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Black Sabbath’s Bill Ward Refuses to Play Reunion Gigs: “I have to stand up for myself,” says drummer

By Paul W. Fitzgerald
Posted Jun 2, 2012 in Entertainment
Bill Ward  the original drummer of Black Sabbath  has pulled out of all reunion gigs for 2012.
Bill Ward, the original drummer of Black Sabbath, has pulled out of all reunion gigs for 2012.
By Paul W. Fitzgerald
Well the news is now official and it’s not good: Bill Ward, the original drummer of Black Sabbath, won’t be playing in any reunion shows in 2012, and he also won’t be joining the band during the recording of their new album which is slated out later this year. The new album is the band’s first recording since Never Say Die!, which was released in 1978.
Only weeks ago, Ward, 64, announced to fans that he would not perform with Black Sabbath at the Birmingham reunion gig dated May 19th, 2012. And now he has made it plain and clear that he won’t be playing at Download on June 10th, 2012, or at Lollapalooza on August 3, 2012.
“Although the statement was made that the ‘the door is always open for me,’ walking through that door is not always as easy as it sounds,” says Ward. “There are many complicated issues and unseen and unspoken agendas on hand. I can assure you, my criteria for a 'signable' contract is based in mindful principles, respectability, and acknowledgement of my history within the band.”
He adds, “Throughout this process, which began over a year ago, I have had to stand up for myself time and time again. I have had to stand up for myself and in doing so realize my actions indirectly, although unintentionally, are upsetting and hurting a lot of you. I know in my heart I couldn't have done these concerts by agreeing to 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.”
All images of Ward have been removed from the official Black Sabbath website. Members of the popular group – Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler, and Toni Iommi – haven’t had much to say about Ward’s decision to not play in any reunion shows this year. The band has indicated however that they “vow to carry on without him.”
To add to the band’s woes, Iommi, lead guitarist, is continuing his battle with lymphoma. While he recently finished chemotherapy, he still feels ill and suffers from exhaustion.
While fans in Toronto, ON, Canada, are eagerly awaiting a show date in 2012 or 2013, it is being reported that Sabbath will soon announce more tour dates in major city centres across Canada, the USA, and Europe. The band is being respectful with Iommi’s recovery and they are making plans in accordance with his health.
For Ward, the decision to pull out of the reunion shows was not easy. “To express my thoughts I'm going to speak to you through an experience my brother had recently,” says Ward.
“My brother Jimmy lives in the U.K. When speaking with him a couple of days ago, he told me that an acquaintance had stopped him on the street and confronted him: ‘is your brother playing Birmingham? What's going on? I waited in line with my son and paid x amount for the concert tickets.’"
"The man's son is a young drummer. He's going to see Sabbath, and he wants to see Bill Ward play drums. Upon hearing this news, I felt horrible. I couldn't help feeling some resentment towards the failure to reach an agreement, the failure to remember where we came from, the failure to be as brothers, as we once were. To be clear, I'm not blaming the other guys or finding any faults with them. I would think it can't be easy for them either, but this situation is just really sad. It's sad that it's come to this. This will surely leave a mark and be unwelcome to the memory. Hopefully ‘this’ will heal and pass in time.
Ward continues: “My heart sank when Jimmy told me about this young boy. I know this boy is going to be disappointed, and I don't know how to amend it, other than to put my arms around the boy and tell him I love him. Sabbath fans have a voice and a face, to me you're human; you have families and despair. You have ferocity and emotions and graciousness, and at this moment as far as I'm concerned you are also that young boy in England. I don't know how to amend my part in these failings other than to put my arms around you and say I love you and let you know I'm very, very sorry.”
Ward has been with the band since its inception in 1969. After being sober for nearly 30 years, Ward is now a staunch vegetarian and is in good health. He has own group, The Bill Ward Band. Since 2002, Ward has hosted his own show, “Rock 50" on radio station WPMD from Cerritos College in California.
Bill Ward Discography
1970 - Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath
1970 - Black Sabbath - Paranoid
1971 - Black Sabbath - Master of Reality
1972 - Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath Vol. 4
1973 - Black Sabbath - Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
1975 - Black Sabbath - Sabotage
1975 - Black Sabbath - We Sold Our Soul for Rock 'n' Roll
1976 - Black Sabbath - Technical Ecstasy
1978 - Black Sabbath - Never Say Die!
1980 - Black Sabbath - Heaven and Hell
1981 - Black Sabbath - Live at Last
1983 - Black Sabbath - Born Again
1990 - Bill Ward - Ward One: Along the Way
1993 - Ozzy Osbourne! - Live and Loud
1994 - Nativity in Black: A Tribute to Black Sabbath
1997 - Bill Ward - When the Bough Breaks
1997 - Ozzy Osbourne - The Ozzman Cometh
1998 - Black Sabbath - Reunion
2000 - Tony Iommi - Iommi
2002 - Black Sabbath - Past Lives
2002 - Bill Ward - "Straws" (single)
2002 - Black Sabbath - Symptom of the Universe: The Original Black Sabbath 1970-1978
2003 - Dio - Stand Up and Shout: The Dio Anthology
2004 - Black Sabbath - Black Box: The Complete Original Black Sabbath (1970-1978)
2006 - Black Sabbath - Greatest Hits 1970-1978
2007 - Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath: The Dio Years
2008 - Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath: The Rules of Hell Disc 1:Heaven and Hell

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