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Sabbath News Round-Up: More Bill Ward Drama, First Night Recap

Things have stirred up again between Black Sabbath and estranged drummer Bill Ward -- not that THAT takes much doing.

Ward was not part of the group's 2013 reunion and is not on its just-started The End tour, and in a new interview with Classic Rock Revisited, bassist Geezer Butler said the issue is "beyond the money thing" which had been reported as the root of the acrimony.

Butler said that the greater concerns were over Ward's health, explaining that, "It is whether he's capable of touring or not...About a week after we started (the 2013 tour) 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 whether you can go out on the road for two years or whatever. It is a hard life to do."

Ward, who's maintained he's in good health and perfectly able to play, quickly tweeted a message saying "Not the truth, Geezer. Simply not the truth."

Butler and frontman Ozzy Osbourne pointedly refused to talk about Ward during a recent pre-tour conference call with reporters, with Ozzy saying that,

"I don't want to talk about it. Next question, please, 'cause every time I open my mouth about Bill Ward I get another 5,000 complaints."

 

...Meanwhile, Sabbath opened its The End tour on Wednesday night (January 20) with a 14-song set in Omaha, Neb. Besides favorites such as "Paranoid," "War Pigs," "N.I.B. and "Iron Man" the group performed "Hand of Doom" for the first time in nearly 40 years and also dug deep into its catalog for "Rat Salad" and "Dirty Women."

Sabbath did not perform any songs from 2013's Grammy Award-winning 13 album, however.