In a recent Gibson interview, Tony Iommi, the legendary guitarist of Black Sabbath, reflected on the time when Van Halen served as the opening act for their 1978 “Never Say Die!” tour, just on the verge of Van Halen’s explosive breakthrough with their self-titled debut album.
Sharing insights into the past, Iommi mentioned that his friendship with Eddie Van Halen remains intact. Delving into the memories of that particular tour, he expressed his thoughts and experiences regarding the era:
“Van Halen toured with us for eight or nine months. They really liked… Eddie’s one of my best friends now, we still stay in touch, but he used to come in my room, pick your brains, you know?
“They sort of asked, ‘What’s this like? What’s that like?’ And for them, it was learning more information.
“It was enjoyable, but then it got a bit too much. Because they started their show, or they were going on first, and they were gradually learning things from us and doing the same sort of arrangement in their show.
“They’d have a drum solo, this and that and the other… And as the months went on, the drum riser got bigger like Bill [Ward]’s did – and more stuff.
“And I got really annoyed one night; I said, ‘Hey, Eddie, are you gonna play a couple of songs off our new album tomorrow?’. He went, ‘Hey, man, we love you guys.’ And it got our fly there – it was just a bit of sarcasm. It was great.
“And to me, listening to his playing, really different… He’d come up with something different, the way he plays and it was a great star, and a great band.”