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Estranged Black Sabbath Drummer Bill Ward Says He’s ‘Lost a Friend’ in Ozzy Osbourne

Bill Ward
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Black Sabbath may have enjoyed major returns for their reunion on their ’13′ album, but founding drummer Bill Ward missed out on the disc after engaging in a very public contract dispute with the other original members. Not only did he miss out on the album, Ward says it’s also damaged his relationship with singer Ozzy Osbourne.

Ward says he’s kept in contact with bassist Geezer Butler and guitarist Tony Iommi privately, but feels that his relationship with Osbourne has taken a big hit after some of the things that have been said publicly. At issue for Ward were harsh comments made by Osbourne about the drummer’s weight and ability to perform.

The drummer tells DC Heavy Metal of the ’13′ album, “I was completely able to play on it. There’s no question in my heart at all, [but] you know, it’s still something that I don’t care, I don’t care to listen to [that album]. Even if it was the most brilliant album in the world I don’t care to listen to it.”

Ward says that he was definitely hurt by some of the things Osbourne said, and states, “With Ozzy, I’ve lost a friend as far as I’m concerned. A man that I dearly loved, and I still dearly love but I’ve had to really now readjust just how much I’m going to trust and love him. He fired back on some pretty mean stuff in the press so. And I’ve gone OK. Like with any of us when we get hurt we’re going to pull back our love and our considerations for another human being when they kick out at you and you know. So that’s been a big loss.”

Even with the harsh feelings, Ward says he’ll always keep an open mind to playing with Black Sabbath. He adds, “I love the band. I miss them terribly. And so my answer would be leaning towards if something could be worked out — something that I could live with and I’m talking politically now, contractually, and not the kind of things that I’ve done in the past.”

And while Ward says he was able to play with Sabbath when they were negotiating over their last album, a health setback in 2013 makes that a trickier proposition now. Ward says he’s physically working to regain his strength and would be the first to state if he couldn’t cut it. He adds, “I would never, ever, ever allude to being able to play with Sabbath if my health wasn’t absolutely smack on. And my health right now is not bad, but it’s not good enough to certainly play in any band, never mind Black Sabbath.”

Ward says his health is improving, but the most important thing for him is being able to know that he can play the drums the way that he wants to, and he wouldn’t even enter a conversation with Black Sabbath’s members about returning unless he felt he was all the way back.

For the rest of this fascinating interview, visit DC Heavy Metal.

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