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Tony Iommi Explains Why Black Sabbath Ended Negotiations With Bill Ward

Bill Ward-Tony Iommi
Scott Gries, Getty Images

Black Sabbath are getting ready for their new ’13’ album, a disc that is noticeably missing original drummer Bill Ward. The drummer held out of the band’s reunion, citing a contract dispute, and while there was hope that something could be worked out, ultimately guitarist Tony Iommi says the band had to move on.

Iommi tells Guitar World, “I was shocked. We were hearing stuff from lawyers like, ‘I’m not happy with this. I’m not happy with that.’ We waited a long time for Bill and we wanted to sort it out.”

However, the guitarist says his health played a determining factor in moving forward. He recalls, “Especially after I was diagnosed [with lymphoma], I thought, ‘F—ing hell, that’s it. We’ve got to get a move on. I might pop off next year!’ So I emailed him and said, ‘Bill, we can’t wait any longer. We’ve got to get on with it.’ And that was it.”

Black Sabbath’s other members joined Iommi in England as he underwent treatment and continued to write and record as the guitarist’s health permitted. By the time they hit the studio, the band agreed on the idea of having Rage Against the Machine‘s Brad Wilk handle drums on the new record.

’13’ is due June 11 and pre-order options are available at the band’s website.

Tony Iommi Discusses Lymphoma Battle

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