Ward - who participated in the initial rehearsals for the "13" album and tour - has always maintained that he sat out a reunion over contractual issues while the band says the drummer was not physically fit to take on the road, bringing in Rage Against The Machine drummer Brad Wilk for the studio sessions and Tommy Clufetos of Ozzy Osbourne's solo band to handle live shows.
As recent as last summer, Ward said he still wanted to regroup with his bandmates for another tour but an apology from Ozzy for remarks in recent years was a necessary first step to a full reunion.
Now, Butler echoes Osbourne's comments about Ward's health issues in a new interview with Classic Rock Revisited that brought an immediate public response from the drummer.
"We started out with Bill on the 13 tour," explains Butler. "That is the way we all thought it was going to be, that Bill was going to be part of this whole thing. It just turned out that is wasn't to be. His health has to come first before anything.
"It's beyond the money thing. It is not really anything to do with that. It is whether he's capable of touring or not. On the 13 tour, he was not on that tour. About a week after we started he had to go into the hospital for major surgery. We would have had to cancel the tour if Bill was still with us."
"He hasn't been well for a long time," Butler continued. "He's had a couple of heart attacks. You have to face facts when you get to our age and you're not in great, great health rather you can go out on the road for two years, or whatever. It is a hard life to do. The easy part is when you're on stage playing. It is all of the traveling and everything else that comes with it that is the hard part.
"I think Ozzy, in particular, didn't think Bill would get through it. He certainly wouldn't have got through the first part as he was in the hospital. We can't keep cancelling tours just because the drummer can't play."
Ward took to Twitter to issue a prompt rebuttle to Butler's comments. See the tweethere.
The film tells the story of the origins of the group who have confirmed a 2016 reunion which will see frontman Axl Rose and guitarist Slash back together on stage for the first time since 1993.
The film tells the story of how the band came from playing bars on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles to stadiums across the world and has been compiled from a host of exclusive interviews and the early footage of GNR fan and friend Marc Canter. Read morehere.
Satriani tells Northwest Music Scene: "It looks like we're going to do a show in the middle of May. I think it's a Lake Tahoe show. We're working around the schedule of Chad, who's got a rehearsal scheduled at that point with the Chili Peppers.
"Then we've got a track that's pretty much done - it's about 99% finished. We actually recorded a song. We're the slowest-working band in history - we take forever. But there is stuff happening, and we're still laughing and communicating." Read morehere.
The post reads: "To all friends, fans and supporters of Kevin Lawrence and his band, Rapidfire, Kevin loved you all. He was constantly inspired by your interest, your enthusiasm and your encouragement.
"He was as genuine a person as can be, uniquely creative and insatiably imaginative. He was also an extremely generous and good natured man, truly caring for his loyal friends and his beloved dogs.
"Fearlessly, Kevin did always what he wanted to do, to the end. He was a true rock'n'roller. He leaves us with his giant grin, encouraging us all to give the rest of the world a giant, extended middle finger." Read morehere.
It's now 2016--how time flies--and the Internet is stirring with anticipation for whatever Hayley Williams and the gang dream up next. A Twitter user prodded, "I think u should say something about a new album, don't you?!"
Williams responded: "haha, i suppose. we are writing it." For a popular band that defies categorization--a little rock, a little pop, heavily influenced by ska and others--2013 marked a welcome breakthrough after three previous studio albums. Read morehere.
The Alice Cooper Fan Club presales began January 20; the main presale offer code is SICKTHINGS. The Live Nation presale offer code is ICONIC and the LN mobile app password is COVERT.
When purchasing tickets on Ticketmaster enter presale password in the "offer code" box above the venue map. General public tickets will go on sale January 22 at 10 AM EST.
Cooper spent much of the past two years on the road supporting Motley Crue on their farewell tour while continuing to perform solo dates. See the tour dateshere.
Mainman Richard Patrick tells Billboard: "This record is more experimental and crazy. It's where I am today. I wanted to go to some scary, weird places instead of doing that big-ass guitar sound again.
"I feel so strongly about having it be weird and intense and authentic and bizarre, because we've done 'perfect.' This is a new era for me because it's the first time I've totally produced the record - and I made it raw and real the way I wanted it."
The band have made the track Take Me To Heaven available to stream - the first material released from Crazy Eyes. Patrick continues: "Take Me to Heaven was written after my dad just died, and where I'm coming from is I'm trying to find if there's an afterlife and I'm trying to believe in it.
"It's very hopeful. There's no more authentic and real that I could have gotten as a singer and lyricist." Read morehere.
It was commissioned by the show's producers when the band appeared on the show as extras last year. The song was written around an idea that drummer Brann Dailor had in his kitchen.
Mastodon say: "Welsh illustrator Richey Beckett designed the artwork which was inspired by the show. The B-Side of the 12-inch features an a cappella version of White Walker, the original idea for the song recorded by Brann on his phone in his kitchen.
"The artwork is a still from the episode in which we appeared as murdered wildlings who are brought back to life by White Walkers." See ithere.
"Mott The Hoople were one of my favourite bands when I was a kid in my teens and one of Hanoi Rocks' biggest influences," says Monroe. "So when we were looking for a producer for our Back To Mystery City album, we asked for Ian Hunter, but he was unavailable so we asked for Pete - Overend Watts - and Dale Griffin, who was always Buffin, and they were happy to oblige.
"We made the album down in Hastings and I really enjoyed working with both Buffin and Pete, it was a really pleasant experience and probably the some of the most fun I've had making a record. They got Morgan Fisher in to play piano on a couple of songs, they had the Fairlight, which we were playing around with, and they got us making farm animal noises on Tooting Bec Wreck. They were really good producers, a great choice." Read morehere.
And Petrucci says his fears about technology's long-term effect on the planet impacted the album's central concept. He tells the Huffington Post: "It's happening in all other areas - with jobs that people once held in manufacturing and everything else, they're automated now.
"There's already self-driving cars that they're experimenting with. Pretty soon, we'll be looking back, like, 'Oh, remember when you used to have to drive yourself?'
"Being a musician, and since music is such an important part of my life and people that surround me, I knew that music had to be a central theme. That with all the advances in technology, how music becomes less and less important and just really easy to stream and quickly listen to a song and make something up on your phone.
"As the importance kind of went away, I thought it would be really crazy and a travesty if people didn't make music or didn't participate in the arts anymore and it was all artificial - it was all done by machines.
"So that's this dystopian future in my story, that's the setting. It's about 300 years into the future and people don't make music anymore - it's done by machines." Read morehere.
The album was recorded at Whitewood Studios in the band's hometown and they describe it as a "game changer." The band tell TeamRock: "Magnetic Seasons was created with no idea where it would lead. Some of the songs were created outside of the studio, and some inside the studio.
"At the heart of most of the improvisations, a Fender Rhodes was used which creates a light and dense sound in places. This creates a sound which is reminiscent of Bitches Brew-era Miles Davis and Mahavishnu Orchestra's Birds Of Fire.
"The album starts as high driven space rock and ends in a fog of dissolved melting sounds - like a machine driven to its limit and burning out in a haze of noise. This is a snapshot of time and creation." Stream the songhere.
The EP features two new tracks - including Suckerpunch - as well as four live cuts, an alternative take on Don't Look Back and an orchestral version of Suckerpunch.
Delain say: "Today, we release the first track off Lunar Prelude - an upbeat fight song about facing your demons and taking them on. Don't let them weigh you down. We hope you will enjoy Suckerpunch." Stream the songhere.
In a TeamRock Radio interview with vocalist Dani Winter-Bates and guitarist Kristan Dawson, the pair say that they wrote the album inbetween gigs and on the road.
Vocalist Dani Winter Bates tells TeamRock's Pete Bailey: "We wrote it on tour in six weeks, whereas last time we wrote it over eight months. Any quiet place we could find, like a tourbus or a corridor.
"It felt like it had that live atmosphere to the music, because we were on tour and always so busy. It felt like it came naturally. From a songwriter's perspective, I tried to make each song feel like an adventure rather than going to a corner shop for a pint of milk.
"It's more of a serious effort, and hopefully that translates across." Read morehere.
Last month, they released the standalone single Skin Deep. Chelsea Grin say: "We're very excited to join the Rise Records family. Following the release of Skin Deep, we are fired up to bring our most aggressive release to date.
"With this new partnership, we feel a new level of excitement and plan on giving our fans the Chelsea Grin record they need to hear." Read morehere.
They insist the deal will not impact on Candelight's roster of artists, which includes Ihsahn and Vision Of Disorder. Christie and Beatty say: "Spinefarm have shown an understanding and respect for what we do and are looking forward to working with Candlelight's artists. We also feel that they will treat the catalogue with respect.
"Contractually, nothing will change. All future album options and commitments as well as accounting will continue as agreed in contracts. It's been a great ride and we are immensely proud of what we have achieved in those years. We have released some amazing music, some of which can genuinely be termed as classics of their genres, a major achievement." Read morehere.
Hosted by Dave Bidini of Rheostatics, the event will include musicians Lifeson, Terra Lightfoot, David Quinton Steinberg, Tom Power and Odario Williams, while Canada's musically-inclined comedians such as Gavin Crawford, Jessica Holmes and Sean Cullen perform parody songs.
The 11th Anniversary TOsketchfest will present the best sketch comedy in North America March 3-13 with more than 70 comedy troupes on the schedule. Read morehere.
The EP features covers of Porcupine Tree track The Nostalgia Factory, which originally appeared on a Steven Wilson cassette, Justin Hayward's It Won't Be Easy, ELP's C'Est La Vie and Phil Collins song Take Me Home, which Mitchell performed during his encore at his recent Lonely Robot show at London's Scala.
Former Touchstone singer Kim Seviour features as a guest artist on the EP. Mitchell says: "We wanted to do something a bit different for the first release on the label so I took some time out from Lonely Robot to do something that I wouldn't normally do - reworking some tracks that Chris and I thought would be interesting." Read morehere.
Drummer Ben Shanbrom says: "The Ungrounding comes from the idea that there's nothing inherently putting us here or what we're doing on Earth - or what we're doing at any given moment.
"We have to make that purpose for ourselves and it's a constant upwards struggle of having the ground pulled from under you and building your own purpose and fighting back the nothingness that threatens to make your life meaningless.
"I think this one going to be a real blast live - it certainly packs a visceral punch and I'm very proud of it." A Dream In Static took more than two years to complete, but keyboardist Frank Sacramone tells Prog that their hard work has paid off.
He says: "Nothing in my life has been as stressful as completing this record, but nothing else I've worked on in my life has reached the calibre of this record. I'm not sure it was completely necessary for it to take that long. There's always a learning curve the first time around.
"The hardest part had been not being able to release any of our music for three years. I honestly didn't even feel like a musician. Now the record has been released and we're playing on tour, I'm starting to see a reward from our efforts when people tell us they've made a connection with our music. That really means a lot." Watch the videohere.
The London-based outfit are said to "celebrate the more sinister side of British folk history and music," with their upcoming material described as exploring "the sorrowful histories of long-deceased inhabitants of forgotten Britain."
The statement on the mini-album continues: "Five Songs takes you on an ethereal stroll through doomed relationships, drownings and confidence tricksters, in four new arrangements of traditional folk songs, plus a new original track." Read morehere.
Reid's drummer and long-time collaborator Tom Bowker announced on Facebook that Blowfly had been diagnosed with the illness on January 12. Bowker later released a statement to the Detroit Metro Times which reads: "While most performers sit on their laurels in their later years, Clarence constantly wrote new material and grinded tour dates like a 20-year-old.
"He treated gigs at Halloween house parties in suburban California the same as arena gigs in Germany and massive Australian festivals. He never refused an autograph, or an opportunity to tell a dirty joke. He was a once-in-a-century talent, and it was an honour to reintroduce him to the world these past 12 years."
Reid's latest album 77 Rusty Trombones will be released on February 19 - but his label Saustex have made his last recording available to stream in his honour.
Reid released his first album, The Weird Wild World Of Blowfly, in 1971 - famously wearing a mask to protect his reputation as a label songwriter. He went on to release another 25 albums under his persona, including Blowfly's Party in 1980, Fahrenheit 69 and Blowfly's Punk Rock Party in 2006. Read morehere.
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