BLACK SABBATH bassist Geezer Butler told NME at yesterday's Ivor Novello Awards in London, England that he had "absolutely no idea" if the band's rumored final tour would actually happen. He said: "I'd love to keep going, I'd desperately want to keep going before I kick the bucket." SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi added: "It'd be lovely to do a last tour. It'd be really nice to do that."
Iommi and Butler appeared in public with estranged SABBATH drummer Bill Ward for the first time since late 2011 at yesterday's event. The members of the legendary metal act were on hand to accept a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Singer Ozzy Osbourne was not present at the ceremony, which has celebrated British songwriting and songwriters annually for 60 years.
Ward told NME: "I'm in a huge dispute with Ozzy, so that doesn't really help, and, as far as I'm concerned, until that dispute is finished, then I'm not gonna participate. They've already made an album without me [2013's '13'] so I'm sure they'd go on without me playing, and that's okay with me; I still love them just the same. I'd love to think I could [rejoin the band], but the things I'm asking for may be out of reach."
Ward added: "It feels really nice to be with these two," referring to Iommi and Butler. Iommi echoed the drummer's sentiments, telling NME: "That'll never go; we've been friends for a long time, you can't just lop someone off like that. We stay in touch with each other; we're always thinking of each other."
A separate interview with Iommi, Butler and Ward conducted by Gigwise at yesterday's Ivor Novello Awards can be seen below.
Ward sat out the recording of SABBATH's reunion album, "13", and its subsequent tour over what he claimed was a contract dispute, while the other members of SABBATH hinted that he was not physically capable of touring and performing.
The feud flared up again recently with Ward and Ozzy exchanging bitter and sometimes emotional open letters via Facebook.
Ward told Rolling Stone in April that he was "quite capable" of playing a full BLACK SABBATH show and demanded that Ozzy apologize for his remarks.
Ward admitted to past health and weight problems but maintained that he was in shape for recording and touring. He added that his terms for a "signable" contract with SABBATH included "better money" for festival shows along with publishing money.
Ozzy responded to Ward's letter, saying, "Bill, stop this smokescreen about an 'unsignable contract' and let's be honest. Deep down inside, you knew you weren't capable of doing the album and a 16-month tour."
Brad Wilk played drums on "13", while Tommy Clufetos was behind the kit for the group's world tour.
Video interview with Gigwise