If the current battle between the original members of Black Sabbath, including Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi and Ozzy Osbourne, and drummer Bill Ward gets anymore soap opera-esque we’re going to have to come up with a theme song.
On Sunday, Ward released on Facebook the following response to a Facebook post by Butler that was critical of Ward’s position.
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.
In his post Butler criticized Ward for demanding payment for playing a charity gig and for not communicating his displeasure with his proposed reunion contract to the rest of the band.
“He hadn’t told any one of us he was having contractual problems, and frankly those things are worked out between our representatives, and never between the four of us let alone in public.
… it was decided we’d better do a warm up show, to break the ice since we haven’t played together live. The O2 Academy was available in Birmingham, where we were rehearsing, so we decided on that, and to make a donation to Help For Heroes Charity, since we’d be ironing out any glitches we may have. Then Bill put out a further statement saying he’d been ready to play the Birmingham show , but he was expected to have to do it “for free”- well, I think that’s basically how you raise money from gigs for charity – you play them “for free”.
All I am saying is that there are two sides to everything. I do hope to play with Bill again some day. For whatever reason; it wasn’t meant to be this time. Bill’s made his decision, and I have to respect that. Hopefully this painful year will be worth the wait for the new Sabbath album and end in joy and happiness for all.”
Maybe we can just hook these guys up with Jerry Springer or Maury Povich and let them sort it all out on live TV.
For more on Butler’s statement read this.