I’m kind of bummed out starting my fist blog post on this website on such an ugly topic. Just before last Christmas my idol Tony Iommi was diagnosed with early stage Lymphoma. As a kidney cancer patient and husband of a wife who had breast cancer, I know what he’s going through right now. Well, I shouldn’t really say that, because if there’s one thing I learned from all this cancer mess, the fact of the matter is that each patient deals with the situation differently. Just like there is no universal treatment for this disease, there is also no general approach in order to cope with the situation.
And as usual, bad things come in batches. Almost four decades after the original Black Sabbath line up featuring Ozzy Osbourne (vocals), Geezer Butler (bass) , Bill Ward (drums) and Tony Iommi (guitar), the four friends from Birmingham had plans to record another studio album. Me and millions of other fans got obviously very excited, especially since the release of the album would have been followed by another world tour.
Here is the weird part: it’s not Tony’s cancer that crushed the plans, but rather some unresolved idiotic legal issue that hangs like a black cloud
over the situation. While Geezer and Ozzy temporarily moved from their US residencies over to England to support their bandmate and to start working in the studio while Tony is receiving chemotherapy, Bill Ward refused to do the same. Apparently, but not surprisingly, Bill feels that the contract that he was offered was “not signable”. Actually, I don’t know if I should be saying that Bill “refused to do the same”. Based on statements on his website, he is ready to head over to the UK as soon as the contractual situation is resolved, but at this point in time he insist on the papers to be revised before he will join the rest of the gang.
Of course, as always there are wild speculations as to what the actual issue is with the contract. One of the theories suggest that Sharon Osbourne – Ozzy’s wife – might be responsible for this mess. Just to be clear, I actually like Sharon a lot and I think without her Ozzy wouldn’t have survived, musically as well as literally. But she obviously has a reputation of being inadequately eager to make as much dough as possible (I don’t want to say “greedy”). So rumors say Sharon offered Bill a contract that was simply not acceptable. Of course, I’m not sure what is actually going on behind the scenes, let alone if Sharon is actually involved here. But I do sympathize with Bill here and I applaud him for standing his ground, even though some people might feel otherwise in light of Tony’s health situation.
Speaking of Tony’s health – on his facebook page he issued a message on March 26 that he had received his last dose of chemo and will now start radiation. In the meantime he managed to go into the studio with Geezer and Ozzy to work on new tracks for the album – pretty remarkable knowing how brutal chemo is your body and mind. Also, I wonder who they hired as an ad interim drummer?
Alright, I pray that Tony will get through his cancer journey. Good thing they found it early. And selfishly, I also hope that this stupid contract situation gets resolved quickly. We, the fans, want an album by the original line-up. No disrespect to the army of other drummers who got hired during Black Sabbath’s existence, but to me there is only one real Black Sabbath drummer, and that’s Mr. Bill Ward.