BLACK SABBATH's TONY IOMMI On Making New Music: 'Every Night I Play And Put Something Down' On Tape
May 4, 2020
In a brand new interview with SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation", BLACK SABBATH's Tony Iommi once again spoke about his plans to record and release new music. The 72-year-old guitar legend, who has kept a relatively low profile since the completion of SABBATH's "The End" tour in February 2017, said that he is constantly coming up with new ideas. "Every night I play and put something down," he said (hear audio below). "But funny enough, I was due to be working now with my engineer, but, of course, you can't have anybody in your house because of the [coronavirus] lockdown, which is Mike Exeter, who I've used for years — he'd done the SABBATH stuff with us, and whatever. And we'd planned, we got it in the book to come over and start putting some of the things I've got here down, because I've got so much stuff — I just wanna get the thing down now. So that was the original plan. And, of course, it went pear-shaped. And I spoke to him today, funny enough, and we thought maybe we might try this week and do it with Zoom over the Internet — he can record me somehow. But hopefully when it all clears up, we'll definitely be starting."
Asked if he envisions releasing his new ideas in the form of a solo album or a collaboration with other musicians, Iommi said: "Well, there's nothing, actually, set it stone. I've got a few ideas and a couple of big things that could happen. But what my plan is at the moment is just to — when I say 'put it down,' a lot of my stuff I actually do record on a phone, and I put the idea down just on an acoustic or an electric guitar — just quickly I put the ideas down, and I have them copied onto a CD. I'm still into CDs; I'm not too technical. And what the plan is when I say 'put it down,' I wanna then get Mike out and we're gonna start putting down some drums and bass and then do a guitar so we can make it sort of like a proper band, really, and then decide who I'm gonna work with on it. I just wanna have something to present to whoever I'm gonna be working with. Or if not, at least have something that sounds reasonably good."
Elaborating on the horde of new riffs he's stockpiling, Tony said: "I've got so many things down on CD that I've done in the past. When we were doing [SABBATH's] '13' album, I wrote most of those ideas before we ever started [doing the record]. When I presented them to the rest of the guys, I had three or four CDs full of just riffs, and I played them to the other guys and then we picked out which ones they liked and then we'd sort of work on the format with them. But most of the stuff I've done like that. And I've got so many more that I'd like to use. But I tend to sort of don't go back on them — I'll do 'em and put 'em away, cause I keep coming up with new ideas. But I need to now. And I should take the opportunity now while I've gotta stay in the house of looking back over them and seeing what I've got. But there's so much stuff. I mean, I've got stuff that goes back for years."
"The End" was SABBATH's last tour because Iommi, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2012 and is currently in remission, can no longer travel for extended amounts of time.
SABBATH wrote and recorded its 2013 reunion album, "13", and toured it all over the world while Iommi was going through treatment for his illness, with the guitarist having to fly back to England every six weeks.
The original lineup of SABBATH came together in 1969 with Iommi, singer Ozzy Osbourne, bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward. That lineup recorded and toured through 1978, and periodically reformed through the '90s and 2000s for live work.
They regrouped again in late 2011 for a new album and tour, although Ward dropped out after a few months over financial issues. SABBATH has used Ozzy's regular touring drummer Tommy Clufetos since then for live work. RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE's Brad Wilk laid down the drum tracks on "13", which came out in June 2013.
"Trunk Nation" airs daily on SiriusXM's Volume channel 106.