Former Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward has slammed Ozzy Osbourne’s recent comments about the chances of his return for their final shows.
He says the frontman’s words are “emotionally heartbreaking and spiteful” and he’s accused the band of “selfishness,” “dishonesty and disloyalty” over his absence from their last album and farewell world tour.
Ward bowed out of the Black Sabbath reunion months after it was announced in 2011, saying he hadn’t been offered a contract he regarded as “signable.” That led to a war of words, particularly between him and Osbourne, who at one point suggested the drummer wasn’t healthy enough to play his role.
Earlier this week the vocalist said: “I’m sad that Bill never came through. Every time I reach out to Bill I get yelled at for something.” Asked about the chances of a reunion at the band’s last shows in Birmingham next year, he replied: “I don’t know. If something can be worked out, great.”
Referring to TeamRock’s reporting of the story, Ward says via Facebook: “Response to ‘Ozzy Sad About Bill Ward’s Absence’ – Ozzy has never reached out since January 26⁄27 2012, when he called to see when I would be arriving in the UK to join rehearsals for the 13 CD.
“Since that last phone call he has never reached out to me and I have not reached out to him.
“‘I’m sad that Bill never came through’ – Ozzy needs to look to those who stopped me from coming through. The contract was impossible to sign. The group rhetoric of 2012, 2013 and throughout was fault-finding, condemning and full of dishonest evaluations of me as a person, including my so-called health issues.
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“Had I signed the contract, I suspect I wouldn’t have been labelled as having poor health, or having all the other judgmental character references.”
Ward reiterates that his representative asked Black Sabbath in September 2015 if there was any chance of a reunion and was told “no.” He continues: “It’s hard to come through when you receive a ‘no.’
“To toss around ideas that I might play the Birmingham shows is both emotionally heartbreaking and spiteful. I think fans who loved the original band have gone through enough in terms of disappointment and sadness.”
He says he feels that appearing at Birmingham while having missed all the other shows would be “discriminating or elitist” towards fans in other locations, which is something he couldn’t bring himself to do.
“It’s been heartbreaking enough not to record or tour, and it’ll be heartbreaking not to play to the Birmingham fans,” he goes on. “Please know the prevailing circumstances are not by my design. Had any of you had to choose to sign a contract which undermined and devalued you, I think most of you, with some dignity and self-respect, would have walked away too.”
Ward finishes: “My absence reflects an undeniable and unseen misadventure that my accusers won’t bear. It’s called selfishness and self-centeredness; dishonesty and disloyalty. These are the culprits of Sabbath’s original lineup’s demise.”
The band’s The End tour winds up in their home city on February 4. They’re touring with Ozzy’s solo band drummer Tommy Clufetos behind the drumkit.
Black Sabbath: The End world tour
Sep 02: Indianapolis Klipsch Music Center, IN
Sep 04: Chicago Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, IL
Sep 07: Dallas Gexa Energy Pavilion, TX
Sep 09: Albuquerque Isleta Ampitheater, NM
Sep 11: Salt Lake City USANA Ampitheater, UT
Sep 13: Portland Sunlight Supply Arena, OR
Sep 15: Oakland Oracle Arena, CA
Sep 17: Las Vegas MGM Grand Garden Arena, NV
Sep 19: Hollywood Hollywood Bowl, CA
Sep 21: Phoenix AK-Chin Pavilion, AZ
Sep 24: San Manuael Amphitheatre & Festival Grounds, CA
Nov 08: Oklahoma BOK Center, OK
Nov 10: Houston Toyota Center, TX
Nov 12: San Antonio AT&T Center, TX
Nov 16: Mexico City Foro Sol, Mexico
Nov 19: Santiago Estadio Nacional, Chile
Nov 24: Cordoba En El Orfeo Superdomo, Argentina
Nov 26: Buenos Aires Estadio Velez, Argentina
Nov 30: Curitiba Pedrerira Paulo Leminski, Brazil
Dec 02: Rio Praca Da Apoteose, Brazil
Dec 04: Sao Paulo Estadio Do Morumbi, Brazil
Jan 20: Dublin 3 Arena, Ireland
Jan 22: Manchester Arena, UK
Jan 24: Glasgow SSE Hydro, UK
Jan 26: Leeds First Direct Arena, UK
Jan 29: London O2, UK
Jan 31: London O2, UK
Feb 02: Birmingham Genting Arena, UK
Feb 04: Birmingham Genting Arena, UK