OZZY OSBOURNE Says 'There Was No Argument' Between BILL WARD And BLACK SABBATH

The members of BLACK SABBATH say that there's still a chance for founding drummer Bill Ward to return to the band. Ward has so far sat out the legendary metal act's reunion — not participating in the recording of a new album or live shows — due to his dissatisfaction with the contract he was offered. But singer Ozzy Osbourne told The Times. "There was no row, there was no argument. The door ain't closed. Whether we work something out up the road, I don't know."

Added guitarist Tony Iommi, "It's not a personal thing. If he phoned us up tomorrow, which he hasn't, but if he did…"

Osbourne previously told NME about Ward's contractual dispute with SABBATH's management, "As far as I know his requests were very unreasonable. Nothing would have been better [than] if he would have been [willing to play with us]. I don't know. I don't deal with the business." Iommi added, "We've tried everything with Bill at the moment, and it's just not happening. Our legal people are dealing with his legal people. It's all nonsense. We haven't actually heard from Bill, any of this stuff. It's all been through his lawyers."

Ward has said that he's ready to travel and rejoin the band if and when a contract is offered that is to his liking.

Ward was present with the rest of the group when they announced a new album — the original lineup's first since 1978 — and world tour at a press conference last November, but went on strike shortly after that.

In the meantime, Iommi was diagnosed with cancer, forcing SABBATH to drastically curtail its touring plans and move the recording of the new CD to London, so that Iommi could remain close to his doctors.

The drum parts on the record are reportedly being played by Tommy Clufetos, who also played an intimate hometown gig in Birmingham, England with SABBATH in May and appeared with the group when it headlined the U.K.'s Download festival in June.

Barring a last-minute breakthrough with Ward, Clufetos will be behind the kit in August when the band appears at Lollapalooza in Chicago.

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