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Bill Ward Responds to Geezer Butler’s Accusations

Black Sabbath
Scott Gries, Getty Images

The war of words between Black Sabbath and former drummer Bill Ward is escalating quickly. Yesterday, on the morning of their return to the stage, bassist Geezer Butler said that Ward had asked for too much money for their gig at the Download Festival next month. Today, Ward responded to Butler on his website with the following note:

Dear Sabbath Fans and Musicians,

I have read Geezer’s statement of May 19, 2012 titled “Heavy Heart.”  Out of respect for the Birmingham gig, I wanted to wait 24 hours before releasing this statement.  There are some points he brought up which I want to respond to.

1)  I had indeed notified Ozzy, Tony and Geezer, well before my first public statement, that I was having contractual difficulties.

2)  I came out into a public forum to be accountable to the fans primarily, and to say at a public level there’s a problem.  The band members stopped talking and corresponding with me some time ago, with the exception of a nice letter from Tony on my birthday.  Prior to that, Geezer and I were corresponding, but that stopped abruptly in late February after I emailed a specific question to him.

3)  In my statement of May 15, I clearly stated I would play Birmingham for free.  That was not a problem – charity or otherwise.

4)  My Download fee was not an extravagant amount.  Originally, when Download was part of a full tour, I had asked for a decent fee.  More recently, as we were negotiating just Download/Birmingham and Lollapalooza, I told my attorney that I would accept the proposed small Download fee, but there were other parts of the offer that were unsatisfactory.

I will continue to be honest and respectful towards the band and our fans.  I will also confront any untruths about me, and any fault finding missions aimed at me that come to my attention.

I hope the band and the fans had a good gig in Brum.

Stay safe/stay strong.
Bill Ward

So once again, we have a classic he-said-he-said scenario. Sadly, the fact that this is being played out publicly means that, despite their attempts at a respectful tone, it is becoming less and less likely that Ward will get to assume his rightful position behind Butler, Ozzy Osbourne and Tony Iommi ever again.

 

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