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Music

Black Sabbath's once Tony Iommi physically attacked a journalist

@josephtaysom

Black Sabbath’s relationship with the press was uneasy during the band’s early days. This situation only worsened when guitarist Tony Iommi physically attacked a journalist after an interview went disastrously wrong.

Iommi always held despondent feelings towards the media because he felt as though they didn’t quite understand his band, and he initially reacted miserably to them being branded as “heavy metal”. Iommi began to accept this tag as time went on, but his overall view on the press pack didn’t warm.

One particular incident stuck out to the guitarist when Sabbath received a brutal review of their concerts in London, even though it never occurred because they cancelled their performance. However, fortunately for that specific journalist in question, it never led to a violent altercation with Iommi, but not everybody was so blessed.

“I had a problem with a guy from the Melody Maker many years ago,” Iommi told Total Guitar. “He came to my house to do an interview. I picked him up at the station – and I picked him up in a Lamborghini – and he came back to the house. And he was treated well.”

Iommi continued: “Anyway, then he left, after the interview. And the interview was awful. He slagged us, terrible. And it was a personal thing. It wasn’t the music, it was just really not nice. And I saw him again at a gig. And basically, I beat him up.”

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Word soon spread in the media circles, and Black Sabbath felt the repercussions of Iommi’s violence as “nobody would interview” the group. He added: “I remember we were in America… Of course, it got to America about what happened. And we’re doing all these interviews on the phone.

“And I’m going, ‘What’s happened? They don’t really like face-to-face interviews?’ And they’re going ‘Well, they heard about the journalist in England.'”

The scribe in question, Allan Jones, later told Press Gazzette that he was simply doing his job and wrote up an honest reflection of the encounter. “I later got a message from Tony Iommi saying if he saw me again he’d cut my head off and feed it to his dog,” he recalled.

“One day, while I was checking into a hotel in Glasgow, I felt this vice-like grip on my bicep that nearly broke my arm and I turned and there was Tony Iommi. He said: ‘You’re Allan Jones, intcha? I’ve got a bone to pick with you.’ He dragged me across the floor of the hotel and out into the car park and said: ‘Right, put ’em up’,” Jones explained.

He added: “I tried very hard to say it was all water under the bridge but he wasn’t persuaded. He was taking off his Rolex and wrapping it around his knuckles and I thought: ‘Aw no’, and he just split my lip. I must’ve lost about three gallons of blood. Fortunately two of his roadies dragged him off.”

Jones’ brutal recollection of the attack he suffered at the hands of Iommi only adds more evidence to his claim that the guitarist was a hostile subject to interview. Additionally, even if his behaviour was exaggerated, there are truly no excuses for violently assaulting someone for simply doing their profession.