After years of rumors, Tony Iommi has announced that the original lineup of Black Sabbath is going to reunite for a new album and tour. “We’re really looking forward to it and I think the stuff we’ve been writing is really good,’’ the guitarist told the Birmingham Mail. “It’s all been very hush-hush. Ozzy’s been the worst at trying to hold it back. He’s doing a lot of TV and he’s being asked stuff about a reunion and he’s going ‘Well, I never say never.'”
Just six months ago, Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler put out a press release saying a reunion would never happen. “I would like to make it clear, because of mounting speculation and rumours, that there will be definitely no reunion of all four original members of Black Sabbath,” he wrote. “Whether to record an album or to tour.”
The Ozzy-led lineup of Sabbath hasn’t toured since 2005, and their last album was 1978’s Never Say Die. They attempted to cut a new album with Rick Rubin in 2001, but the sessions fell apart and Osbourne turned his attention to his solo career. The Ronnie James Dio lineup reunited under the moniker Heaven & Hell in 2006 but split four years later, after Dio passed away.
Iommi said that keeping the reunion a secret has been challenging. “‘I had umpteen number of people on the phone asking if I fancied getting together with a band, but I couldn’t tell them what I was doing,” he said. “I just had to say I was busy.’’ Sabbath drummer Bill Ward didn’t participate in the Heaven & Hell project, and Iommi is concerned about his health. “He hasn’t been 100 percent,” he said. “He had an operation a few months ago, so we’ll see how he is.”
In a statement, Iommi says that these quotes are from June and claims that he was merely “speculating” and “shooting the breeze.” However, his statement does not actually deny the crux of his statements: that Black Sabbath are reuniting for a new album and planned tour.