In an exclusive interview with their hometown Birmingham Mail, Black Sabbath guitar legend Tony Iommi explains why this has to be the band’s final tour.
“I can’t actually do this anymore,” admits Tony Iommi.
“My body won’t take it much more.”
Iommi, who battled lymphoma, has tests in two weeks’ time to ensure the cancer has not returned.
“I don’t want that creeping back again,” he says.
“And all the travelling involved in Sabbath tours increasingly takes its toll. “That’s why we’re going out on one last tour, to say our farewells.
“And then it very definitely is the end. We won’t be doing it again.”
Gigs have been confirmed across the US, Australia and New Zealand so far and more tour dates are to be announced(around October will have news about that).
“There will be UK dates,” Iommi says. “And, of course, we’ll be playing Birmingham. “This is where it all began for us; this is where family and friends live; this is where our longest-standing fans are.
“It would be unimaginable for the Sabbath farewell tour not to include Birmingham. “But you’ll have to bear with us. The logistics are still being worked out. Even we don’t know all the dates yet.”
“We’ve been doing this for getting on for 50 years now,” says the guitarist whose innovative technique has influenced countless others.
“It’s about time we draw the line, don’t you think? It’s been great but it’s time to stop now. “Don’t get me wrong, I still love gigging. It’s all the travelling and the exhaustion that goes with it that’s the problem."
“I love being up there onstage, playing with Sabbath. What I don’t love is all the other stuff necessary to enable that to happen. “None of us are getting any younger, you know.”
Tony Iommi is 67 years old.
Iommi said about his health problems that :
“Aside from my lymphoma, I’ve been back in hospital again recently because of back problems,”
“The funny thing is, while you’re out on tour it’s a full-on thing, you’re busy all the time. “It’s when you come off tour that the side-effects kick in. While you’re at home, just when you think you got away with it!”
Doctors have warned there is a chance that Iommi’s cancer could return and he is not keen to shorten the odds.
“I have finished my courses of treatment,” he says.
“Now it’s a case of keeping tabs on things. “I have the blood tests every six weeks, and then there’s a bigger check-up every now and then to make sure that all is still well., “I have my next one in a couple of weeks, and hopefully everything will be fine. “Every day I feel around for lumps and bumps,” he told the Sunday Mercury earlier this year.
“Every time I get a pain in my stomach I think ‘Oh God, it’s cancer’. “It’s horrible. I even dream about it. But that’s my life now. “The surgeon told me he doesn’t expect the cancer to go away. There’s a 30 per cent chance that it could, but more than likely it will come back and it could be any time. “I could be here another 10 years or just one year , I don’t know.”
“I don’t have the energy to eat late and go out drinking until 2am,” he grins.
“I need to go to bed early. It’s not very rock ’n’ roll, but it works for me. “So, yes, the next tour will be the last one. Absolutely the last one.”
“It’s certainly going to be very emotional,”
“After a year on the road together, after all these years making music together, after everything we’ve been through together? “There may be tears...”
About tour's setlist Iommi says :
"It’ll be a big production and we’ll be putting together a setlist that traces the band’s career from our eary days in Birmingham.
“All the fan favourites will be in there, and we’re looking to include some songs we’ve rarely performed live, too. “All the material will be from albums on which Ozzy is the singer. There won’t be any Ronnie James Dio-era material in there.”
On a question about the chance to see the original drummer Bill Ward on this last tour, Tony Iommi answered that :
“That depends on Bill,” “We met up again six weeks ago and we got on great but it’s down to Bill.
“Our plans as they stand are to tour with Ozzy, Geezer Butler, myself and Ozzy’s drummer Tommy Clufetos, who did so well on the last tour.
“He can do things with drums that still amaze me. His solos last time out were mind-boggling.”
About Black Sabbath's new material he said :
“I’ve been busy writing songs ever since the ‘13’ sessions,”
“At that point we thought there might be another Sabbath album.
“But that’s up in the air now so I don’t know when or where they might appear. The tracks are ready, though.”
Black Sabbath’s farewell tour, The End, begins on January 20th, 2016 and it promises to surpass all previous tours with their most mesmerizing production ever.
When this tour concludes, it will truly be The End, The End of one of the most legendary bands in rock 'n roll history... Black Sabbath.
North American tour dates:
20 - Omaha, NE - CenturyLink Center
22 - Chicago, IL - United Center
25 - Minneapolis, MN - Target Center
28 - Saskatoon, SK - Sasktel Centre
30 - Edmonton, AB - Rexall Centre
1 - Calgary, AB - Scotiabank Saddledome
3 - Vancouver, BC - Rogers Arena
6 - Tacoma, WA - Tacoma Dome
9 - San Jose, CA - SAP Center
11 - Los Angeles, CA - The Forum
13 - Las Vegas, NV - Mandalay Bay Events Center
15 - Denver, CO - Pepsi Center
17 - Kansas City, MO - Sprint Center
19 - Detroit, MI - The Palace of Auburn Hills
21 - Hamilton, ON - FirstOntario Centre
23 - Montreal, QB - Bell Centre
25 - New York City, NY - Madison Square Garden
Australia/New Zealand tour dates:
15 - Perth, Australia - Perth Arena
17 - Adelaide, Australia - Entertainment Centre
19 - Melbourne, Australia - Rod Laver Arena
23 - Sydney, Australia - Allphones Arena
25 - Brisbane, Australia - Entertainment Centre
28 - Auckland, New Zealand - Vector Arena
30 - Dunedin, New Zealand - Forsyth Barr Stadium
More dates to be announced in October.