Tony Iommi remembers the moment when he had to decide between his then-new group Black Sabbath and taking over as guitarist in Jethro Tull. He ended up only serving a brief and apparently unhappy stint replacing Mick Abrahams.
“Ian Anderson asked me if I would be interested in joining them,” Iommi tells Noise11. “I talked to our guys, and said: ‘What do you think I should do?’ They said: ‘You should go for it.’ And I said, ‘Oh, thanks! (Laughs.) So, what does that mean, then?'”
Iommi didn’t last long with Jethro Tull, appearing in a floppy white hat during a 1968 promotional concert film sponsored by the Rolling Stones called Rock and Roll Circus that ultimately remained unreleased for decades. The Who, John Lennon, Eric Clapton and Marianne Faithful were also on the bill with Tull and the Stones.
“I didn’t feel quite comfortable with it,” Iommi says. “Even when I went down to the rehearsal with them, I took (longtime Black Sabbath bassist) Geezer (Butler) with me. I said to him afterward: ‘I don’t feel happy with this.’ It just felt weird. I said (to Butler): ‘Let’s get the band back together.'”
Iommi admits that the Rock and Roll Circus film is “great fun” these days, calling the lengthy delay for its release “ridiculous. I kept asking (former Stones bassist) Bill Wyman, every time I’d see him: ‘You got a copy of that show yet?’ He said he’d get me one, and he never did. Eventually, of course, it came out — and I got a copy.”
Anderson most recently released a long-awaited follow up to Jethro Tull’s Thick as a Brick, while Iommi, Butler and Ozzy Osbourne are touring behind the reunion disc 13.