There are few Metal heads who felt that the whole Mike Portnoy versus Dream Theater soap opera was getting a little long in the tooth for their attention span and thankfully it seems as though the guys in Black Sabbath were more than ready to jump into the fray and fire up the fans with some truly insidious doings. Let’s get a little recap brewing first shall we?
I’m guessing that its been almost a year since we had all first heard rumblings about meetings taking place with the original members of the legendary Black Sabbath and these discussions were leading towards not only a full on world tour with the influential lineup, but also the first new material from this group of four since 1979’s “Never Say Die”. Many of the fans were divided in the potential excitement based on the great stuff we heard from the Dio fronted Heaven and Hell against Ozzy’s latest output but even the skeptics were willing to give it a shot. Then the dramatics began and some of them were beyond anyone’s control. First Tony was diagnosed with lymphoma but was quickly being treated for it which was a good thing to know. Next up there seemed to be issues with the contracts being given to drummer Bill Ward. He was not pleased with them, and was holding out for a proper, more respectful of his station in the band piece of paper. One never came, so Ward said he would not be a part of the reunion. Fans around the world jumped to the defense of the skin basher citing how could this original reunion tour be valid without the drumming talents of Ward, and what about this group of events being “for the fans”. Give them what they want right? It continued unfortunately.
Iommi’s treatment for the lymphoma found the whole Sabbath tour being cancelled with the exception of a couple of appearances. Everyone wanted Tony healthy without a doubt but I think they would have preferred that the dates be postponed and made up for later as opposed to what was then announced. For these shows there was no clear information on who the drummer would be but it looked like it would NOT be Bill Ward. The world then learned that the cancelled Sabbath dates would be replaced by events known as “Ozzy and Friends”. This was hardly exciting when compared to the original premise but some were willing to give it a go. I admit that I was marginally curious.
But wait…..there’s more……
The other day what appeared to be a final statement from Bill Ward came to light, and it stated how he would not be a part of any of the minimized appearances of Sabbath despite his interest and then to make matters incredibly worse, the Sabbath side of the fence managed to find the time to eradicate any images of Bill Ward from their website. Amazing right? Founders of a musical genre and no one can seem to work out something magical “for the fans”. I used quotes because this really shines a negative light on some of the business that gets practiced here and as a former musician myself I find this kind of thing reprehensible, hurtful, and disrespectful to a person who helped make something incredible happen. It’s nothing less than disgusting to find this kind of grade school antics coming into play. What’s next guys? A re-issue of the back catalog without Ward’s face on the album covers or even worse, without his drumming? It’s been done before in case you didn’t know that.
A few years ago, Ozzy released appended versions of his first two albums and essentially removed the talents of Lee Kerslake and Bob Daisley from them and replaced them with Mike Bordin and Robert Trujillo. Shocking yes? I considered this blasphemy and reviewed them as such on the website. You can examine those HERE in case you are interested in seeing my viewpoints.
Right now I am pretty convinced about any Sabbath shows as being difficult to support. I’m an almost lifelong card carrying Metal head and I feel that the fans deserve a full once more around from the original members while we still have them all with us. Black Sabbath needs to reinforce their legacy in our hearts and Metal minds by working something out with Ward and not doing all of these shenanigans. Petty stuff only fuels the fires and eventually the blaze will be too big to extinguish.
What do you readers think? Am I off base here? Comments are open for discussion.