Ward would have quit Sabbath tour says Butler

Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler has reignited the controversy over drummer Bill Ward’s absence from their reunion by saying his former colleague wasn’t well enough to take part.

And Butler believes the sticksman would never have been able to handle the pace of touring – even though activities were cut back to make allowance for guitarist Tony Iommi’s cancer fight.

Butler tells Time Out Dubai: “We started off with Bill and it just didn’t happen. To be blatantly honest, he just couldn’t do it any more.

“He was thinking that we could take, like, ten years to do the album – whereas we knew we only had so long to do it and get out on tour, while you’re still good at what you do.

“Bill was unfit, and in hospital with intestinal problems, so he’d have had to leave the tour anyway if we’d done out with him.”

Ward recently told fans he was recovering well from shoulder surgery and had started playing again.

Sabbath recorded last year’s reunion album 13 with Rage Against The Machine’s Brad Wilk behind the kit, while Ozzy Osbourne’s solo drummer Tommy Clufetos covered live duties.

Butler says: “It was a ‘now or never’ kind of thing. We’re all getting really old and it’s something that me and Tony have been talking about for a really long time: one last tour, one last album.”

And while he still harbours hopes that the band could take unused tracks from last year’s recording sessions and use them as part of another studio project, the bassist says 13 could be “the perfect conclusion to Sabbath.”

Iommi last week said the band’s upcoming headline appearance at the British Summer Time festival in London could be their last-ever show.

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Not only is one-time online news editor Martin an established rock journalist and drummer, but he’s also penned several books on music history, including SAHB Story: The Tale of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, a band he once managed, and the best-selling Apollo Memories about the history of the legendary and infamous Glasgow Apollo. Martin has written for Classic Rock and Prog and at one time had written more articles for Louder than anyone else (we think he's second now). He’s appeared on TV and when not delving intro all things music, can be found travelling along the UK’s vast canal network.