Black Sabbath Says Reunion Shows Are Still On

Black Sabbath has released its own statement following drummer Bill Ward’s announcement that he won’t be participating in the upcoming reunion shows, saying that the band will do the gigs without him.

Ward’s lengthy statement was posted on his personal website May 15, officially declaring that he wasn’t going to play the three reunion dates because the band hadn’t guaranteed he would be allowed to participate in all three gigs, let alone get paid for the first show.

Bill Ward, Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer and Tony Iommi at the Black Sabbath press conference in Los Angeles.

The reunion was initially going to be a full summer tour but the majority of the dates were postponed in February because of the news that guitarist Tony Iommi was diagnosed with lymphoma. Ozzy Osbourne is still playing most of the previously scheduled dates, along with Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler and guitarist / former Ozzy band member Zakk Wylde. The excursion, which has been renamed “Ozzy & Friends,” also features Slash on select shows.

The Black Sabbath performances that are still on the books are scheduled May 19 in the band’s hometown of Birmingham, United Kingdom; June 10 at Download Festival in Derby, U.K., and Aug. 3 at Lollapalooza in Chicago. 

Black Sabbath posted a brief statement in response to Ward’s news May 17, assuring fans that the drummer wouldn’t affect the reunion plans.  

“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 first brought up his issues about the reunion in February when he released a statement saying he wouldn’t be participating in the tour and new Black Sabbath album unless he received a “signable contract.” Black Sabbath said at the time that it planned to “continue recording without him although our door is always open.”