Ozzy Osbourne says that BLACK SABBATH will "disband" after completing the next album and touring cycle, leaving him to focus entirely on his solo career.
The singer released a solo retrospective called "Memoirs Of A Madman" earlier this month. The collection features 17 of Ozzy's greatest hit singles compiled in one place for the first time in his career.
Asked why he decided to release "Memoirs Of A Madman" now, Ozzy told The Times-Picayune: "A lot of people are asking me, with the success of the reformation of BLACK SABBATH, am I going to do any solo stuff any more? The answer is yes. I am going to continue to do my solo stuff, but I can't do the two at the same time. This 'Memoirs Of A Madman' package is to let everybody know that I haven't abandoned my solo career."
He continued: "I'm doing one more BLACK SABBATH tour, one more BLACK SABBATH album, and then we're disbanding the name, I believe. And then after that, I'll be doing my solo stuff."
Ozzy added: "In a way, I'm glad that I did the things with BLACK SABBATH. No. 1, it was the first time we ever had a No. 1 [album] in America. No. 2, hopefully we'll end on a happy note. The only sad note about it is that [original drummer] Bill Ward didn't do the last tour, for reasons that I guess have something to do with financing or something. I don't know.
"It would be great for him to get it together and sort all the problems out for the next tour. It would be a great way for the four of us to end such a wonderful experience of being BLACK SABBATH, and what we achieved.
"Tommy Clufetos [the drummer in Osbourne's solo band] did a great job [filling in for Ward on the most recent tour]. He's a great drummer. But he ain't Bill Ward, you know?"
Ward was announced as part of the band's reunion in late 2011, but dropped out early the following year due to what was assumed to be a dispute over his contract.
Since that time, however, the other three original SABBATH members — Ozzy, guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler — have hinted that Ward was not physically up to the task of recording a new album and embarking on a lengthy world tour.
Ozzy said as much when The Pulse Of Radio asked about Ward's absence a while back. "Bill Ward has got the most physically demanding job of the lot of us, 'cause he's the timekeeper," he said. "I don't think personally he had the chops to pull it off, you know. The saddest thing is that he needed to own up to that, and we could have worked around it, whether we had a drummer on the side with him or something. But I suppose it was something to do with finances as well."
Ward underwent surgery last year for perforated diverticulitis, a gastrointestinal condition in which the walls of the intestine have become perforated.
For the recording of its 2013 reunion album, "13", SABBATH used RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE drummer Brad Wilk, while Clufetos handled the drums on tour.
Ozzy recently told Metal Hammer magazine that Rick Rubin, who produced last year's "13" album, will likely be back for the next project.
Asked if he has started writing songs for the new BLACK SABBATH album, Ozzy told Esquire magazine: "No. Although I texted [guitarist] Tony [Iommi] the other day. I said, 'It would be a great idea if you could send me some musical ideas so I can try and work some melodies around so we don't have to go searching for the song structure.' So I'm not starting from a cold block, you know?"