Bill Ward: I Didn’t Want to Be in ‘Elitist Position’ Playing Select Black Sabbath Shows
Ever since Bill Ward was dismissed from Black Sabbath's lineup in 2012, there have been numerous opposing exchanges between him and his former bandmates about the exact reasons that led to this decision. From an "unsignable contract" to slights against his health, fans have been clued in as to why Ward wasn't featured on Sabbath's 13 album and subsequent world tours. Tony Iommi recently called the ordeal "silly," especially since Ward couldn't hop onstage for select shows. Now, the drummer has fired back with an exhaustive response.
In the beginning of a lengthy Facebook post (seen below), Ward recapped the "disparaging remarks" made by Iommi and Ozzy Osbourne in the press over the years. Maintaining his level of health was more than adequate enough to record in 2011, he mentioned the contradiction of being judged at a touring capacity when the band was getting ready to enter the studio to record.
Referring to Iommi's recent statements that he doesn't feel Ward understood how hard a tour would have been on him, the skinsman clapped back, "I know what it takes to tour. I’ve helped to set the physical and playing bar that was metal then and today. What an undermining, self-centered thing for Tony to say. What an inaccurate thing for Tony to say. I had played all the Ozzfests and Sabbath tours after the reunion. Keep in mind, they did one tour without me first, I think just to see if it could work without me. I’m sorry and mean no malice in saying this, but it was their fear, their mistrust, and their rationale that put back-up drummers on the stage at the reunion and other tours."
Next, he addressed another one of Iommi's remarks, which stated that it would have been nice to have Ward behind the kit at the last few shows, adding, "And it’s silly, really, because it was over nothing. Even if he’d have played a couple of shows, it would’ve been great.” Hurt by this, Ward commented, "It was something. It meant everything to thousands of people including me. It will always be something and it will always ring with truth and actual correct accountability. By saying it was nothing, dishonors the credibility of our fans and insults the very heart of what we all clung to, Black Sabbath."
"I regret the loss of Ozzy’s friendship. I regret the loss of Tony’s friendship," Ward continued. Returning to the idea of playing select shows, the drummer went on, "Finally, and I’ve defended this many times, I couldn’t play one gig or a couple of gigs here or there with a back-up drummer or no back-up drummer. To do that one gig would put me in an elitist position and I can’t do that for all the other fans who couldn’t see that one gig."
In closing, he called playing in Black Sabbath with Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne and Geezer Butler an "honor." Read the full post directly below.
Black Sabbath's The End concert film will be screened in theaters for one night only on Sept. 28. The film captured the band's final performance, which was held in their hometown of Birmingham, England and a new trailer and more information on the screening can be found here.
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