After months of speculation, subterfuge and outright denials, Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi has confirmed that the original lineup of Black Sabbath has reunited and is working on material for a new album, to be followed by a tour.
Iommi told the Birmingham Mail in England that he, bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward have been working in secret with original Sabbath vocalist Ozzy Osbourne since June, and plan to record a new album for a projected 2012 release. It will be that lineup’s first since 1978’s Never Say Die.
‘‘We’re really looking forward to it and I think the stuff we’ve been writing is really good,’’ the 63-year-old guitarist said. ‘‘It’s more back to the old original stuff.”
The most recent version of Black Sabbath, called Heaven & Hell, came to an abrupt end after the tragic death of singer Ronnie James Dio from cancer in May of last year. Iommi said the hardest part of the new reunion has been keeping it under wraps. ‘‘I had umpteen number of people on the phone asking if I fancied getting together with a band but I couldn’t tell them what I was doing,” he said. “I just had to say I was busy.
‘‘It’s all been very hush-hush. Ozzy’s been the worst at trying to hold it back,” Iommi observed. “He’s doing a lot of TV and he’s being asked stuff about a reunion and he’s going ‘well I never say never.’
‘‘He told me, ‘I don’t know what to say’.’’