While the new Anno Domini box set reflecting on the Tony Martin-era of Black Sabbath is front and center for Tony Iommi right now, the guitar great revealed to Full Metal Jackie on her weekend radio show that things have been picking up creatively for him of late.

Iommi shared that he's working on a new album and has been writing when he feels like it, taking the pressure off of having to meet a deadline. He also shared his appreciation for reuniting with Ozzy Osbourne in a creative space in recent years. But that's just the beginning of things keeping Iommi busy as he drops the news he has a new perfume en route and talks about the Black Sabbath ballet's expansion into other parts of the world.

As for the new box set, Iommi reveals why he was interested in giving a new mix to the Forbidden album, spoke of Tony Martin's often overlooked place in Black Sabbath's history and commented on his long running friendship with Queen guitarist Brian May.

Check out more of the chat below.

It's Full Metal Jackie. So excited to be welcoming to the show legendary guitar great Tony Iommi. Tony. We're thrilled to finally be getting Anno Domini the new box set featuring the Black Sabbath Tony Martin era. Much is often made of Sabbath's work with Ozzy and Ronnie James Dio, but there's some great material over your time with Tony, and it feels like he gets a little overlooked. What was your appreciation for that era in which Tony stepped in to sing with the group?

Tony really, that era did get overlooked because at the time when we'd done the Dio thing and you're concentrating on that, and then when we've done the Ozzy, you're concentrating on all the Ozzy stuff. So unfortunately, Tony Martin got lost in all that.

That's why now it's brilliant that we can finally get this out and get it to people that hopefully never known we've had an album out with Tony.

Black Sabbath, "Headless Cross"

Tony, the box set includes the Headless Cross, Tyr, Cross Purposes and Forbidden albums. But Eternal Idol is not included. Granted, Tony Martin came in late after lineup changes to sing on the record. Was there thought given to having that be part of this collection as well? And what do you recall of that period in which Tony first came in to try out for Sabbath? What ultimately made him the choice?

Well, my old friend, who we've been friends since I was at school when I was ten years old actually managed Tony. And when it came to we were looking for another singer because we had Ray Gillen and then that all went wrong and he went off to start his own thing, Albert, my friend, said to me, "Why don't you try Tony?" So I said, "Well, okay, let's give him a try."

So Tony basically came to the studio and we gave him a try and I really liked what he was doing. So that was it there and then he's got the voice. He sang and it sort of worked.

But your next question was about the Eternal Idol album not being on the first album not being on the box set. Well, that's because it was on a different record company. It was with Warner Brothers, and I think there would have been a lot of internal stuff that needed to be sorted out. My management would have done that.


It's Full Metal Jackie, Tony Iommi is my guest on the show this week. Tony, one of the key draws to this new Anno Domini box set is that you went back specifically to work on a new mix for the Forbidden album. What specifically were you looking for in giving it this update, and why was this a priority before releasing the box set?

Well, when we did that album, Forbidden, it was a difficult time for us because at the time, the record company wanted to make us probably more hip or updated. But it was a hard time. They suggested Ice-T to sing on the album, which was great.

I met with Ice-T and he was really nice guy. It was all planned for Ice to do a track. But then it became into working with Ernie C., who was in Ice T's band. The record company wanted him to produce it and also with our engineer, which was a difficult thing for us because I've always been, since day one, involved in the Sabbath production.

So I've always been in the studio there doing the production, being involved somewhere. But on this one I wasn't. And it was left to Ernie C and their engineer. They were great, really lovely people. But when it comes to getting in the studio, Ernie wanted Cozy Powell, who's a very famous drummer, to play certain things, and it wasn't Cozy's style at all, what he wanted him to play. So it did cause a lot of friction. It was very hard. It was very difficult. And we never actually liked the whole thing when it came out, to put it in a nutshell, the sound and everything.

So I just thought, "Cozy always said I hated my drum sound. I hated this, I hated that." And none of us felt comfortable. So the idea was to go back in and get the tape sample transferred so we could relook at it and remix it. And that's what I did. I went in with my engineer and we remixed it.

READ MORE: Tony Iommi Reveals Why He Never Wanted to Change Black Sabbath's Name

Tony, Brian May turned up on "When Death Calls" on the Headless Cross album. I know he's been a longtime friend of yours, and you've discussed your hope for eventually working together again at some point. What has it meant to have someone like Brian in your life who's been through some of the same successes that you can relate to? And what has his friendship meant to you over the years?

Oh, Brian's my best friend. We're always in contact and we always have stayed in contact and got together when we can since the '70s. So he's a very, very close friend. When Queen were recording and everybody would go home and Brian was left to do some of the mixing and all his guitar parts or whatever he was doing, he'd phone me up and I'd go over to the studio and sit in with him just to keep him company. He'd do exactly the same with me. He'd come over to the studio and keep me company. So it sort of worked both ways and he's just been a great friend like that.

When we were doing the track, I said to him, 'When Death Calls,' do you want to play in a solo?" He went, "Oh yeah." So he got his gear and off we went and he played it. But we've done a few things together. He came to my house not long back, and we had to play for a bit. It's just great to be able to do that with old friends. No pressure, you just enjoy it.

Black Sabbath, "When Death Calls"

Tony, much has been made over your guitar style over the years and its influence on a generation of players. Ultimately, we all start somewhere, and I wanted to know which artists have either directly or indirectly impacted your approach to playing and writing music. And do you find you picked up some influences even after Black Sabbath became popular?

Well, my early influences were probably Chuck Berry and rock and roll and stuff like that. But what really attracted me to the guitar was an English band called The Shadows and they had done all instrumental stuff. I really liked that. Wanting to learn the guitar was great, to be able to try and learn an instrumental. They were the ones I sort of tried to learn their tunes, really. They sort of really started me off really enjoying the guitar. They sound nothing like what we'd sound, quite the opposite.

But as time went on, you change and you come up with other ideas. I wanted to come up with something that was different. And hence the first early tracks, "Black Sabbath" and "Wicked World," I wanted the band to have our own sound and create a sound. And I think because of my accident and me having to work harder to play and learn to play and find ways of playing that I could handle.

Also with amplifiers and trying to create the right sound, I used to experiment a lot, and that's what created the sound. The way I play, the style I play, and me having a particular sound in my head, which was obviously the first album.

Tony, you're credited with some of the greatest guitar solos in metal history. Your best solo is something that often the subject of debate amongst fans online. Do you have a personal favorite? And as someone who's always writing, what in particular are you looking for that makes a great guitar solo?

Well, I think what I look for is more the feel from myself. I'm not a technically great player. I'm a player that comes from the heart. I like to play the things that come into my head there and then. I'm not never one to sort of sit down and work a solo out. I've never really been able to do that. I used to come and do a solo and then I'd have to play the solo, I'd go in and just play what was in my head at that time, and I might play five different solos, and then they'd start getting worse. So then I'd stop.

I might go in another day and play something different. It's just whatever comes in at that time.

Tony, Ozzy Osbourne previously joined you in the Rock and Roll hall of Fame for his work with Black Sabbath. This year, he's going in for his solo works. Once the band split with Ozzy, how much attention did you pay to what he was doing? And what's your appreciation level for his solo works now being recognized as well.

It was great that he could pull it around and put a band around himself and do his own thing. And he's done some great albums, he really did. I'm really glad, because it worked for him.

Then coming back to your next question, which was when we got back together again and played, it's been great. The Hall of Fame was fantastic. I'm glad he's got in as a solo artist, too. I think that's really great. It'd be nice to see Dio also get in, but he hasn't as of yet. Well, they're always a little late on this stuff, it seems. It took us a few years before we eventually got in.

Tony Iommi with us. Be sure to pick up the Anno Domini box set featuring Black Sabbath's Tony Martin era. Tony, thank you so much for joining us. And can you tell us what the rest of 2024 looks like for you?

Busy, because we've done a Black Sabbath ballet where they've done an orchestration, and the dancers would dance to the different songs of Sabbath. It's really become successful in England. So the plan is to tour the world with it.

They've had a lot of offers from Europe, which they are going into in a few weeks, and also from the States. So it's been brilliant and it's a fabulous show. I didn't play on all the shows. I just occasionally would go on at the end for the opening night or the closing night, or in the middle, just depended on which ones I wanted to do.

So it's been a really interesting time to see something different and see Sabbath music as a ballet coming together. I think it's a fascinating thing. The show's sold out overnight for the tours. It was just incredible, because at first, you never know how something like that's going to go.

When Carlos Acosta, the head man, came to me about doing this, and I sat down and talked to him, I said, "Well, how are you going to make that work?" And he went, "I've been planning it for years." So it was fascinating, just brilliant. So that's one of the things.

Black Sabbath Ballet Trailer

I am also writing stuff now for my own album. So that's exciting, too. And there's no pressure. I just do stuff when I feel like it, because obviously I've got a life to live and I like to do other different stuff, but I've really enjoyed doing this stuff as I did with Oz when I've done a couple of tracks for his last album, which was good. It was great to work with Oz again. And I'm quite open for all that now. Whatever comes, and I like it, I do it. So there has been quite a lot of stuff happening.

And of course, we've done the Commonwealth Games. I opened the Commonwealth Games and played on the opening night for the opening session, and then on the closing, I did it with Ozzy and myself. So it was brilliant. It was a fabulous time. And I'm really glad they asked us to do it.

You're keeping quite busy, it seems.

Yes, you could say that. And I've got other stuff going on. I've got another thing which probably people don't know much about, but I've got my own perfume, which was another strange [thing]. I know, exactly. That's probably a lot of people's reaction.

When I've been on tour around the world, I've always picked up different perfumes or aftershaves or whatever you want to call them. And I had a great collection and I got contacted by a perfume company in Italy, a very well known perfume company that's exclusive. And he was a fan as well. Who owned the company? Sergio Momo. And he asked if I'd be interested in doing my own perfume.

I went, "Oh, God. I wouldn't know where to start." He went, "Well, I know where to start. So you come up with a list of all your favorite smells, write them down, get them to me, and we'll go from there and make up different ones." It's all natural stuff as well, which is brilliant.

And he would then come over to England quite regularly to my home and bring a lot of samples. We try them. Yes. No, yes. Until we found one that we liked, and then it came out a couple of years ago and it's done really well. So we're working on another now. We've got another one coming out in a month, a different one.

But I've been also writing music for these. I did one for the first perfume, which was the track was called "Scent of Dark", and now we're doing another one for the next perfume. So that's kept me busy as well.

That is so cool. And now I'm going to go seek out these perfumes. I was going to ask you, what's the name of this?

The song, the instrumental is called "The Scent of Dark." The perfume is "Monkey Special." It's Iommi. But if you look under Iommi perfume, it'll pop up.

Wow, and just one more thing. Out of the million things that you have going on, because you mentioned your own music, are you going to be releasing a proper record? Are you just going to be releasing songs whenever you feel like it?

No, I'm going to do a record and I've got a lot of stuff. We're actually getting around to sort of putting it together, myself and the engineer. So it's been good fun, really. And as I say, there's no pressure. I can just do it.

I don't have to do it by next week, and because of everything else been lurking around, I have to take my time in doing things. But it's been fun, and that's what it's all about, really. And I'm looking forward to actually doing it and having an album coming out.

Thanks to Tony Iommi for the interview. The Anno Domini box set featuring the Tony Martin era of Black Sabbath is available now. Stay up to date with all of Tony Iommi's projects through his website, Facebook, X and Instagram platforms. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show here.

Black Sabbath Albums Ranked

All 19 studio albums, from worst to best,

Gallery Credit: Joe DiVita

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