Well, today’s been an interesting day. Earlier this morning, we got another statement from Bill Ward about his drumming situation with Black Sabbath. Which appeared to be good news, that they’re still talking.
Then a few hours after that, we got a rather large and somewhat ominous update from Black Sabbath regarding the European touring dates. They’ve effectively been canceled, save for one – the Download Festival. I will include the full press release from Black Sabbath below, but here’s my thoughts on the matter. I believe we’re dealing with two separate issues here.
- Bill Ward’s contract situation
- Tony Iommi’s health
I don’t believe Bill’s situation of the last couple of weeks has anything to do with the Sabbath news today about European touring. I can’t prove that, as I’m not part of their inner circle, but from reading the announcements fully, I believe that we’re dealing with Tony’s health here as the culprit behind these European date changes. Tony’s had chemo, and will be having some other kind of treatment shortly. While he’s been doing great from all reports, cancer treatments can kick your ass and sap you of a ton of energy, so I’m not surprised at this in the least, having dealt with this in my own family.
Ozzy & Friends
However, to fulfill the live concert dates, and probably not piss off a ton of promoters over cancelling a ton of dates twice (remember they did the same thing in 2010 when Ronnie got really ill), the remaining European Festival dates will be billed as “Ozzy & Friends”. The lineup for those dates is now:
- Ozzy Osbourne – Vocals
- Zakk Wylde – Guitar (No Gus G?)
- Geezer Butler – Bass
They haven’t actually listed a drummer or keyboardist, but I think it’s safe to say we’re looking at Tommy Clufetos & Adam Wakeman. I’ll try and find out who that is going forward. It’s not going to be just these guys. There will be other “guests” too – hence the title. The press release mentions Slash will be with them on some dates; others are unknown.
Musings on Black Sabbath
If you read the various releases properly, and don’t just glom on the headlines, I think you’ll agree with me that I don’t think any of this affects “Black Sabbath”, save for the fact that a handful of festival dates that are no longer billed as Black Sabbath. There have been several statements saying that Tony is doing well, but due to ongoing issues they’ve had to change these live dates. There’s also the fracas with Bill Ward.
What I think is going on here (and I stress this is an opinion, nobody has told me this) is that Tony’s doing OK, but the treatments are getting to him a little, preventing him from going out and doing these Festival tours. During that time they’ll continue to work on studio material, and when Tony gets better, they’ll do live dates after the album comes out. What I do believe though is that these date cancellations have nothing to do with the Bill Ward situation – I think this is a total byproduct of the realities of Tony’s cancer treatments, and that the previously announced album is probably unaffected by all this. We’ll see.
In the meantime, I pray that Tony gets well, as cancer bloody well sucks. Took Ronnie from us, and I’ve had another family member go from that, and another that had the exact same thing Tony does; she’s been cancer free for a decade, so it can be dealt with. Hopefully this is what happens here.
Let’s keep good, positive thoughts and prayers directed towards Tony during all of this.
Official Press Release
BLACK SABBATH TOUR UPDATE: BAND’S SOLE EUROPEAN PERFORMANCE THIS SUMMER SET FOR U.K.’S DOWNLOAD FESTIVAL
OZZY & FRIENDS TO PERFORM MAJORITY OF OTHER SCHEDULED SHOWS
BLACK SABBATH –who late last year confirmed the recording of their first new album in more than 33 years and a worldwide headlining tour–have had to put some plans on hold due to Tony Iommi’s battle with lymphoma. At this time, BLACK SABBATH will perform only one show of this summer’s previously scheduled European tour. It will take place Sunday, June 10 at the U.K.’s Download Festival.
So as not to let the promoters and fans down, OZZY OSBOURNE will now perform the majority of the previously scheduled BLACK SABBATH dates (both festival performances and the headlining shows) billed as OZZY & FRIENDS. These “first ever” OZZY & FRIENDS shows will feature appearances by “special guest” musicians including GEEZER BUTLER (who will join Ozzy for a special BLACK SABBATH set as a show of respect and support to their friend, Tony Iommi) and longtime former OZZY band member Zakk Wylde. In addition, OZZY will be accompanied by longtime collaborator and friend Slash at select shows, with other “special guests” set to join the tour at various stops along the way (full list of dates, appearances below).
Tony Iommi continues to make excellent progress and is looking forward to getting back out on the road. Meanwhile, BLACK SABBATH continue to write and record music in the U.K. for their upcoming album. More information about these dates and BLACK SABBATH’s recording and touring plans is forthcoming.
The 2012 tour dates are as follows:
DATE CITY VENUE
Sun 6/10 Donnington UK Download Festival
OZZY AND FRIENDS
DATE CITY VENUE
Wed 5/23 Helsinki, Finland Hartwall Arena
Fri 5/25 Stockholm, Sweden Stadium
Sun 5/27 Jelling, Denmark Jelling Festival
Tue 5/29 Bergen, Norway Bergen Calling Festival
Thu 5/31 Oslo, Norway Spektrum
Sat 6/2 Malmo, Sweden Malmo Stadium
Mon 6/4 Dortmund, Germany Westfalenhalle
Wed 6/6 Prague, Czech Rep O2 Arena
Fri 6/15 Vitoria, Spain Azkena Rock Festival
Sun 6/17 Clisson, France Hellfest
Fri 6/22 Dessel, Belgium Graspop Metal Meeting
Sun 6/24 Milan, Italy Gods of Metal Festival
Tue 6/26 Vienna, Austria Stadthalle
Thu 6/28 Belgrade, Serbia USCE Park
Sun 7/1 Athens, Greece Rockwave Festival – Terra