Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven & Hell with Black Sabbath - Tony Iommi, T.J. Lammers (2011)
Chapter 33. One against nature
On 2 January 1973, we flew off to New Zealand for the Great Ngaruawahia Music Festival of Peace near Hamilton City, followed by a few shows in Australia. On our way there the plane stopped in New Delhi and bloody Singapore and everywhere in between and beyond, and we’d have to get off the plane, wait an hour, get on again. It took forever. We got pissed, sober, pissed, sober …
At this Ngaruawahia Festival somebody erected a huge cross on a hill and set it on fire. I don’t know why he did this, but it looked really good. I can’t remember much else about that. The trip to it is still etched on my mind, but the memory of the gig itself must have gone up in flames together with that cross.
After New Zealand we had a gap before the next shows in Australia. Patrick Meehan said: ‘Let’s take a break and go to Fiji!’
So off we went. Again, it was a real pig to get there and after we landed the drive along a dirt track to the hotel in the middle of nowhere was diabolical. It was a lovely place, close to an equally lovely beach, but at night it took on another life.
This hotel had an outside bar. There were no drugs at all in Fiji, but there was plenty of drinking going on. In the middle of the night I went back to my room and there were so many bugs and cockroaches scurrying across the footpath that walking along all you’d be hearing was ‘crunch, crunch’. I went into my room and I got into bed. I put the light out to go to sleep and I felt something on my chest. I put my hand there and it was a cockroach about three inches long. I shot up, put the light on and I could hear ‘krrch, krrch’ - all of them running across the stone floor to go down this drain in the room. It was absolutely awful. In a panic I phoned the reception, screaming: ‘Get over here!’
This guy wandered in, all casual, with a tin of spray. He gave me the tin and off he went, just like, well, what’s he moaning about?
I said: ‘Is that it?’
You couldn’t kill them either. It’s like they were made of stone. I was hitting them with my shoe, and it was just like … nothing. Still going ‘krrrrch!’ A bloody army of them.
In Fiji it was also the first and the last time we all played golf. We were merrily shanking our way to the first green when I saw this toad hopping around and I picked it up. This bloke came running towards me, screaming: ‘No, no, no!’
Apparently this was a deadly poisonous toad. It had all this stuff coming out on to my hand. I shot back to the hotel in a panic, to wash it off in a hurry.
Meanwhile, Bill stepped into an anthill and suddenly all these ants were marching up his leg. They bit him so he was dancing all over the place, going: ‘Aah, uh, oh, oohh!’
A leisurely game of golf and I nearly got poisoned to death and so did Bill. We packed up after that. I don’t think we even made it past the second hole.
Apart from all that, it was lovely in Fiji. We went out on a boat, sat on the beach and then to this bar at night, just doing the things you do while on a holiday.
But I never got a proper night’s sleep there.