Three questions with Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, er, Heaven and Hell

Spencer Patterson

Though die-hard fans probably realize who Heaven and Hell is, it seems like you could have attracted casual fans more easily calling this a Black Sabbath tour. Why the decision not to?

It probably would be [easier to draw], I think, if we went out as Black Sabbath, but I think that would be extremely confusing. All the stuff we play is from the Dio years—we’re not doing “War Pigs” and “Paranoid” and “Iron Man”—so I think if we went out as Black Sabbath people would expect to hear that stuff. It was a big challenge, going out with a different name and a different set, and we didn’t expect it to take off like it has, to be honest. We thought we’d just be doing a month tour or something, but here we are into a year.

Is not calling it Black Sabbath also a way to stay on good terms with Ozzy’s camp, in order to keep that door open for the future?

We do have the option of the two things, but we’re not even thinking of the other at the moment. That’s not to say that we’ve fallen out [with Ozzy] or anything. We’re still in contact a lot. But we don’t know what or exactly when we might do something with him again. At the end of the year, we’ll have a look at it and see what we’re gonna do next.

Having had Ronnie James Dio as a bandmate again, do you feel like he should have been included when Black Sabbath got into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

Oh, I think they should have included Ronnie. He certainly deserves to be in there, without a doubt. But look at the problem we had getting in [laughs]. It took a long while. I could never understand it. But I suppose we’ve finally become acceptable, which comes with time. We’ve been around a long time, and we haven’t gone away. People have probably forgotten that 30 years ago they didn’t like us.

With Queensryche. October 5, 8 p.m., $62-$100. The Pearl, 942-7777.

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