Estranged Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward reunited with bandmates Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler at the Ivor Novello Awards on Thursday (May 21) in London, where the group received a Lifetime Achievement Awards.
Despite considerable rancor and nasty social media exchanges with frontman Ozzy Osbourne, who did not attend the event, Ward accepted the award on behalf of the group, saying that, "It's been a good 40 years. At least, I think it has. It's been a fantastic journey so far and I hope it will continue to be."
Iommi, meanwhile, confirmed to the BBC that Black Sabbath will launch a "final tour" in 2016, explaining that, "We've tried to cut down because of my (cancer) treatments. We can't just keep going like we used to."
Some speculated that Ward's appearance indicated a softening of his stance towards playing with Sabbath. He bowed out of the 2013 reunion album (13) and tour ostensibly over contract issues, although Osbourne publicly stated that Ward was not in shape for the projects -- which the drummer vehemently denied. Sabbath was supposed to perform its final show ever at OZZFest Japan this fall but canceled that appearance.
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.