In a new interview with Britain’s NME, Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler discussed Iommi’s health, and Black Sabbath’s upcoming album.

Although they didn’t reference estranged drummer Bill Ward directly, Iommi said “We’ve had our ups and downs over the years and feuds, but the friendship never goes away. If we’re suing each other, we’re still friends, it’s weird.” The band recently played a show at England’s O2 Academy as a “warm up” to the Download Festival on June 10. On August 3, they play their only US gig of the year, at Lollapalooza in Chicago. They used Ozzy’s drummer Tommy Clufetos at the O2 show, and he’s expected to play their remaining two concerts.

“I’m just so f***ing happy I’m back with these guys,” said Osbourne, who hadn’t performed with Black Sabbath since 2005. Iommi remarked, “With what I’ve gone through for the past year, I’ve been living in a different world. To come back on stage and get that (reaction), it’s just fantastic, it really boosts you up.”

As for the long talked-about Sabbath reunion album, Osbourne said that 15 songs have been written, and the songs are classic Sabbath. Butler explained, “That’s where [producer] Rick Rubin came in. He put on the first album, he said, ‘Imagine it’s 1969, you’ve just done that, what would you do next?'”

Sabbath allegedly attempted recording a new album in 2001 with Rubin, but the sessions were abandoned when Osbourne began work on a solo album (Down To Earth). Rubin, who began his career specializing in metal, hip-hop and punk rock bands, began working with legendary rockers in 1993 with Mick Jagger’s solo album Wandering Spirit. Since then he produced Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, AC/DC, Neil Diamond, Metallica and Johnny Cash’s American Recordings series. Besides Black Sabbath, he is also working on the new ZZ Top album (a taste of which can be heard on their just-released EP, Texacali. However, not every band likes Rubin’s style – his records tend to have a long gestating period, as he works on a number of projects at any given time. He produced two new tracks for U2’s 2006 U218 Singles collection, but a full-length album never came from their sessions. More recently, Crosby, Stills & Nash parted ways with Rubin after years of working on a new album.

— Brian Ives, CBS Local


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