Black Sabbath's Bill Ward officially pulls out of reunion gigs

Bill Ward, (L) Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi (R) of Black Sabbath, shown here in 2011.

Story highlights

  • Bill Ward has declined to play at any of the Black Sabbath's three gigs scheduled this year
  • Sabbath asked him to play this Saturday's gig for free without any guarantee
  • "I'm very, very sorry that it's fallen to this," Ward said in a statement
Bad news for Black Sabbath fans: Bill Ward will not be playing drums at any of the group's three gigs scheduled this year.
In a long message posted on his website, Ward explained that he was simply not able to come to terms with his bandmates. The metal pioneers are playing their first show since 2005 this Saturday evening at their hometown of Birmingham, England -- and Ward claims that he first learned of the gig through an ad on the Internet.
The original Sabbath lineup announced last November that they would reunite for a tour and their first album since 1978's "Never Say Die!" Less than two months later, guitarist Tony Iommi was diagnosed with lymphoma, prompting Sabbath to cancel the vast majority of their summer tour. Weeks later, Bill Ward announced via a Facebook that he would not participate in the group's reunion until he was presented with a "signable contract." The group vowed to carry on without him and had recently announced a headlining gig at Lollapalooza, as well as a warm-up show in Birmingham this Saturday.
In his new letter, Ward says that the group asked him to play drums on three songs during their set at the Download Festival in June, an offer that he refused. On May 9, Ward says, Sabbath asked him to play this Saturday's gig for free without any guarantee that he'd get to perform at the other shows, which he ultimately turned down. </