Iron Man: My Journey through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath
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Iron Man chronicles the story of both pioneering guitarist Tony Iommi and legendary band Black Sabbath, dubbed “The Beatles of heavy metal” by Rolling Stone. Iron Man reveals the man behind the icon yet still captures Iommi’s humor, intelligence, and warmth. He speaks honestly and unflinchingly about his rough-and-tumble childhood, the accident that almost ended his career, his failed marriages, personal tragedies, battles with addiction, band mates, famous friends, newfound daughter, and the ups and downs of his life as an artist.
Everything associated with hard rock happened to Black Sabbath first: the drugs, the debauchery, the drinking, the dungeons, the pressure, the pain, the conquests, the company men, the contracts, the combustible drummer, the critics, the comebacks, the singers, the Stonehenge set, the music, the money, the madness, the metal.
concerned, but it’s not like we thought, oh, we’re going to change the music then. The album was selling, so obviously we’d done something right. We believed in what we did and we loved it, so there was nothing else we could do apart from carry on with what we were doing. Only when grunge became popular, and all those musicians said that Black Sabbath was a great influence, did we become the flavour of the month, or flavour of the time. So here we were, reading good things about ourselves,
house he didn’t have his keys on him. It was four o’clock in the morning. I pressed the doorbell: nothing. Again: nothing. Then the lights went on upstairs. His wife, Pat, opened a window and shouted: ‘He’s not coming in!’ I said: ‘Pat, please, let him in. I’m getting married in the morning and he’s got to be there.’ ‘He’s not coming in!’ ‘Please!’ Finally Pat said: ‘All right, but he’s not coming upstairs then! If he’s coming in, he can sleep downstairs.’ ‘Okay.’ She came down, opened the
hired apartments close to the Sounds Interchange Studios. We also hired a cinema with a stage in it, to write and rehearse new songs. We worked here from nine o’clock in the morning in the freezing cold, because the place had hardly any heating, and then at night we went to the studio to record. It was just totally wrong for us. Up to that point we’d write something and then live with it for a bit, giving the songs time to grow: ‘Do we like it? Let’s change this bit, or let’s change that.’ In
bass player I’ve ever heard. It worked out really good. Having Martin Birch there prevented me from being there all the time and getting over-involved in everything. Doing it all by myself in the past, I could go on endlessly and just play on and on, until I didn’t know what was good and what wasn’t any more. But with Martin it was: ‘Fine! We’ve got it!’ ‘Ah. Well, I’ll just do one more take.’ ‘No. It’s all right. We’ve got it.’ Him drawing the line was good. And we probably saved a little
guitar even more. Because I practised all the time, I was getting much better than people like Ron Woodward, so I joined this other band which I thought was very good, The Rockin’ Chevrolets. It must have been around 1964 so I was sixteen or so. To my mind they were really professional. They could play all The Shadows’ songs perfectly and, because a couple of the guys were older than me, they also did a lot of rock ’n’ roll. I’d never been a big fan of Chuck Berry, Gene Vincent or Buddy Holly,