Bill Ward's first time back behind the drums since he underwent two major operations in four days was a success.
The Black Sabbath hero played the drums for the first time since September last year when a fan unexpectedly brought a kit to his Absence Of Corners fine art exhibition in Annapolis, USA.
In September, 66-year-old Ward went through an operation to deal with a longstanding problem with his right shoulder. But just four days later he was back in hospital for emergency stomach surgery to treat a condition called diverticulitis – an extremely painful inflammation of the colon.
Ward tells Black-Sabbath.com: “I haven’t played a kit of drums since I had the shoulder operation on September 8, 2013. I just played a little bit of jazz. Somebody had brought a kit of drums into the gallery. I played for eight or nine minutes. It wasn’t too bad, it was a nice surprise. I was wondering how it might be not playing for a while with the injuries that I’ve sustained.
“I’m doing rehab for my shoulder and stomach. I said I would start playing drums in March, but when March came my shoulder was still frozen so we said April. Then April came and it was not quite there. But today we sat down and it wasn’t bad.”
Ward was due to start mixing his third solo album, Accountable Beasts, just before his double surgery. He says the shoulder operation was straightforward, but that the stomach problem floored him.
“My right shoulder had been giving me a little bit of a problem on and off. It was just a very normal procedure, successful operation. That was September 8. And then four days later I had the perforated diverticulitis which was very serious.
“Something went very, very wrong and it perforated to the point that my abdominal pains were beyond anything I’ve ever felt before pain-wise. It means they have to cut your stomach open and clean up a lot of things. For a while I had to wear a bag, you can’t use your colon the way your colon normally works.
“In January I went back in and I had what they call a reversal of the stomach, which is when they put the colon back in the correct position in my stomach.”
Ward pulled out of Sabbath’s 2012 reunion, claiming the terms of his contract were unfair.
In the rest of the interview, which can be heard below, Ward discusses his art and his life with Sabbath.