Earlier in the month, BLACK SABBATH drummer Bill Ward announced that he will not be able to participate in the recording of the reunited group’s new album or perform with them on tour unless he is presented with what he described as a “fair agreement” and a “signable contract” that financially reflects his contributions to SABBATH‘s history and his standing as a founding member of the band.
BLACK SABBATH members Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne and Geeer Butler vowed to continue recording their new album without Ward, saying in a statement that they “were saddened to hear via Facebook that Bill declined publicly to participate in our current BLACK SABBATH plans… We have no choice but to continue recording without him although our door is always open… We are still in the U.K. with Tony. Writing and recording the new album and on a roll.”
When asked for his opinion on the SABBATH/Ward dispute, MACHINE HEAD drummer Dave McClain told Artisan News (see video below), “The Bill Ward thing, it sounds really bad to me that he would be offered this, ‘Either sign it or…’ Especially a band like BLACK SABBATH where money is just pouring in for this reunion, you know what I mean?! Bill Ward, he may not be Ozzy or Tony Iommi or Geezer Butler, when you think of SABBATH, but to a lot of people, Bill Ward, I mean, he’s SABBATH. I read his whole statement, and I think he’s in it for the right reasons, and unfortunately, he’s dealing with some people that don’t look at him as a fair part of the band or whatever.”
BLACK SABBATH has essentially canceled all its announced tour dates save one due to guitarist Tony Iommi‘s ongoing treatment for lymphoma. According to a press release, Iommi will still join fellow original SABBATH members Ozzy Osbourne on vocals and Geezer Butler on bass at the U.K.’s Download Festival on June 10. But 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.