Iommi hints Ward won’t return

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Tony Iommi has offered the strongest hint yet that Bill Ward won’t be part of Black Sabbath’s farewell tour.

The drummer dropped out of the band’s 2011 reunion and subsequent album, saying he hadn’t been offered a “signable” contract. The disagreement later exploded into a war of words between him and frontman Ozzy Osbourne.

Sabbath recorded 2013 album 13 with Rage Against The Machine sticksman Brad Wilk, then toured with Tommy Clufetos behind the kit.

And although Iommi and Ward caught up at a recent awards ceremony, the guitarist says an original lineup reunion is unlikely as they work towards their last-ever tour.

Asked if Ward will play with Sabbath again, Iommi tells Gigwise: “No, to be honest. I don’t know if that’s going to happen. But who knows? You never know.”

He adds: “It was really nice to see Bill. We do stay in contact. It was a nice warm feeling.”

Sabbath’s plans may or may not include a final album. “We’ve got some tracks we recorded with Rick Rubin,” says the guitarist. “When we did our last album we made 16 tracks, but we only put eight on the album. There are tracks there that could possibly show their face at some point.”

The length of the band’s final tour depends upon Iommi’s continuing fight to control cancer. “I can only do it to a point,” he says. “We’re doing 80 shows then we’ll see how things are. There’s no full plan on that.”

Sabbath have confirmed some of their arranged tour dates, while Iommi has previously said the UK won’t be left out of their plans.

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