When Metal Bands Fight: Bill Ward Vs Black Sabbath: A Rock And Metal News Special Report

Posted: April 19, 2015 in News, Opinion, Rock And Metal News
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Bill-Ward-Ozzy-Osbourne-630x420We have a new segment that I will try to do because being in a metal band can be just like high school and so here is the segment of When Metal Bands Fight and we are looking at the case of Bill Ward vs Black Sabbath. If you haven’t been paying attention at all to the drama that unfolded when Black Sabbath decided to record with Bill Ward then you have either been living under a rock or you just don’t give a hoot. Nevertheless, the drama continues as Bill Ward reheats the situation by going after frontman Ozzy Osbourne on the internet. On April 15TH, Bill ward came out and released a statement basically claiming he was not offered a fair enough deal by Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne and hence is the reason he didn’t return to the lineup. Here is the statement he released regarding all the issues:

I hope you’re well and in good spirits. I have not made any public statements regarding my relationship with Black Sabbath since February 2012. Today, I want to address that relationship in this formal statement. Thank you.
I have neither severed nor discontinued my relationship with Black Sabbath, however, since 2012, the often inaccurate statements about me as a person and as a musician have caused me to be guarded and be especially detached emotionally and spiritually from Ozzy. His rhetoric above all has brought me the most discord. The continuing misguided information about me has established a necessity on my part to confront these issues. And now, with the imminent release of a new Bill Ward Band album, and the flurry of rumors about new Sabbath projects, I feel it appropriate to speak in a truthful and an un-cynical way.
There is always speculation about a true, original Sabbath lineup for the next tour or record. With a sad heart, I have to say I will not participate in any musical undertakings until a righting of the wrongs spoken against me has been achieved. I must admit, I have little to no expectations of this happening, but in the order of first things first, I’m looking for an honest accountability of all of Ozzy’s statements that I felt were untrue. I would want Ozzy to amend his opinions and exaggerations. I would want him to be forthcoming about his unrealistic viewpoints. And because I was chastised publicly, I would want him to amend publicly in his words, and not through an Ozzy representative, the nature of the wrongs. I would not want to continue on with him without this seemingly impassible dilemma being addressed. I don’t think previously strong relationships can remain strong after dispute by just sweeping the offensive stuff under the carpet, or by saying a puny sorry, or “oh, that’s all over now.” It doesn’t work like that for me. Righting of wrong works, and that’s what I want if I’m ever going to be his friend again.
Still undone and faraway is a “signable” contract. I would require a “signable” contract before moving one step toward a pathway that could lead to us all playing together again. I want a contract I can approve. That’s my truth. That’s my stand. I’ve listened to nothing but insults and false remarks, and if as a band or as individuals they wish to continue along the same lines, then any notion of an original Black Sabbath lineup will continue to fade away.
Put simply, it’s up to them. I have dearly missed playing with them and as people, I have been heartbroken over the loss of who I thought we were. And now you know where I stand.
Very soon my band, BWB will release a new album ironically called “Accountable Beasts.” I re- kick-started it in May 2012, and in an off and on journey to record, we have reached our final destination – a good mix, and a well mastered record. At this time we are putting the final touches on the digital booklet.
There are other multiple projects in different stages of progress, and I hope to bring more definitive news about them as things unfold this year. I have been very happy writing new songs, playing drums and working with other musicians. I have been blessed with musical visions and the ability to harness them. I’m moving into the future with an optimistic outlook.
For our many Sabbath fans, I love you all dearly. You are extremely special people. You f–king rock. I have been in deep regret since January 2012 that a true union was denied. I’ve remained faithful to you and honest with myself. Had I not been honest throughout I would have perished long ago. My hand is within yours, and I am encouraged to know you better. Stay safe and stay strong.
Now it is time to meet the circumstances of my statement and attend to what else is ongoing and before me.
Love,
Bill Ward

You obviously knew that it wouldn’t be long before Ozzy would answer what Bill Ward had to say in that statement above. You don’t call someone out and not expect them to respond to some pretty big claims. So on April 16TH, Ozzy released a statement of his own and read a little something like this:

I never wanted to discuss this in a public forum but Bill’s statements left me no option to but to respond honestly.

Wow Bill,
What the f— are you on about? I cannot apologize for comments or opinions I may have made about you in the press during Sabbath’s “13” album and tour– physically, you knew you were f—ed. Tony, Geezer and myself didn’t think you could have done a two hour set with a drum solo every night, so we made the decision to move on. With Tony’s condition we felt that time was not on our side.
Bill, stop this smokescreen about an “unsignable contract” and let’s be honest. Deep down inside you knew you weren’t capable of doing the album and a 16 month tour. Unfortunately for you, our instincts were correct as you were in hospital several times during 2013. Your last hospitalization was for a shoulder surgery that you now say you’ve only just recovered from. This would have meant that our world tour would have been canceled. So how is all of this my fault? Stop playing the victim and be honest with yourself and our fans.
Bill, we go back a long way, let’s stop this now before it gets out of hand.
God bless you.
Love.
Ozzy

Ozzy makes some pretty substantial claims as we all knew that time was not of the essence for Tony Iommi who is battling cancer and so an obvious quick move had to be made at the time. Meanwhile the band had to cancel their “Farewell” gig at Ozzfest Japan to which many fans suspected that maybe Tony’s condition took a turn for the worse, but he responded saying, “Thank you for all the enquiries about my health, very kind. I’m not sure how the rumour of my being unwell started as I was away on holiday! Once you’ve had something like lymphoma the fear that it will return never leaves, all I can say is that right now I’m fine and have regular blood tests.” Meanwhile, on April 17TH, Bill Ward rebutted Ozzy’s statement telling Rolling Stone, “The truth is that I was overweight for playing onstage, but I wasn’t overweight for the studio. I could cut tracks with the weight that I arrived at. All of those guys know that I have a really rigorous exercise regimen. In August 2011, I started to drop weight because, at that point, I thought, “OK, we’re probably at five or six months away from actually doing a tour.” When we were in England, I was walking six miles before breakfast, I was doing bench presses, I was walking possibly two to three miles in the evening, and I was playing, like, three to four hours a day. I’m quite capable of playing a complete f—ing Black Sabbath set. So this health thing has been bandied around, and it’s true that I have heart disease, and it’s true that I did get sick a couple of years after the fact. But when the health card is being thrown around, the bottom line is that I really tried to take care of myself. Every day, I always look at the day and say, “Could I have played a gig today no matter what’s going on with me?” And the answer is always, ‘Yes.’ I’m much harder on me than those guys could ever be … I went through the loss of a dear friendship [with Ozzy]. I actually grieved the loss of his life in my life. It was f—ing terrible. I cried. It was really horrible. I thought, ‘My God, I don’t even know who this person is anymore.“Then on Saturday (April 18), Bill Ward posted a long open letter to Ozzy really responding to everything saying:

  1. You never wanted to discuss in a public forum. BUT, you did by making all these public comments during your interviews for the 13 album and tour. I was only responding in kind. Don’t forget why I spoke out. If you had talked to me and shared your opinions privately, we wouldn’t be here today.
  1. I was ready and in shape to record. I knew I would need to get in better shape for the gigs –same as I have needed to do and have done in the past. I was beginning my workout regime to get “tour ready.”   I knew what I needed to do to play the gigs, and I was confident I would be ready. I would not commit to an extensive tour without believing I could go all the way with it. I wouldn’t do that to our fans.
  1. Shoulder Surgery. This was not a surgery that was an immediate necessity, or an emergency, or something that was prohibitive in terms of playing drums in Sabbath. It wasn’t anything like that. I would have elected to do the surgery after we finished touring, but since that didn’t come to pass, I scheduled it for the fall of 2013. My other surgery, yes was unexpected, but who among us knows what curve balls might be coming our way. Having had to recently cancel your own gigs, I think you could understand that and not hold someone to “what ifs”.
  1. The “unsignable” contract isn’t a smokescreen – it’s the truth. I have been honest with our fans on where I stand. Your opinions of me are completely immaterial – they have nothing to do with my reason for not participating – the “unsignable” contract – that’s it. I wonder if I had signed it if any of this would have come up? I imagine we would have made an album and done a tour with the original line up in place.

Hey Oz,

It’s not going to work.

I can see you,

And, I read your statement.

Boy oh boy.

Well, I know I didn’t expect you to respond to my request of an apology. By the way, it’s pretty easy to go back and really look at what was truth and what was not.

I notice you’re including Tony and Geezer in being in full agreement, that with my health condition I couldn’t have played a two hour set with a drum solo. First time I’ve ever heard about a two hour show with a drum solo. But I’m asking you, not them. Why did you stay in the studio working with me? Why did we go to England for band rehearsals in August 2011? Why did we continue rehearsing in the Fall? Why did we make the announcement of 11/11/11? Why did you call me in late January 2012 asking me to come over to England to continue rehearsals? Why, if you thought I was so unhealthy, did you continue with me at all? You know why, Oz, because I was fine. I was playing. I was good to go.

I ran into no, zero, health problems until October 22nd 2013. Oz, I could have played my ass off in 2012, all the way through to October 22nd 2013. The shoulder operation was optional. It was quiet and I needed a wear and tear adjustment. I was fine. I could have gone without surgery. But listen to you, hitting back and hard, too.

I don’t believe a word of it. I am not an enemy. Eternity will show and serve as proof.

None of it, Oz.

I’m not going to own a fucking thing, other than I came into the studio initially overweight to tour, but not overweight to record. I was good to record. All of you know how much I put in, especially when I prepare to tour.

Your own anticipatory fear has got you by the balls. What fucking smokescreen, about an unsignable contract.

Yes, let’s get honest. I did.

It came out in my statement Wednesday, April 15, 2015.

I’m not playing (your quote). I never did. I don’t fuck with sincerity and honesty, period. I’ve done nothing but bring my truth to the fans. Man, you spin it real well. Sorry I can’t love you back, Oz. I put my love for you somewhere safe inside my heart in 2012 when your stories started showing up. It’s hard to love someone who thinks he’s telling the truth by making false claims, elitist comments and just plain rude statements.

It’ll show up, Oz, in your dreams, in your daily days. I’m clean and have nothing to feel doubtful about. All my actions have been of loyalty, honesty, and open-mindedness.

Stay safe old friend.

Sad we couldn’t roll it out for the fans one more time.

I read your speculation, and your what ifs, your doubts. I’m about as far away from being a victim as I am from Hell itself.

I would have loved to see the original lineup back together, but I do have to admit that Brad Wilk did a terrific job in the studio, but Sabbath just isn’t Sabbath without Bill. Let’s not forget that Bill Ward at one time quit Sabbath because he didn’t believe in going on without Ozzy anymore after being on the Heaven And Hell album. He was quoted saying, “It was intolerable for me to get on the stage without Ozzy. And I drank 24 hours a day, my alcoholism accelerated.” Time will only tell if the two sides ever reconcile and all we can do it wait and see. Stay tuned here for anymore info that comes along.

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