QUESTION OF THE WEEK: WARD WITHOUT END
Banner by Cysquatch
Hi hi hi it’s the new MetalSucks Question Of The Week, a (sorta) weekly survey of our staff on a recent hot-button issue that’s rocking our metal planet.
Fearless. Controversial. Half-baked. We give it to you straight every Friday afternoon. Okay not that straight. Here’s this week’s topic:
Inspired by the latest bummer in Black Sabbath business on Wednesday, we asked our writers:
Wat u think? The MS staff’s answers after the jump!
Don’t care. Their drama rivals those Real Housewife shows that I don’t watch but know are filled with useless shit-talking. Especially the Jersey one. I would’ve liked to see Black Sabbath at some point but now… unless they’re right in my backyard, I do not care.
I guess I should be pissed, because now it’s not a reunion anymore. (Not to mention that Bill Ward is the most underrated member of Black Sabbath not named Geezer). But really … they’ve reunited several times before this. What more do we really have to learn from them that we can’t get from listening to Vol. 4 and pretending the last 40 years never happened?
Not pissed. It was the announcement of Tony Iommi’s lymphoma that bummed me almost all the way out. As of then, it wasn’t a certainty anymore that I’d see another Black Sabbath show. Really, I don’t want to see a Black Sabbath show or album if it arrives only in exchange for Iommi’s health. So it’s easy to let go now. And as for health, what about Bill Ward’s? In no way does his Wednesday statement address his condition, or its role in the Sabbath camp’s reluctance to commit to Ward, 64, without a test run (at Download). And if he is fit, can he jam? Maybe it’s that Ward offers no assurances so Sabbath declines to gamble — I don’t pretend to know lol. I do know one thing MetalSucks readers and it’s that “with all my heart and strength, I love you.”
I could not care less. Bands replace members all the damn time and while unfortunate, it’s not the end of the world and certainly not something to get up in arms over. This is kinda fucked, though.
Sabbath has been Sabbath enough without Bill Ward for 75% of the original lineup to just be good enough. I’ve seen Ward live … he’s good, but he’s aged the worst out of the four for sure. Be it Vinny Appice, Bev Bevan, Eric Singer or some nobody off the street, a different drummer won’t make a huge difference in the set.
Ward has been in and out of the band since their transformation from the Tommy Iommi Project to a revival act in 1997: Mike Bordin (Faith No More) played on that first Ozzfest appearance after’s Ward heart attack. Then Ward’s continually declining health has caused him to miss gigs and practices, and at a certain point, you have to just get him away from the drums and touring and tell him to take care of himself.
Sabbath will continue on at least for now, and hopefully Ward finds a way to balance his health and personal issues with the guys enough to make one more go with the original lineup from their first eight CLASSIC records. But for now, be glad Tony, Geezer and Ozzy are on the same stage together, if only for now.
I just think it’s a bit sad. If Sabbath really still cared about their fans — the people who have bought their albums and learned their lyrics and started bands to their riffs — they would have been civil with each other, sucked it up, and then given us this gift. Instead, money and pettiness prevailed. The way Ward has been treated is despicable. No one but the four men involved know what has really happened among them, but the public drama is serving only to besmirch their legacy further. Let’s be honest: These men are senior citizens. Iommi, the Iron Man himself, is fighting for his life. Ozzy is metal’s most famous acid casualty. This reunion might have been many people’s last chance to see the classic lineup, performing the songs we love so dearly, but instead, it’s become a dreadful kind of circus. It’s a shame.
JUSTIN M. NORTON
Without Bill Ward and bassist Geezer Butler, Sabbath wouldn’t sound the same. Not even close. The rhythm section is one of the reasons that Black Sabbath is an iconic band. You could listen to the bass and drum tracks alone on those first six albums and it would still be magic.
Unless Ward is a part of the band I’m sitting this reunion out. The album, the tour, everything. The original lineup or nothing.
No Bill Ward, no Black Sabbath.
I am not pissed. Bill Ward was the band’s secret weapon, and nobody could play quite like him. But you’re a fool if you think a Black Sabbath reunion with all the original members is anything but an exercise in nostalgia for the fans, and for the band a late-in-life grab for positive press and perhaps a lil’ cash. And you know what, Sabbath deserves positive press and cash more than most legendary music acts. That doesn’t mean I have to care that these dinosaurs couldn’t play nice with each other. Why do we need the lineup to reunite? Their best records are decades behind them, and those first six albums never get old.
Here’s the thing: From a creative standpoint, it doesn’t matter much if Ward is in the band. Heaven & Hell more than proved this; they were excellent without Ward or Ozzy. So assuming the new Sabbath drummer is totally competent, we know that the band will sound just fine. In fact, Ozzy is likely their biggest liability: His shitty vocals can be fixed in the studio, but in concert he’s totally fucked and he can barely move (his frogstomp thing gets real old real fast). But still it’s clear that the FANS want all four original members, and since this reunion is not about a burning desire to create together, the Sabbath guys should be going out of their way to satisfy their supporters. This may be Sabbath’s last hurrah — they’re approaching their 70s, fer Chrissakes — and it would be nice if they could have that hurrah all together.
When a band like Black Sabbath chooses to reunite, there’s a lot of money to be had and everybody wants as big a share as possible. So I tip my hat to Ozzy, Tony, and Geezer for having representatives who grasp that it makes better sense to divide that dough by three (instead of four). Fans wouldn’t have accepted a Sabbath reunion that lacked one of those core three, unless you’re the sort of leather-trenchcoat pervert who longs for another record with Tony Martin. (Don’t even suggest a Dio hologram.)
Like it or not, Bill Ward is expendable. Yes, he’s part of the classic lineup on all those great ’70s Sabbath albums, but the impolite question lingers: Will the Sabbath shows make less money without him? Sure, another “original members” reunion should equal dollar signs and several lucrative zeroes, but I can’t imagine for a minute that Ward’s value offsets the money that he’d get in his equal share.
Ward’s public bemoaning — “the fans, the poor fans!” — seems like a negotiation tactic that inadvertently tipped his hand, revealing his position of weakness. The outrage of a minority and sympathy for the lowly drummer together didn’t do much other kick up more Sabbath reunion talk and further publicize the handful of gigs. The other three and their reps have played this so well, not giving in to public pissing contests or snarkfests. In the end, the shows will be complete successes and Ozzy, Tony, and Geezer will come out even richer for it. In the words of Gordon Gekko, greed is good.
Who the fuck cares? Sabbath is old and tired and the show is going to be boring either way. Ozzy’s “stage moves” consist of frog-inspired half-jumps and spraying the audience with water. It’s a joke and a complete waste of money.
IDK not rly into classic rock. My dad and his friends are always like ‘u should listen to these guys they invented metal blah blah’ and im just like ‘lol ok dad whatever just don’t talk about your vintage lunchbox collection in front of my friends again.’
Pretty wide spectrum of reactions, right? A tough issue to pin down, doncha think? Are we way off? How do you feel about this very not-unimportant issue today? U mad? Let’s mix it up in the comments below + see u next week :))