Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler has unofficially responded to drummer Bill Ward's comments that he was shut out of negotiations with the band for their 2012 reunion.
Bill had previously said he needed to defend his role as a founding member of the band, and didn't want to be stuck with an unfair deal as he had in the past. "I made a solemn vow after the last European and Ozzfest concerts that I would never again enter into what was, in my opinion, a totally unsatisfactory contract. I have to stand for something, and as painful as it is, I'm doing it," he wrote.
Geezer's response sheds some light on the other side of the story, though Bill has since rejected some of Geezer's claims.
In the post, Geezer says it's been a tough year with guitarist Tony Iommi's cancer diagnosis and for the band's reunion to become a "soap opera" on the internet.
He says that he and Ozzy Osbourne flew to England to write their new album with Tony: "No drummer involved, just three of us quietly putting together ideas. We thought that when we had enough songs together for a full band rehearsal, we'd move back to L.A and put the whole thing together with Bill. Unfortunately, to our surprise, Bill issued a statement on his site saying he'd been offered an un-signable contract. He 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."
In addition, Geezer suggests that Bill representatives might have been asking for too much money without Bill's knowledge.
"A one off show at [Download] Festival costs an absolute fortune to stage... [Bill's representatives] wanted an amount that was so unrealistic that it seemed to have been a joke. So we resigned ourselves to doing Download without Bill, hoping he'd change his mind and at least make a guest appearance."
Geezer also took issue with Bill saying he had been asked to play the Birmingham show for free, despite it apparently being a charity fundraiser. "I think that's basically how you raise money from gigs for charity you play them for free," wrote Geezer.
The bassist concludes by saying he hopes to play with Bill again one day.
Bill has since responded to Geezer's comments, noting that he did in fact notify the band that he was having contractual difficulties, and that he would have played the Birmingham homecoming charity gig for free.
Hopefully this drama will play out behind closed doors now, but ultimately, Bill is out of the reunion this time around. Let's hope for another opportunity in the future.