Ozzy Osbourne said that former Black Sabbath bandmate Tony Iommi has always intimidated him – and still does to this day. But he also called the guitarist the “most irreplaceable” member of the band and hailed his determination to continue with their farewell project even when he was fighting cancer.

“He’s always going to be the greatest – no one can touch him," Osbourne told producer Rick Rubin on Rubin's Broken Record podcast. “And actually, to this day, I still don’t understand how he plays guitar, ‘cause he’s got no fingertips. He plays with plastic fingers.”

The singer – who’s endured his own health issues recently – recalled that when Iommi was "diagnosed with cancer, he just dealt with it. That’s him. I’m [in tears], and he’s like, ‘Whatever I have to do.’ He’s like that. He’s always been like that. Very calm. ... He was the band, really. We were all part of the band, but he was the more irreplaceable one.”

Osbourne went on to suggest that his reaction to Iommi may have played a part in his own stage performance. “People will say to me, ‘Why did you always sing on the side of the stage?’" he said. "I don’t fucking know … it’s just fear, I suppose. ‘Cause Tony, he’s one of the few people who could walk into this room right now and I would fucking feel intimidated. He intimidates the fuck out of me – and he knows it.”

That may explain why Osbourne said he didn’t enjoy Black Sabbath’s farewell tour and later noted that he didn’t enjoy working with Iommi either – something the guitarist said “confused” him because he thought they all had fun on the road trip.


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