Tony Iommi remembers co-writing a Black Sabbath song with Eddie Van Halen: “I said, ‘You’re playing that wrong’”

Tony Iommi onstage in 2012 and Eddie Van Halen onstage in 2015
(Image credit: Barry Brecheisen/WireImage | Daniel Knighton/Getty Images)

Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi has reflected on writing a song with Eddie Van Halen for the band’s 1994 album Cross Purposes.

Van Halen helped compose the track Evil Eye but was blocked from receiving a writer’s credit on the record by his label, Warner Bros.

“[Eddie Van Halen] had a day off, and I said, ‘We’re rehearsing, do you want to come?’,” Iommi remembers in a new video interview (transcribed by

“He said, ‘Oh yeah,’ and that’s what he’d done, really.

“I picked him up in Birmingham, at the hotel, and then we drove via a music shop, and I said, ‘Do you want to pick a guitar up’, and we did – one of his Eddie Van Halen ones, they had got one in. Then we went down to the rehearsal.”

“I said, ‘We’re working on this song,’” he continues, “and we started playing it. He started playing a solo.

“We played a couple of old Sabbath songs first, and I said, ‘You’re playing that wrong’ [laughs]. ’Cause they used to play Sabbath stuff, before they [Van Halen] were known. It was Into The Void or something, I can’t remember.

“But anyway, that’s the sort of relationship we had. We stayed friends until he passed away; I spoke to him just before.”

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Iommi, joined by former Black Sabbath singer Tony Martin, did the video interview to promote the new box set Anno Domini.

Anno Domini contains remastered versions of Sabbath’s four Martin-era albums: Headless Cross (1989), Tyr (1990), Cross Purposes (1994) and Forbidden (1995).

Forbidden has also been remixed by Iommi.

Martin fronted Sabbath from 1987 to 1990, when he was dismissed to let former vocalist Ronnie James Dio return to the lineup.

Martin rejoined the band from 1992 to 1997, but was fired again so that Iommi could reunite the original Sabbath lineup, completed by vocalist Ozzy Osbourne, bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward.

Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.