TONY IOMMI On OZZY OSBOURNE's Desire To Play One Last BLACK SABBATH Concert With BILL WARD: 'It'd Be A Nice Idea'

May 24, 2024

During an appearance on the May 22 episode of SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk", BLACK SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi was asked about Ozzy Osbourne's recent comment that he would like to play one final SABBATH concert with the band's original drummer Bill Ward. Tony said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "It's a funny old thing, really. I mean, God, we'll be 90 by the time we do that. [Laughs] It'd be a nice idea, but you're gonna get everybody going, 'Oh, they're doing it for the money. They're doing it for this, they're doing it for that, they're doing it…' Well, it wouldn't be. I mean, it'd be something that'd be a nice thing to actually do, but whether it happens will be another thing. But we'll see. I mean, who knows?"

Asked if he misses performing live, Tony said: "It's great to see the audience. I love to play live. But I have been playing. You obviously know about the BLACK SABBATH ballet. And it was great for me to go on at the end — I was playing on the end of the show, which was really good to get out and play live again. And then I did a gig with Johnny Depp when he came over [with HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES]; I played on one of their shows, which was great. It's really good to be able to do that. But, yeah, for me, I've always loved playing live. But I have to look at it realistically at my age. I can't go out and do a two-year tour like we were doing before. And to put something together like the original SABBATH or this or that or the other, you've gotta do it a long time because of the cost of everything. But it would be nice, yes, to do a one-off, if that ever happens, yeah."

On the topic of his health, Iommi — who was diagnosed with lymphoma in early 2012, shortly after SABBATH announced a reunion tour and album — said: "It's up and down at the moment, to be honest. I'm going for a heart check tomorrow. I've been getting these, like, sort of, um… I can't breathe properly and can't get my breath out, so they recommended I go and get this checked tomorrow. But, apart from that, yeah, I've been fine."

Ozzy discussed Ward's absence from SABBATH's final album, "13", during a recent episode of the new Internet TV show "The Madhouse Chronicles". Released in 2013, it was SABBATH's first LP in 35 years to feature Osbourne, Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler. Ozzy said: "I can't remember why Bill didn't do it. I've gotta be truthful. It wasn't really BLACK SABBATH because Bill wasn't there. I mean, if you had Ginger Baker playing with THE BEATLES, it wouldn't be THE BEATLES."

Ozzy also talked about the final show of SABBATH's "The End" tour, which took place in February 2017 in the band's original hometown of Birmingham, England. Asked if he was glad it was done at that moment, Osbourne said: "Yeah, but I was sad that Bill wasn't there. I mean, I mean, Tommy [Clufetos], my drummer [for my solo band], did a great job [stepping in for Bill], but he ain't Bill Ward."

Pressed about whether he is happy with the arc of the legend of BLACK SABBATH, Ozzy said: "No. Because it wasn't BLACK SABBATH that finished it. It's unfinished. If they wanted to do one more gig with Bill, I would jump at the chance. Do you know what would be cool? If we went to a club or something unannounced and we just got up and did it. We started up in a club."

Back in September 2022, Ozzy was asked by Stereogum if he still feels good about where "13" left things with SABBATH. He responded: "Not really, because, to be perfectly honest, I didn't really get a charge from the album. Although [<>'13' producer] Rick Rubin is a good friend of mine, I wasn't really… I was just singing. It was like stepping back in time, but it wasn't a glorious period. Though Geezer did a lot of lyric writing for me, which he's very, very good at. It wasn't an earth-shattering experience for me."

As for whether BLACK SABBATH is "totally done" in his mind, Osbourne: "I would like to say it's completely done. I think it's time. The only thing I really regret, to be honest, is that Bill Ward didn't play on the ['13'] album. It wasn't really a BLACK SABBATH album. I'm not saying that one day we might not all go in a room and come up with the perfect BLACK SABBATH album. But I'll say, ['13'] wasn't recorded the way BLACK SABBATH recorded records. We'd gone right back past the point where we took charge, back to when someone else had full control of our recording. Which we never did from 'Vol. 4' onwards."

Ward in May 2012 announced that he was declining to join his former SABBATH bandmates for its scheduled dates, as well as the recording of the new album, due to a contractual dispute. After SABBATH shot down Rubin's suggestion to replace Ward with Ginger Baker (CREAM) ("I thought, 'Bloody hell?'" Iommi told Rolling Stone magazine. "I just couldn't see that."),Rick suggested RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE drummer Brad Wilk.

In March 2021, Bill admitted to SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk" that he no longer had the "chops" and the "ability" to perform with BLACK SABBATH. "I have to be back to 60 years old to be able to do that," he said.

"I would love to do a studio album with SABBATH, with all the original members," he continued. "I'm just saying that — I'm just floating that out there. But I'm not done. So, the other three might be done, and I respect that, but no, I'm not done. I think as long as we all exist [laughs] and we're still breathing in air, I think we have every possibility of making some great music together."

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.

Find more on Black sabbath
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • reddit
  • email

Comments Disclaimer And Information

BLABBERMOUTH.NET uses the Facebook Comments plugin to let people comment on content on the site using their Facebook account. The comments reside on Facebook servers and are not stored on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@) with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).