The legendary Black Sabbath icon, Tony Iommi was the recent interview guest of the My Planet Rocks’ Raised On Radio, and he talked about the well-known accident which he lost his fingertips.
Here is what the reporter asked:
“Tony, we spoke about your injury when you were fairly young. It must’ve had a huge impact on how you played…”
Tony Iommi answered:
“I’d come up with an idea going into hospital. I asked them if they could do something, and this is… ‘You might as well give up.’ Basically, that was their attitude towards it, so I didn’t have much choice there.
I went home and I was still trying to think of what I could do, and I came up with an idea of melting a liquid bottle down and making it into a ball, and I’ve got a solder on it, just made a hole in it, so the ball fitted on the animal fingers, basically.
And then I sat there for how many days, just rubbing it down with sandpaper to shape a sort of a finger, and I did that on each one. And then, of course, they wouldn’t grip the string because it was plastic, so I tried to find something that would work to grip the strings.
And it turned out to be leather, but it had to be a certain kind of leather, had to be aged leather that was sort of getting hard, and that’s what I did. I’d go around behind old coats to find a piece of leather I could use.
It was a bit silly, really, but that’s the only thing that worked for me.”
“With your self-made prosthetic fingers, that did help create your signature sound…”
Tony Iommi responded and said that:
“Absolutely, it was just – I had to learn a different style of playing altogether. I couldn’t play the conventional way, I couldn’t do chords the way other people could, I had to come up with another way of creating a big sound.
I just couldn’t do it, and I still can’t do with these lumps on my fingers, so I just had to devise a way of playing that would sound right and sound big, and that’s what I did, I worked on that and that created my sound and my style of playing.”
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