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Tony Iommi Talks About Ozzy, And Lighting Bill Ward On Fire (8/9/2006)

In a recent interview, Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath guitarist) spoke about how drummer Bill Ward was staggered when he set fire to him as a joke, because he mistook his screams of pain for laughter and continued to "attack" him. The wild-living pair frequently tried the stunt in the 1970s while killing time in recording studios, but on one occasion the trick backfired - leaving the sticksman with third-degree burns and facing the possibility of having his leg amputated.

Iommi said, "Bill and I used to have this party piece where I'd set him on fire. I'd pour alcohol on him - the studio alcohol we used to clean marks off the machines. "I'd pour it on his hands, light it, flames would appear and it would burn off. The effect was completely superficial - no damage done.

"One day I wanted to do this trick for our producer. I said to Bill: 'Can I set fire to you?' 'Not just yet,' he said, 'I'm busy.' "A couple of hours later he said, 'I'm going home now, Tone, do you want to set fire to me or what?' "I got the alcohol, poured it over him, and as I lit him, all his hair, his beard, everything went up in flames. "I thought he was laughing, but he was screaming - and I was still pouring this stuff over him. He got third-degree burns. "His mum phoned me and said, 'You barmy b**tard! It's time you grew up. Our Bill might have to have his leg cut off.' I felt bad."

Tony also spoke about Ozzy Osbourne's reality show. The guitarist and Osbourne were childhood friends, and Iommi insists his pal behaved the same way then as he did in "THE OSBOURNES". He says, "I've known Ozzy since I was 11, from school, and he hasn't changed. He still calls me at the most peculiar times - at three in the morning when I'm asleep - and leaves silly messages. "A lot of people ask what it's like seeing him in his TV show, and I tell them that now they can see what I've had to put up with for 40 years."


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