BLACK SABBATH Bassist On Tomorrow’s Hometown Gig: ‘Rehearsals Are Finally Finished’

BLACK SABBATH bassist Geezer Butler has issued the following statement in regards to the band’s homecoming concert tomorrow night (Saturday, May 19) at the O2 Academy in Birmingham, England:

“Well, rehearsals are finally finished, and now for the nervous part, playing our hometown gig. Since it is a warm-up show, there will probably be a few glitches, but remember it’s all in a good cause, since we’ll be donating to the Help For Heroes charity, a fantastic charity that helps our troops who have been wounded in recent wars. No matter what your feelings about the wars are, these men and women willingly dedicate their lives for our defence and freedom. I hope the people who are making profits by re-selling the tickets to real fans find it in their hearts to do the right thing and donate at least some of their gains to the charity. Here is the link. Thanks for caring. Geezer.”

Drummer Bill Ward officially announced on Tuesday (May 15) that he will not be joining BLACK SABBATH for this year’s performances. In a long message posted on his web site, Ward explained that he was simply unable to come to terms with his bandmates. The drummer claimed that the group asked him to participate “minimally” at the band’s Download festival set in the U.K. in June, then later offered him the chance to play a Birmingham warm-up show on May 19 “for free and see how the first show goes” without any guarantee that he’d get to perform at the other concerts, which he ultimately turned down. He said, “I can’t prioritize the SABBATH fans making one show more important than the other. I can’t do that. All of you are important. It’s all the gigs or none at all. I can’t come to Birmingham and ‘see what happens’ knowing there is a risk of not being able to play Download or Lollapalooza. Again, for me, it’s all or nothing. I didn’t want to make this decision, but I have to be honest and transparent.”

BLACK SABBATH was supposed to tour the Europe and North America this year as part of a worldwide trek in support of a new album, but Tony Iommi‘s cancer diagnosis put those plans on hold.

Ozzy, Iommi and Butler recently spent time in London recording their first album together in 33 years, although without Ward it is not the original SABBATH reunion announced last November.

The rest of SABBATH‘s scheduled European summer gigs will be replaced by “Ozzy And Friends”, at which the singer will be joined by Butler, former Ozzy guitarist Zakk Wylde and other special guests, including Slash on selected dates.