Tony Iommi and his metal shop accident the resulted in him losing two of his fingertips is one of rock’s most legendary stories, but few likely know what really gave Iommi the inspiration to pick up a guitar again after such a horrific accident.
As part of Gibson Guitars’ “Icons” series, Iommi recalled receiving a special gift shortly after losing his fingertips.
As around the 4:46 mark in the video below, Iommi says, “The manager of the firm came round to my house to see how I was, and I was really depressed. He said, ‘I brought you an EP round, will you play it?’ I said, ‘I don’t want to listen to music now.’ I was really depressed – the last thing I wanted to do was listen to a guitar player. [The EP was] Django Reinhardt. He said, ‘No, put it on.’”
Reinhardt famously lost the ability to use the ring finger and pinky finger on his left hang in a fire, but he would go on to become one of the most influential jazz guitarists in history.. “When I was first introduced to listening to his stuff, I couldn’t believe it. I liked bluesy stuff and jazz. When I heard his gypsy jazz, it was really brilliant. Especially having lost the use of two fingers, it’s just amazing. I could relate to that after me doing the same sort of thing. It really inspired me to learn more by doing something with my fingers. So I made these tips for them so I could play.”
The Gibson “Icons” interview can be heard in its entirety below.