Rob has been keeping you guys pretty updated on the news of Bill Ward’s side of the soap opera that has become this Black Sabbath reunion. It kind of has you sympathetic towards Bill and creates a bit of animosity towards the other band members. While I don’t like the idea of Sabbath calling it a reunion without Bill, unless he was deceased, you also have to be empathetic and try not to pick sides. On one side you have Bill Ward speaking out, talking about an “unsignable contract”, but you really have no choice but to assume that the other band members are being difficult and not offering him enough money. Maybe he’s demanding too much. Perhaps he doesn’t fathom the fragility of the current music business. You have to weigh the facts before you can make any kind of judgement call as to who’s dicking who. All of this shit should have been hashed out, coordinated, and contracted long before they made some huge announcement that there was going to even be a reunion. Now they are all looking like a bunch of greedy geriatric assholes. Regardless what people say on the internet, they will still go see Sabbath play as Tony, Ozzy, and Geezer. If they say that they won’t spend that kind of money to see those three…they probably just don’t have the money.
So, getting to the story; Black Sabbath released a statement shortly after the confirmation from Bill Ward saying that he wasn’t going to play, by saying almost absolutely nothing. Well Geezer elaborated a little more on things today when he released a short statement on his official website. (Read what Geezer said after the fold)
I feel sad to see the Sabbath reunion becoming a bit of a soap opera on the internet. It has been a very tough year for us as a band, having announced our reunion plans, only for Tony to be diagnosed with lymphoma, leaving us no choice but to postpone the proposed Sabbath tour, and then for Bill to go public on his site about an un-signable contract. None of us knew how Tony was going to respond to his intensive chemo therapy, and radiotherapy. Ozzy and myself flew to England to be with Tony, and on his “good” days, we’d meet at his home studio and put ideas together for the upcoming album, all sitting down together, no drummer involved, just 3 of us quietly putting together ideas. We thought that when we had enough songs together for a full band rehearsal, we’d move back to L.A and put the whole thing together with Bill. Unfortunately, to our surprise, Bill issued a statement on his site saying he’d been offered an un-signable contract. He hadn’t told any one of us he was having contractual problems, and frankly those things are worked out between our representatives, and never between the four of us let alone in public. We had the idea of keeping just one show in this year, hoping that Tony would be well enough for that show, and that things with Bill would be sorted. As you may expect, a one off show at Donnington Festival (Download) costs an absolute fortune to stage, involving over 50 people, transport, air fares, hotels, meals, agents, promotors, accountants, lawyers etc, so none of us, expected to make much money from it- it was a one off Sabbath show for the fans, before we go into recording the new album. Apparently, this wasn’t acceptable to Bill’s representatives, they wanted an amount that was so unrealistic that it seemed to have been a joke. So we resigned ourselves to doing Download without Bill, hoping he’d change his mind and at least make a guest appearance. We started rehearsals a few weeks ago with Tommy Cluefetos, the drummer who will be on the Ozzy and Friends Tour. Brilliant drummer and good bloke. It was decided we’d better do a warm up show, to break the ice since we haven’t played together live. The O2 Academy was available in Birmingham, where we were rehearsing, so we decided on that, and to make a donation to Help For Heroes Charity, since we’d be ironing out any glitches we may have. Then Bill put out a further statement saying he’d been ready to play the Birmingham show , but he was expected to have to do it “for free”- well, I think that’s basically how you raise money from gigs for charity – you play them “for free”.
All I am saying is that there are two sides to everything. I do hope to play with Bill again some day. For whatever reason; it wasn’t meant to be this time. Bill’s made his decision, and I have to respect that. Hopefully this painful year will be worth the wait for the new Sabbath album and end in joy and happiness for all.
So there you have side number two. What can you really say now? I guess it is what it is and there really isn’t a reunion as was advertised, but hey, it’s the closest you’re probably ever going to get at this moment.