Last year, Black Sabbath announced plans to reunite, mount a major tour and record a new album, which would be the first to feature Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward since 1979. Plans were changed when Iommi was diagnosed with cancer, and the band decided to record a new album in the UK while he was undergoing treatment. ” Ozzy and Friends” (Butler, Slash, Zakk Wylde etc) will perform the planned Sabbath gigs instead.
Black Sabbath plan to play only two shows; one at Download and the other at Lollapalooza in Chicago. There’s also a “warm-up” show for charity in their hometown of Birmingham this weekend. Tickets for the Saturday (May 19) show sold out in ten minutes!
It turns out the band will play without original drummer Bill Ward. Ward has been holding out on joining his fellow Sabbath band-mates explaining that he hadn’t been offered a reasonable contract. He said his “bags were packed” and he was ready to come to the UK to record an album and go on tour, but he felt his was being undervalued. It appears he may be right as he now claims the rest of the band invited him to fly to Birmingham and join them Saturday to play “for free” and see how it went. He also revealed that the band wanted him to play a “minimal” part in their Download festival headline slot while another drummer took over for most of the show. Ward says he turned them down and thinks Black Sabbath have forgotten where they came from.