So, clearly, this whole Black Sabbath/Bill Ward debacle is going to be the feud of the summer. Here’s the latest news/hilarity resulting from the battle of the bandmates:

  • The group played the first gig in this latest reunion stint in Birmingham over the weekend, at which point we finally learned the identity of Ward’s replacement: Tommy Clufetos, who, you’re probably aware, has been the drummer in Ozzy’s solo band since 2009, and appeared on 2010’s Scream. This isn’t surprising at all — in fact, we predicted that Clufetos was probably up for the job when the trouble with Ward first began back in February. I think fans — myself included — probably would have been happier with Vinny Appice, who has a history as an actual member of Black Sabbath. But I’m Clufetos is more than up to the task. That’s video of him playing with the band above, courtesy of The PRP.
  • Meanwhile, just as were closing up shop for the weekend on Friday, word got out that Bill Ward had been removed from all photos on Black Sabbath’s website. This news was, obviously, completely fucked, and understandably sent the metalsphere into a rabid, foaming rage — much like when Van Halen pulled a similar stunt with Michael Anthony back in 2007. But the band managed to quell the backlash when they released a statement revealing that it was Ward who requested his photos be deleted,  “so as to not give the public the wrong impression about his involvement in the current Black Sabbath lineup.” Fair enough.
  • Meanwhile, Geezer Butler released a statement on his official website in which he claimed that Ward “hadn’t told any one of us he was having contractual problems.” Ward responded by saying that “I had indeed notified Ozzy, Tony and Geezer well before my first public statement that I was having contractual difficulties,” and that “The band members stopped corresponding with me some time ago.” Of course, it’s not possible that Butler and Ward are both telling the truth — so, in other words, one of them is lying. Obviously we have no idea who it is, but either way, this whole situation now seems that much more fucked.

And normally this is the part where I’d weigh in with my own self-righteous take on the whole situation, but… I really don’t know what to say at this point. It’s almost impossible for me to imagine that Ward would really go public with these contractual disputes without alerting his bandmates beforehand, but who knows? And since no one on either side has been especially clear about Ward was asking for and not getting in his contract, we have no sense of whether or not the drummer is being unreasonable. Really, at this point, it’s just a question of whose word you think is more trustworthy.

Hopefully more concrete info will become available as this drama no doubt continues.


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