I’m Suddenly Less Sympathetic For Bill Ward Than I Once Was
Up until now, I’d always assumed that Ozzy’s camp was the problematic party in the Bill Ward/Black Sabbath feud. It’s just that they fired shots first in the argument, Ozzy was the only member of Sabbath who didn’t appear with Ward at a recent awards ceremony honoring the band, and, you know, Sharon Osbourne is a crazy megalomaniac. I’ve always believed Ward’s complaints that he was being shafted during negotiations over his return.
But during a recent interview with Ward on Eddie Trunk’s podcast, the drummer was asked why he didn’t appear at a scheduled interview in ’06 to talk about his work on Heaven & Hell, the Dio-era Sabbath project. And Ward responded:
“I was working on drum sounds, and I had chosen to prioritize the tracks. There wasn’t a lot of time — the kind of time that I needed at least — to initiate what I would consider to be good drum tracks. So I needed to utilize the time that was given to try to get the best tracks that I possibly could. And so I was working on that. But what showed up was a bad contract. The bad contract showed up, and the track that I was laying down, which actually turned out to be just fine… But at the time, when I was laying the track down, there was some controversy between myself and another member of that band. And I’ve gotta be very careful here how I’m saying that.”
Interesting. What other member of the band do we think Ward had an issue with? All I’ve heard is that Dio was the fucking man all his life, so I immediately discount him (though, hey, maybe he was a drama queen). This leaves Ward’s former Sabbath founders Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler, which further suggests that perhaps the Osbourne crew weren’t the only people who took issue with Ward joining them for the Sabbath reunion.
More so, Ward’s problems with Heaven & Hell sound considerably like his reasons for not returning to Sabbath, specifically that he considered his contract not up to snuff — not his pay or his tour schedule, but once again his contract. Maybe’s Ward’s standards for compensation are just unrealistic. It’s a different game out there than it was in his heyday — maybe Bill needs to be a bit humble and ignore his own legacy. I bet the contracts he was offered for both Sabbath and H&H would have been jumped on by 90% of working metal drummers out there.
Anyway, hopefully Bill will find his contract for his own new project acceptable; otherwise, the dude might have to learn to take what he’s got.