Interview with Heaven And Hell: They Say That Life’s A Carousel

Heaven And HellSince it was announced late last year that the lineup of Ronnie James Dio, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Vinny Appice would be touring under the moniker Heaven And Hell, there has been much fervor in the Black Sabbath camp. Not only has The Dio Years been released by Rhino, which contains three new songs (“The Devil Cried,” “Shadow Of The Wind” and “Ear In The Wall”) by the aforementioned players, but Live At The Hammersmith Odeon, a set from 1981 put out in a limited edition of 5,000, completely sold out in its first day of release.

With the impending live album recorded at Radio City Music Hall in March due this August in CD and DVD form, Heaven And Hell took to the road once again for a round at major market arenas and amphitheaters that closes up shop this Saturday, May 19, at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel. Tony Iommi took some time recently to answer questions about the reunion, working with Dio again after all these years, Ozzy, and the chances of a new studio album.

At this point, you’ve both recorded and played live with this lineup. How are you feeling about going into this next tour?

It’s been great. We’re really enjoying it. The tour’s been great, the amount of people coming has been fantastic. It’s been a really refreshing thing to do, I think.

I would imagine you’d be pretty happy with the reaction. So much focus is put on the original Sabbath incarnation, particularly since you first reunited.

We have been doing the original lineup for the last 10 or 11 years since we got back together again, and it’s just really nice to go out and do these other songs. The set we’ve had before has always been ‘Iron Man,’ ‘Paranoid,’ and that, and this is the first time now we’ve ever been out under a different name, without playing ‘Paranoid.’ I’ve not been on stage for almost 40 years and not played any of those! It’s great, really.

The Live At The Hammersmith Odeon disc sold out in its first day of release. It seems like there’s really a lot happening for you guys right now.

Yeah, it’s just gone crazy. We’re really, really pleased with it. It’s great, because we can actually go out and back it up as well. We can go out like we are and play as much as we can.

At what point did you guys decide to release the Radio City show?

We talked about doing it. It was all planned to do that when we decided to come out on tour. What we were going to do, we were going to release some old footage I’ve got of a show from years ago when we were together, from the ’80s. We were actually going to put that out, and somebody suggested, ‘Well, why don’t you just do a new one?’ So we thought, ‘Well, yeah, that’s an idea.’ So that’s what we did. There’s obviously a lot of legal tape with the other one, so we thought it would be great to do it all fresh.

It was a longer set at that show, right?

It was a little bit, yeah.

Otherwise, would you say that was a decent example of what the rest of the shows were like on that tour?

To be honest, I think we played much better on some of the other shows. It still represents us, it’s still quite good. It’s always the way though. As soon as you do any kind of—and we only did record the one night—we could have been doing two or three nights or somewhere else recorded and at least we’d have the chance to pick out what show to use. But it still went good. I was just disappointed we didn’t get the chance to try everything, you know.