May 21, 2015

BLACK SABBATH members Tony Iommi (guitar) and Geezer Butler (bass) reunited with their estranged drummer Bill Ward to accept the Lifetime Achievement award at this year's Ivor Novello Awards, held earlier today (Thursday, May 21) at London, England's Grosvenor House.

Iommi picked up the trophy on SABBATH's behalf, and confirmed the band will embark on its "final tour" next year.

SABBATH accepted the award from QUEEN's Brian May.

Ward stated: "It's been a good 40 years. At least, I think it has."

Asked where SABBATH singer Ozzy Osbourne was, Iommi said: "I don't know, I think he's got a hospital appointment or something."

Speaking to the press backstage after accepting the award, Ward said it was great to see Iommi and Butler again, but admitted he felt "very uncomfortable" knowing they had been touring and recording without him since reforming the band in 2011. He added: "I hope that can change."

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Given each year, The Ivors, presented by the British Academy of Composers & Songwriters in association with The Performing Rights Society (PRS),are given to celebrate British songwriting and acknowledge the music of the previous twelve months. Now in its 60th year, is the only British awards ceremony which specifically honors the songwriter.

Ward insisted in a recent interview with Rolling Stone that he is "quite capable" of playing a full concert with BLACK SABBATH, despite the bandmembers themselves saying the opposite. Ward stepped away from the SABBATH reunion in early 2012, while the group hinted that he was not in good enough physical shape to either record or tour.

After posting an open letter on Facebook in which he demanded that singer Ozzy Osbourne apologize for some of those remarks, Ward was asked by Rolling Stone if he could physically play a complete SABBATH concert right now. Ward replied: "Absolutely, yeah. I have no doubt in my mind. I know that they've suggested that I played half the gig, and I don't want to play half the gig. I'm quite capable of playing a complete fucking BLACK SABBATH set."

Ward added, "It's true that I have heart disease, and it's true that I did get sick a couple of years after the fact. But when the health card is being thrown around, the bottom line is that I really tried to take care of myself… I'm much harder on me than those guys could ever be."

Addressing Ozzy's claim that he was "incredibly overweight," Ward responded, "The truth is that I was overweight for playing onstage, but I wasn't overweight for the studio. I could cut tracks with the weight that I arrived at. All of those guys know that I have a really rigorous exercise regimen."

Ward revealed his terms for a "signable" contract with SABBATH, telling Rolling Stone magazine: "I wanted to earn some better money than we had been (paid) in the past for festival gigs. I think it was somewhere like $80,000 for the festivals, which I can hear everybody gasp now, but $80,000 is not a lot of dough when you're playing festivals."

The drummer said he also wanted to receive some publishing money from the group as well as a "secure contract" for the use of his name and likeness.

Asked if he was still legally a member of SABBATH, Ward said, "I wonder myself actually. I don't know. I'd probably have to ask my legal department. [Laughs] I'm actually not sure."

Ozzy responded to Ward's letter last month, saying, "Bill, stop this smokescreen about an 'unsignable contract' and let's be honest. Deep down inside, you knew you weren't capable of doing the album and a 16-month tour."

Brad Wilk played drums on SABBATH's 2013 reunion album, "13", while Tommy Clufetos was behind the kit for the group's world tour.

**Note**: Top photo (above) was taken at the November 2011 press conference announcing the reunion of the original BLACK SABBATH lineup

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