On Tony Iommi, Black Sabbath & Iron Man

All lovers of heavy music truly owe Tony Iommi an enormous debt.

Of course there is a debate about which band is actually the “original,” but I’ll always say that Black Sabbath created metal the way it should be properly defined. 

As Richard Cole, the notorious tour manager of Led Zeppelin, told me in my book on metal Bang Your Head, “I didn’t hear Sabbath’s music coming from anywhere else. They were perhaps more original than Zeppelin in that sort of way. It almost came from nowhere.”


The publishing industry has snapped up a lot of rock bios in the wake of Keith Richards’s best-seller, Life, and Tony Iommi’s autobiography, Iron Man, went up at auction and sold to Da Capo Press for a reported six figures.

Iron Man has been described by Da Capo as Angela’s Ashes meets The Ground Beneath Her Feet meets Spinal Tap, and the quotes from Iommi’s guitar hero brethren say a lot as well.


Metallica’s James Hetfield calls him, “The riff master,” and added, “It’s all his fault I’m where I am.”

Eddie Van Halen said, “Without Tony, heavy metal wouldn’t exist. Tony is a legend. He took rock and roll and turned it into heavy metal.” 

Queen’s Brian May also concurred that “Tony Iommi is the true father of heavy metal, a continuously creative genius riff-meister, and one of the world’s great human beings.” 
Last, but certainly not least, Ozzy Osbourne said, “Tony should be up there with the greats.”


As a long time Sabbath fan, and as a guitar player who also believes Iommi’s under-rated in the grand scheme of things, I’ve always believed that a big, comprehensive book on Black Sabbath has been long overdue. 

Martin Popoff did a great job with his book Doom Let Loose, where he secured the cooperation of all the Sabbath members through their various incarnations, but I also can’t wait to read the whole story through Iommi’s eyes and experiences in Iron Man.