The original lineup of BLACK SABBATH was set to head out on a reunion tour this year but due to guitarist Tony Iommi‘s cancer treatment and drummer Bill Ward‘s contract dispute, it doesn’t seem like it is going to happen. Instead, the band will play one date at the U.K.’s Download festival in June. So will SABBATH play in America at all? Ozzy Osbourne‘s wife and manager, Sharon, tells VH1 Radio Network‘s Dave Basner, “They’re gonna be doing one show in America this summer but I can’t say yet because we can’t announce it, the promoters have to, but they are doing one show in August here together.”
When asked if that means Ward will be part of the reunited band’s lineup for the U.S. concert, she said, “We don’t know yet, we really don’t know. It’s up to Bill. The door is open for him to join us, so it’s up to him.”
Meanwhile, SABBATH, without Ward, continues to work on its upcoming album in England. Sharon gave VH1 Radio Network an update on how that is going. “It’s going good,” she said. “They’re doing really well in the studio. Gosh, they must’ve written 15 new songs already and it’s going great.”
When Bill Ward announced he wasn’t taking part in the reunion until he was presented with a “signable” contract, many fans unjustly blamed Sharon for it all. She told VH1 Radio Network why she has nothing to do with Bill‘s contract. “It’s unbelievable,” she said. “Everybody has their own manager in SABBATH. They’ve been doing this a long time and we have an independent team of people that work for everybody because everybody’s got their own manager, so we have an independent group of people that have come in to manage the project, and I don’t, and I get the blame because Bill doesn’t want to play with the band; he doesn’t like his deal and I get the blame. It’s like, ‘Alright, I’m a big girl, I can take it.'”
The rest of BLACK SABBATH‘s previously scheduled European summer shows will be replaced by “Ozzy And Friends”, at which the singer will be joined by SABBATH bassist Geezer Butler, former Ozzy guitarist Zakk Wylde and other special guests, including Slash on selected dates.
Butler will join Ozzy during the shows for a set of SABBATH songs in honor of Iommi. The 64-year-old guitarist continues to make “excellent progress” in his battle with cancer, which was diagnosed earlier this year.
On February 17, Ward posted an update in which he said he “remains hopeful” for a positive outcome to the situation and is “prepared to go to the U.K. and record, and later tour with the band.” It is not clear whether Ward issued his statement before the news broke about SABBATH‘s plans being canceled.
(Thanks: VH1 Radio Network‘s Dave Basner)