Tony Iommi laughingly described Black Sabbath’s legacy as “almost a bit embarrassing” as he reflected on his career with the iconic British band. He also expressed surprise that, while many of his friends had been lost to rock ’n’ roll excess, Rolling Stones counterpart Keith Richards had survived so long.

“I’ve seen so many of my friends of people in the business who have done drugs and whatever else and died, from John Bonham onwards,” Iommi told the Herald in a new interview. “John was a good friend. I’ve seen other friends go a similar way through drugs and alcohol abuse.” Explaining the lifestyle he said, “You get lonely. You get bored in the hotel, so you try to find something to do to be somewhere else. We saw it with Lemmy. … He was the one who would burn the candle at both ends all the time, but at some point you’ve got to look at it and say, ‘I can’t do that any more.’” He added, “Even with Keith Richards, I’m amazed he’s still pottering on. I take my hat off to him.”

Presented with a list of bands who have credited Black Sabbath as a major influence – including Metallica, Van Halen, Iron Maiden, Guns N’ Roses and others – Iommi responded, “It’s fantastic. I’d never have thought that would happen and it amazes me even now. It’s great to have been able to create something that’s still there after all these years, and got bigger and bigger. The amount of bands I’ve met over the years from Metallica onwards who have praised me for coming up with the ideas has been brilliant. It’s almost a bit embarrassing.”

He confirmed he was still playing guitar every day, “Music’s always been the love of my life," Iommi said. "It’s made my life, and sometimes it’s caused me problems. When I was married before, your music takes over and you end up being in the studio all night and touring, and your marriage becomes lost – but now I’m very, very happy.”

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