Tony Iommi 'open' to collaboration with Brian May: “We've talked about it for years… it would be nice”

Tony Iommi & Brian May
(Image credit: Brian Rasic/Getty Images)

Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi has spoken exclusively to Classic Rock about the prospect of resurrecting his long-discussed collaboration with his good friend Brian May, from Queen.

Back in 2013, Iommi told the Birmingham Mail that May, a close friend since the early 1970s, had visited him at his home in the Warwickshire village of Lapworth after the Sabbath guitarist was diagnosed with lymphoma. Iommi recalled May being impressed upon hearing some of his stockpiled riffs. “We may well find some way of working together on them,” Iommi said at the time.

Talking to Classic Rock’s Polly Glass for a feature run in the next issue of the magazine, Iommi addressed the topic again, revealing that May had heard more music from him, and expressing his hopes that a proper collaboration between the pair could happen “one day.”

“We've talked about it for years, we really have,” says Iommi, “and the pandemic smacked everything up. Brian came here to my house just before all that happened: it was a lovely day, we sat outside in the courtyard and played riffs. I played him some of the stuff I'd got, and he said, 'Oh, great, you've gotta do something with this,' and we've talked about it on and off. It would be nice, one day, to do that.

“He's really busy now doing all sorts of things,” Iommi added, “and it's great that he's kept active. You can never say what's gonna happen, it would be nice. I'm open for a lot of things now, really.”

Iommi recently spoke of his long-running friendship with May on BBC Radio 2’s The Rock Show with Johnnie Walker, saying that the pair “used to talk to each other at all hours of the night in the early days.” "We've jammed a few times," Iommi added. "He's come up on stage and played with me and we've done some album stuff together on different people's albums. He played on my solo album a couple of times. We had a jam session once. He came down to one of our rehearsals, when we were rehearsing in London, and we started playing with the band and the band gradually left, and Brian and myself were just left playing there. All the gear had gone except for our gear, and we were still playing. [Laughs] We've had a great friendship over the years.”

Look out for Polly Glass’ full interview with Iommi in the next issue of Classic Rock magazine.

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.