Regardless of whose side you’re on, the battle over the drum throne for Black Sabbath’s upcoming shows continues to get uglier by the day. To the surprise of no one, current Ozzy drummer Tommy Clufetos played with Sabbath at Saturday’s show at Birmingham 02. Yet the war of words between the remaining members of Sabbath and Bill Ward continues. Firstly, although Bill Ward hasn’t made an official statement about his pictures being removed from Black Sabbath’s website, their site claims that it was a request through Ward’s attorney:
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.
Meanwhile, Geezer Butler wrote about the goings-on from his point of view on his website. In a post entitled “heavy heart,” he claims that Ward’s camp wanted “an amount that was so unrealistic that it seemed to have been a joke” to play the Download show at Donington. He also stated that Ward hadn’t said anything to anyone in Sabbath before making his statements to the press. He ends his post saying that he “hopes to play with Bill again someday,” but “for whatever reasons, it wasn’t meant to be this time.”
Yesterday, after the Birmingham show, Ward responded to Butler’s post rebutting some of the points he made in his post. Among the clarifications, he says that he reached out to Sabbath to tell him that there were contractual difficulties before going public, and that he had asked for a “decent” fee when he thought the Download show was part of a tour, but was willing to accept a smaller payment as part of the two-show tour. “I will continue to be honest and respectful toward the band and our fans,” he ends his post. “I will also confront any untruths about me, and any fault finding missions aimed at me that come to my attention.”
This is definitely a mess, and with the band being forced to have discussions in public forums, doesn’t seem like it’s going to be fixed anytime soon. That said, if the band are continuing to work on an album, there’s still time before it’s going to be recorded, and if the band’s smart, they’ll negotiate with Ward to at least have him appear on what could well be Black Sabbath’s last album. In the meantime, catch some more of the 02 show and the set list after the jump.