Tony Iommi Says His Health Has Been “Up and Down,” Asks Fans to Patiently Wait Longer for New Version of Born Again


Black Sabbath guitarist and eternal riff master Tony Iommi shared some personal and professional updates during his latest appearance on SiriusXM’s “Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk” regarding his health and the re-release and remix of Born Again.

While speaking with Trunk (as transcribed by Blabbermouth), the 75-year-old metal icon explained that even though the early-stage lymphoma diagnosis he received back in 2012 and its subsequent treatment are in the past, it’s still something he keeps up on in his advanced age.

“I’m up and down. I go for my checks. In fact, I was there the day before yesterday, just getting different checks again. It’s like any old person [laughs] — you have problems. But, no, all in all, it’s been pretty good. Certainly as far as the cancer side of it, it’s been — dare I say — good. I get other ailments, like your hands ache and feet and things like that. But apart from that, it’s good. And I think doing what I’m doing keeps me up. I don’t sit at home just sitting on the couch; I’m out and about doing stuff. And it’s good — it keeps you motivated; it keeps you moving.”

Specifically regarding his past battle with lymphoma, Iommi said he and his doctors “keep it under control” by constantly checking his immune system. Through a regimen of B12 vitamin shots and a better diet, Iommi said he’s working to live longer — even if that means touring less.

“That’s why, really, I had to stop these major tours, because they were long tours and late-night tours. By the time you’d finished playing, especially when we were in the States, and we’d have a base, say, in New York, for 10 days, and we’d have our own plane and fly out to different places and come back. And by the time we get back to the hotel, it’s three o’clock in the morning. And these late nights were affecting me a bit. And my oncologist said, ‘You know, you shouldn’t really be flying as much and doing this amount of work.’ So that’s sort of why it came to the end of me touring for 18 months. But, yeah, I loved it — I love touring; I love playing; I love seeing the audience. And I still wanna get out and play, but I won’t be able to do major tours like that. As I said before, maybe a week or two or whatever, but it’s hard to do that, because you’ve got the crews that work — you have top-notch crews, and you can’t expect them to just do two weeks. They wanna get out and do a U.S. tour. But I will be going out, I suppose, doing something along the line. I’ve been asked to do various things, and we’ll see what happens.”

As for Born Again, Iommi said plans to remix the only Black Sabbath album to feature Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan were under way but that there’s a lot that goes into a remix. For example, Iommi said he plans on rebalancing the levels on the album and give it an “up-to-date quality.”

“Well, when it was originally recorded, in the studio it sounded great; we loved it. But we went on tour then and somehow the sound got muffled. And whether it was from the pressing or what, I don’t know. But I’d like to look at that. I have heard, when I played the ‘Born Again’ album, there’s parts where I go, ‘Oh, that should have been louder,’ ‘This should have been more prominent’ — drums or whatever it may have been. There’s things that really need adjusting on it, because there’s some really good songs on that album too. But it would be nice to give it an up-to-date quality now, of what you can do now, and be able to listen to it differently. Because, obviously, when you’re involved with this stuff at the time, you’re hearing nothing but it, and then you leave it into somebody else’s hands, like we did with that. We went on tour, [came] back and heard it, and we went, ‘Oh my God. What happened?’ We don’t want that to happen. I want to be able to pull the tapes out again and really give it a good listen to and see what we need to adjust and change and make it a better-sounding album.”

Born Again isn’t the only Black Sabbath getting a once over. Earlier this year, we reported on the fact that the band’s I.R.S. era, their Tony Martin-era, and two classics featuring Ronnie James Dio, were getting reworked as well. As a result, it may be a while before Born Again gets its due.

“As soon as I mentioned [that we were contemplating remixing it], people think, oh, I’m working straight on it. Well, no, because you have to get through the [other SABBATH albums from the catalog] first to get to that. We have got the tapes now to Born Again. They are being transferred from reel-to-reel to digital so we can get a proper look at it. But, again, it all takes time and it has to be done in stages. We’re hoping to release all the stuff at some point; it’s just a matter of going through it bit by bit, really. And I know people get anxious [and go], ‘Where is it? Where is it? Where is it?’ I’d love to be like that. I’d like to say, ‘Yes, it’s here.’ But it just takes time to release it. You’ve gotta release it in stages.”

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