Today, Black Sabbath kick off their last tour ever. And as many know, it’ll be without original drummer Bill Ward. This time last year, Ward and Ozzy Osbourne were in a very public war of words about the band’s decision to move on without him. The “he said-he said” didn’t find any party winning, with Ozzy stating that he didn’t think Ward was capable of doing a 16 month tour or an album, due to health problems. Ward, for his part, said that he was presented with an unsignable contract. Now Geezer Butler has claimed that health is indeed the reason that Tommy Clufetos is playing drums, not Bill. During an interview with Classic Rock Revisited, he says they would’ve had to cancel the tour if Ward was still in the band.
It’s beyond the money thing. It is not really anything to do with that. It is whether he’s capable of touring or not. On the 13 tour, he was not on that tour. About a week after we started he had to go into the hospital for major surgery. We would have had to cancel the tour if Bill was still with us. He hasn’t been well for a long time. He’s had a couple of heart attacks. You have to face facts when you get to our age and you’re not in great, great health rather you can go out on the road for two years, or whatever. It is a hard life to do. The easy part is when you’re on stage playing. It is all of the traveling and everything else that comes with it that is the hard part. I think Ozzy, in particular, didn’t think Bill would get through it. He certainly wouldn’t have got through the first part as he was in the hospital. We can’t keep cancelling tours just because the drummer can’t play.
It’s still a bummer that we won’t get Ward as the drummer for the band’s finale. It’s sad if his health is to blame, but even worse if financial reasons are behind it. You can catch the final dates here.