Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler looks to have outed the identity of their “substitute drummer” for Bill Ward. According to Butler the band have been rehearsing with Tommy Clufetos (Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Zombie).
Speaking on his official website, he offered the following statement on the current state of Black Sabbath:
“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, promoters, 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.
In other news...
Yesterday’s controversy of Bill Ward being missing in action on the images featured on the new Black Sabbath website has been given more context. A newly-issued statement from the Black Sabbath camp reveals Ward‘s omission was by his own request. The statement reads:
“At the request of Bill Ward, through his attorney, so as to not give the public the wrong impression about his involvement in the current Black Sabbath lineup, we have temporarily removed Bill Ward‘s images from the main pages of the blacksabbath.com official website. In accordance with Bill Ward‘s attorney’s request, we are doing so for the duration of the forthcoming shows.”
The band played their first show of their latest reunion tonight (May 19th) in Birmingham, England. According to fans in attendance the setlist for the proceedings ran as follows:
01 – “Into The Void”
02 – “Under The Sun”
03 – “Snowblind”
04 – “War Pigs”
05 – “Wheels Of Confusion”
06 – “Electric Funeral”
07 – “Black Sabbath”
08 – “The Wizard”
09 – “Behind The Wall Of Sleep”
10 – “N.I.B.”
11 – “Fairies Wear Boots”
12 – “Tomorrow’s Dream”
13 – “Sweet Leaf”
14 – “Symptom Of The Universe” (partial)
15 – Drum Solo
16 – “Iron Man”
17 – “Dirty Women”
18 – “Children Of The Grave”
19 – “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” (partial)
20 – “Paranoid“