BLACK SABBATH: ‘We Have Engaged A Substitute Drummer For The Forthcoming Shows’

BLACK SABBATH members Tony Iommi (guitar), Geezer Butler (bass) and Ozzy Osbourne(vocals) have released the following statement:

“We have decided not to make any detailed comment on Bill‘s latest statement. There are two sides to every story. We have been working hard at rehearsals making excellent progress after Tony‘s treatments and we have engaged a substitute drummer for the forthcoming shows. See you at Download.”

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.