SHARON OSBOURNE Says GEEZER BUTLER And BILL WARD Don't Own BLACK SABBATH NameAugust 9, 2020
During a recent appearance on Steve-O's "Wild Ride!" podcast, Sharon Osbourne was asked if it's correct to say that when the original BLACK SABBATH lineup reunited a decade ago, it was done on her terms, with her husband, singer Ozzy Osbourne, owning the SABBATH name and the other members of SABBATH acting as "employees" of the band. She responded (see video below): "It's about right, but Ozzy and Tony [Iommi, guitar] own the name — Geezer [Butler, bass] and Bill [Ward, drums] don't. So it's Ozzy and Tony that own the name, and they are partners in BLACK SABBATH. So you're kind of right. Ozzy and Tony are equal, and at the time, the other guys, you know, it's kind of like pay-for-play."
Ozzy filed a lawsuit against Tony in May 2009, claiming that Iommi illegally took sole ownership of the band's name in a filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Osbourne sued Iommi for a 50 percent interest in the "Black Sabbath" trademark, along with a portion of Iommi's profits from use of the name.
The Manhattan federal court suit also charged that Osbourne's "signature lead vocals" are largely responsible for the band's "extraordinary success," noting that its popularity plummeted during his absence from 1980 through 1996.
Lawyer Andrew DeVore argued that Osbourne signed away all his rights to the BLACK SABBATH trademark after he quit the band in 1979.
Osbourne's lawyer, Howard Shire, called that agreement a "red herring" that was "repudiated" when the singer rejoined in 1997 and took over "quality control" of the band's merchandise, tours and recordings.
In June 2010, Ozzy told The Pulse of Radio that the lawsuit between him and Tony had been settled and that everything was okay between them.
Ward was on board for the SABBATH reunion when it was first announced more than eight years ago, but backed out soon after. The drummer later claimed that he sat out the recording and touring sessions because of unfair contractual terms, although the members of SABBATH have hinted in other interviews that he wasn't physically up to the task.
All four original members of SABBATH were present when the band announced its reunion in late 2011. But Ward split from the group in 2012, citing an "unsignable" contract, and Osbourne, Iommi and Butler carried on with their Rick Rubin–produced "13" LP and extensive international touring without him.
Ozzy told The Pulse Of Radio during SABBATH's last tour that Ward was not in shape to participate. "Bill Ward has got the most physically demanding job of the lot of us, 'cause he's the timekeeper," he said. "I don't think personally he had the chops to pull it off, you know. The saddest thing is that he needed to own up to that, and we could have worked around it, whether we had a drummer on the side with him or something."
It was rumored that SABBATH wanted to bring a second drummer on the road to share duties with Ward, something that Iommi confirmed in 2017 during a question-and-answer session about SABBATH's "Ten Year War" box set.
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