Sabbath reunion falters as drummer Ward demands ‘signable’ contract

March 2012



Drummer Bill Ward has said that he may not take part in the much heralded ‘original line up’ Black Sabbath reunion indicating that he has pulled out, because he is still to agree terms. The band have a new album planned, a headline slot at Download 2012 and a World tour in place. In a letter to the band’s fans posted on his website, Ward wrote: “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 toward me as an original member of the band. Last year, I worked diligently in good faith with Tony, Ozzy and Geezer. And on 11/11/11, again in good faith, I participated in the LA press conference. Several days ago, after nearly a year of trying to negotiate, another ‘unsignable’ contract was handed to me”.  He continues saying “Let me say that although this has put me in some kind of holding pattern, I am packed and ready to leave the US for England. More importantly, I definitely want to play on the album, and I definitely want to tour with Black Sabbath. Since the news of Tony’s illness, and the understanding that the band would move production to the UK, I’ve spent every day getting to or living in a place of readiness to leave” and adds “That involves something of a task, and as I’ve tried to find out what’s going on with the UK sessions, I’ve realised that I’ve been getting ‘the cold shoulder’ (and, I might add, not for the first time). Feeling somewhat ostracised, my guess is as of today, I will know nothing of what’s happening unless I sign ‘the unsignable contract’. The place I’m in feels lousy and lonely because as much as I want to play and participate, I also have to stand for something and not sign on. If I sign as-is, I stand to lose my rights, dignity and respectability as a rock musician” concluding “I’m not holding out for a ‘big piece’ of the action (money) like some kind of blackmail deal. I’d like something that recognises and is reflective of my contributions to the band, including the reunions that started fourteen years ago. After the last tour I vowed to never again sign on to an unreasonable contract. I want a contract that shows some respect to me and my family, a contract that will honour all that I’ve brought to Black Sabbath since its beginning”, At the time of writing the tour and album were going ahead without Ward. In 2010 Ozzy Osbourne sued Tommy Iommi after Iommi filed  a Trade Mark application for the Black Sabbath name, claiming Osbourne had renounced his rights when leaving the band in 1979, despite rejoining in 1997. At the time of writing Ward had been replaced in the line up by a new drummer , Tommy Clufetos, although Ward still says he would like to perform, and with Tommy Iommi is sidelined by cancer treatment, the outing now appears to be ‘Ozzy & Friends’ rather than Sabbath, although there may be a version of  ‘Black Sabbath’ at Download in the UK,and for one US show in August.  and more on Sabbath here and more on Sabbath’s past rifts here

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