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Metal Allegiance Members Offer Thoughts on Black Sabbath Touring Without Bill Ward

Metal Allegiance
Nuclear Blast

With the announcement of Black Sabbath‘s final tour, the metal community is again wondering if the band will ever feature original drummer Bill Ward in its ranks again. There has been a lot of back and forth between Ward and the rest of the band with issues being raised from unfair contracts to Ward’s physical inability to endure the demands of performing every night on tour. Fans are not the only ones wondering if Ward will ever join the band and the members of Metal Allegiance gave their thoughts on the situation.

In an interview with Louder Noise, David Ellefson, Mike Portnoy, Alex Skolnick and Mark Menghi all answered the question, “Should Black Sabbath play its final shows without Bill Ward?” All of them remain hopeful that the drummer will join the band on stage, but Ellefson gave some insight from the musician aspect, stating, “If it can’t come together and everybody really feel it in the room either musically or just as a brotherhood then it’s better to leave it alone and let everybody have the memory of what was great back in a previous glory day. Don’t taint that glory by forcing a reunion to happen.”

Ellefson understands this well as he rejoined Megadeth after an eight year absence. The bassist and Dave Mustaine were engaged in a bitter lawsuit concerning royalties, but ultimately the two mended fences.

Drummer Mike Portnoy had a messy split with Dream Theater, but has found success in new endeavors. Understanding this situation, he touches on other bands who have recently gone on to replace their long time drummer, naming Slayer and Slipknot among others. Coming back around to the question, he said, “I love Bill Ward and he should be there. Whatever, if there’s physical reasons that he can’t be there then okay, that’s understandable, but if it’s strictly a financial thing, that’s inexcusable.”

Adding to the physicality issue, Skolnick joined in, “Maybe things weren’t perfect. I know the musical thing has been brought up ‘can he still play like he used to?’ Well, no, he doesn’t have to play like he used to as long as it still feels like Black Sabbath and at least at that time it did [referring to Ward’s performances when Black Sabbath played Ozzfest].

Concluding the thoughts, Mark Menghi was grateful for the current opportunity to see the band, expressing, “For me would I like to see Bill [Ward] there? Absolutely, but I’m a huge, huge Sabbath fan so if I’m up front watching Tony [Iommi] and Geezer [Butler], I’m cool.” Portnoy chimed in with, “three out of four is better than none, but we’d love to see four out of four.”

Black Sabbath announced in September that 2016 will see them embark on The End tour. The trek will start off on Jan. 20 in Omeha, Neb. as the band deliver their timeless heavy metal classics to the world one last time.

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