Bill Ward Reportedly Declined to Perform at Black Sabbath’s Last Show
UPDATE: Bill Ward said he never received an offer to play Black Sabbath's final show, contradicting his former bandmates' recent claims. In a new statement on his Facebook page, the drummer says, "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."
In a new interview with Radio.com, the band was asked if Ward would join Sabbath onstage when they play their last show on Sept. 16 in Phoenix. "It's been mentioned to him," said bassist Geezer Butler. "But he doesn't want to do it. He wants to do the whole tour or nothing. We'd love him to come on at the very last gig and be part of the whole thing, but he didn't want to do that. And I understand: I wouldn't want to be asked to come out just for the last gig. It's a shame, but that's the way it is."
Ozzy Osbourne, who has feuded back and forth with Ward over the drummer's absence from Sabbath's 2013 album 13, echoed Butler. "If he's there, he's welcome," he said. "But I don't really want to talk too much about Bill Ward. Because every time I do, he starts getting pissed off at me! Things are quiet between us right now."
Butler added that "it's a shame that Bill won't be a part of it, but whatever happened, happened. It's great that at least the three of us can end it on a high note and be friends. ... I still get on with Bill; I saw him last year at some award show. We got on great; we had a laugh together. It's not personal, as Bill would say, it's business."
The bassist said the same thing before to Classic Rock Revisited, insisting that Ward's problems with his old band aren't financial. "It's beyond the money thing," he explained. "It is whether he's capable of touring or not. On the 13 tour, he was not on that tour. About a week after we started, 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."
Sabbath kicked off what they're saying is their final tour last week. They're pretty much booked until September, playing North America and Europe. But a member of the tour's opening band, Rival Sons, said last week that they will be continuing the concerts until 2017. So far, through, the official word is that The End tour, and your chance to see Sabbath live, stops in eight months.
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