OzzyOsbourneShhh Right before Black Sabbath’s show at New Jersey’s PNC Bank Arts Center this past weekend, where the played with drummer Tommy Clufetos (Rob Zombie, Ted Nugent) instead of original drummer Bill Ward, vocalist Ozzy Osbourne told the New York Daily News he didn’t have faith in the original drummer’s health. “I don’t think he could have done the gig, to be honest. He’s incredibly overweight,” Osbourne said. “A drummer has to be in shape. He’s already had two heart attacks. I don’t want to be responsible for his life.”

Ward, Black Sabbath’s original drummer, left the band midway through their 1980 tour in support of Heaven and Hell due to a severe drinking problem. He returned to the group off and on throughout the 1980s and 1990s, but when they finally reformed with Ozzy Osbourne in 1997 he was replaced by Faith No More’s Mike Bordin. Ward said he learned of his exclusion on MTV. The band brought him back onboard later that year and he participated in all their tours from that point until the group quietly split in 2005. Ward didn’t play on the band’s 2012 reunion album 13.

According to MetalInsider.net, Osbourne also had some things to say about Ward’s performance at Black Sabbath’s earliest rehearsals for 13, the band’s first Number one album. “We looked at Bill, and he couldn’t remember what the fuck we were doing. He didn’t come clean and say, ‘I can’t cut this gig, but can we work something out, guys, where I’ll come on but with another drummer backing me up?’ Or, ‘I’ll come and play a few songs.’ That would have been cool.”

In a Guitar International interview in late July, Ward admitted he didn’t sign on to play with Sabbath this time around for specific reasons. “I was offered a contact and I couldn’t sign it,” he said. “I would never, ever show up for a commitment that I could not do physically. It was one of the toughest decisions that I ever had to make. Because I absolutely and without question wanted to play.”

Ward noted that playing part of the show wasn’t an option for him, “I’m the drummer in Black Sabbath so I want to do the entire show. I play all or nothing.”

Osbourne did go on to say “the door is always open for Bill” and admits without him “it’s not the same.”

additional source: Rolling Stone

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  • Richard F. on

    Seems like this situation with Bill Ward is a case of he said this and he said that! I have read before in interviews with Tony Martin saying that BS was always full of politics going on that he could not stand it anymore. Seems like it never ends. If they are supposed to be pals and the “door’s always open” for Bill to return why attack him in the Press?! Same old Ozzy always got to stick his foot in his mouth!

  • Nic on

    If TMS does another season, which I hope they do, I would love to see Bill as the guest performer and where his drumming skills are at presently. Though we may never know about the contract and commitment side of this deal for sure, we’d certainly be able to put to rest Ozzy’s accusations that Bill lacks the ability to perform on the level of the rest of the members at this point. I’d be really curious to hear Bill on the show since Ozzy himself has set the bar so low already with his own showing on this tour. If Bill needs to bring his post-it notes and stick them to his kit as Ozzy indicated Bill needed to do during rehearsal, then so be it. It’s certainly no worse than Ozzy needing a teleprompter to sing Iron Man on the actual tour… and he even has the nerve to call out Bill for being overweight. Gee Ozzy, have you looked into the mirror throughout your entire career? Though he’s so scatterbrained that he might have just been looking at his wife and mistaken her for Bill.

  • SAR305 on

    Anyone here know how to read between the lines…or within the lines? Let this be unambiguously understood: Ward cannot physically do the shows, and he knows it. Period. As does the rest of the band. All that early talk of contract disputes and such was just a face-saving subterfuge. Except, not so much for Ozzy and company as it painted them to be ruthless greed-mongers willing to drop their original drummer just to save a few bucks. All you preliterates bemoaning Bill’s absence as an act of band betrayal need a reality check. Namely, that it’s 2013, not 1973. And Bill is in no condition to be a touring drummer…or studio drummer, even. That’s the sad reality.

    • Don on

      That is without a doubt the best Bill Ward post yet on any site and I agree completely. There is no way the other three guys would go through all this press b.s. about Bill unless he couldn’t perform. If he could play and tour he would be there, no question about it. I don’t believe Tony, Geezer, and Ozzy sat down and planned an album and tour but first contrived how to keep Bill out of it. We all want Bill there, but the reality is, it won’t happen. At least not on a regular basis. Well said SAR.

  • Lee on

    Bill means money on the billing: all 4 guys on the LP & tour. Sad fact is he couldn’t do the album and like Keith Moon for the Who Are You tour in ’78-’79 had he lived: not a chance. Bill was in no shape. He boozed his way out of the ’80 tour but this time he was too far out of the studio/tour realm to do it. Too much loot at stake. If he dropped out early it would have been a detonation that would have imploded the group.

  • Kirk Sims on

    Saw them in Austin. It was a good show. Hate to say it, but did not miss Bill.

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