Will Black Sabbath's feud with original drummer Bill Ward ever end? In a word -- no.
The latest scuffle is a statement issued by Ward denying bassist Geezer Butler's assertion that the group invited the drummer to take part in the final North American date of its The End farewell tour, on September 16 in Phoenix. Butler said that Ward declined to take part, but Ward fired back that, "I never received an offer to play the final show of 'The End' tour with Black Sabbath. When the tour was confirmed, my management reached out to the Black Sabbath management to inquire as to whether or not they would like to discuss my participation in the tour. We were told there was no interest. That is last conversation we had with them regarding the tour. I will say that I wouldn't want to play only one gig when I am completely capable of touring. I would not validate their untrue statements about my health by playing one only gig. Also, I wouldn't want to show up for only some of our fans and not for all our fans when I could have played multiple shows."
Ward dropped out of Sabbath's 2013 reunion tour, reportedly over finances; the other group members maintained he was physically unable to play an entire tour, which he has denied. Tommy Clufetos, the drummer in Ozzy Osbourne's solo band, has occupied Ward's stool ever since.
Sabbath launched The End last week and will play North America and Europe this year and will reportedly continue into 2017, though no dates have been announced beyond Phoenix.
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.