Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward has said in a lengthy statement published on his website that he will definitely not be joining his Black Sabbath bandmates for their upcoming reunion shows.
As previously reported, plans for the original line-up to record and perform together seemed on track after all four members confirmed their involvement in the latest reunion in November last year. However, in February Ward released a statement saying: “At this time I would love nothing more than to be able to proceed with the Black Sabbath album and tour. However, I am unable to continue unless a ‘signable’ contract is drawn up; a contract that reflects some dignity and respect towards me as an original member of the band … Several days ago, after nearly a year of trying to negotiate, another ‘unsignable’ contract was handed to me”.
Presumably this was an attempt to force the hand of Black Sabbath’s management, but sadly it failed because the next day the rest of the band published a statement of their own, saying: “We were saddened to hear yesterday 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”.
With that door remaining open, Ward seemingly attempted to forge on with negotiations. And in the statement published yesterday he said he tried even harder to reach a resolution after a Birmingham show was announced, because he didn’t want to miss out on playing to a hometown crowd. However, all hopes for having the full original line-up on stage for their three planned shows this year (the rest of the tour already having been switched to an Ozzy Osbourne solo outing) have now collapsed.
Ward wrote: “I am sincerely passionate in my desire to play with the band, and I’m very, very sorry that it’s fallen to this … I have had to stand up for myself and in doing so realise my actions indirectly, although unintentionally, are upsetting and hurting a lot of you. I know in my heart I couldn’t have done these concerts by agreeing the terms suggested. I made a solemn vow after the last European and Ozzfest concerts that I would never again enter into what was, in my opinion, a totally unsatisfactory contract. I have to stand for something, and as painful as it is, I’m doing it”.
He also said: “Although the statement was made that ‘the door is always open’ for me, as explained above, walking through that door is not always as easy as it sounds. There are many complicated issues and unseen and unspoken agendas on hand. I can assure you, my criteria for a ‘signable” contract is based in mindful principles, respectability, and acknowledgement of my history within the band”.
Read the full statement here.