What the hell is going on with Black Sabbath? First, the band announced they would do one last album and one last tour before calling it quits. Then, they announced the date and location of what was to be their last-ever show, although they didn’t mention the once-alleged new album/tour. Then, they announced that the final show would not be a Sabbath performance at all, but an Ozzy solo gig — this time with no mention of ANY Black Sabbath album or tour or event of any sort. And today, former drummer Bill Ward — who’s been estranged from the band since 2012, due to feeling “ostracized” and being presented with an “unsignable” contract — issued a statement saying, once again, that he is waiting for a signable contract from the band, and that he wouldn’t be able to rejoin them till Ozzy apologized for some undisclosed insult(s) — presumably including this one from August 2013: “[Ward is] incredibly overweight. A drummer has to be in shape. He’s already had two heart attacks. I don’t want to be responsible for his life.”
Ward’s lengthy statement included the following paragraph:
There is always speculation about a true, original Sabbath lineup for the next tour or record. With a sad heart, I have to say I will not participate in any musical undertakings until a righting of the wrongs spoken against me has been achieved. I must admit, I have little to no expectations of this happening, but in the order of first things first, I’m looking for an honest accountability of all of Ozzy’s statements that I felt were untrue. I would want Ozzy to amend his opinions and exaggerations. I would want him to be forthcoming about his unrealistic viewpoints. And because I was chastised publicly, I would want him to amend publicly in his words, and not through an Ozzy representative, the nature of the wrongs. I would not want to continue on with him without this seemingly impassible dilemma being addressed. I don’t think previously strong relationships can remain strong after dispute by just sweeping the offensive stuff under the carpet, or by saying a puny sorry, or “oh, that’s all over now.” It doesn’t work like that for me. Righting of wrong works, and that’s what I want if I’m ever going to be his friend again.
That’s understandable, but considering the recent actions of the Sabbath camp, it doesn’t exactly seem like they’re gearing up for a huge reunion. I know you’re not here for my two cents but I’ll throw ‘em in anyway: Ozzy should apologize! Why not? Life’s too short, etc. Like Ward, though, I too “have little to no expectations of this happening.” I also have little to no expectations of Black Sabbath ever existing again in any capacity. But considering how little sense any of this makes, I guess anything is possible.
UPDATE 4/16: Ozzy has responded with a statement via his Facebook:
I never wanted to discuss this in a public forum but Bill’s statements left me no option to but to respond honestly.
What the fuck are you on about? I cannot apologize for comments or opinions I may have made about you in the press during Sabbath’s “13” album and tour– physically, you knew you were fucked. Tony, Geezer and myself didn’t think you could have done a two hour set with a drum solo every night, so we made the decision to move on. With Tony’s condition we felt that time was not on our side.
Bill, stop this smokescreen about an “unsignable contract” and let’s be honest. Deep down inside you knew you weren’t capable of doing the album and a 16 month tour. Unfortunately for you, our instincts were correct as you were in hospital several times during 2013. Your last hospitalization was for a shoulder surgery that you now say you’ve only just recovered from. This would have meant that our world tour would have been canceled. So how is all of this my fault? Stop playing the victim and be honest with yourself and our fans.
Bill, we go back a long way, let’s stop this now before it gets out of hand.
God bless you.
[Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images]