The party might already be over before it even started with news over the weekend that the long anticipated Black Sabbath reunion and tour would be put on ice following complications with guitarist Tony Iommi’s battles with lymphoma.
The news is the second setback for the iconic metal group who announced their comeback at an event at iconic LA venue Whisky A Go-Go where the band made their American debut 41 years ago.
Original drummer Bill Ward a week ago walked away from the reunion with his fellow bandmates calling the contract put before him unsignable. “The place I’m in feels lousy and lonely because as much as I want to play and participate,” Ward said. “I also have to stand for something and not sign on. If I sign as-is, I stand to lose my rights, dignity and respectability as a rock musician.”
The cancellation of the tour was announced via the band’s Facebook page where and confirmed that the group will only honour one commitment, their headline slot at UK’s Download Festival.
Ozzy Osbourne billed as Ozzy & Friends will instead replace the majority of the cancelled dates. The shows will features appearances by special guests musicians including Geezer Butler who will join Osbourne for a special Black Sabbath set to support Iommi.
Longtime former Ozzy band member Zakk Wylde will also be present, and will be accompanied by longtime collaborator and former Guns N Roses guitarist Slash at a few select shows.
According to the band, Iommi continues to make progress with his battle and is eager to getting back on the road, although clearly he is still not healthy enough for the rigours of touring. The band has pledged, without Ward, to continue to write music for their previously announced new album although it wasn’t clear if that too would be delayed.