Sabbath feud ‘seems like PR stunt’
Former Black Sabbath singer Tony Martin says he doesn’t understand how the band’s relationship with drummer Bill Ward collapsed – and he wonders if it’s a publicity stunt.
Last November the Birmingham outfit announced their original lineup of Ozzy Osbourne, Tonny Iommi, Geezer Butler and Ward would reunite for a world tour and their first album together since 1979.
Plans were soon rocked when Iommi was diagnosed with cancer the next month, leading to the cancellation of all but three concerts.
But fans were even more astonished when Ward announced he wouldn’t take part in Sabbath’s activities because he hadn’t been offered a contract he considered “signable.”
Singer Osbourne later admitted none of them had spoken directly to Ward, and all communication had been through lawyers – but recently told the Times: “There was no row, no argument. The door ain’t closed. Whether we work something out up the road, I don’t know.”
Now Martin, who fronted Iommi’s outfit for ten years from 1987, says he’s bewildered at the “Sab opera” – and suggests Ward’s lack of recent experience might be a factor in the disagreement.
Martin tells Metal Shock FInland: “I don’t get it. I really don’t. I’ve heard all the stories, and not once did anyone ever speak badly of Bill. They’ve never had a bad thing to say about him. They’ve always rated him. He’s had his little moments like we all have, but basically they love him.
“I don’t understand why they didn’t give him time to get his thing together. He may have been out of the band for a long time, but set up some rehearsal or something – go and help him out.
“It seems a bit like a publicity stunt in that they’s saying, ‘Well, we can’t be bothered to go and do any rehearsals to get him to learn all the stuff again, so let’s keep him for another time so we can have another reunion later on.
“A bit like a publicity stunt in that way. But I don’t know – I wasn’t privy to any of the conversations and I haven’t seen the contracts they were talking about. So I can’t say for sure, but I just don’t get it.”