Sabbath worried over Baker ‘problems’

Tony Iommi has offered a little more insight into how the band went about replacing Bill Ward for the making of 13 – their first album with Ozzy Osbourne since 1978.

They chose Rage Against The Machine drummer Brad Wilk to take the stool for recording sessions after Iommi’s concerns over time, dictated by his cancer treatment, prevented him from continuing talks with Ward over his contract.

Before Wilk was chosen, producer Rick Rubin put Cream icon Ginger Baker forward for the role.

But Iommi tells “We put a stop on. We didn’t think Ginger would have been… we didn’t want to go into the studio and have, um, problems.

“We did try some big name drummers – some very big name drummers. They were great, but Rick particularly suggested Brad. He did work hard; he was thrown into the deep end and he was very nervous. He got used to us, our jokes, the way we prank around.”

ELP and Asia sticksman Carl Palmer recently revealed he was consulted about playing with Sabbath, but had to turn it down.

And while bassist Geezer Butler believes the band could be playing their final tour, Iommi hasn’t given up hope on another record. “It all depends on my health – but I don’t think it would be hard to do,” he says. “I’ve got plenty of ideas and stuff, but we’ll have to see what happens after the tour.”

Meanwhile, big-name drummer Mike Portnoy has claimed Sabbath’s current incarnation shouldn’t be regarded as a reunion.

He tells Energize With Lonn Friend: “I have no issue if Bill Ward is not fit to plat, as they’re saying. I have no issue if they’re having problems and couldn’t agree on something that was fair.

“My issue is that they’re calling it a Black Sabbath reunion. It’s not without the four of them – it’s now just the latest Black Sabbath lineup.

“Why is this Black Sabbath, but Heaven And Hell wasn’t Black Sabbath? If they need to do it without Bill, don’t call it a reunion.”