In the summer 2013 issue of U.K.’s Classic Rock magazine, BLACK SABBATH singer Ozzy Osbourne spoke candidly about what happened with original drummer Bill Ward, who was announced as part of the band’s reunion in late 2011 but bowed out a few months later,
Ozzy said: “Here’s the bottom line: being a drummer is the most physical part of any band. And when Bill turned up, he looked like an old guy. I don’t think he had the stamina to play for an hour or so on stage. If I’d had a heart attack like Bill had, I’d go, ‘Fuck, I’m going to lose some weight.’ I train — I work my arse off. So you can’t expect someone who’s been sitting on their fucking arse, eating shit, to come along and go, ‘Equal split.’ It’s insane. I honestly don’t know what went down with that deal, but I suppose it’s something along those lines. There wasn’t any other reason. We didn’t gang up on him. And it wasn’t like, ‘Bill‘s just the drummer.’ I didn’t go, ‘Oh, if Bill‘s not here, I get more money.’ I don’t fucking need any more money, man.”
Classic Rock: Isn’t Bill Ward as important to BLACK SABBATH as John Bonham was to LED ZEPPELIN or Keith Moon was to THE WHO?
Ozzy: “I’d be a fucking liar if I said I’m glad Bill never made the [new SABBATH] album [’13’]. It’s kind of a SABBATH album to a point, but it would have been great if Bill could have worked on it. But if we’d had Bill, I honestly don’t think we’d have been this far up the road. It was time to shit or get off the pot.”
Classic Rock: Meaning what?
Ozzy: “Are we going to do this fucking album, or are we going to sit with our thumbs up our arses forever? It was time to stop fucking around and get on with it. I’m 65 this year, Tony‘s [Iommi, guitar] already 65, Geezer‘s [Butler, bass] coming up to 64. We all realized that if we keep hanging on any longer we’re going to be fucking dead! I mean, fuck me, Tony could have croaked.”
Classic Rock: You’ve always said that Bill was your closest friend in BLACK SABBATH.
Ozzy: “I love him. We were the Crazy Twins. Tony and Geezer would always travel on their own because they didn’t want to be around us. We were always doing some fucking shit or other. Bill is a very dear friend of mine and he will always have a place in my heart.”
Classic Rock: So is the door still open for him?
Ozzy: “If he gets his shit together. I’m not going to slag Bill off. But it’s not our fault. For some reason, getting us all on the same page is the hardest thing in the world.”