TONY IOMMI - "The Only Time I Really Listened To Ronnie's Stuff Was The RAINBOW Days"
by Martin Popoff

Martin Popoff from HardRadio chatted with BLACK SABBATH guitar legend Tony Iommi a while back about HEAVEN & HELL's debut album, The Devil You Know. There were plenty of 'scattered leftovers' from the chat.

Where in the process does Ronnie bring the lyrics to you? Do you see him working on them live, or does he bring them in all done, 'Right, they're ready to go'?

Iommi: "While we're playing, he can be writing lyrics down. Whenever we rehearse or whatever it is, you can see him jotting stuff down. And when were at his house, he actually would disappear for half an hour and then come back, have a listen, go again, and he's just writing ideas, making notes, and when we come back the next day, or to work on the song again, he would have an idea of what he's going to say. And so he would sort of stay up until, I don't know, two or three clock in the morning writing lyrics."

Did he ever say to you guys anything to the effect that, OK, this is a direction I'm really excited about with my lyrics? 'Here, what do you guys think'?

Iommi: "Absolutely, yeah. Oh yeah, it was a real band effort. He shared what he was going to do with everybody, and do you like it? Like we do with everything, when we write the music. It's like, everybody has to like what we do. Otherwise if somebody doesn't like a particular riff or doesn't like a part, we don't do it."

Who is playing keyboards on the record?

Iommi: "Mike Exeter, is the one bit of keyboards we've got. He was playing, because he's a keyboard player as well."

Something I've never asked you or Ronnie, at the time, I mean, there are a fair number of slowish things on here, and Dehumanizer was a bit that way, and then the Ronnie albums right around that time were like that as well. Were you much of a student of Ronnie's records at any point? Do you know Ronnie's Dio material quite well.

Iommi: "I can't say I know them all. But I've heard some of them."

TONY IOMMI - "The Only Time I Really Listened To Ronnie's Stuff Was The RAINBOW Days" Page 2