Heavy Heart

Posted on May 19, 2012

I feel sad to see the Sabbath reunion becoming a bit of a soap opera on the internet. It has been a very tough year for us as a band, having announced our reunion plans, only for Tony to be diagnosed with lymphoma, leaving us no choice but to postpone the proposed Sabbath tour, and then for Bill to go public on his site about an un-signable contract. None of us knew how Tony was going to respond to his intensive chemo therapy, and radiotherapy. Ozzy and myself flew to England to be with Tony, and on his “good” days, we’d meet at his home studio and put ideas together for the upcoming album, all sitting down together, no drummer involved, just 3 of us quietly putting together ideas. We thought that when we had enough songs together for a full band rehearsal, we’d move back to L.A and put the whole thing together with Bill. Unfortunately, to our surprise, Bill issued a statement on his site saying he’d been offered an un-signable contract. He hadn’t told any one of us he was having contractual problems, and frankly those things are worked out between our representatives, and never between the four of us let alone in public. We had the idea of keeping just one show in this year, hoping that Tony would be well enough for that show, and that things with Bill would be sorted. As you may expect, a one off show at Donnington Festival (Download) costs an absolute fortune to stage, involving over 50 people, transport, air fares, hotels, meals, agents, promotors, accountants, lawyers etc, so none of us, expected to make much money from it- it was a one off Sabbath show for the fans, before we go into recording the new album. Apparently, this wasn’t acceptable to Bill’s representatives, they wanted an amount that was so unrealistic that it seemed to have been a joke. So we resigned ourselves to doing Download without Bill, hoping he’d change his mind and at least make a guest appearance. We started rehearsals a few weeks ago with Tommy Cluefetos, the drummer who will be on the Ozzy and Friends Tour. Brilliant drummer and good bloke. It was decided we’d better do a warm up show, to break the ice since we haven’t played together live. The O2 Academy was available in Birmingham, where we were rehearsing, so we decided on that, and to make a donation to Help For Heroes Charity, since we’d be ironing out any glitches we may have. Then Bill put out a further statement saying he’d been ready to play the Birmingham show , but he was expected to have to do it “for free”- well, I think that’s basically how you raise money from gigs for charity – you play them “for free”.

All I am saying is that there are two sides to everything. I do hope to play with Bill again some day. For whatever reason; it wasn’t meant to be this time. Bill’s made his decision, and I have to respect that. Hopefully this painful year will be worth the wait for the new Sabbath album and end in joy and happiness for all.

Stay frosty,


  1. Inacio says:

    Seriously, couldn t any one of you pick up the telephone and talk to bill? If that is the kind of thing that a band that played all this time to happen, this reunion is something that is totally not supposed to happen.

    also the putting ideas toghether; i mean, the 3 of you. Isnt there anyone missing in those sessions?

    I mean, I am a real sab fan, real loyal fan and i do not want to tell you what to do, but if this is the kind of humanity that this reunion is getting, i would totally refuse it, just like bill did.


  2. Jeff says:

    You know this isn’t the first time Bill has had issues with the short-changed pay. And I remember when the song “The Writ” was done, and why. Did they not take care of their own business back then after that episode? Seriously if they wanted to,
    they could straighten this out. I am a very big Sabbath fan, but I’m also fed up with all the dumb stuff. Its like everything else in this world nowadays, all screwed up. I’m done looking forward to all this, if it actually happens I will be nothing less than totally surprised.

  3. Jaime Bedoya says:

    I just cant believe Ozzy, Tony and Gezzer left Bill bebind. The photographs at the Sabbath site says everything. Bollocks Black Sabbath, I dont want neither to to to shows or even buying the new record, not even listen to it. Its f&@:ng sad that all come to money.

  4. Louis Carrillo says:

    Mr. Butler, maximum respect to you and to the great present and future legacy that is Black Sabbath. Im sure Im not alone when I say that Sabbaths rhythm section is among the best of all time and if Bill is feeling excluded and slighted, Im also certain that it stems from feelings that are long standing and that deserve to be remedied. BIll’s contribution to the ensemble sound is immense and unfortunately not exactly measurable by any means legally calculable. The full breath of the songs cannot be realized without the cadence of rhythm and stylistic phrasing Bill applied so uniquely as you both bound and setup the music so beautifully . The drum rhythm can not be copyrighted, royalty recognised , or remunerated as an isolated element as can lyric or can be other musical aspects and as a result an integral member , Bill in this case, feels slighted and isolated…….betrayed even……..Im hoping he has articulated this to guys and if so then…..this situation can be remedied. If not….reach out to your brother and one of the all time greats as Bonham and Paice ….every sub that occupies the chair knows it and can say it…….,make it right guys…… love ya. 🙂

  5. Chris says:

    Seriously this sounds like it can be easily solved. It’s not hard to calculate %25, you just have to divide by 4 and if anyone wants to donate to a worthy cause they can just cut a check afterwards. If all goes well with everyone’s health (my thoughts are with Tony, especially) putting together a string of profitable shows shouldn’t be a problem.

    My age and finances have not allowed me to see Sabbath live until now and it’d mean a lot to us fans to see all this sorted out and have you all on stage together once again.

  6. Scott Walker says:

    God bless you all for an amazing gig last night. Hope that the love generated at the gig @ the Academy last night puts out the real message that we love Sabbath ( all members past and present). All this shallow internet conjecture is sad and helps no-one. Tony was awesome!!!Hope his recovery is going well and if feels half as good as the crowd after that gig then he will crush cancer. Thank you for the gig of a lifetime. Sometimes words just can’t capture the joy of seeing that gig. Thank you. See you @ Download.

  7. rod says:

    Thank you Tony, Geezer, Ozzy, and Tommy Clufetos. It’s a blessing to still have the chance to listen to some real metal music. Can’t wait for the album to be released. Could have been better if Bill Ward were there, yet, we, as real Sabbath fans, have three of the original four members in a pack and that means we’ve been given a gift : to listen to the magic metal of Sabbath again. Tommy Clufetos is a great drummer.

  8. Richard Willis says:

    Thank you for the frank and honest insight into the Ward situation. I’m very sorry that this has all blown up into the soap opera that is has become. As a fan who waited at the record store on the day Sabotage was released, I am anxiously awaiting the new album, and hoping that everything that you guys have been going through (especially Tony) works itself out.

  9. DJ ZED says:

    GEEZER MY BROTHA!!! after reading everything that Bill, Ozzy, Tony, and Geezer have said live i think Sabbath did the right thing i mean bill tries to act all humble and like he is a total victim trying to get the fans to pressure the band and the powers that be to fill his pockets with more money and this is not the first time he has pulled this on them!! i do not down play anything that bill has done for the sabbath name and what it is for him to be a part of the band BUT there comes a time in every band big or small when you have to evaluate and say does this squeaky wheel deserve any more grease and totally agreed no!!! the squeaky wheel (bill) has got all the grease he deserves he could not even do a free show for the fans, the other three members could so maybe he is not as much for the fans as he proclaims and is for himself (agreed everyone needs to pay the bills) but that was a one off show. it seems every step of the way it is almost ”ok what do we have to do to make it where bill will play a show, or a tour , or a album, or a appearance, either bill is in or he is not!!! but bill made the mind he is too good to show up he is too good to record he is too good to do a show for charity??? i think bill is a good salesman and a very smart buisness man, he took the drama and the bullshit straight to the fans knowing that the fans want all four back together and i mean come on who does not like cheering for the underdog so if bill could make himself appear as such then nomatter what sabbath does big or small bill still stays in the limelight!!! if bill really had integrity and truely cared about the band and the sabbath name he would have kept the drama and the finger pointing away from the fans and the media, he would have realized that you can only pull this ”unsignable contract” crap so many times before a band (i do not care how big or how small) is goin to move on without you!!! i say GO SABBATH GO!!! and bill ,,,, shame on you,,, either get with the program or go home,,,, but leave it out of the fans to get up and try to do your dirty work for you \m/ METAL TO YA \m/

  10. Tommy says:

    “I just cant believe Ozzy, Tony and Gezzer left Bill bebind.” Did you NOT just read any of this article?

    “The photographs at the Sabbath site says everything. Bollocks Black Sabbath,” The “photographs” situation, had you been paying attention, was prompted by BILL WARD. It was at Ward’s attorney’s request that his portion of any images be removed. This was even clarified on Sabbath’s Facebook the other day!!!!!

  11. Sergio Serna says:

    Hello Gezzer, my son play the bass. I remember you in the big high band of heavy metal. Said hello from Medellin Colombia. I like your music.

  12. snaredrum says:

    i think admitting that you didn’t include him in the early process says more than the rest of it. it’s a damn shame, to be honest. i wouldn’t be a musician today without the classic sabbath lineup, and you’re going to have to be a LOT more honest (both sides, this is) about what happened to restore my faith.

    love you guys.

  13. John L. says:

    Have been wishing for this tour for years. When I heard the news of a new album and tour I was beside myself. But now the drama with Bill has taken all my enthuisiasm away. I don’t care who is at fault, I will not be paying premium prices to see 3/4 of Sabbath.

    My thoughts and prayers are with Tony for a full recovery.

  14. It is indeed a shame that this has all come down to such dramatic soap opera stuff as you have lined out. Still one has to hope that the members can each just get in proper touch without the representatives and say “hey we need to do this one more time while we can”. The fans want all four of you together and I like to think that they deserve it. That being said, thank you for all the incredible music that you have given us. Hoping to see you on tour whenever it comes to my area.

  15. Bob Edwards says:

    Thanks for the statement Geezer. You clarified things from your vantage point, and managed to do so while being respectful of all parties involved.

    More than anything related to the music, my hopes and prayers are for a full recovery for Tony. You guys have given us an incredible blessing by sharing your musical gifts with all of us for decades. It would be hard to say thank you appropriately. I wish you all the best with the new album and upcoming shows. I also hope that things get ironed out with Bill eventually. God bless you all.

  16. […] Geezer Butler released a statement on his official website in which he claimed that Ward “hadn’t told any one of us he was having contractual […]

  17. John Baranick says:

    So Geezer, are you saying that you, Tony and Ozzy played the 02 Academy for free, ie. not drawing a paycheck? That’s what you’re alluding to here.

  18. […] response to Bill Ward. That somebody is bassist Geezer Butler, who posted this statement on his official website: I feel sad to see the Sabbath reunion becoming a bit of a soap opera on the internet. It has been […]

  19. […] response sheds some light on the other side of the story, though Bill has since rejected some of […]

  20. […] Geezer Butler, bajista de Black Sabbath, ha sido el único miembro del grupo que ha querido comentar qué ha sucedido exactamente con Bill Ward. Tras el estreno de Tommy Cluefetos en Birmingham, la banda está más que satisfecha del concierto y precisamente antes del mismo Butler optó por comentar lo sucedido en su web. […]

  21. […] Butler has posted a statement saying Ward requested an “unrealistic” fee for the Download […]

  22. […] writes on his web site he didn’t know drummer Bill Ward was having contractual problems in playing with the band […]

  23. […] Butler has posted a statement saying Ward requested an “unrealistic” fee for the Download […]

  24. Bob Edwards says:

    You know, the more I look at this is seems that the messages being sent between parties are not the same as the messages being received. Maybe the middlemen are contributing to this apparent disconnect. Maybe bad past experiences with contracts etc. are colouring perceptions of the present. Whatever the case may be, I hope you all can hear each other accurately, respect what is important to one another and find a win/win scenario. Maybe that will require objective and professional mediation. Personally, I think it would be worth the time/effort required. I also hope that direct communication between involved parties will take the place of indirect communication via internet messages to the fans. Tbh, I think that really only serves to create drama. Best wishes to all of you, and prayers continue for Tony.

  25. It’s a shame not to seeing you together as a band in this moment…I hope your wish of playing again with Bill someday may be listened…my best regards…

  26. I am extremely inspired with your writing abilities and also with the structure in your blog. Is that this a paid topic or did you modify it yourself? Anyway stay up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to look a nice blog like this one today..

  27. big fatty says:

    Stay frosty….good to see geezer likes the new van halen….great parting sentiment….stay frosty

  28. Shawn says:

    Look Sabbath rules, ya the new drummer is bad-ass, but you cats are the GODS, seems this will be the last time for something new (studio) hopefully not, I pray for the band, Sabbath means METAL, HEAVY, you cats always get it right, your songs live forever! Bill Ward is a GOD, everybody is waiting for the new material, like (the Writ)

  29. […] has been a very tough year for us as a band,” Geezer wrote on his website. “None of us knew how Tony was going to respond to his intensive chemo therapy, and radiotherapy. […]

  30. I feel like I might speak for many in saying that I rather wish the soap opera could be drawn to a speedy conclusion. I have no doubt that the fans are indeed _fans_: they want nothing but the best for (and, of course, from) the guys in Sabbath. Likewise, for all that TC may well be a great bloke and great drummer, wouldn’t it be nice if things could just get sorted out with Bill? I mean, this shouldn’t be like trying to bring peace to the Middle East, after all! It’s impossible to know what kind of weird situation with representatives, agents, lawyers, and contracts is going on behind the curtain (is it even all entirely clear to the band members, or potential band members? I wonder …), but is there really fan or band member who _doesn’t_ want to see the four original guys standing on stage, smiling and jamming? I would think, and certainly hope, not!

  31. […] bajista  Geezer Butler de BLACK SABBATH, ha publicado en su web oficial el siguiente […]

  32. Cutler says:

    We can only hope and pray come on bill do it because u love it mate. Keep up the great work gezza u were fucking unreal in Newcastle Australia with the late great Ronnie. Just hope to see u all back down under.\…/

  33. GW says:

    Guys, please pick up the phone, talk to each other, everyone says they want to play together, think of the music, think of the fans – some of us go back over your whole career. Get the suits out of the equation, get ex-Ozzy Managers out of the equation if need be, just go back to your roots when you gave so much pleasure to people who followed you, and please do it again. I saw you all on the BBC talking about the history of Sabbath, about your experiences together, about your shared history. You know it makes sense to talk together – we know it makes sense for you to all talk together without the usual waste of space people being involved – it’s really only a phone call or two away away – please do it for your fans of many decades who rooted for you when music ruled the world.

  34. Geezer, please, call Bill Ward! Or, please, meet him and have a good talk!!! You guys have to sort this thing out!!! You all know that the Sabbath fans from all over the world are waiting to see you FOUR together!!!

    Think it over!

    Best wishes from Brazil,


  35. Matthew Martini says:

    From what I gather, Bill feels he is underpaid. Maybe he is; maybe he isn’t. I hope there can be some reaching out to one another on the matter, and that everyone can find common ground. The fans would love to see the original lineup, especially on the upcoming album. For the sake of the fans, talk directly to one another and not through representatives. Work it out. Or don’t. But it if it doesn’t happen, it will be a missed opportunity. For the people who use Black Sabbath’s music as a tool to inspire and persevere through the challenges of existence, it will be another example of how out of touch rock stars can be with their fan base. Some of us think those early Black Sabbath records are equipment for living.

  36. vengence82 says:

    Lawyers, wives, managers, publicists etc etc etc….the list of obfuscaters goes on and on. BUT the real factor in the equation is this..When one of you originals follows the path of Mr Dio and this last album is created without Bills input, will saying that it was Bills decsion not to participate be enough to ebb the daily pain…..speaking from experience, it won’t. It will haunt the remaining members and it will haunt the fans forever.
    Bill needs to realize the finality in this upcoming record and he needs to realize the finality in these shows. Forget FUTURE contracts or agreements. The time is now and the window is closing.
    Right the ship Geezer, unfortunately it’s on you. Tony is occupied with treatment and Oz has the Sharon Anchor around his neck. MAKE IT HAPPEN FOR ALL OF US

  37. iGenovese says:

    …Awww, C’mon Bill !!! Please?!?

  38. chad hallman says:

    I have a question or 2. Since Black Sabbath was / is to be completely reunited, then why does each member have to have a seperate manager? Why not have one? I have heard that the reason Bill isnt’t in the picture is because of each member’s management team or individual. Come on guys, don’t you think you should all speak for yourselves? And not have a bunch of people do it for you? Well at least have one manager for the band? Those people only feel what they think is best and they really don’t know how the original members feel. If you truely want Bill to play, then you all would’t have let it happen and he would be playing now!

  39. GMF says:

    I think you guys are old enough to put this things aside. Get together, split all the profits equally and earn millions with a new Sabbath album and world tour! Don’t get messed up in each others’ representatives requirements. You’re 4 guys making the best music in the world. If Bill is not there it won’t sound like Sabbath. All of you guys are worth the trying! Common Geezer! Sort things out between you guys and tell your representatives what you want to do instead what they require for this reunion. Don’t loose that Sabbath feeling because of these contractual issues!

    It’s been more than 30 years since the last classic Sabbath album. Don’t loose this opportunity! Split profits equally and put up the best Sabbath album of all times!

  40. daniel says:

    With all respect Geezer. This is shameful-Bill is part of Sabbath ,without him it it’s not a reunion,it’s just another one of many Sabbath re-incarnations that appeared throughout the years. None even coming close to the real sabbath. All fans have waited so long for this and then what? This B.S. about contracts and money? Really guys? Wonder who’s behind this circus. I can see if the drummer was not an original meber but Bill is 1/4 Sabbath so he should get 1/4-all equal? When you start getting greedy and think one deserves more than the other you get this crap.

    Also i can’t even begin to belive sabbath offered Bill to play a few songs or make a guest appearance??? Seriously are you guys still on drugs that you can ‘ t see the obvious insult and disrespect? Bill is going to make a guest appearance on a “reunion” tour in his own band as a founding member? too many fried brain cells whomever made that decision. Like a little common sense goes a long way.

    There’s obviously some bad blood in the band beyond any contracts and it’s sad that the fans that bad sabbth who they are today will not be able to enjoy the great band again.

  41. I really think this article , “Heavy Heart :: The Official Geezer Butler Website”, very interesting and it ended up being a very good read.
    Thanks a lot-Basil

  42. Paul Wilson says:

    Pick up the telephone, bugger the management and Lawyers, etc. and play some gigs for nothing. Just for the fans. You all must be well off enough to play for free until the day you die. It’s not about the money. Or is it? I first saw the 4 of you in Paranoid / Master of Reality days. You’ve all survived (amazingly) and with Tony being ill I think the lot of you should pull up your songs, shut up and JUST PLAY. Talk about losing patience – you all need a slap.

  43. Sashy says:

    I’m just glad I got to see the original line-up twice in my life. Once in 1975 and on the 1999 reunion. Yeah, I’m an old geezer myself. Funny how the money rolls. Back in the 70’s, Black Sabbath members were just enjoying being able to play what they wanted to and having fun doing it. I can’t believe Bill Ward is that hard up for money that he can’t sacrafice being a participant for all the dedicated Sabbath fans (like me) that own every Sabbath record ( CD or DVD ) released since the beginning that have his name on the release.

  44. mac says:

    i am very much looking forward to seeing you guys aug 22 in vancouver bc. i saw you at the ozzfest show in ’99 the crowd sure was wild!! It was excellent that bill was with you then. that was my first time at a black sabbath concert and it was billed as the last supper. its great for you to come back and give us some dessert. watching videos uploaded on youtube by people at the houston show i was disappointed to see the crowd so lame and just standing around. i hope the crowds energy builds up. Im fully expecting the crowd to go absolutely ape shit in vancouver again. hopefully any video i upload will show an insane crowd! it sure does suck bill isnt going to be with you but oh well.

  45. Douglas Waterbury says:

    As a veteran drummer for 40+years!, I am disappointed that Bill is not with you. Just got the “gathered in their masses” dvd. Doesn’t even have a picture of Tommy Clufetos! Lists him as GUEST MUSICIAN! That’s what he is, just another drummer. Probably legal reasons. I cut my teeth on sabbath,the reason I picked up my first pair of sticks. I love and respect you all so much,but it’s not whole without Bill. Hope you can work it out and do a REAL tour. GODSPEED TONY.

  46. Frank the Drummer says:

    As a longtime professional musician, I know EXACTLY what happened here. Sharon O has Ozzy’s interests in mind, and feels that, considering his massively successful solo career, he should be making more money than “the drummer”. I’m not necessarily disputing that Ozzy is the “main draw” to a Sabbath reunion, I’m just saying that I GUARANTEE Bill was not being offered 25%…. No way, no how. As for the other cats, I have no idea what they wanted or settled for, and I would HATE to think that there was a pecking order and Bill came last, but I repeat: No way Bill gets offered what Ozzy gets, especially knowing how Sharon Arden operates. This exact situation reared its ugly head in the Don Felder book about his experiences with the Eagles reunion. According to him, Henley and Frey insisted on paying the rest of the band a salary, take it or leave it, because their solo careers were so fruitful. So, even if the Eagles WERE a band when they had all those hits, they ain’t one now, and greed rears its ugly head, cameraderie of old mates be damned. So, there’s my educated guess as to what went wrong with the Sabbath reunion, vis-a-vis Bill Ward. Sure, I’m biased, I’m a drummer, but after hearing all the tales of Sharon charging bands to play Ozzfest (for the exposure! A career move!), and the Sabbath books and magazine articles I’ve read, I’d bet I’m right. And, on top of it all, they would have sounded even more amazing with Bill, his totally unique swing, and his undeniable fingerprint, not to mention that special cohesiveness that comes from guys recording and playing and conquering together for so long, right from formative days. Alas. Love you, Bill!

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