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Black Sabbath’s Ozzy Osbourne Discusses Revolving Drummer Drama

Kevin Winter, Getty Images

When Ozzy Osbourne reunited with the members of Black Sabbath, drummer Bill Ward was part of the reunion. But a contract dispute with Ward forced the band to look elsewhere. Osbourne’s own solo band drummer Tommy Clufetos handled live duties for the group last year, but Rage Against the Machine’s Brad Wilk was called in to drum on the newly released ’13’ album. Osbourne spoke with Spin about the revolving drummer position, explaining that it wasn’t something he was exactly happy about.

When asked about Ward, Osbourne stated, “To be absolutely truthful with you, I can’t really remember [what led to the estrangement]. It was such a long time ago. There was the business side of it and the money side of it. We just didn’t have the time to keep people waiting another f—ing ten years. The drummer thing was a pain in the butt.”

Osbourne says the band would have loved to have Ward behind the kit, but things didn’t work out. He adds, “I still love him to death. It’s sad that it didn’t work out, but hey, we’ve got an album, we’re all really happy. I don’t suppose Bill is that happy.”

As for the decision to have Clufetos handle live duties while Wilk performed on the album, Osbourne says that while the results are great, he wasn’t happy with how it was handled. “I don’t really want to go into it,” says Osbourne. “We had Tommy on hold. And it just didn’t work out. The way it was dealt with was wrong, because you can’t keep people waiting for nothing. We were going to use Tommy at the beginning and [producer] Rick [Rubin] was against it. And then it turned out that it wasn’t dealt with professionally and I got a bit pissed off. Anyway, Tommy’s doing a great job on the road with Sabbath.”

Wilk can be heard pounding the skins on the ’13’ album, while Clufetos has remained part of the band’s live lineup in the lead-up to this week’s release. Clufetos will also be behind the kit for the group’s future dates in North America and elsewhere.

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