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Tony Iommi admits health concerns behind Black Sabbath farewell tour

By | Published on Wednesday 9 September 2015

Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi has admitted that his band’s decision to head out on a farewell tour is down to his own health concerns.

“I can’t actually do this anymore”, he told the Birmingham Mail. “My body won’t take it much more. 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”.

As previously reported, Iommi was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2012. Although successfully treated, he is still awaiting the all clear, with tests ongoing to ensure that the cancer has not returned. Although admitting now that health problems are putting an end to the band’s touring activity, earlier this year he denied that this was the reason for a cancellation of a previously planned farewell show.

So far the only dates announced for ‘The End’ tour are 24 stops in North America and Australasia. However, says Iommi, there will be further shows announced, with the full run expected to last a year.

“There will be UK dates”, he said. “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”.

He added that there was still a chance that drummer Bill Ward may join the rest of the band’s original line-up on the tour. As previously reported, Ward pulled out of a reunion tour and album in 2012, over issues with his contract. He said earlier this year that he still felt that it was unlikely that he would ever rejoin the band.

However, asked if Ward might come on board for this last outing, Iommi said: “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”.

I think it’s probably fair to say that you will be able to see those solos for yourself, if you attend the finale Black Sabbath shows.