Bill Ward admits he no longer possesses the “chops” nor the “ability” to perform with Black Sabbath. The former drummer has said he would not be up to the task, should they ever play live again. The 72-year-old founding Sabbath drummer made the admission during an appearance on SiriusXM’s Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk.
At a press conference in 2011, Black Sabbath announced the reformation of their classic line-up, however, relations with Bill quickly deteriorated and he was dismissed the following year. In his absence, Rage Against the Machine’s Brad Wilk performed on the 13 comeback album, while Tommy Clufetos, also in Ozzy Osbourne’s solo band, stepped in for live duties on the subsequent tour.
During this time, Bill and various members of the band had engaged in a war of words, trading insults through the tabloids. The drummer stood his ground on his abilities to perform with the group, although Ozzy denounced Ward as delusional, adding “physically, you knew you were f*****”.
In the interview with Sirius XM’s Eddie Trunk, Bill was asked about his personal feelings regarding the end of Black Sabbath as a recording and performing entity.
“Well, I’m not done with the Black Sabbath legacy. [Laughs] I haven’t been done. I was made done, but I’m not done,” said Bill, “the others might be done, but I’m not. But being realistic about that, as far as touring with Black Sabbath, I don’t have the chops, and I don’t have the ability to drive a band like that on stage. I have to be back to 60 years old to be able to do that”.
Despite not being fit to tour, Bill still hopes that a studio album could be in the band’s future. The drummer said he would “love to do a studio album with Sabbath, with all the original members. I’m just saying that — I’m just floating that out there”.
“I haven’t talked to anybody about that or anything else. But I’m not done,” declared Bill. “So, the other three might be done, and I respect that, but no, I’m not done. I think as long as we all exist [laughs] and we’re still breathing in air, I think we have every possibility of making some great music together.”
Although another studio album would gather momentum and interest in a tour, Bill maintains he would not be able to participate if one came to fruition. “I’m being honest. I’ll be 73 next birthday and I know what kind of energy it takes to drive that band,” he explained.
In 2019, Ozzy bemoaned the fact that Bill played no part in Black Sabbath’s farewell tour, dubbed The End. The hellraiser admitted that having all four original members for their worldwide swansong would be a better storybook ending for the band.
Bill’s former bandmate, Tony Iommi admits he is “not at all happy” about the recent release of Slapback. The track is a demo recorded by the band when Ronnie James Dio-fronted Black Sabbath in 1979.