Black Sabbath drum saga - All you need to know

The ins and outs of Bill Ward/Sabbath dispute

© Tony Frank/Sygma/Corbis

There's been so many twists and turns in the Black Sabbath/Bill Ward saga that it's easy to get lost in it all. Here's our handy round-up of the whole ugly affair.

Sabbath return...

November 2011: It seems a long, long time ago now, doesn't it? Way back in at the tail-end of 2011 all four original members of Sabbath sat in Hollywood's Whiskey A Go Go and confirmed that they were getting back in the saddle for a tour and new album. Hurrah!

...without Bill Ward?

February 2012: Hang on, trouble's brewing. With the reunion already rocked by the horrendous news of Tony Iommi's health problems, Bill Ward announced that he had not been issued with a 'signable contract', and could miss the tour and recording sessions. A day later the rest of the band stated that they would be carrying on without him.

March 2012: It emerges that due to Iommi's health issues many Sabbath dates would be re-branded as Ozzy and Friends, with Ozzy solo drummer Tommy Clufetos heavily tipped to take up residency behind the kit.

Ward confirms exit

May 2012: Ward confirms that he's out of the reunion, saying he's still waiting on a signable contract. He suggests that the band wanted him to play their Birmingham warm-up gig for free. In statement Ward said: "I couldn't help feeling some resentment towards the failure to reach an agreement, the failure to remember where we came from – the failure to be brothers, as we once were." Ward is then cropped out of all images on Sabbath's website.

Geezer responds

May 2012: Another day, another statement. This time it's Geezer Butler who says that Ward was asked to play for free as the Birmingham show was a charity gig. He also says that the drummer requested his image be removed from Sabbath's site.

Clufetos gets the gig

May 2012: Finally we have a Sabbath show at Birmingham's O2 Academy, but it's three original members up there, not four, as Tommy Clufetos tackles drum duties.

June 2012: Download is just around the corner, will the band work out their differences? We've got our fingers crossed.

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