Recordings exist of Tony Iommi and Eddie Van Halen jamming at a Black Sabbath rehearsal

Tony Iommi and Eddie Van Halen jammed
(Image credit: Chris McKay/Getty Images for Live Nation / Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

Black Sabbath legend Tony Iommi talked to Guitar World last year about playing, and possibly collaborating with, Queen’s Brian May (it might still happen!).

Now, in a new interview with Spin, Iommi was asked about his friendship with another electric guitar icon, Eddie Van Halen, and brought up the fact that the two actually jammed together during a Black Sabbath rehearsal – and Iommi even made sure to have an EVH guitar on hand for the event. 

The tidbit came to light after interviewer Katherine Turman mentioned the impending release of Eddie's son Wolfgang's forthcoming debut album with his band, Mammoth WVH. 

"Eddie idolized him," Iommi responded of Wolfgang. "You know, he really did. We used to talk about Wolfie quite a lot. And when we played in L.A. last time, they all came. Wolfie and Alex and Eddie and the wives. I got some great photos with us all. it was brilliant."

He continued, "I got Eddie down to rehearsal when we played in England one time.  He said, ‘What are you going to do tomorrow?’ I said, ‘Rehearsal.’ He went, ‘Ah, great. I’d love to come to that or come down.’ I went and picked him up at his hotel. On the way past the hotel, I popped into the music shop and asked, ‘Have you got an Eddie Van Halen guitar?’

"They said, ‘Yeah, why?’ Of course. I brought Eddie in, and they were in shock. I asked if we could borrow it for a few hours. They said, ‘Yeah, yeah, sure!' I’ve got some tapes of that rehearsal."

Iommi also revealed whether he had a chance to say goodbye to Eddie prior to his death in October 2020 after a battle with throat cancer.

“I knew it was a matter of time,” Iommi said. “But he did contact me. And I could tell. The last email was just before he went into hospital the last time and it was really… You know, some of the words were mixed up, he was obviously sedated or something. But that was the last one I had from him. I really miss him.”

As for Iommi's other pal, Brian May, elsewhere in the interview he was asked if there has been discussion about giving Black Sabbath the Bohemian Rhapsody film treatment.

"Yes, there was talk of it, and I don’t know what happened," he said. "It sort of went out the window when all this thing [Covid-19] started. But we were talking about it probably 18 months ago, about doing the biopic. I haven’t heard much else."

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.