BLACK SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi says that he is in regular contact with Ozzy Osbourne, more than three years after the iconic heavy metal band played its final concert.
Speaking to the Birmingham Mail, Iommi revealed being stuck at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the founding members of SABBATH closer together, even though the guitarist resides in Worcestershire, England while Ozzy spends most of his time in Los Angeles.
"Neighbors have dropped a note through the door asking if I want any shopping," Iommi said about how his community has come together in the wake of the crisis. "They're looking out for the poor old sod! I think this has brought us all closer. I'm even in touch with Ozzy every day as he gets over his own health problems in L.A."
Earlier this year, Osbourne praised Iommi during an appearance on producer Rick Rubin's "Broken Record" podcast, saying: "Tony, he's always gonna be the greatest — no one can touch him. And actually, to this day, I still don't understand how he plays guitar, 'cause he's got no fingertips; he plays with plastic fingers."
Osbourne also expressed his admiration for the legendary guitarist over how he soldiered on with SABBATH's planned reunion even after being diagnosed with the early stages of lymphoma almost a decade ago.
"I mean, there is a man," Ozzy said. "When he got diagnosed with cancer, he just dealt with it. That's him. I'm going [imitates crying sound], and he's, like, 'Whatever I have to do.' He's like that. He's always been like that. Very calm."
According to Ozzy, Tony was always the most important member of SABBATH. "He was the band, really," Osbourne said. "We were all part of the band, but he was the most irreplaceable one [out of all of us]."
Osbourne also touched upon his personal relationship with Iommi, revealing that he still looks up to his longtime friend and bandmate.
"People will say to me, 'Why did you always sing on the side of the stage?' I don't fucking know. I don't know," he said. "It's just fear, I suppose. 'Cause Tony, he's one of the few people who could walk into this room right now and I would fucking feel intimidated. He intimidates the fuck out of me — and he knows it."
Back in November 2018, Osbourne said that he didn't particularly like working with Iommi even though he appreciated the BLACK SABBATH guitarist on a personal level. His remarks echoed those he made two months earlier when he told Philadelphia Inquirer that he "didn't have a great time" on SABBATH's final tour. He explained: "I spent nine or 10 years in SABBATH, but I'd been away from them for over 30 years. With them, I'm just a singer. With me, I get to do what I want to do. I was getting bad vibes from them for being Ozzy. I don't know — what the fuck else can I be?"
A couple of weeks after Ozzy's Philadelphia Inquirer interview was published, Iommi was asked by The List if he had a response to the singer's comments. Iommi said: "I saw that, but I don't know what he meant. I had a great time on the last tour playing with the guys, and Ozzy never mentioned anything to me. He seemed to enjoy it and we had a laugh, so I don't know. So I think possibly that quote was taken out of context."