Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler paid tribute to Ronnie James Dio


BLACK SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler have paid tribute to Ronnie James Dio on the tenth anniversary of the legendary singer’s death.

“Remembering our dear friend Ronnie. I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since Ronnie (James Dio) passed away. He is so greatly missed but never forgotten and his music will live on in our hearts forever.”

Geezer wrote: “RJD. 10 Years already. How time flies. Miss you.”

Dio replaced Ozzy Osbourne in BLACK SABBATH in 1980, recording the “Heaven And Hell” and “Mob Rules” albums, plus “Live Evil”, before leaving in 1982. He rejoined the group 10 years later for an album called “Dehumanizer”, and again teamed with the group under the HEAVEN & HELL banner in 2006. HEAVEN & HELL released an album called “The Devil You Know” in 2009.

During a conversation with Gibson, Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi looked back on Van Halen opening for his band on 1978’s “Never Say Die!” tour, just before VH broke out with their self-titled debut album.

The musician pointed out he’s still on good terms with Eddie Van Halen, adding about the trek (transcribed by UG):

“Van Halen toured with us for eight or nine months. They really liked… Eddie’s one of my best friends now, we still stay in touch, but he used to come in my room, pick your brains, you know?

“They sort of asked, ‘What’s this like? What’s that like?’ And for them, it was learning more information.

“It was enjoyable, but then it got a bit too much. Because they started their show, or they were going on first, and they were gradually learning things from us and doing the same sort of arrangement in their show.

“They’d have a drum solo, this and that and the other… And as the months went on, the drum riser got bigger like Bill [Ward]’s did – and more stuff.

“And I got really annoyed one night; I said, ‘Hey, Eddie, are you gonna play a couple of songs off our new album tomorrow?’. He went, ‘Hey, man, we love you guys.’ And it got our fly there – it was just a bit of sarcasm. It was great.

“And to me, listening to his playing, really different… He’d come up with something different, the way he plays and it was a great star, and a great band.”


Going a few years back and recalling when KISS opened for Black Sabbath on the “Sabotage” tour in 1975/76, Tony added:

“KISS, on the other hand; I don’t know what happened there, because we didn’t sort of really get on with them.

“And I remember seeing the sign outside: ‘Black Sabbath and KISS.’ It was on this board, got those letters that you stick on, and we found the P and took the ‘K’ off, and put ‘Piss’ on it. [Laughs]

“And we used to see them at the airport and we never knew who they were because they’d have all that makeup on, we couldn’t tell if that was the crew or the band. You’re sort of looking, ‘Is that the band?’. For a while, it was a bit funny, but as time went on, it got well, got okay.”

In the past, Tony said about KISS: “I don’t particularly like KISS. They’re not my type of band at all. Their stage show was done long before by Arthur Brown.”

Ozzy’s original keyboardist Don Airey once said:

“Ozzy used to tell a funny story. Sabbath had done a tour for a year with KISS… and it nearly killed him because KISS had been so good. And he said, ‘We’re never doing that again. Next tour, we just want a bar band from LA. That’s all we want.’

“And then he got to the first gig. Ozzy said they walked in as ‘Eruption’ was going on. Ozzy said, ‘We just went into the dressing room. We sat there going, That was incredible… and then it finished, and we were just too stunned to speak. Then there was a knock on the door and the best-looking man in the world walked in and said, Hello’ – you know, David Lee Roth.

“I think they only lasted about two months on that tour. Then the record [‘Van Halen I’] broke… I went to see them at the Rainbow when they supported Sabbath. By the time they played the Rainbow again a month later, they were headlining. Incredible!”

Tony Iommi  in a recent interview for the Sabbath’s anniversary , recalls some anecdotes from the past

“Suddenly i was in a band called Black Sabbath who half the country thought were satanists”  (Tony Iommi –


“Once a prank gone wrong in which we tossed a bucket’s worth of alcohol onto drummer Bill Ward. The prank went wrong when Ward immediately burst into flames — for reasons that are still unclear. “It soaked third-degree burns into his legs,”  .

On reading about Ozzy’s latest antics in the tabloids: “It’s nonsense, to be honest. You never know what’s coming. God knows what I’ll read about him next – probably that he’s pregnant.”

“Why Do I always wear black? I once walked into the pub in a blue shirt and never heard the last of it. “Where’s all your black stuff? You can’t come in here like that.” It was like I’d done a murder.The cross onstage? I’ve had it 40-odd years and never been onstage without it. It’s a lucky charm. We all had one. Ozzy’s still got his. Bill’s is in a box. Geezer lost his at the Aston Villa ground.”



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