Iommi can’t see Ward return

Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi says he can’t see Bill Ward returning to the band.

The drummer withdrew from the original lineup reunion in February, saying he hadn’t been offered a contract he regarded as “signable”. They proceeded to work with Tommy Clufetos, sticksman with Ozzy Osbourne’s solo band, but Ward recently said he’d like to be part of Sabbath’s future.

Now Iommi reveals he thinks that’s unlikely.

The axeman tells Blairing Out: “We’ll always have a heart for Bill – but I think it’s gone past that now. It’s gone on so long that I don’t see it happening at the moment. Maybe at some point we might do it.”

 In the meantime he’s focusing on recording Sabbath’s first album with Osbourne since 1979, and says the singer got his facts wrong about how far they’ve got.

It had been reported that Iommi had recorded all his guitar parts, but he explains: “That’s wrong. When Ozzy said it I think he meant we recorded them at my house first, just as demos.

“Now we’re doing them for real. We’re about six tracks in at the moment.”

The band haven’t revealed the album’s title and the guitar icon says he can’t pick any favourite tracks just yet. He describes producer Rick Rubin as a “vibe merchant.”

Iommi attended the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund away night on Wednesday, where he was presented the King of Rock’n'Roll Award.

Having been diagnosed with cancer at the end of 2011, just 18 months after former bandmate Dio died of the disease, he says the event means a lot to him.

“I’m a survivor up until now,” he says light-heartedly. “I’m still very new to it. It’s great that there’s somebody doing something about it and trying to get rid of this awful disease. Things like this is what’s needed to make people aware of what’s going on.”

Earlier this week Osbourne revealed that he’d been unaware of the extent of his band’s influence until he heard Metallica playing Sabbath music – and suspected they were “taking the piss” out of him.