on 26 November 2013
For me this lacks detail and an understanding of WHY Tony Iommi is the musician he is. There was nothing to influence him into becoming Black Sabbath other than Bert Weedon and The Shadows?? The desire to play very loud was no more than to stop people chatting through the live set??
The sniping at Tony Martin does come out of the blue and is surprising. Martin is a great singer. spent years with Sabbath and made several albums with the band. Martin and Iommi seemed (musically) well matched. But its all pretty much negative comments about him from Iommi and they do jar, and seem very one sided. Why work with him in the first place, then? I'm sure the "Cat" issue is also backward - Martin was "the Cat" before joining Sabbath, then dropped it, not becoming "the Cat" afterwards?? Miaaoow. (For a more balanced account of this era read Never Say Die by Gary Sharpe-Young - that is an excellent book full of the detail so sorely missing here).
Why did Born Again sound like it did? The answer is here. It was all Gillan's fault.
Why was Forbidden so awful? Not so easily answered.
You get the impression Iommi spent hours being recorded talking about his past, then someone had the job of transcribing it down into a chronological narrative. But transcribed too literally at times. Reading it isn't always the same as hearing it. Sometimes the inflections of speech get lost on the page. Thoughts behind the words - these are missing??
on 6 November 2011
What a great read. I love bios, I have a lot from musicians I love/like and this one is among the top 3. Full of anecdotes and cool facts from this man's life. I just wish if he could have put more pictures, but the reading itself it's great. Has lots of chapters (90) which by no means make the reading dull, quite the contrary, does it very fluid; I read it in 3 nights, but if you have the time it can be easily read in 1 day. One thing that amazes me is Mr. Iommi's humbleness considering his legend status, I mean, if it wasn't for him there would not be heavy metal. All in all a must have/read for rock and metal fans alike. Highly recommended.
p.s.: Sorry for my english.
on 26 April 2014
I happened to get the updated version, which I was glad about, as it covered his health scares, etc. Unlike the reviewer who seemed to want all that psychoanalytical claptrap, I just wanted FACTS! TRIVIA! HISTORY! THE TRUTH! And boy, I got it, at last! Forget notions about "that's only HIS version of events". I now fully believe HIS explanation of all those myths and tales we've heard for years. It is written so well - like he's speaking to your face in his own words. Honest. Down-to-earth. Full of so many little "aside" comments and stories which he (rightly) thinks would be of interest. It pretty much cemented how I rated Sabbath before, i.e. Tony IS Black Sabbath when all's said and done. Without his riffs, forget it. Some will rave about Ozzy's persona or Geezer's lyrics, but whilst they added to things, I admit, they are both very, very secondary. As for Bill Ward, well his contrariness pretty much backs up that ridiculous farce over his refusal to sign that recent contract. (He wouldn't give details of his grievance, yet pathetically still expected fans to "side" with him - don't start me off there!) As I said, it was nice of Iommi to come clean about so many things. Yes, he wasted fortunes on drugs - they all did - but he still came up with the goods. (Mind you, I was taken aback at how much money they wasted on expensive pranks. Still, it was his money to waste, I suppose!) The only REAL surprise for me was how he rated "Dehumanizer" so highly. He talked about it in the same breath as the classic Sabs albums, but to me it was, and is, totally different from anything else. I couldn't get into a single track. Maybe it's me? Maybe I should go and check it out again?! Anyway, a thoroughly enjoyable read from one of my rock heroes. I thank him for all the pleasure he's brought to people, and hope that his current good health continues.
on 3 February 2013
I was really looking forward to reading this but what a complete waste of time.
No insight, no sense of the underlying issues in his life, no analysis, no depth to his relationships with friends and fellow musicians, no real comment from the likes of Van Halen, Hetfield, May and co. all apparently influenced heavily by 'the man who invented heavy-metal.'
Simply lists of song titles, gigs played, bands and their members hired and fired. This, all interspersed with "Oh and then I set fire to so-and-so" or "I covered this guy in talcum powder" which I guess is supposed to give us a flavour of the wild rock-n-roll lifestyle.
Tony Iommi, by his own admission is no Einstein, so my real criticism is aimed at TJ Lammers who ghosted the book, and by association the editors and subs at Simon & Schuster, the publishers. They should between them have been able to draw out much more from Tony Iommi, and fill the story out into something more meaningful, although given that the 'meat' of the story is only in the few early years of Black Sabbath it may have proved difficult to get past a 25 page essay. A real disappointment.
Tony Iommi is one of our legendary and most influential rock musicians. His history with Black Sabbath has been littered with tales of excess, raging arguments, almost unbelievable events of strangeness, life-chaning accidents and encounters, and music of such darkness that the story of its creation should be spellbinding.
Instead, this is one of the most boring, dull and 'flat' books I've ever tried to read. The ghost author, TJ Lammers, should never have been allowed anywhere near TI's story. The prose is so dead that it's little more than a list of places, people, songs and who-wrote-what-and-where. It's as if a diary of gigs and recording sessions have been padded out to create a book that can be sold to gullible fans who want to gain some sort of insight into the life of such an influential musician. Even the description of when and how his finger-ends were chopped off is treated as if it was an event of no significant emotion. The words are there - but virtually no sense of feeling is transmitted. (pun intended).
Fortunately, I found my copy in a charity shop, so I only spent 50p. I just about got value for that amount of money - but only just.
This book can really only be thought of as a lost opportunity to tell what should have been a truly enthralling story about a musician of such modern and significant stature. Such a shame and I certainly hope never to see the name 'TJ Lammers' on any future autobiographies.
on 29 November 2011
If you are a Black Sabbath fan, as I am, you will buy this book nonetheless.
The stories are great, the commentaries on every Sabbath album insightful. Tony's portrait emerges as a very down-to-earth guy who won over adversities with just stubborness and the gift of believing in himself.
That said, the writing style of this book is very dull. Divided in short chapters, it's always "We did this, we went there". "I said this, he said that". It's really transparent that is based on interviews and the ghost writer just put together the pieces. Considering Tony's unbelievable personality, it could have come out much better. But still, maybe this is the way Tony wants to look.
on 28 October 2011
I really enjoyed this book. I finished it the same day I got it. It gives you an insight into the personality of one of the few truly original musicians in rock. Full of great anecdotes which will make you laugh. A good fun read.
on 10 March 2015
I really didn't know much about Tony Iommi and was keen to learn more. As you'd expect he's had a pretty interesting life with plenty of ups and downs, though not as much rock and roll 'excess' as I've read about from others in metal and rock bands, or possibly he's just not wanted the book to be all about that, which is fair enough :-)
A couple of reviewers have made comments about the style of writing, he said, she said, he goes, they go etc but to be honest, fans will not be looking for a literary masterpiece, I certainly wouldn't expect one. A good read for fans and anyone genuinely interested in some great musical history.
on 30 September 2015
Good read although parts came across as 'Tony was the saviour of Black Sabbath' all the time which may well be true but does the reader have to be constantly reminded of this? I must confess though I'd no idea that they had been through so many transitions! A welcome addition to the Rock/Heavy Metal biographies!
on 17 June 2012
Through thick and thin Iommi has kept the Sabbath flame lit, often well passed it's sell by date.
As you would expect, this is the history of the man including the gruesome accident that cut of the finger tip, the early bands leading up to Black Sabbath and their antics, the sacking of Ozzy, and the post-Ozzy line-ups and albums.
Good, simple reading (best read to with the albums blasting out as a soundtrack)and I preferred it to Ozzy's autobiography.
It is exactly would you would expect of it.