Artist News

Black Sabbath’s war of statements rumbles on

By | Published on Tuesday 22 May 2012

Black Sabbath

In a blog post published at the weekend, Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler said that he was “sad to see the [latest] Sabbath reunion becoming a bit of a soap opera on the internet”, so I’m sure he’ll be glad to see that drummer Bill Ward has issued another statement on the matter. Though it is in response to other things Butler said in his blog post, so I’m not sure he can really complain.

As previously reported, Ward claims that he is unable to take part in Sabbath’s current reunion (despite having been part of its announcement back in November) due to having been given at “unsignable contract”. Last week Ward issued a statement announcing that all negotiations for him to be involved had now collapsed and that he would definitely not be taking part, despite very much wanting to play live again with his former bandmates, particularly at last weekend’s hometown show in Birmingham.

But Butler wrote: “To our surprise, Bill issued a statement on his site [in February] saying he’d been offered an unsignable contract. He hadn’t told any one of us he was having contractual problems, and frankly those things are worked out between our representatives, and never between the four of us, let alone in public”.

He also claimed that Ward had asked for “an amount [to play the Download festival] that was so unrealistic that it seemed to have been a joke”, and complained that after the band announced the Birmingham show, which they would use to raise money for the Help For Heroes charity, “Bill put out a further statement saying he’d been ready to play the Birmingham show, but he was expected to have to do it ‘for free’ – well, I think that’s basically how you raise money from gigs for charity – you play them ‘for free'”.

He concluded: “All I am saying is that there are two sides to everything”.

And thus proving that rule, Ward issued a further statement via his Facebook page yesterday, responding to the various points raised by Butler. In it he said that he “had indeed notified Ozzy, Tony and Geezer, well before my first public statement, that I was having contractual difficulties”.

He continued: “I came out into a public forum to be accountable to the fans primarily, and to say at a public level there’s a problem. The band members stopped talking and corresponding with me some time ago, with the exception of a nice letter from Tony on my birthday. Prior to that, Geezer and I were corresponding, but that stopped abruptly in late February after I emailed a specific question to him”.

He also said that his proposed Download fee “was not an extravagant amount” and that during negotiations it had not been the fee for this show that had been a problem but rather “there were other parts of the offer that were unsatisfactory”.

Meanwhile, on the subject of the Birmingham show, he pointed out that “in my statement of 15 May, I clearly stated I would play Birmingham for free”.

Ward finished by saying that he would “confront any untruths about me, and any fault finding missions aimed at me that come to my attention”, so you can no doubt expect to hear more on this subject in the near future.

Read Geezer Butler’s blog post here.

And Bill Ward’s Facebook post here.