As Limp Bizkit hits stores this week waving the flag for hard rock's new breed, one of the genre's old-school innovators also returns with help from some high-profile collaborators.
Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi (the man responsible for enduring metal anthems such as "Iron Man," "Paranoid," and "War Pigs") delivered his solo debut, "Iommi," to record racks on Tuesday, and in the process, he unveiled his work with head Foo Fighter Dave Grohl, Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan, Pantera's Phil Anselmo, and others.
"The three people I had on my list [when I started] were Dave Grohl, Billy Corgan, and Phil Anselmo, and I thought just one of those would be great," Iommi said of his initial hopes for the project. "It went far better than that."
In the three and a half years Iommi spent working on his solo project, the guitarist was able to reel in not just Grohl, Corgan, and Anselmo, but also Henry Rollins, Serj Tankian of System Of A Down, Ian Astbury
of the Cult, Peter Steele of Type O Negative, Billy Idol, Skin of Skunk Anansie, and Iommi's old Sabbath pal Ozzy Osbourne.
"I wanted to go for something that was not expected of me," Iommi explained. "I think a lot of people thought I'd use Ian Gillan and some of the people I'd worked with before, or maybe Rob Halford and Bruce Dickinson or whoever. I thought, 'No, I don't want to go that route. I want to do something different.'"
Of course, the vocalists recruited for the album were more than happy to help Iommi with that directive.
"It's an honor," Peter Steele said of being tapped for the project. "I used to idolize them. I still do to a certain degree, but in a more mature way. If someone told me when I was 16 or 18 years old that I'd be doing a side project with Tony Iommi, I wouldn't have believed it."
"It was great, because I've always been a closet metalhead," Grohl said of his involvement. "I've listened to metal as long as I've listened to hardcore
and punk rock and stuff like that, so getting the chance to work with someone from Black Sabbath and to sing like a metal guy was fun. I felt I had the freedom to go off. It was fun."
Grohl got to take his metal fantasy one step further when he slipped behind the kit to lay down drum tracks for his contribution to the album, "Goodbye Lament."
"I was so excited to be playing the drums that I kept breaking sh** in the studio," Grohl said. "I did six drum takes, and it took three and a half hours, because after every take we'd have to send out for another kick drum pedal, we'd have to send out for another snare. We would try to rig stuff with chicken wire to try to get it to hold together, and it would just break apart. It was great."
Like the other vocalists who contributed to the album, Grohl cowrote his track with Iommi, penning lyrics for the song after hearing Iommi's riffs in the studio. The guitarist struck his most productive partnerships with Anselmo, Corgan,
and Idol, all of whom wound up writing multiple songs with Iommi, though each vocalist landed only one track on the album.
"We had no idea what we were going to do," Iommi said of his work with Corgan, which eventually yielded two songs. "Billy said, 'Why don't we do a song with a lot of riffs in it?' That's just up my street. I love that. I came up with these riffs, and we just went on and made it into an eight-minute song ['Black Oblivion']."
Given the implausibility of bringing together all the vocalists on "Iommi" for any sort of extensive touring, it's unlikely that the guitarist will be able to hit the road in support of his solo debut. However, Iommi said that he is hopeful that he can share the stage with a number of the singers on the album for at least a few select gigs.