Estranged Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward surprised many, joining Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler in accepting a lifetime achievement honor at the Ivor Novello Awards last Thursday. But according to the drummer, his appearance is not a sign that he's returning to the band just yet.

Ward initially signed on for the band's reunion, but then decided to opt out when he was not satisfied with the contract presented to him for the band's return. In the time since, Ozzy Osbourne took a few shots at Ward concerning his health and playing ability in the media. However, after the success of Black Sabbath's 13 album, Osbourne did express his hope that Ward might return for their final disc and tour.

The drummer addressed the matter in a post earlier this spring in which he stated that he would want a public apology from Osbourne before he'd consider a return. That comment led to another public war of words between Osbourne and Ward.

As for Ward's latest comments, he told NME, "I'm in a huge dispute with Ozzy so that doesn't really help and as far as I'm concerned, until that dispute is finished then I'm not gonna participate. They've already made an album without me, so I'm sure they'd go on without me playing and that's OK with me -- I still love them just the same. I'd love to think I could [rejoin the band], but the things I'm asking for may be out of reach."

Despite Ward's contract issues and bickering with Osbourne, guitarist Tony Iommi stated that the friendship with Ward remains. "That'll never go," says Iommi. "We've been friends for a long time. You can't just lop someone off like that. We stay in touch with each other. We're always thinking of each other."

As for a new album and tour that's expected in 2016, bassist Geezer Butler stated, "I'd love to keep going. I'd desperately want to keep going before I kick the bucket." Guitarist Tony Iommi added, "It'd be lovely to do a last tour. It'd be really nice to do that."

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