Original BLACK SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi, singer Ozzy Osbourne and bassist Geezer Butler are working on their first new album together in 33 years with legendary producer Rick Rubin (seven-time Grammy winner, two of those as "Producer Of The Year") for release worldwide on Vertigo, and Vertigo/Universal Republic in the U.S.
Speaking to NME.com in a video interview you can watch at this location, the band discussed the direction of the new material, the influence of Rubin and their recent Download warm-up gig in Birmingham.
Commenting on the progress of the sessions, Osbourne said: We've written about 15 songs so far, whether they'll get on an album [I don't know]… You just keep on writing. I was trying to [work out]: where would we be now musically if we'd have stayed together?"
He added: "Next year — 2013 — is a good clue of what we'll call the album."
Regarding how Rubin approached the writing sessions with the band, Butler said, "He sat us down, put the first album on and said 'listen to this', imagine it's 1969, you've just done that, what would you do next?"
Iommi also discussed his battle with cancer and how playing with the band at their comeback show at O2 Academy Birmingham last month (May 19) gave him a "boost." He said: "It was great. Going through what I've gone through over the past year has been like living in a different world — being onstage and to get that [reaction from the fans] is just fantastic, it really boosts you up."
BLACK SABBATH drummer Bill Ward recently announced again that he was declining to join his former bandmates for its scheduled 2012 dates, as well as the recording of a new album, due to a contractual dispute.
He also allegedly had his lawyers direct SABBATH to remove him from photos of the band posted at the official BLACK SABBATH web site "so as to not give the public the wrong impression about his involvement in the current BLACK SABBATH lineup," according to a statement issued by the band's publicist.
Geezer Butler issued a lengthy retort at his own web site, writing that Ward "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."
Butler added that the band did not expect to make a lot of money from its Download appearance and planned to donate the proceeds from the Birmingham gig, saying, "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."
In addition to Download, the members of SABBATH will play at Lollapalooza this August in Chicago, their only scheduled U.S. gig. The rest of the scheduled SABBATH tour dates are being played by Ozzy and billed as "Ozzy & Friends."