Black Sabbath drum saga - All you need to know



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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.

Rich Chamberlain

Rich is a teacher, one time Rhythm staff writer and experienced freelance journalist who has interviewed countless revered musicians, engineers, producers and stars for the our world-leading music making portfolio, including such titles as Rhythm, Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, and MusicRadar. His victims include such luminaries as Ice T, Mark Guilani and Jamie Oliver (the drumming one).