’ve seen so many of my friends or people in the business who have done drugs and whatever else and died, from John Bonham [LED ZEPPELIN] onwards. John was a good friend. I’ve seen other friends go a similar way through drugs and alcohol abuse.”
He continued: “You get lonely. You get bored in the hotel so you try to find something to do to be somewhere else. We saw it with Lemmy [MOTÖRHEAD]. He was the epitome of rock and roll. He was the one who would burn the candle at both ends all the time, but at some point, you’ve got to look at it and say, ‘I can’t do that anymore.’… Even with [74-year-old] Keith Richards [THE ROLLING STONES], I’m amazed he’s still pottering on. I take my hat off to him.”
Iommi, who was diagnosed with cancer in late 2011 and is currently in remission, is both philosophical and upbeat about his past, present and future. “Music’s always been the love of my life,” he said. “It’s made my life and sometimes it’s caused me problems. When I was married before… Your music takes over and you end up being in the studio all night and touring and your marriage becomes lost, but now I’m very, very happy.” Tony is currently married to former DRAIN STH vocalist Maria Sjöholm.
SABBATH completed its last major tour in February 2017 with two shows in Birmingham, closing out the quartet’s groundbreaking 49-year career.
The trek was the band’s last because Iommi can no longer travel for extended amounts of time. But he has said he would not rule out special events or one-off shows.
Iommi underwent cancer treatment throughout the recording of BLACK SABBATH‘s reunion album, titled “13”, and the subsequent tour to promote it. He also successfully went under the knife in January 2017 to remove a noncancerous lump from his throat.