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Tony Iommi on Challenges of Touring With Black Sabbath While Undergoing Cancer Treatment

Tony Iommi
Mary Ouellette,

This year marked the triumphant return of Black Sabbath and their disc ’13.’ Many Sabbath fans probably thought the day would never come when the band would not only release a disc of new material but also tour in support of it, and with good reason.

In a new interview with Mercury News, legendary guitarist Tony Iommi talks about the personal challenges he was up against when faced with going out on tour with Black Sabbath while he’s still undergoing treatment for lymphoma. “To be honest, I was wondering whether I could do (the tour),” Iommi admits. “I have to treat life very differently now. This, for me, has been a big challenge. So far, it’s been OK. The medical thing is still going on. It’ll be ongoing, really, for life. It’s not going to go away. I just have to try to treat it.”

Iommi also outlined what his schedule looks like in order to make it all work, proving what a true rock star he is in every way. “So I go back to England every seven to eight weeks for a treatment,” he explained. “Then it takes 10 days, two weeks, to start feeling normal again. Then we go back out on the road.”

Iommi’s battle with cancer has admittedly been very eye-opening for the guitarist, “My whole life has changed,” Iommi said. “My attitude has changed toward everything. Life becomes a lot more precious. I appreciate when we’ve got the opportunity to get together and be onstage and play and do what I like to do.”

In addition to the challenges he’s faced along the way, the journey has also helped him truly appreciate every moment of Sabbath’s revival. “I think my illness, in one way, has helped everybody, because it’s brought the reality of you really don’t know how long this is going to last,” Iommi shared. It was easy to take things for granted before. I think everyone now appreciates what we’ve got and what we get to do.”

Check out the full interview with Iommi at Mercury News. Black Sabbath’s tour continues through Sept. 3; see the remaining dates here.

Geezer Butler Says Sabbath’s Current Trek ‘Will Probably Be the Last Tour’

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