Tony Iommi: Heaven and Hell With Rob Halford ‘Won’t Happen Now’
Tony Iommi said the idea of continuing the Heaven & Hell project with Rob Halford in place of Ronnie James Dio “won’t happen now.”
The Black Sabbath spinoff band released the album The Devil You Know in 2009 and seemed set for a bright future until singer Dio’s death the following year. Drummer Vinny Appice recently said the idea of continuing with Halford had come up at the time, and he even suggested it again more recently.
While it's unclear whether Iommi is ruling it out permanently, the guitarist told Loudwire that “Rob must have mentioned it to Vinny at one particular time. It won’t happen now, but I’m writing stuff. ... What I’m going to use, I don’t know yet – there’s no rush to do anything at the moment. I want to do an album of some sort whether it's riffs or having a singer on it or for movies or whatever. I’m open for most things at the moment.”
Iommi also recalled the issues they faced when Dio was brought in to replace Black Sabbath's fired original singer, Ozzy Osbourne, in 1979. “We had a lot of barriers to climb over with Ronnie,” he said. “Everybody knew Ozzy, and we never worked with another singer, so bringing somebody else in was a big challenge. To expect the fans to take Ronnie on was a big barrier. Don Arden, who was managing us at the time, was against Ronnie singing for us. He said, ‘You can’t have a midget singing for Black Sabbath.’ I said, ‘He’s got a great voice. It’s working with what we’re doing,’ and that’s why we parted ways with Don.”
He admitted he'd been “getting despondent” about the future until the idea of working with Dio came up. “I was frustrated and wanted to get to work," Iommi recalled. "I met Ronnie at a party, and we talked about doing a project together. So I was on the verge of doing something with him, and when Ozzy left, that’s when I said to the other guys, ‘Why don’t we try Ronnie?’ We got him over for a rehearsal and it worked.”