Black Sabbath Responds to Ward – Sorta

Black Sabbath issued a non-response late on Thursday night to Bill Ward’s statement from the other day.   It reads:

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.

So basically, they’ve decided not to say anything.  However, the use of the phrase “There are two sides to every story” implies there’s more to this than we are aware.

Full disclosure: I work for both Bill Ward & Geezer Butler doing their sites, and neither of them is talking to me about this.  I’m as much in the dark as you are reading this.

I even directly asked them who the drummer is, and got no response.  My money’s on Clufetos, although I personally would like to see Bev Bevan do it, given he’s a friend of theirs, and is also from Birmingham.


  1. they cant’ do more laconic !!

  2. Mike Newsom says

    Two sides to every story… by all means, keep the other side to yourselves! If they were right (whoever ‘they’ are), they’d splash what they’re thinking to put this to rest. I’ve even discovered a Facebook page akin to “boycott Sabbath without Bill Ward”. This may be a bigger caacaa storm than they think.

    Still trying to figure out how Bill is the only ‘expendable’ member of the band.

    • Go to the official black sabbath website. When it opens, there are about thirty photos of the band. Bill has been removed from all of them. At the bottom of the page there is a photo from cal. jam. And Bills face has been blackened out with a marker. How disgusting is that. I don’t want to hear it is for legal reasons. It should not have come to this in the first place. Even Appice said this has become a joke.

      • Mike Newsom says

        Wow. Even if the current promo stuff doesn’t have him, who is trying to erase the past? This is as about as sophomoric as it gets. Black out a man’s face with a marker? Sound vindictive, anyone?

        I wonder if Bill has seen this. He’s been removed from the Wikipedia page, too.

        Maybe the Birmingham gig is at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel schoolyard.

    • I have a feeling this whole thing is going to end up like the just announced cancelled/postponed Van Halen tour. What a mess.

    • Yes, I admire Heaven and Hell, but no Bill Ward, no Black Sabbath. The Soviet Communists used to erase expendable people by doctoring photos too. Rush is one of the few mega bands that split profits equally , but Sabbath’s most powerful band member (Sharon) won’t have it.

  3. overmatik says

    Well, so things are definitely over them. At least they should get a former BS drummer for the spot. There will be a sad day in Sabbath history when the like of Clufetos is sitting behind the drumkit.

    I am definitely not buying the new album.

  4. Monte Self says

    well all I can say is they should have had all the details worked out before 11-11-11 and as many say it’s not a Black Sabbath Reunion without Bill. so they should change the name IMHO !, so in all efforts to make it one I had created a new Facebook page to boycott the upcoming shows ( I love the guys but also feel deeply let down)

  5. This whole situation has left a bitter taste. I’m feeling so conflicted about my favorite band, and favorite member. I bought tickets and airfares for this gig the first day possible. Now I wish I didn’t. At least I get to see Metallica and Opeth at Download.

    Sabbath bloody Sabbath indeed.

  6. Really sad news..
    But one thing about this that really makes my blood boil, is all the comments on Black Sabbaths facebook-page regarding this post. I won’t go into it here, but there’s some really disrespectful things going on there.
    This will be as much Black Sabbath as it would have been if Bill was on board. It’s just not the Sabbath line-up we were promised on 11.11.11.
    To me it’s still Sabbath. And the people who says “No Sabbath withouth Bill” or “Tehre can’t be a Sabath without Ozzy” just seem so narrow-minded to me.
    Anyways, my biggest hope right now is for Tony to recover from this cancer-shit. And hopefully we’ll get both a new Sabbath-album and a full world tour.

  7. I don’t understand why they wouldn’t name the drummer at least. I mean seriously, they’re playing this freakin’ weekend and won’t tell us who is on drums?
    The use of the term “substitute drummer” is interesting though; it sort of gives Bill recognition as the “actual” drummer.

  8. Apart from moral, sentimental AND financiary elements, maybe the right question is : is Bill physically ready to drum for a two-hour Sabbath show ? Maybe the financial issue is coming directly from the answer to this question…

    • Phisically not ready? And do you think Ozzy is? Or Tony, for that matter?

      PR wise I think saying nothing is the best the Sab camp could do. It already sucks that all this got out, particularly considering Tony’s illness. No reason to keep going on and on over it.

      • Why did I focus on Bill regarding full ability to play ? Just because of what happened in 1983, 1994, 1997, 1998 with “Selling My Soul”… Anyway you’re right in your last sentence.One should try to remain focused on music – not that easy, but seeing Tony on stage at Download will be far beyond all these drummer issues – sorry for Bill, OK, he was part of the original sound (Supernaut, great!) but is his contribution as essential as the other three ones’ from a strictly musical point of view? Apart from the “original gang” spirit, I do not think so, even if I don’t mean that his unput was negligeable.

        • Monte Self says

          Ozzy don’t have near the voice he had 30/40 years ago , Bills Drums don’t squeak like Ozzys voice , I saw this lineup at Ozzfest and Bill and Geezer CARRIED Tony and Ozzy through it !, Tony has changed most the leads on the songs and Ozzy can’t hit the notes. so morons think that Bill can,t play for some sorry ass reason !

  9. Ben Gonzales says

    Sabbath “Money” Sabbath!

  10. I must say that I am very disappointed that I will not get so see all the guys together again. I did see the original black Sabbath in 1979 with Van Halen as the opening band and I have been hoping and praying for years to see them all together again.
    Black Sabbath brand name has been confused over the years with so many different band members singers and drummers no disrespect to any of them they were all very good but aside from Ronnie I don’t think they were really what you should call Sabbath he really took the bands sound to another place kind of like Brian Johnson taking over for Bon Scott. Neither tried to be the singer before them but just stepped up and made great music. Now that all being said I was under the impression that Bill Ward was replaced and or stepped down for personal reasons at the time or right after Black Sabbath had removed Ozzy also and please correct me if I am wrong that Ozzy left for personal reasons what ever that may have been. I don’t care these things happen, and this is a business after all no matter what you say You need to make money to be able to make music. Now they can just play on their legacy and do it for them selves and for the fans I would guess that they are all ok as far as fiances are concerned. From what I have read it looks like Bill is angry that he isn’t getting his share that is unfortunate as because of this I do not get to see the REAL Black Sabbath. Why not just split everything up equal and lets get on with it. For us Please. Life is too short you guys are family you had a child together do it for the child who knows in a couple of years it may be too late. What a great movie it would make oh boy how about that put your differences aside and get together and do a movie and split it up everyone is happy. ditch the suits and sit in a room hug it out and lets get it done.

  11. Vinny Pavia says

    What is up with these guys?
    I smell a rat
    one plus one does not equal 2 here

  12. They’re right. Every story has two sides.

    I love Bill Ward but something is not right here.

    1) Bill says he’d play for free, but this is allegedly about more money

    2) He says he’ll play for free but doesn’t like the “we’ll see how it goes’ part, so THAT is why is not playing.

    That does not sound too confident to me. He should know in his heart he will fucking kill it and it will go amazing.

    3) Why would they say ‘we’ll see how it goes”? How what goes? Hanging out for the pre and post show catering? They are talking about seeing if he can handle it.

    Sadly I may fear that Bill is not physically up to the job. He may be in public denial about it, and the other three may not want to say anything publicly to embarrass him.

    This is just a hypothesis. I’m not judging Bill or the rest of the guys. I’m just trying to understand this whole situation.

    Anyway, if this isn’t the case I would have to side with Bill.

    • overmatik says

      The thing is, they knew all about his possible weak condition before 11.11.11. What pisses me off is something being promised and not delivered.

      If they had not announced this as a reunion and got together with another drummer I would be OK with that, the lies piss me off.

  13. TomOzzy123 says

    This is like they are in the 1970s and still on drugs and immature. They are older musicians and need to chill. Sabbath fans want to see all 4 members on the new CD and live. Who cares if they are a little off? The Rolling Stones suck live, and people come in droves to see them. This is a historical reunion. Even if Bill screwed up every song, I would still cheer for them. I have seen Sabbath with Ozzy when his voice was roached and almost gone, and I gave them standing ovations. Give Bill the money and end this charade.

  14. I was on board with the whole “No Ward, No Sabbath” mindset, but I must admit I’ve retracted somewhat. Some people are getting too gung-ho about it. Nobody made a big deal when KK Downing was replaced in Judas Priest…I could make a long list of classic bands whose original members were replaced without much turmoil. Long story short, I’m grateful Tony Iommi has stepped up to play at all, considering his health issues. I recognize and respect 3/4 of the original band as “Black Sabbath.” Of course i would prefer to see the full band reunite, but I’ll take 3/4 of the band over nothing at all. If they tried to go on as Black Sabbath without Iommi, I would be outraged…I can’t align myself with all the pissing, moaning and mudslinging. My position is that true fans of the band should accept the circumstances and be grateful we have even a 75% reunion, despite of the business end of things which we really have no right to opine on since those dynamics are not made public. We have no concrete facts, just speculation and unfortunately typical internet mob mentality. I will not “boycott” anything that would jeopardize my chance to see and hear Tony Iommi play guitar. I’m going to see them at Lollapalooza, I can’t wait for the new album, and I’m glad that, unlike another classic band of the 70’s, at least they’re not dressing up someone to look like Bill Ward, LOL!

    • PatrickS77 says

      What you overlook though is that in those case the original members, who wanted to take part, weren’t denied their rightful spot. KK Downing decided to leave Judas Priest. If Bill would say: “Hey, I’m not interested in the reunion!” no one would have a problem with anyone replacing him, but that’s not it, he wants to take place but wants to be treated fair. So it’s apples and oranges really.

    • Luiz Souza says

      The spirit of reunion was tainted when Ward was ditched. RIP Sabbath.

  15. rangemasterJim says

    OK, lets break it down. Physical ability has nothing to do with going in a studio and laying down tracks – I am sure Bill Ward can do that. He wants more than a weekly paycheck. He was never treated to the same writing credits or marketing benefits as the others. He wants to make up for lost years – too late now. He’s spoiling his own legacy . Hell, Tony promised never to set him on fire again in his book – isn’t that good enough!

  16. Luiz Souza says

    CLUFETOS AND THE SHARON’S TESTICLES. That’s an appropriate name for them. And they’d erased Ward on the photos of the “official” website. BLACK SABBATH R.I.P.

    • George Xenikoudakis says


    • The Shining Wizard of Sexy says

      Well, last night I had a dream about Black Sabbath… and Terry Bozzio on drums! It would be awesome!
      I’m sure, whoever he will be, that next drummer will be a killer. I’m although sure that he won’t be Ward. Stupid people who think there cannot be Black Sabbath without Bill and spit their shit on Tonny, Geezer or Ozzy, are not real Sabbath fans.

      “There are two sides to every story” is exactly what I think from the beginning. Not that I think that Bill, or the others, is/are liar(s). It’s just like in a divorce, noone has is all right, nor wrong, nor good, nor evil. Something occured that prevents them from understanding each other’s point of view.

      The 4 original members created the music I love, and did inspire quite all the bands I love. But Black Sabbath was able to make wonders without Ozzy, or Bill, even without Geezer, through all ages of heavy metal. What about records like Born again, Mob Rules, Eternal Idol, or Dehumanizer (maybe my favourite) ? All previous or current members of Black Sabbath deserve high respect from us. If you love them, you can be sad about Bill’s outing or dates cancellations, but you have to show respect.

      I was born just a few days ago last Sabbath gig in France, in march 1977. I was expecting so much from this tour and the gig in Paris that may never come true. For now, all I want is that they keep making music, maybe a the best record they ever made, and what I whish overall is Tony beeing fully healed. Dio’s death was just too hard too endure.

      I love you, guys. The four of yours.

      • Luiz Souza says

        Terry Bozzio is a professional. He is beyond Sharon’s claws. Keep dreaming, dude. You’ll see Mike Bordin, Bobby Rondinelli or Tommy Clufetos playing Iron Man and Paranoid. There’s only three guys which made up to Ward’ s standards on Sabbath. Two of them are unavailable and the third is dead. And so it is Sabbath to me. R.I.P.

  17. Andreaus says

    None of us know the whole story. If the band want to stay silent and concentrate on the gigs/album etc. that’s their choice to make. The internet and digital media is great but we sometimes expect to have access to literally everything and instant responses from band/celebrity etc. Why should we? I have to wonder if the reason Bill has not been offered more money etc. is partly due to him not taking part in the writing sessions that began last year. In other words he has brought some of this on himself. Having said that, this should have all been sorted out from the start. They have probably been told to remove Bill from the photos for legal reasons and as they haven’t officially replaced him how can they put a new picture up there yet. What really disappoints me though is the way so many have turned on the band assuming they alone are to blame for this. I think people should be more positive and think more of Tony’s recovery. Can’t wait for tomorrow night’s gig.

  18. Who knows what the real story is… but if there’s an issue with Bill, then why bring him into the fold back on 11/11/11? Black Sabbath is something I grew up with, it was bigger than any one person… you guys had something really special and even though you’re all in your 60’s and likely each have more money than most of your fans who are willing to drop $75-$100 a ticket (at least), you end up with this BS… I really don’t care whose fault it is… You would think with Ronnie dying and Tony sick, that you would feel something more than the love of money, you would realize that this is it… when you were each 10-15 years old, were you practicing and playing anywhere you could simply because of money? I would hope it was about the love of the music! There are 4 members of the band I loved, 4 faces and those 4 faces are the ones I see saying “Fuck You… it’s about money, not you”! I don’t care to hear about Sharon, or any other person in management… Bill, Tony, Ozzy and Geezer have the final say, you 4 call the shots no matter what else may be going on… and you’ve said all I need to hear… hope you enjoy the money! Signed a Disgusted Loyal Fan…

  19. “Unfortunately, the Sabbath reunion is shaping up to be disastrous on many levels. We don’t know the whole story yet, but it appears that pure greed has derailed one of the most promising rock reunions ever proposed” I think this sums it up pretty well.

  20. Seans statement was amazing! I second that



  23. I have one last comment on this situation. I do not care who you want to believe in this matter. But Mr. Ward does not deserve the treatment he is getting from the Sabbath camp. He is as much of Sabbath as any other member. How dare they treat him this way. He has done nothing but be supportive to all members and line-ups of this band. And I go went back again to their official site to see the photo from the cal. jam. Just to make sure I was not seeing it wrong. But, no. His face has been covered over with a marker. If you don’t know what I mean. Go to the site. When the page loads the photos will appear. Go to the picture where they are sitting down . Move your mouse to the right over the film. Other photos appear. And there it is. You can move your mouse over all the photos and they move to show what is underneath. How fucking dare they allow this to happen. I don’t care who is managing the band. This has to be known by Tony and Gezzer. So yes I am pissed off. I do smell a fucking rat. And I know what her name is. If you don’t want to post this then don’t. How fucking dare they treat Sabbath fans with such disrespect. I hope they get booed of the fucking stage on Saturday.

  24. Hello,

    This situation “in a sense” is like a Sick Gag/Joke and or Propaganda for Alternative Reasons.

    The Fans have Significantly Contributed to the Success of Black Sabbath, Ozzy, Tony, Geezer and Bill.

    But yet, the Fans, and Certain other people, are being taken advantage of, unappreciated and Disrespected.

    This is Immoral, Selfish, Irresponsible, Conscienceless and Disrespectful.

    Bill Ward has been the only person in the Black Sabbath Camp to be somewhat personable in his written statements in reference to this current dilemma and disgraceful drumming and contract situation. He has gone into some depth and detail and has also expressed some regret, unhappiness, frustration, disappointment, etc,etc. He has been somewhat informative and has reached out and enlighten the Fans about certain matters in reference to this Absurd and unfortunate current situation.

    But, the others, not much of a Response, Hardly anything.

    A lot of People/Fans are frustrated, hurt, angry, disappointed and sick of this current Absurd situation.

    Unfortunately, in a sense it seems that maybe part of the reason why this situation continues to be handled in the manner that it does, is because, They Can, and They Can Get Away With Doing So without any Significant Repercussions from the Fans.

    Explanation, If a Significant amount of the Fans Protested properly and boycotted the New Album and World Tour where by doing so would effect certain people Significantly Financially, we would all see this situation be Resolved in a very short period of time.

    Black Sabbath and its Handlers, Discussed, Planned and Came into Agreement and Made Arrangements to make a Major Announcement on 11-11-11.

    They (Black Sabbath and Company) proceeded with and Made the for mentioned Major Announcement on the arranged and scheduled said date of 11-11-11.

    The Fans, the Media, The Music World and the Public during the Announcement on 11-11-11, were Informed, Presented and Sold as Advertised a Full Black Sabbath Reunion, New Album and World Tour including all four (4) original band members being of course, Ozzy, Tony, Geezer and Bill.

    We are not getting what was Presented, Advertised, and Offered for Sale to US.

    Not as Advertised! False Advertisement! Disrespecting the Fans/Customers!

    Yes, there are a lot of issues that most people are unaware of. But, it would only seem proper, that being to handle this matter in a sensible, responsible and respectful manner that Ozzy, Tony and Geezer at least should properly address the Fans, the people who have significantly contributed in their Success/Finances about at the very least Part of the Bill Ward/drumming situation.

    Bill Ward is one of my favorite drummers. He is a great drummer/musician/and seems like a nice person with good character, compassion, integrity, decency, dignity, rational, compassion, respect, wisdom, love, etc.

    I enjoy a variety of music and have been playing guitar for over 36 years. Black Sabbath is my favorite band, and I would love to see the original band.

    But, there is a concern for Bill Ward Health which hardly any Fans express these concerns.

    Bill is 64 years old, and has had a Heart attack some years back.

    From some pictures of him not to long ago, he seems to be overweight.

    Although Bill is a Vegan and he exercises and runs, what type of shape is he currently in?

    Bill knows he is in a much younger persons/mans game.

    Some years back in and interview with Bill, he had made reference to being up in age and that hard rock/heavy metal drumming is like a Heavy Weight Fight each and every show when he’s drumming.

    Obviously, you should be in very good shape, not over weight, very good cardio condition, very good endurance, etc.

    I am not implying that Bill cannot do a full tour, but as previously questioned what type of shape is he currently in?

    In part of the most recent statement, Bill makes reference that it was said to him, play the first show on May 19, 2012 and see how it goes.

    So, obviously from that statement, it suggest his conditioning is in question a long with a concern for his health and well being, a long with the quality of their shows/ performances, etc,etc.

    Hopefully Tony continues to do well and has a successful and full speedy recovery and that this current situation with Bill is properly resolved, and hopefully soon.

    But, if they have to go with another drummer until this Absurd and unfortunate situation is properly resolved. Some suggestions, Carmine Appice, Kenny Aronoff, Bev Bevan, Vinnie Appice, Terry Bozzio, Lee Kerslake, Bobby Rondinelli, etc,etc.

    Take Care, Stay Healthy, Strong and Safe.



  25. chrisandresen74 says

    I was just thinking about how Vinny Appice got slammed becasue of his playing
    on The Devil You Know. Or his lack of playing becasue he had to follow a drum
    machine. So maybe the rest of the guys should just use a drum machine for the shows.
    It is going to be pointless without Bill anyway. No Soul. I remember how awful the reuinion
    show with that other drummer from that crappy 90’s band was here in Indianapolis.
    How many times do I need to hear Paranoid and Iron Man with a drummer that has
    no feel to make it worse.
    Don’t care anymore. I will wait for the Tony Martin Deluxe Edition CD’s

  26. Mike Stanton says

    Bill was given his shot, “come play with us and we will see”. He did not take it that shot. I don’t think you need to have all 4 to have a great Sabbath show. It would be great to see them all, but take what we can while we can….

  27. Stuart Tacey says

    I love Bill Ward, but judging from his Download Festival/Ozzfest 2005 performance he can’t play anywhere near to the level he used to. Can you blame him tho, he is a lot older now and Sabbath material is obviously very physically demanding to play. He seemed to play more simply without a lot of the fills he is known for in 2005 and definetely did’nt hit the kit as hard. Vinny Appice would be a great choice as a replacement or even his brother Carmine who i rate better than Vinny.

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