Black Sabbath have had a monster year in 2013, but it almost didn't happen at all. On top of guitarist Tony Iommi's lymphoma diagnosis, original drummer Bill Ward pulled out of the Sabbath reunion due to contractual issues. Although Black Sabbath have captured success with Brad Wilk in the studio and Tommy Clufetos on tour, both Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler have reiterated that they wished it had all worked out with Ward.

Ward cited contractual issues for his departure, while later on Ozzy Osbourne would claim that Ward was too out of shape to deal with Sabbath's physically demanding live shows. During a newinterview with Classic Rock Magazine, Iommi and Butler spoke about their current relationships with Bill Ward.

“I haven’t spoken to Bill, but to be honest, I don’t actually know how to reach Bill these days because he doesn’t have the same phone number as I have for him,” says Iommi. “I see people saying: ‘Why don’t they talk?’ But it’s not that simple. The only way I can reach Bill is by emailing his secretary, and then she speaks to Bill. It’s not as easy as picking the phone up. I emailed him the other week, because he’d been in hospital and wasn’t that well, but that’s as far as it’s got at the moment. I’d like to talk to Bill — me and Bill have been friends for many years — but it’s not happened recently.”

Geezer Butler follows Iommi's quote with one of his own. “I don’t talk on the phone to anybody because I’m horrible on the phone as we didn’t have one in our house forever,” says Butler. “But I’ve exchanged a few e-mails with Bill, just to see how he is. We all still love Bill, and we desperately wish that it had worked with him, we really do, because that’s the true Sabbath, the four of us. But we tried, and for some reason, it didn’t work, so you have to get on with life. When I’m in touch with Bill, I don’t mention the album or tour or anything. I wouldn’t do that.” [via Metal Hammer]

Black Sabbath are set to keep touring in 2014 and have been nominated for multiple 2014 Grammy Awards.

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