Just two days ago, Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward announced that he would not participate in the group's three upcoming reunion gigs with an incredibly detailed, 1,504-word letter. Today, the rest of the group responded with a mere 54 words. Their statement reads, in full:
We have decided not to make any detailed comment on Bill's latest statement. There are two sides to every story. We have been working hard at rehearsals making excellent progress after Tony's treatments and we have engaged a substitute drummer for the forthcoming shows. See you at Download.
–Black Sabbath, 5/17/12
It's unclear who will perform in Ward's place. In the past, Faith No More's Mike Bordin has substituted when Ward was unavailable. Vinny Appice replaced Bill Ward in Black Sabbath in the 1980s and played with the group this decade under the moniker Heaven and Hell; however, in a recent interview with the Great Southern Brainfart, he said that nobody has contacted him about the gig. "If Black Sabbath is going to do a reunion, Bill should be there," he said. "I guess the whole problem with this thing was money. It’s a shame to see that. I don’t know what the hell’s going to happen. If they end up doing it with another drummer, it’ll be the second best thing, since the fans still obviously want to hear those classic songs."
Black Sabbath (at least 75 percent of them) will play their first gig since 2005 this Saturday at the O2 Academy Birmingham in their hometown of Birmingham, England. On June 10th, they'll play the Download Festival in Derby, England and then do one more show on August 3rd at Lollapalooza in Chicago. The remaining dates of their summer tour were cancelled so that Tony Iommi can continue to receive treatment for lymphoma.