Tony Iommi and Eddie Van Halen: Cast a Giant Shadow
GW What were some of the most significant events for you over the past 30 years.
IOMMI The band broke up and got back together again.
GW Both of your bands did!
VAN HALEN Some things have changed, but with me it’s always been a family thing. It still is. My son joined the band. Contrary to people’s beliefs, I didn’t get rid of anyone to get him in the band. We needed a bass player, and when I asked if he wanted to play bass, he said sure. It’s always been my brother and me and whoever else.
IOMMI People have asked me over the years, “Why did you get rid of so and so?” They don’t understand that sometimes people don’t want to stay, or they don’t want to work hard and you have to replace them. You may not be happy about it, but it’s like a factory: just because a worker leaves, you don’t close the whole factory down.
VAN HALEN You don’t stop making music just because one of the guys doesn’t want to play with you any more.
IOMMI There are so many different aspects to it. Sometimes they don’t want to carry on and want to do their own thing so you replace them.
GW And sometimes you don’t know when hell is going to freeze over and you’ll work with someone again.
VAN HALEN Who ever thought we’d be back again with Roth? He went off and did his own thing. He just got tired of what we were doing. We did our thing, and now we’re back together.
IOMMI Black Sabbath got back together with Ozzy. Even when Heaven and Hell got together with Ronnie James Dio a few years ago, we didn’t think we were going to record a new album, but things worked out so well that we did it.
GW You’ve both worked with singers who developed these larger-than-life personalities.
IOMMI Yeah, but we became the arseholes.
VAN HALEN The bottom line for me is I’m just happy to be here with my friend Tony. I’ve had a hip replacement, I’ve beaten cancer, I had my hand operation, and I stopped drinking. Something inside of me just went, “I’m done.” People always ask me if I’m in a program. AA didn’t do anything for me. Rehab didn’t work. Nothing worked. It’s a strange thing. If you don’t want to quit, you won’t. I can’t tell you what happened. It just did. I don’t need to drink. I’m not jonesing for one. I don’t even think about it any more. It’s like God gave me one big bottle and I drank it all, so now it’s gone. I’m done. I’m just happy to be alive and to still be able to play. I’d say for both of us that not a hell of a lot keeps us down.
IOMMI We’ve done an awful lot.
VAN HALEN We’ve made a lot of mistakes.
IOMMI And you learn from them.
VAN HALEN We’ve come up with a lot of cool stuff, and we’re far from done. We’re certainly not the assholes that people think we are.
IOMMI We just try to be ourselves. That’s why we’ve been friends for so long.
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