BLACK SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi said in a new interview that the band’s current farewell tour, which will end in February 2017, is truly its last because he is not physically capable of doing it any longer. Speaking with wrestler and FOZZY singer Chris Jericho for the “Talk Is Jericho” podcast (listen to audio here), Iommi explained: “I don’t wanna stop playing. Just for me, it’s the touring now. There’s gotta be a day when you’ve gotta go, ‘Look, we’ve done it for fifty years now’ — it’s almost fifty years — it’s time to re-look at it again now.”
Iommi, who was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2012 and was treated all through SABBATH‘s extensive 2013 world tour, admitted that he initially had some doubts about whether he would ever be able to perform again. He said: “It was difficult, ’cause we actually wrote [BLACK SABBATH‘s comeback] album [’13’] and recorded through that as well. I thought at that point, ‘Well, this is it. I’m not gonna be around this time next year.’ That’s really what I thought. And I thought, ‘Let’s get it done.’ And everybody really pulled, and I think they all sort of felt a bit like that.
“We worked [on some of the recordings] at my house, at the studio, because I was having treatment, [and] I had to stay; I couldn’t fly [so] I had to stay in England. So everybody came and we worked at my house and put the stuff together.
“In between writing, I’d gotten treatments, and I had to go every day for radiotherapy. So it was quite a lot of stuff. I’d lost a lot of weight, and it was awful, really. But they just carried on as normal. ‘Go on and have a lie down, if you feel like it. We’ll carry on,’ or, ‘Well do it tomorrow.’ They tried to all [be] understanding. And we managed to do it. And then I was still going for a different treatment while we were touring — every six weeks, I’d have to go for another treatment. So we’d done the tour. We worked it out around then. I had to have that for a year. So we worked it out in blocks. When I’d come back [home], I had the treatment, and I had to wait to feel better to go out on the road again. But it sort of worked.”
Asked what he plans to do after SABBATH has played its final show, Iommi said: “I’m wondering, because it’s gonna be such a weird thing, because BLACK SABBATH‘s always been my life, ever since Day One, and everything’s fell by the wayside to BLACK SABBATH — all the marriages and everything — over the band, basically — because I’m always out working and always doing this, always in the studio. So it’s gonna be pretty weird that last show. I don’t even know how anybody’s gonna feel. It’s gonna be strange. And after that, who knows? ‘Cause I’ve been asked this: ‘What are you gonna do after this?’ Well, I don’t know. [Laughs] As long as it’s not world touring, I’m all right. It’s just the traveling that gets me now. Since I was ill, it really does affect me now.