Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven & Hell with Black Sabbath - Tony Iommi, T.J. Lammers (2011)

Chapter 30. This is your captain freaking . . .

When we toured America in the summer of 1972, we travelled around in a private plane. We’d fly somewhere, stay there for a few days to do the gigs in the area, and then we’d fly off to somewhere else to do the same thing. If at all possible we’d stay in Florida so we could be on the beach during the day. Flying private planes was a Meehan thing. We had already used them back in 1971 on the Paranoid tour. In March of that year we toured the States with Fleetwood Mac, and they hopped on a flight with us. Ozzy sat in the front and we were all chatting away in the back. Suddenly the plane dived and went: ‘Vroooom!’

Ozzy had taken the controls. I don’t know why on earth the pilot let him do it! I shat myself. Bloody hell! But of course Ozzy thought it was hilarious. Everybody was screaming and shouting so he did again: ‘Woo-hoo!’

It didn’t do much for Bill’s fear of flying. He used to get terrified and needed to take Valium to get on a flight. He soon started driving instead of flying. He had a GMC mobile home and his brother, Jim, drove him from one gig to the next. Occasionally they’d have to stop at one of those places where you have to dump all the contents from the toilet. One day Jim was pushing the button that was supposed to release all the shit and nothing was happening, so Bill decided to get underneath to see what was wrong. He had got into CB Radio, like the truckers, and he was going through a stage of talking like that, with all this ‘breaker 1-9, come in Bulldog, 10-4’ stuff. So Bill was under the bus, going: ‘There’s a negative on the shit, Jim, a negative on the shit. Nothing’s happening, negative.’

He was banging away at stuff, then his brother pulled a lever again and all this shit and blue sewage stuff just went all over him.

Blwerkk!

Bill just went: ‘I’ve got a positive on the shit, Jim, positive on the shit.’

Jim pulled the bus forward and there was the outline of Bill on the ground with this pile of shit around it. His face was covered in it and he looked like the Creature from the Black Lagoon. It was one of those classic moments.

Typical Bill.