Black Sabbath: “We have engaged a substitute drummer for our forthcoming shows”

The band have spoken out about Bill Ward, commenting 'there are two sides to every story'

Black Sabbath have posted a message on their Facebook page, in which they say they will not comment in full on the statement released yesterday (May 16) by estranged drummer Bill Ward, though the band have pointedly said “there are two sides to every story”.

Ward wrote that he will not be taking part in any of the Black Sabbath shows set for this summer, releasing a statement on his website,, saying that he will not be playing with the band at their Birmingham show on May 19, nor with them at Download Festival on June 10 or at Lollapalooza in Chicago on August 3.

In response, Black Sabbath have said that they have enlisted a substitute drummer, writing:

We have decided not to make any detailed comment on Bill’s latest statement. There are two sides to every story. We have been working hard at rehearsals making excellent progress after Tony’s treatments and we have engaged a substitute drummer for the forthcoming shows. See you at Download.

Ward previously revealed he was unhappy with the contract for the band’s new album and tour and claimed he would not take part in the new album sessions and shows if a ‘fair agreement’ was not met. As a result of this, the remaining members of the band vowed to carry on without him.

In his new statement, Ward wrote that last month he was offered the chance to play just three songs with the band at Download. He wrote: “I was not willing to participate in that offer. I was not prepared to watch another drummer play a Sabbath set, while I was to play only three songs.”

Ward then said that he was invited to take part in the band’s show in Birmingham this Saturday at the O2 Academy, but that there would be no guarantee that he could play the following two festival shows. He explained: “Again, for me, it’s all or nothing. I had to say ‘no’ to Birmingham on the principle of wanting to play all the shows. Saying no to Birmingham is very difficult for me. My family grew up in Birmingham. Black Sabbath grew up in Birmingham.”

Read Ward’s statement in full at