The metal originals have been replaced on the line-up of Ozzfest in Japan this November with a solo show by frontman Ozzy Osbourne. The PRP posted a statement from the band, reading: “Despite previous reports, Black Sabbath will not appear on this year’s Ozzfest Japan, the show will instead feature the festival’s namesake, Ozzy Osbourne (and friends).”
The gig was announced last month by Sharon Osbourne, Ozzy’s wife and manager, in a video statement where she mentioned that it would be “Black Sabbath’s farewell”. Metal website Blabbermouth suggests that Osbourne may have meant it was to be Sabbath’s last Japanese show, rather than their last ever gig.
The Guardian points out that even those close to the band don’t seem to know what’s going on. The newspaper says it asked Sabbath’s UK publicity firm if one of its other clients, Josh Homme, could write a tribute to Sabbath in the wake of the farewell show, and “the answer was only about Homme’s availability – there was no denial of the story itself.”
Currently, the Sabbath line-up includes Osbourne, guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler, but not drummer Bill Ward, who Osbourne had hoped would join for the final tour. The band reportedly began sessions for a new album earlier this year, with Rick Rubin returning to the producer’s chair. “Obviously a lot of it is coming down to Tony’s health, he’s obviously got his cancer treatment,” Osbourne explained last year. “I don’t know if we’ll be writing in England or LA, but I’ll fly to the fucking moon for it if I have to!”
Black Sabbath ranked high in FACT’s list of the 100 Best Albums of the 1970s.