Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Black Sabbath guitarist speaks about band’s drummer issues

Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi is sharing his thoughts on drummer Bill Ward’s decision not to participate in the band’s reunion album and tour.

“I was shocked,” Iommi tells Guitar World in a new cover story interview, which also includes Ozzy Osbourne and Geezer Butler. “We were hearing stuff from lawyers, like, ‘I’m not happy with this. I’m not happy with that.’ We waited a long time for Bill and we wanted to sort it out. But at the end of the day, especially after I was diagnosed, We’ve got to get a move on. I might pop off next year! So I emailed him and said, ‘Bill, we can’t wait any longer. We’ve got to get on with it.’ And that was it.”

Iommi’s cancer diagnosis sidelined Sabbath’s 2012 tour plans, which were reduced to three shows last year – a warm-up gig in Birmingham, England, a headlining spot at the U.K.'s Download festival in June, and a second headlining set at Chicago's Lollapalooza in August – where the group was joined by Ozzy's touring drummer Tommy Clufetos.

When it came to record their forthcoming new album, “13,” Sabbath switched gears and began auditioning drummers but didn’t find the right fit until producer Rick Rubin suggested Brad Wilk from Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave.

“We had our doubts, because they play a different, funky sort of music,” says Iommi. “But after a few days of rehearsal, we knew Rick was right. Brad was a really good player, and he was getting it. We liked his style and the way he tried different things instead of being regimented. It was sort of jazzy and loose, like Bill.”

Wilk played on the “13” album sessions, but Clufetos has returned to the lineup for Sabbath’s 2013 world tour.

The band recently completed the first series of shows, playing dates in New Zealand and Australia; they’ll kick off a North American tour July 25 in Houston, TX.

“13” will be released June 11.

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