Original BLACK SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi, singer Ozzy Osbourne and bassist Geezer Butler discussed their new album in a video interview posted at NME.com over the weekend. The three musicians are working with producer Rick Rubin on their first recording project together in 34 years, with Osbourne saying, "We've written about 15 songs so far. Whether they all get on the album, I don't know. We just keep on writing." Osbourne also dropped a clue about the set's title, hinting, "Next year, 2013, is a good clue to what we're going to call the album."
As for how Rubin influenced the band's approach to writing together again, Butler explained, "He sat us down, put the first album on and said 'listen to this', imagine it's 1969, you've just done that, what would you do next?"
Iommi added, "It's taken on the flavor of the old stuff in the way we put things together, but with a different look on it."
The album will not be a full-fledged SABBATH reunion. Drummer Bill Ward declined to participate due to issues with the contract he was offered to rejoin the band.
"We've tried everything with Bill at the moment, and it's just not happening," Iommi said. "Our legal people are dealing with his legal people. It's all nonsense. We haven't actually heard from Bill, any of this stuff. It's all been through his lawyers."
"The door is open," Ozzy added. "As far as I know, his requests were very unreasonable. Nothing would have been better [than] if he would have been [willing to play with us]. I don't know. I don't deal with the business."
The project suffered another blow earlier this year when Iommi was diagnosed with cancer, although he said that playing a recent warm-up show in their hometown of Birmingham, England was a boost to his spirits. "It was great," he said. "Going through what I've gone through over the past year has been like living in a different world — being onstage and to get that (reaction from the fans) is just fantastic, it really boosts you up."
SABBATH has curtailed almost all its planned touring activities for 2012 while Iommi undergoes treatment. The band is still scheduled to headline the U.K.'s Download festival this Sunday (June 10) and Chicago's Lollapalooza event in early August. Tommy Clufetos is filling in on drums.