May 19 Warmup Gig in Birmingham

An additional live show has been announced this morning. Black Sabbath will play what’s being called “A Warmup Gig” on May 19th in Birmingham, England at the O2 Academy.  The warmup being for the Download Festival in early June.   They’re playing the O2 Academy.  At this time, there’s no word as to whether there will be any sort of opening act, or more importantly who is playing drums.  At last check, the lineup of Black Sabbath was:

  • Tony Iommi – Guitar
  • Ozzy Osbourne – Vocals
  • Geezer Butler – Bass
  • ??? – Drums
  • Adam Wakeman – Keyboards

There’s been several rumours over the last few months or so regarding the drum slot, including several news stories that insisted they had the inside scoop as to who was playing drums.  Thing is, there are no facts.  We don’t know who is playing drums.  Even this morning, when the news of this gig broke, there were several people who sent me messages saying they “discovered” that Bill Ward is playing.  Why is this?  Because the Black Sabbath Facebook Info tab lists Bill Ward as a member.  Interesting theory, but that specific text they’re referring to has been there since the official Facebook page was set up for the Sabs, when Bill was involved.

As I’ve told people, if Bill Ward returns, you won’t “find” the news buried in an info tab on a Facebook page – it will be announced properly.   It’s sad to say, but there is NO NEWS as to who is playing drums.  If Bill returns, it will be properly announced.   Until then, we continue to hold out hope that Bill will be manning the skins.

Apparently, tickets go on sale this Friday for the Birmingham warmup gig.  If anyone gets a ticket, can you send in a ticket scan?  Tkx.

Finally, I’ll be getting my 2012 tour date page up date in the next day or so.  It’s a bit behind.


  1. Israel Della Noce says

    No disrespect to any other drummer, but there are only 2 guys still alive that can hit the skins on this actual gig, in thar order: Bill Ward or Vinny Appice.

    • I wouldn’t exclude the former Ozzy-drummer Mike Bordin if I were you!! Looks and plays like Bill Ward ’78!! ;-)

  2. So- gig THREE WEEKS away and we don’t know who’s playing drums? Sheesh……….it suggests that negotiations continue and so it might still be Bill, but that’s only an assumption……….., as I said, sheeesh……… :o)

  3. Well, actually the great news is that Tony’s recovery seems to be going pretty good if they are going to perform so soon. As for Bill, every true fan wish he would be there and if not than it will suck, but it will still be a great gig, as long as they are not calling a reunion.

  4. Well, the fact that they haven’t said anything about Bill or who’s on drums leaves me a bit hopeful that The Desired Resolution may be forthcoming. However, it could also mean the band will just show up with a different drummer and play, without announcing anything. This thing is just over two weeks away — one would think that announcing Bill Ward is on drums would help sell tickets, so if we don’t hear anything in the next few days…. ugh. Who knows. I mean they could play this show with a different guy on drums and STILL not have the Bill Ward situation resolved one way or the other. That would suck.

  5. Screaming Doug says

    Very interesting that they used NDS graphics. It has a decidedly OLD SCHOOL feel to it! lmL

  6. Here`s the official press release:

  7. KazolOrajia says

    I’ve got a question, Joe. How do we know Adam is gonna be on keys? Far as I know, there’s been nothing said about a keyboardist at all. Then again, you do have insider info.

  8. Whoever they have playing the drums should be hidden at the side or behind the stage.Give him the Geoff Nicholls Treatment.

  9. is that a triforce?

  10. kevin e. kral says

    (Please excuse me for botching my last attempt at this – I don’t know if you got the previous truncated version of my note.) Let us all say together: BILL WARD IS THE ONLY MAN ON THIS OR ANY OTHER PLANET WHO SHOULD SIT BEHIND THE DRUMS. HE IS THE ONLY MAN WHO HAS AN UNDENIABLE RIGHT TO PLAY ON THIS TOUR AND ALBUM PROJECT. For the sake of history and the integrity and, yes, sanctity of MUSIC HERSELF, please resolve your differences so that this titan can assume his rightful place in this truly great band. I pray to GOD, LUCIFER, RA, THOTH, BAAL, CTHULHU, AZATHOTH, NYARLATHOTEP, ODIN, AND SHIVA that this may happen. AVE ATQUE VALE.

  11. Bill. Ward.

  12. Richard F. says

    To me and like everyone its no Official Reunion till they get Bill into the band with no more BS! Why try a reunion if people can’t get along? Dumb.

  13. If they call it Black Sabbath, then play without Bill Ward… Will Ozzy / Sharon take it back to court over use of the Black Sabbath name? Just wondering….

  14. Jeff Downing says

    Damn I wish I could go…. probably no way on such short notice.
    LOVE the poster. They should really pull out at least one song from Never Say Die! With all due respect to Ozzy, I honestly don’t think his pipes could hit much off the last four albums. His voice peaked on Sabotage in my opinion. Still, would love to be there!

  15. May 19th? Typical….a date that clashes with a postponed Moscow show, and for those who bought tickets, hotel and flights in advance and maybe still intend to visit Russia, missing this opportunity also!!!…and still no decision if Bill is playing!
    A total farce from the off about this ‘tour’.

  16. bill ward or nothing its not sabbath without all original members

    • That’s a opinion. I have undisputed facts that there can be Black Sabbath without Bill Ward. They’re ‘Mob Rules’, ‘Live Evil’, ‘Seventh Star’, ‘Eternal Idol’, ‘Headless Cross’, ‘TYR’, ‘Dehumanizer’, ‘Cross Purposes’, ‘Forbidden’. My copies say “BLACK SABBATH” but they don’t say “Bill Ward” on them anywhere. Fact: a band doesn’t have to have ALL original members to still be called the same band. That’s true for Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Rush, and lots of other bands.

  17. Does anyone have the pre-sale link for the gig? Think there’s a ticketmaster one…

    • tickets went on sale… 9.00 am GMT today 4th may…..gig …sold out with 30mins..
      tickets now turning on ebay for silly money for a gig where knows if …bill ward…will turn up ???

  18. The good and most important thing is, that Tony Iommi seems to feel better and so I’m optimistic for a full recovery. I wish him the best.

    But I hope, that the BS management can jump over their shadow to get an agreement with Bill Ward,
    He’s a very special style with isn’t compareable to every other drummer. Compare e. g. drumming on the “Heaven & Hell” and the “Mob Rules” LP. There is a great difference – “heacen & hell” is much better. On “Born Again” Bill was back and the album was more Sabbath again.
    No real reunion without Bill Ward.
    Would you call it reunion, if another guitarplayer would play?
    Bill has to play in the album.

  19. baton_bb says

    It can be Bobby Rondinelli. Bill Ward! Please, come back to Sabbath!

  20. The best thing about this is Mr. Tony Iommi back up on stage. Hopefully this means he is doing well.

  21. ilarion says

    What if Bill Ward situation is a prank ? What if there was no disagreement between him and the band and everything was done just to keep fans attention to the band while Tony is recovering ? It want be a surprise for me if Bill is with the other guys recording the new album . Anyone thought about that ?

    • Hello,

      In an alternative sense, it’s an Interesting concept in reference to the Bill Ward situation being a prank.

      But, have you noticed this “Alleged” Bill Ward situation being reported on a National Level, MTV, VH1, etc, or do you think this is just some egotistical, twisted asshole making this bullshit up?

      This was suspect from the beginning and we questioned this from the onset. But although we do not know the band members personally, we do not think the band would do something like that. This is based on what we do know about them and how we feel and think about them.

      In reference to the reunion, obviously the only way to have a proper reunion of the original Black Sabbath is to include all four (4) members on the New Album and the World Tour.

      If Bill Ward actually turns out not being a part of this project and it’s over the “alleged” contractual problems. This in a sense would not only seem to be potentially irresponsible, inconsiderate, selfish and disrespectful on certain peoples parts, it would also in a sense seem to be bad business practices, especially after this was announced, advertised, presented and sold as a Reunion of the original Black Sabbath including a New Album and World Tour.

      If it turns out unfortunately that Bill Ward is not going to be part of this project, that was announced, presented, advertised and sold, obviously the proper response from the band is to have a proper announcement with a proper explanation.

      Hope everything works out in a positive way.

      Take care,



      • ilarion says

        Hello Joe!

        First of all, thank you for your response. I knew someone would answer my post, but i couldn’t imagine it will be you, so i’m glad i’ve got the most comprehensive answer :) (sorry for my english). I didn’t know the word about the Bill Ward situation has spread as far as to MTV , VH1 and is discussed so widely . In this case possibility of prank / joke etc is minimal, but abscence of any proper statement from the band kills me . I think it’s a bit selfish to make fans wonder what the hell is happening. Anyway I hope they’ll reach an agreement and we’ll finally see them together .


  22. Well …Got my Tickets for O2 Academy..Last time I saw Sabs was at Sun City in South Africa…but that was with Tony doesn’t really count….

    Really Hope Bill plays….but if not ..that’s Life…..

    Cant Wait…..

  23. You would think they have to be rehearsing for the gig….someone must be at the rehearsals playing the drums. Can Bill or anyone just come in to the gig with out rehearsing??

  24. Sergeevich says

    Holy shit!
    It will be exactly on my 25th birthday! Amazing!
    My Sabbath’s bootleg collection is waiting… ;)

  25. Abdullah Rashad Dawood Main(Dylan) says

    I think a good one to get on the drums would be Vinny Appice or Tommy Clufetos(of-Ozzy).Maybe they won’t use a drummer.Remember-“Psycho Man” and “Selling My Soul”?It is rumored there is a drum machine and no drummer.I hope they won’t be putting the drummer hidden from view.It would be neat if Dave Ghrol or Roger Taylor(of-Queen)did the drums.Maybe they can use the drummer from Geezer’s band(GZR).

    A drummer is not that hard to replace if the drummer is good.Sabbath worked with- Eric Singer,Bev Bevan,Terry Chimes,Bobby Rodinelli,Cozy Powell,and Vinny Appice.Any drummer Sabbath had ,played the song as the original sounded.It wouldn’t matter if they got Phil Collins.They could use anyone.They used Shannon Larkin before.The drummer could be the most unlikely and it would sound good.

    If I knew how to play drums and they picked me,that would be cool.What if they used Vinnie Paul?What if they used Joey Jordinson(of-Slipknot)?There are many good choices to pick from.They could have Simon Wright.Maybe,Carmine Appice?See what I am saying,here?

    As long as-Tony,Geezer,and Ozzy are performing.Although,Rob Halford filling in for Ozzy at Ozzfest in 2005 was cool.Does anybody remember that one?That was when Ozzy fell ill and had voice problems.Rob did those songs good.It is good to see Sabbath any way we can get them.The name and legacy must be kept alive.

    In 2013, the band(in some form or another)has lasted 45 years!That is good !I have enjoyed every lineup.I love the Sabbath!I love every- singer,drummer,bassist,keyboardist,and Tony.He has kept it going for all these years.I have respect for him doing that,despite what people have said about the changes,throughout.

  26. Funny thing, I was just watching Robert Downey Jr. on Leno and they were showing a scene from the Avengers. In the scene , Iron Man (Tony Stark) is wearing a Black Sabbath T-shirt with this Never Say Die graphic. How cool is that!

  27. Sabbath tickets went on sale today at 9.00 am GMT gig sold out within 30 mins tickets are turning up on ebay for silly money now for a gig that no one knows if Bill Ward will turn up for to play so not a true Sabbath reunion as much as everyone wants this to happen i dont think it will happen now there is so much b*llsh*t and rumours floating around at the moment but i feel that time is running out.

  28. Tried to get tickets for this. Was up at 10 to 9 this morning and yesterday morning refreshing the ticketmaster page waiting for them to start selling, was even on the phone. Must have sold out in literally seconds like. Think the O2 only has just under 4000 capacity (if balcony seats included). Prob going to go and see them at download now. Hope Bill is playing, saw them in 2005 in Prague and they were awesome. Even Ozzy has said that Black Sabbath is Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and BILL WARD. No other incarnation is the same. So I don’t know how they can do and album or gigs without him that being said. Hope for the best.

    On the album front (with risk of getting a message back from Joe saying ‘I will post news when I know!’), is there any news at all on this? Even the titles of a few tracks? How many songs are going to be on the album, the length of the album etc etc?? It all seems to be kept very hush hush.

  29. the piranhas are busy on ebay…tickets at over double face value going fast. am i going ? Well the academy have charged my card…..but do i have tickets ? I have no email confirmation or am able to find out from them if i have tickets…confirmations can take up to 72 hours….so is this some sort of secret lottery then ?
    Confessed and disillusioned….

  30. All this talk of the 4 being brothers, its only Black Sabbath with the 4 original members seems to be meaningless unless they ALL play as Black Sabbath.

  31. Yet again the ticket touts seemed to have swiped all the tickets, with them being on ebay within seconds of going on sale!! How can this be so, when you were restricted to 2, and the website had crashed at 9 with phone lines blocked?… Makes my blood boil & that genuine fans miss out big style…………………

  32. Nothing has changed. It is not Black Sabbath and will not sound the same without every member or Black Sabbath, that does not include some stand in so they can satisfy contractual obligations!

  33. Danny Epic says

    This Sabbath shirt is worn by Tony Stark in the new Avengers movie for pretty much the entire film. No joke. Very cool and mind blowing.

    • ilarion says

      That particular T-Shirt was made during Never say die tour and is not in print since 1978. Original T-shirts cost some 500 to 800$ and are extremely difficult to track down . There are some replicas on ebay , but colour is a bit different

  34. Claudio says

    I think Bill must be the man on drums and Geof at the keys. or the other way ani´t will go to the show!

  35. Really dismayed that the pre-sale tickets for the O2 Academy gig on May 19th were on sale on E-bay before being sold to the public the following day. How is it that ticket touts are able to get these tickets before fans do. There were 3 pages of these tickets on Get Me In!!! And now there are even more tickets being sold at £100+. I have been a fan since 1975 and I cant afford the silly money that these touts are asking……..There should have been a better way of getting tickets to the fans, like us producing old tickets/programs/t-shirts from years gone by and to fans who live in Birmingham!!! Words can’t express how disappointed and annoyed I am. Wouldn’t surprise me if one day tickets just go straight to E-bay/Viagogo/Get Me In!!!!!

  36. Mick Wilkes says

    Queued for 10 hours on Thursday night/Friday morning outside the O2 Academy in Birmingham to secure my tickets for the gig of a lifetime, I just feel sorry for the true fans that couldn’t get away from work to queue up and had to run the gauntlet of the online ticket sales fiasco!

  37. Eric Singer,Bev Bevan,Terry Chimes,Bobby Rodinelli,Cozy Powell,Mike Bordin and Vinny Appice have alll drummed with Sabbath

    Mike Bordin and Vinny Appice have stood in for the Ozzy line-up

    Maybe Nicko McBrain or

  38. If they can’t get Bill I hope they get either Vinny or Bev Bevan (from the Born Again tour, love his work on those bootlegs! I’d also suggest Cozy Powell because of his work on the Dehumanizer demos if he were not dead). I do wonder what kind of shape Bill’s playing is now anyway, because when I saw him with the Sabs in 2005, he struggled for the whole night (as did Ozzy during some points), and even Geezer didn’t play that wonderful bass solo of his for NIB. In fact, Tony did the majority of the work that night by going COMPLETELY out of his way to add new life to his old solos. I believe this was one of the nights where Iron Maiden cut into Sabbath’s set, because their show was longer then BS. One of them in Maiden that night also had a Tony Iommi SG I think….. I do wonder what other songs Sabbath would have played if they had more time….. Geezer’s bass solo and The Wizard I think highly likely…. and a spotlight solo for Tony too I think. The only complete song they played that wasn’t from the first 3 records that night was Dirty Women. I really wanted to see Heaven And Hell after this but did not have the time or money….. and now Ronnie is gone (cries loudly)! For all you Sabbath fans out there, go get Cross Purposes, Dehumanizer (and it’s demos), and both versions of Born Again!….. These are Sabbath’s most underated albums… The bootleg Born In Hell from 1983’s tour is really cool too! And we also can’t forget about Never Say Die and Technical Ectasy….. I do wonder when Mark 1’s 9th album will be done and also am sad that Mark2/3 WILL NEVER DO ANOTHER ALBUM AND WILL BE ETERNALLY STUCK AT 4.5 ALBUMS WORTH OF SONGS! That is, if you count the linup of Tony, Geezer, Ronnie, and Cozy……

  39. Leighton says

    Running out of time to announce if Bill’s back in the band or not. lf it’s not announced soon! we’ll just have to cling to the hope that they will surprise us all on the night of May 19.

    What are you hearing Joe?

  40. TomOzzy123 says

    To me…if this is Black Sabbath’s last hoorah, then Bill must be part of the reunion. He’s healthy and can still drum, so money/contract should be settled on and get his butt back behind a kit. Quit this nonsense.

  41. D.Cheema says

    I got to the box office early, in fact I thought there would be a large queue there was about 16 people by 0130 hrs. The venue guaranteed 100 tickets (2 per person) so if you arrived 51st then there was a chance you might not get a ticket as then you would be competing against the online lottery. That was the venues position before 8 am. At 5 am there were 50 people who had rolled up by the time box office staff had got to work early at 8 am and the queue had grown to about 130 people I reckon the venue had made a wise decision to scrap the guarantee of 100 tickets and try and make as many tickets available to all who had waited, the only proviso was that only cash would be accepted. This must have mean’t tthis was eating into the Ticket Web or Ticketmaster stash, which was fine with me, but really good for all the lightweights who turned up after 6 am. I got my tickets. I went to The Diskery after I got my tickets (which used to sell records to Ozzy when still living in Aston) and had a look at the venue at 11 am. I was pleased to see that the queue was about 20 long and the office was still selling tickets. Fair play to the Academy as waiting in the queue if you can get to Birmingham is by far the fairest way. Online applications is simply a game of chance. I reckon the cash (I estimate about $20,000) will keep the wolf from the door before they have to hand it over . It is only right that as many local Sabbath fans get to see the band and being in the queue is the way to do it – tut tut to the locals who have stuck their paper tickets on eBay. I gave my other ticket to Liam at the Diskery – at face value – and on easy terms!

    • BlackCount says

      Spoke to you in the Diskery after getting my ticket, I was about no.60 in the queue and was very relieved to get my ticket. Were you at Ozzy’s Town Hall show? Hope to see you there.

      • D.Cheema says

        You (we) were lucky that the Academy decided to sell actual tickets to all that waited and those that turned up. Sadly I was not at the Ozzy show, but me and Liam will be at The Diskery and then the pub next door before the show, which is a gentle stroll away from the ‘Dome’. Jimmy I believe has possibly managed to get a message to the boys, they used to deliver discs to Ozzy I hear..

  42. Leighton says

    l can’t believe their hasn’t been some sort of announcment or statement from the band regarding the drumming situation. Surely they’re not just gonna rock up to O2 with an unannounced drummer unless it’s Bill. Also l can’t believe their hasn’t been a leak from anyone in the know. Somebody must know something.

  43. Matthew Oliver says

    Am I the only one thinking the lack of a drummer announcement means it will be bill and they’ll just unveil him on saturday? worse case scenario it’s a drum machine, in all honesty if there is I’d rush the stage and play in his place, I might not be ward but I’m sure fans would rather see someone inspired by him than a flipping machine, then again, my ticket still hasn’t come through lol

  44. sean may says








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