Why Iommi pulled plug on Ward talks
Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi pulled the plug on negotiations with Bill Ward because he feared he was running out of time to make the band’s reunion album.
“We waited a long time for Bill and we wanted to sort it out. But at the end of the day, especially after I was diagnosed, I thought, ‘Fucking 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.”
Iommi recently credited Osbourne with persuading him to see a specialist, leading to the discovery of his cancer in time for successful treatment. The guitarist says: “I asked the doctor, ‘Is it okay if I work?’ He said, ‘Yes – you’ve just got to be careful.’ So I’d go in the studio and play for a bit. Then I’d get tired and I’d have to sit down. The guys would tell me not to push it.”
Osbourne comments: “He was a soldier and marched on – he still had more riffs coming out of him than anyone. We all rallied around him, but it’s not like we’d be saying, ‘Are you okay, are you okay?’”
Bassist Geezer Butler adds: “It brought up how we’re all mortal beings and we aren’t here for ever. Tony and I were on the Heaven and Hell tour with Ronnie – and six months later Ronnie was dead. When Tony got the cancer, obviously that was in his mind.
“So it was like, let’s get the album done at all costs, as long as Tony’s up to it. It didn’t affect his playing at all – in fact, I think it really encouraged him and kept his mind off the cancer, which is the best thing you can possibly do.”
Sabbath’s album 13 is released on June 10. The band tour the UK in December:
Dec 10: 02 Arena, London
Dec 12: Odyssey Arena, Belfast
Dec 14: Arena, Sheffield
Dec 16: Hydro, Glasgow
Dec 18: Arena, Manchester
Dec 20: LG Arena, Birmingham
Tags: Black Sabbath