A quick update on Black Sabbath’s public infighting this week: First, drummer Bill Ward posted to Facebook that he wouldn’t play with Sabbath again until Ozzy Osbourne apologized to him for saying he was too fat and out of shape to participate in recording sessions for 2013 album 13 and the accompanying world tour. Ward accused his bandmates of freezing him out with an “unsignable” contract in 2012. Then Osbourne responded with a Facebook post of his own in which he refused to apologize, declared the unsignable contract thing a “smokescreen” on Ward’s part, and noted that Ward was in the hospital several times throughout 2013. Hilariously, that message began with “What the fuck are you on about?” and ended with “God bless you.” Now Ward has issued yet another statement on Facebook, and it is long.
He begins with four points: (1) If Osbourne didn’t want to hash this out in public, he shouldn’t have made comments about Ward in the press. (2) He was in shape to record and had begun a fitness regimen to get “tour ready.” (3) His shoulder surgery was elective, and given Osbourne’s own recent show cancellations, he should know that we can’t always anticipate health emergencies. (4) The unsignable contract thing is not a smokescreen. There’s a lot more after that, but near the end he proclaims, “Sorry I can’t love you back, Oz. I put my love for you somewhere safe inside my heart in 2012 when your stories started showing up. It’s hard to love someone who thinks he’s telling the truth by making false claims, elitist comments and just plain rude statements.”
Ward also spoke to Rolling Stone today, reiterating many of the same sentiments and explaining what he meant when he called the contract “unsignable” — for instance, he wanted the band to make more than $80,000 for festival gigs. Read his full Facebook statement below.
Bill addresses Ozzy’s Facebook post.
1. You never wanted to discuss in a public forum. BUT, you did by making all these public comments during your interviews for the 13 album and tour. I was only responding in kind. Don’t forget why I spoke out. If you had talked to me and shared your opinions privately, we wouldn’t be here today.
2. I was ready and in shape to record. I knew I would need to get in better shape for the gigs –same as I have needed to do and have done in the past. I was beginning my workout regime to get “tour ready.” I knew what I needed to do to play the gigs, and I was confident I would be ready. I would not commit to an extensive tour without believing I could go all the way with it. I wouldn’t do that to our fans.
3. Shoulder Surgery. This was not a surgery that was an immediate necessity, or an emergency, or something that was prohibitive in terms of playing drums in Sabbath. It wasn’t anything like that. I would have elected to do the surgery after we finished touring, but since that didn’t come to pass, I scheduled it for the fall of 2013. My other surgery, yes was unexpected, but who among us knows what curve balls might be coming our way. Having had to recently cancel your own gigs, I think you could understand that and not hold someone to “what ifs”.
4. The “unsignable” contract isn’t a smokescreen – it’s the truth. I have been honest with our fans on where I stand. Your opinions of me are completely immaterial – they have nothing to do with my reason for not participating – the “unsignable” contract – that’s it. I wonder if I had signed it if any of this would have come up? I imagine we would have made an album and done a tour with the original line up in place.
It’s not going to work.
I can see you,
And, I read your statement.
Boy oh boy.
Well, I know I didn’t expect you to respond to my request of an apology. By the way, it’s pretty easy to go back and really look at what was truth and what was not.
I notice you’re including Tony and Geezer in being in full agreement, that with my health condition I couldn’t have played a two hour set with a drum solo. First time I’ve ever heard about a two hour show with a drum solo. But I’m asking you, not them. Why did you stay in the studio working with me? Why did we go to England for band rehearsals in August 2011? Why did we continue rehearsing in the Fall? Why did we make the announcement of 11/11/11? Why did you call me in late January 2012 asking me to come over to England to continue rehearsals? Why, if you thought I was so unhealthy, did you continue with me at all? You know why, Oz, because I was fine. I was playing. I was good to go.
I ran into no, zero, health problems until October 22nd 2013. Oz, I could have played my ass off in 2012, all the way through to October 22nd 2013. The shoulder operation was optional. It was quiet and I needed a wear and tear adjustment. I was fine. I could have gone without surgery. But listen to you, hitting back and hard, too.
I don’t believe a word of it. I am not an enemy. Eternity will show and serve as proof.
None of it, Oz.
I’m not going to own a fucking thing, other than I came into the studio initially overweight to tour, but not overweight to record. I was good to record. All of you know how much I put in, especially when I prepare to tour.
Your own anticipatory fear has got you by the balls. What fucking smokescreen, about an unsignable contract.
Yes, let’s get honest. I did.
It came out in my statement Wednesday, April 15, 2015.
I’m not playing (your quote). I never did. I don’t fuck with sincerity and honesty, period. I’ve done nothing but bring my truth to the fans. Man, you spin it real well. Sorry I can’t love you back, Oz. I put my love for you somewhere safe inside my heart in 2012 when your stories started showing up. It’s hard to love someone who thinks he’s telling the truth by making false claims, elitist comments and just plain rude statements.
It’ll show up, Oz, in your dreams, in your daily days. I’m clean and have nothing to feel doubtful about. All my actions have been of loyalty, honesty, and open-mindedness.
Stay safe old friend.
Sad we couldn’t roll it out for the fans one more time.
I read your speculation, and your what ifs, your doubts. I’m about as far away from being a victim as I am from Hell itself.
[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty.]