BLACK SABBATH Issues Statement Regarding Plans to Play Upcoming Shows Without Bill Ward

BLACK SABBATH, currently comprised of Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, and Geezer Butler, have released a statement in response to drummer Bill Ward‘s online statement regarding his absence from the upcoming SABBATH shows and reunion as a whole:

“We have decided not to make any  detailed  comment  on Bill‘s latest statement. There are two sides to every story. We have been working hard at rehearsals making excellent progress after Tony‘s treatments and we have engaged a substitute drummer for the forthcoming shows. See  you at Download.

“–BLACK SABBATH, 5/17/12″

On May 15th, 2012, Bill Ward posted the news on his website that he would not be apart of the upcoming SABBATH reunion shows scheduled in Birmingham  on May 19th, 2012, Download Festival on June 10th, 2012, and Lollapalooza on August 3, 2012.

Here is his statement:

“Dear SABBATH Fans and Fellow Musicians,

“I sincerely regret to inform you that after a final effort to participate in the upcoming SABBATH shows a failure to agree has continued. At this time I have to inform you that I won’t be playing with BLACK SABBATH at the Birmingham gig dated May 19th, 2012, nor will I be playing at Download on June 10th, 2012. Further, I will not be playing at Lollapalooza on August 3, 2012.

“It is with a very sad heart that I bring you this news. I am sincerely passionate in my desire to play with the band, and I’m very, very sorry that it’s fallen to this. This statement is even more painstaking to write, as I was particularly excited to play alongside Tony Iommi after the recent treatments he underwent. I wanted that to become a reality.

“To express my thoughts about you, the SABBATH fans, I’m going to speak to you all through an experience my brother James had recently. My brother Jimmy lives in the U.K. When speaking with him a couple of days ago, he told me that an acquaintance had stopped him on the street and confronted him, “is your brother playing Birmingham? What’s going on? I waited in line with my son and paid x amount for the concert tickets…”

Read the whole statement here.

X JAPAN Announce First Ever U.S. Tour

They’ve sold 30-million records and DVDs, filled the 55,000-seat Tokyo Dome a record-breaking 18 times, they pioneered “Visual-Kei,” the Japanese music movement that helped spark the current world-wide anime craze, and their leader has been referred to as “the Bono of Japan.” But the one thing the band has wanted to do for years but has never done, is tour America. That’s about to change, as on September 25. Tickets go on sale today.

“We feel like a new band now, like we are going back to the beginning,” said X JAPAN’s leader/drummer/pianist/composer Yoshiki about the upcoming U.S. concerts, “and it’s very, very exciting. We are looking forward to playing smaller venues here in the U.S., something we haven’t been able to do in Japan since the very early days.”

In Asia, X JAPAN plays arenas and stadiums, bringing in elaborate production including lasers, catwalks, and holograms. Comparably, the North American dates will be “back to basics,” with pyrotechnics and some production, but with the band focusing primarily on the music. As Yoshiki told one reporter, “You don’t see good rock shows anymore. Rock doesn’t have enough drama now, rap, R&B, and dance music have taken care of that. We want to be part of bringing the drama back to rock.”

While this will be X JAPAN‘s first U.S. tour, the band made its American concert debut on August 8, 2010 playing the Main Stage at Lollapalooza in Chicago in front of some 10,000 people.

The members of X JAPAN have been writing and recording what will be their first album to be released in North America and to contain English lyrics. According to Yoshiki, about half of the album will feature some of the band’s most popular songs from throughout their career, with all lyrics re-recorded in English, and the other half all brand-new songs. The album’s first single will be “Jade,” which was performed at Lollapalooza and will be on the North American dates’ set list.

X JAPANYoshiki (drums, piano), Toshi (vocals), Pata and Sugizo (guitars) and Heath (bass) – has its roots in the life-long friendship of Yoshiki and Toshi who met when they were four years old. While still in high school, they formed the band, known at the time simply as “X,” and over the next 13 years, X JAPAN released five studio albums as well as six live albums, 10 compilation albums and 15 video albums, and attained iconic status in Japan. With the late-90s breakdown of Yoshiki and Toshi‘s friendship, combined by the sudden death of then-guitarist Hide, the band called it quits. It wasn’t until 2007 that Toshi and Yoshiki reunited, that X JAPAN was reformed, and that the band put America back in its sights.

“While we are confident about coming to America,” Yoshiki added, “I don’t know if we are going to end up being successful or not. But what I do know is that music breaks down barriers, and it doesn’t matter what country the music comes from. Good music is universal.”

Tour dates:
September
25 Wiltern Theatre, Los Angeles, CA
28 Fox Theatre, Oakland, CA

October
1 Paramount Theatre, Seattle, WA
3 Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver, BC CANADA
6 Riviera, Chicago, IL
7 Massey Hall, Toronto, ON CANADA
10 Roseland Ballroom, New York, NY