In a new interview with Jeff Gaudiosi of MisplacedStraws.com, Tommy Clufetos talked about what it was like to step in for original BLACK SABBATH drummer Bill Ward on the legendary heavy metal band's final tour. He said: "To be honest, I've done it so many times where I'm coming in — I've always come in after somebody. That was a higher level of that. But knowing that I've replaced a name drummer every time I've come in, and eventually, I'm kind of maybe possibly this much of a name drummer now, even though I pride myself on trying to stay under the radar, I was prepared for that situation. And I understand that BLACK SABBATH is Ozzy [Osbourne], Tony [Iommi], Geezer [Butler], Bill Ward; I get that there's four parts to that, and I feel that I went in respecting that. And I know that you've got three guys that I was playing with, there's three leaders. Ozzy knew me; he had my trust. And I had to earn Tony's trust. I had to earn Geezer's trust. And I don't do that through saying, 'I'm your guy,' I do that through going in every day and knowing every song. And that's how you earn people's trust. So I think I won them over that way. And I think going and playing the gigs, I won the people over that way. There's always going to be naysayers, and that's part of the business, but my goal was to go out there and kick ass every day. And I can bet that nobody walked out of the show unhappy. So that's the only thing I can do, is do my best playing drums and just go through it. If I didn't do it, somebody else would have."
Asked what it felt like to play SABBATH's final concert in Birmingham, England in February 2017, Tommy said: "I try not to go too deep into those things, 'cause I have a long career ahead of me. I love playing with those guys and I respect them to the highest level, but at some point, I've got 20, 30 more years to go. I can't dwell on, 'I did this.' To me, you're only as good as your last gig. So it's a high point, but you just kind of gotta go, 'Well, that was that,' and it's a shame that it ends. But everything ends. It all ends. But I have the highest respect for the standard that they kept through the years up to that very last show."
He continued: "I've never been in a band where there was three other guys like myself, and I'm not comparing, but I did rise to the occasion. We were all up there giving a hundred and ten percent. And when they go do a gig… A lot of the times when I tour with other guys, they're on their phones or they're taking pictures or they're out with their buddies before or after or whatever; there's all of these distractions, Two and a half hours before the show, I don't talk to anybody. I'm in that dressing room getting ready for the gig, and so are they. And it makes me go, 'Oh, I'm doing exactly the right thing. I'm not an idiot.' I'm doing what to be great you're supposed to do, and that's supposed to give a hundred and ten percent all the time, and they do. Ozzy is so professional. He does his vocal warm-ups. He's one of the greatest frontmen — he's the greatest frontman I've ever worked for. He can manipulate that audience like no other. I mean, he has the magnetism, to me, of an Elvis Presley in the heavy metal world. He really does. He walks out there and he smiles and he has 'em right there before he even says a word. And that's not to take away from his amazing vocals that he doesn't get enough credit for a lot of time too. Tony Iommi plays with such concentration that he's just perspiring just from focusing. And Geezer Butler is one of the greatest bass players to ever walk the face of the Earth. It's him, it's John Paul Jones, it's James Jamerson, and there's only so many of those guys. And I got to play with those guys. So what a pleasure."
Clufetos's new band TOMMY'S ROCKTRIP, where he offers his take on the rock 'n roll influences that made him one of the most sought-after drummers in the current hard rock scene, released its debut album, "Beat Up By Rock 'N' Roll", on May 7 via Frontiers Music Srl. Eric Dover, known for singing and playing guitar with JELLYFISH, SLASH'S SNAKEPIT and Alice Cooper, handles lead vocals on the LP (though Tommy grabs the mic for three tracks). Eliot Lorengo (bass), Hank Schneekluth (guitar) and Nao Nakashima (guitar) round out the supporting cast.