Ozzy Osbourne has said that original Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward wasn’t invited on the legendary metal band’s reunion tour because he couldn’t keep up behind the drum-kit, contrary to Ward’s claims that it was he who rejected Sabbath.
Ward dropped out of the reunion preparations last year, making a statement on his official website that put the parting of ways down to a contract dispute:
I know in my heart I couldn’t have done these concerts by agreeing the terms suggested. I made a solemn vow after the last European and Ozzfest concerts that I would never again enter into what was, in my opinion, a totally unsatisfactory contract. I have to stand for something, and as painful as it is, I’m doing it.
But in a new interview with Mojo, Ozzy says it was the band who scrapped the 65-year-old because the rest of Sabbath didn’t think he was mentally or physically fit enough to play a 2-hour set:
My suggestion was that we run through a set and see how he got on because he was so out of condition and the drummer is the most demanding job in the whole band. We looked at Bill, and he couldn’t remember what the fuck we were doing. But 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.
I get where he’s coming from, though. His pride was hurt and I get it. I really do get it. The guy will always be a dear, dear friend and a brother to me, but … He can’t be surprised that he didn’t get the gig. … You know them yellow fucking stick-on memo notes? He had them all over his fucking drums. I was like, ‘What the fuck’s that for, Bill?’ He said, ‘I can’t remember what I’m doing.’ I go, ‘How are you gonna remember out of those 500,000 bits of paper stuck all over your kit, which one you’re looking at, Bill?’ [He said] ‘I’ll know.’ Ah, OK, great. I’m not gonna give Bill a hatchet job, but at the same time we haven’t got the patience to deal with it.
Tellingly, in Ward’s original statement, he made reference to the band asking him to have minimal participation in their performance at Download Festival 2012, saying, “I believe I’d been offered no more than three songs to play while another drummer presumably played the rest of the show with Black Sabbath. I was not willing to participate in that offer.” Perhaps the Prince Of Darkness is making some sense for once.
In Ward’s absense, Tommy Clufetos from Osbourne’s solo band has joined Sabbath on their current world tour and Rage Against the Machine‘s Brad Wilk stepped in as drummer to record their album 13.