Tony Iommi is loving the new Black Sabbath ballet: "I never thought we would have people dancing to War Pigs and Iron Man"

Sabbath Ballet Sabbath
(Image credit: PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Image)

Tony Iommi has watched dancers from Birmingham Royal Ballet rehearse for their forthcoming production of Black Sabbath - The Ballet, and Sabbath's guitarist is very much enjoying the unlikely marriage of two seemingly incompatible artistic forms. 

"I love it," Iommi tells Britain's Channel 4 News. "It's so different, and it's something that a lot of people didn't expect, including me."

By his own admission, Iommi would not call himself a connoisseur of ballet. But having liaised with composer Christopher Austin and Birmingham Royal Ballet director Carlos Acosta, and observed exactly how his riffs have been interpreted by the dancers, he has been wowed by the creative union.

"I've never been to a ballet in my life," the guitarist admits to Channel 4 reporter Symeon Brown. "But to come in, and working with these guys, and seeing it, it's just fantastic. And the work that they put in is just amazing."

Black Sabbath - The Ballet will run from September 23 to September 30 at the at the Hippodrome theatre in Birmingham. It will include eight specially re-orchestrated Sabbath songs from the band's first five albums, as listed below:

Paranoid (Paranoid, 1970)
Iron Man (Paranoid, 1970)
War Pigs (Paranoid, 1970)
Black Sabbath (Black Sabbath, 1970)
Solitude (Master Of Reality, 1971)
Orchid (Master Of Reality, 1971)
Laguna Sunrise (Vol. 4, 1972)
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, 1973)

"I'm looking at our music differently now with this, because it is being interpreted in a different way," Iommi tells BirminghamWorld. "It's still got the basic things, but then it did have in the different orchestral things coming in. And then I never thought for a minute we would have people dancing to Black Sabbath and War Pigs and Iron Man."

Asked whether he thinks the ballet could inspire metal fans to become ballet fans, and vice versa, Iommi says, "I certainly hope so. I mean, it is a strange combination, but you've got to push the boat out. And, you know, hopefully, we can get everybody together." 

Watch Iommi's Channel 4 News interview, and rehearsal footage shot by Express & Star, below:

You can read more about Sabbath, specifically the making of the band's classic Sabbath Bloody Sabbath album, in the brand new issue of Classic Rock magazine, which is onsale now.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.