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Tony Iommi On Home Of Metal & Sabbath Reunion
Brad Sanders , June 24th, 2011 09:13

It will happen "if we're still alive"

A new art gallery and exhibition celebrating the history and continued importance of heavy metal in the Midlands has just opened, with locations in Wolverhampton and Birmingham. After opening to the public for the first time on June 18th, the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery played host to such metal royalty as Black Sabbath founder Tony Iommi and Painkiller cover artist Mark Wilkinson to launch the Home of Metal exhibition with a bang on Thursday night.

The Birmingham portion of the exhibition focuses on metal’s birth and history in the Black Country and includes metal artifacts like the cross Black Sabbath used onstage during 1981’s Mob Rules tour and original studded leather jackets worn by Rob Halford, while the Wolverhampton exhibit is an art gallery filled with metal- inspired original works by visual artists including founding Napalm Death member Nic Bullen and Jim ‘The Skull Artist’ Faure. The exhibition primarily focuses on the careers of Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Napalm Death, and Godflesh, though other Midlands metal acts like Anaal Nathrakh and Doom also have a presence.

In our interview with Tony Iommi at the Birmingham exhibit, he was unsurprisingly enthusiastic about the idea of having a museum celebrating metal in his hometown.

“I think it’s a great thing,” he said. “It really is. It’s really great that Birmingham are pushing this forward, as well. I think in the last few years certainly they’ve pushed more towards what really has come from here. It’s the birthplace of it. At one point, it was all pushed under the table, many years ago. It’s taken all these years. We’ve been doing it for 40-odd years, and it’s taken 30-odd years of that for them to recognize that we’re from here. I think it’s great. Great for the fans and great for Birmingham.”

Iommi also offered a sheepish semi-promise of another Black Sabbath reunion, albeit only when the time is right.

“You’ll have to wait and see. We’ve been doing all different stuff. I just talked to Ozzy this morning – we talk about three times a week. He’s doing his tour and I’ve been doing stuff with Ian Gillan, I’ve done a few tracks with him, and I’ve been doing me book. So, when the time is right. If we’re still alive.”

Amidst all the pageantry of a museum exhibition that essentially functions as a shrine to living gods, himself included, we asked Mr Iommi, noted master of Brummie understatement, whether after all these years he’s comfortable with being called the inventor of heavy metal.

“I wouldn’t hate that,” he replied with a smile.

The Home of Metal exhibition will be open at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and Wolverhampton Art Gallery until September 25th.