Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tony Iommi

So, I hear Tony Iommi has cancer. Lymphoma.

That's bad. The few people I've known that have come down with lymphoma have died. I hope Iommi survives it, I really do. I would miss him.

The stage in my life where I spent much of my free time and my extra money going to as many concerts as I could -- from small rock clubs to large, pyrotechnic arena shows -- began and ended with Tony Iommi. From the first time I saw Black Sabbath in 1984 to the last time I saw that band in 1999, Iommi laid out the dark chords for me and made me love loud music. And Black Sabbath has been a part of my musical preferences ever since.

Black Sabbath is undoubtedly one of the most influential bands of all time, and Iommi has always been the heart of that ensemble, the only constant in a band that proved to be both innovative and dysfunctional at the very same time. I love his unique, heavy style, and I think all of metal owes him much gratitude.

I recognize that not every metalhead finds Iommi's guitar work easy to listen to. But without him and his crazy, left-handed, two-leathered-fingertipped way of playing there would be no black metal today. There would be no doom metal, no death metal. And, dare I say, no real heavy metal at all. Oh, there was hard rock back in the 1970s, sure, and without Black Sabbath and Tony Iommi that hard rock eventually would have developed and grown into something like heavy metal, but there is no way that metal would have been anything like what we have today. Not without Iommi. His dark chords and low tuning have burned a template into the realm of rock that headbangers still use to this day.

I hate to gush like a fanboy, but I really do think that much of Iommi. And I hope he has all the strength and support he needs to pull through this personal crisis. I certainly hope the best for him.

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