Ward, Butler battle over last Sabbath gig claims

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Former Black Sabbath colleagues Bill Ward and Geezer Butler have become engaged in a fresh war of words over the band’s farewell show.

The bassist says that the drummer was invited to take part in their final performance, but refused – while Ward has responded that he was never asked, although he would refuse if he was.

Sabbath will bow out on the completion of their The End tour, which began in North America this month and includes a stop at the UK’s Download festival in June.

Ward was originally slated to take part in Sabbath’s reunion project in 2011, but by the time 2013 album 13 was released he’d dropped out, saying he hadn’t been offered a contract he regarded as “signable.” That led to accusations that he wasn’t physically capable of touring, which he denied.

Asked this week whether Ward could make a guest appearance at their final show, Butler told Radio.com: “It’s been mentioned to him – 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. 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.”

But Ward has lashed back, saying: “I must respond once again to inaccurate statements made by Geezer. 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 the last conversation we had with them regarding the tour.”

He adds: “I wouldn’t want to play only one gig when I am completely capable of touring. I would not validate their untrue statements about my health by playing only one gig. Also, I wouldn’t want to show up for only some of our fans and not for all our fans, when I could have played multiple shows.”

Sabbath recorded 13 with Rage Against The Machine drummer Brad Wilk, and toured with Ozzy Osbourne solo band member Tommy Clufetos behind the kit. Clufetos is also taking part in the farewell tour.

Black Sabbath: Bill Ward - The Wayward Son