Geezer Butler snubbed me says Bill Ward

Bowing out: Sabbath, with drummer Tommy Clufetos, after their Birmingham show
[classicrockmagazine.com] Bill Ward says his Black Sabbath bandmates were well aware he was unhappy with his contract – despite Geezer Butler saying they didn’t know anything about it.

The “Sab opera” continues with another statement from the estranged drummer following the band’s reunion show in hometown Birmingham, UK, which they played without him.

In his latest comment Ward vows to continue correcting any inaccuracies published about him as Sabbath work towards their headline slot at next month’s Download festival, followed by recording sessions for their first album with Ozzy Osbourne since 1979.

The drummer says: “Out of respect for the Birmingham gig I wanted to wait 24 hours before releasing this statement.

“I had indeed notified Ozzy, Tony and Geezer well before my first public statement that I was having contractual difficulties.

“The band members stopped corresponding with me some time ago, with the exception of a nice letter from Tony on my birthday. Prior to that, Geezer and I were corresponding, but that stopped abruptly in late February after I emailed a specific question to him.”

Butler’s recent comment queried Ward’s position on appearing at Birmingham show for no wages but the drummer says: “I clearly stated I would play Birmingham for free. That was not a problem.”

The bassist also said that, due to the costs of staging the one-off Download show, there weren’t going to be massive profits – but Ward’s contractual requirements were a “joke”. The drummer responds: “My fee was not an extravagant amount. When Download was part of a full tour I had asked for a decent fee. More recently, as we were negotiating just Download, Birmingham and Lollapalooza, I told my attorney that I would accept the proposed small Download fee.

“But there were other parts of the offer that were unsatisfactory.”

He concludes: “I will continue to be honest and respectful towards the band and our fans. I will also confront any untruths about me, and any fault-finding missions aimed at me that come to my attention. I hope the band and the fans had a good gig in Brum.”

Ward does not refer to Sabbath’s removal of his pictures from the homepage and gallery of their website, which they say was carried out at his request.

At Saturday’s warm-up show the audience hailed Tony Iommi’s fight back from cancer by chanting his name, a moment which clearly moved the guitarist.

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