May 16, 2012


Black Sabbath Drummer Out of Reunion

Lester Cohen
Lester Cohen

Update: The other members of Black Sabbath have sorta kinda not really responded in a statement, saying, "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." -Black Sabbath, 5/17/12

We were all excited to see the original lineup of pioneering metal band Black Sabbath reunite at multiple festivals this year, but after guitarist Tony Iommi's cancer treatment prevented the band from headlining Coachella, we became concerned. Then drummer Bill Ward (pictured second from left) expressed dissatisfaction with his role in his band and we got nervous. Now, well, s**t, this is just not good at all.

Ward posted a 1,500-word open letter to "Sabbath fans and fellow musicians" on why he would not join the three original members on the group's three scheduled performances or upcoming new album.

The latest diss, according to Ward, happened in April when the band confirmed an appearance at UK's Download Festival. "I’d been asked to participate 'minimally' in the Download festival," Ward writes. "I believe I’d been offered no more than three songs to play while another drummer presumably played the rest of the show with Black Sabbath. I was not willing to participate in that offer. I was not prepared to watch another drummer play a Sabbath set, while I was to play only three songs."

Ward expressed that his fight is with "Sabbath's representatives" and not the band members themselves. "I hold no malice or resentment towards the other band members," Ward wrote. "I love them; I’m tolerant of them; I’m frustrated with them, as they may be with me. My fight has never been with them. I’ll love them forever. In my opinion, nobody wins this time; the band doesn’t win; the fans for an original lineup don’t win. Nobody wins, nobody. Even the ones who thought they did."

Fans knew this might be coming when the drummer revealed his objections to an "unsignable contract" in February. But looks like it's official. Maybe they'll just pick up Jason Bonham and pretend this whole messy thing never happened.