Los Angeles, CA – February 2, 2012
Dear Sabbath Fans, Fellow Musicians and Interested Parties,
At this time, I would love nothing more than to be able to proceed with the Black Sabbath album and tour. However, I am unable to continue unless a “signable” contract is drawn up; a contract that reflects some dignity and respect toward me as an original member of the band. Last year, I worked diligently in good faith with Tony, Ozzy and Geezer. And on 11/11/11, again in good faith, I participated in the L.A. press conference. Several days ago, after nearly a year of trying to negotiate, another “unsignable” contract was handed to me.
Let me say that although this has put me in some kind of holding pattern, I am packed and ready to leave the U.S. for England. More importantly, I definitely want to play on the album, and I definitely want to tour with Black Sabbath.
Since the news of Tony’s illness, and the understanding that the band would move production to the U.K., I’ve spent everyday getting to or living in a place of readiness to leave. That involves something of a task, and as I’ve tried to find out what’s going on with the U.K. sessions, I’ve realized that I’ve been getting “the cold shoulder” (and, I might add, not for the first time). Feeling somewhat ostracized, my guess is as of today, I will know nothing of what’shappening unless I sign “the unsignable contract.”
The place I’m in feels lousy and lonely because as much as I want to play and participate, I also have to stand for something and not sign on. If I sign as-is, I stand to lose my rights, dignity and respectability as a rock musician. I believe in freedom and freedom of speech. I grew up in a hard rock/metal band. We stood for something then, and we played from the heart with honesty and sincerity. I am in the spirit of integrity, far from the corporate malady, I am real and honest, fair and compassionate.
If I’m replaced, I have to face you, the beloved Sabbath fans. I hope you will not hold me responsible for the failure of an original Black Sabbath lineup as promoted. Without fault finding, I want to assure everyone that my loyalty to Sabbath is intact.
So here I am. I lay my truth down before you. I’m good to go IF I get a “signable” contract. I don’t want to let anyone down, especially Black Sabbath and all the Sabbath fans. You know I love you. It would be a sad day in Rock if this current situation fell to the desires of a few.
My position is not greed-driven. I’m not holding out for a “big piece” of the action (money) like some kind of blackmail deal. I’d like something that recognizes and is reflective of my contributions to the band, including the reunions that started fourteen years ago. After the last tour I vowed to never again sign on to an unreasonable contract. I want a contract that shows some respect to me and my family, a contract that will honor all that I’ve brought to Black Sabbath since its beginning.
That’s the story so far.
Stay safe and stay strong.
I love every single one of you.
Bill recently spoke to the New York Daily News regarding the early days in Black Sabbath. Check out a few samples of what Bill had to say:
Forty years later, I remember very well when [guitarist] Tony Iommi, [singer] Ozzy Osbourne, [bassist] Geezer Butler and I first arrived in the United States. We were on a TWA jet and we flew to New York at night. I will always remember seeing the Manhattan skyline and I was absolutely in awe.
I knew that we were into something different, and I really loved what we were into, the sound and the religious and political imagery, but I didn’t speculate much about it at the time. I just thought, “Wow, whatever this is, I love it, I want to be into it for the rest of my life.” We came up with an aggressive message. It wasn’t necessarily a new message, but it was a new aggressive message.
Quite honestly, I thought I would be dead by 25. You can’t even imagine being 62, which is what I am now. Sadly, those days have been over for us for a long, long time. And so, the best I can do after a gig is usually get in my bus and try to have a sandwich or a cup of tea. That’s pretty much the heaviest partying I do now.
Check out more by reading the entire interview at this link.
My wife and I have sent our condolences and have felt very sad with the news of Ronnie’s passing.
We wish to extend our positive thoughts and love to all those who loved Ronnie, and we salute him as a singer, performer, songwriter and arranger.
We plan to make no further statements and prefer to remain private at this time.
London Times – Black Sabbath 40th Anniversary Article Disclaimer
I’ve just finishing reading the London Times article for Sabbath’s 40th Anniversary of the album Black Sabbath, dated Saturday, February 13, 2010. The interview I did for this piece was with journalist Will Pavia, and at the time, I felt it was a good interview. My interview with Will was then added to the broader article written by journalist, Chris Ayers.
The headline of the article reads (partially) “their seminal album began as a gimmick, and they would rather be remembered as a hard rock band.”
Besides this unflattering headline, I’m particularly pissed off about the following, and I quote: “…Bill Ward ….told the Times. Although it started as a gimmick, he said, ‘it matured into something that was almost waiting to arrive.’”
The way these sentences are constructed gives the impression that I called Sabbath a “gimmick,” or that I agree with the statement “it started out as a gimmick.”
I want to make it very clear to my fellow band members, musicians and our beloved Sabbath listeners worldwide, the word “gimmick” NEVER came out of my mouth. I don’t own it – I’m not the source of the word “gimmick.” There isn’t anything ‘gimmicky” about Sabbath as far as I’m concerned.
I consider the article roughshod at best. It’s sad that on our 40th Anniversary a more supportive and heralding composition could not have been written. There IS a nice picture of the band and a nice picture of Oz with Sharon and Kelly.
I thought the light-hearted, or sarcastic look (depends on your point of view) at how to headbang, titled “Headbanging for Beginners,” was more slagging than anything else. I’d like to remind whoever put that segment together that headbanging was a true phenomenon that began during the 60s and was a fulfilling form of expression and reaction to the music playing. “Unison” headbanging mushroomed in 1969 and has remained intact up until today. For me, it is a personal communion with every single fan. It’s positive energy; it’s healthy; it’s true love, even if, as the writer quirked in “Position 4,” I quote, “Keep body bent over after song to adjust balance and avoid collapse. Experience sore neck and two-day headache.”
Even if the writer’s being “ha ha” about the segment, he or she is ever so slightly making a derogatory statement, in my opinion, about what most in Metal consider “sacred ground” and/or “sacred personal identity.”
Come on London Times. Sabbath is homegrown British – one of Britain’s great bands, loved all over the world. Perhaps if you can’t meet the occasion with a more positive headline, at least get this right: Tommy Iommi (sidebar insert) is not Sabbath’s guitar player. However, TONY Iommi is… 40 years, guys, and counting.
There’s a recent audio interview with Bill Ward out and about. If you missed it when it was first published a few weeks back, you should give it a listen. It’s Episode 24 of “Shockwaves Skull Sessions”. The specific episode title is “Ozzy & Black Sabbath”. You can check it out here:
Here’s a description of the episode from their site:
This episode features a 4-way discussion with legendary Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward, Roadrunner Records VP of A&R Monte Conner, and metal enthusiast David Tedds as they join Skull Sessions host Bob Nalbandian in this mesmerizing and historic exploration into the first decade of Black Sabbath, commonly referred to as the “Ozzy-era.” The four discuss the entire catalog, from Sabbath’s groundbreaking 1970 debut leading up to 1978’s Never Say Die release. This is perhaps the most compelling Skull Sessions discussion yet. A MUST LISTEN for any Sabbath fan!
This Monday, 13th April, you can hear Bill talk about the recording and re-release of Paranoid, what the album means to him and the history, and possible future of the mighty Black Sabbath. That’s the BBC Radio 1 Rock Show with Daniel P Carter on Monday 13th April at midnight to 2am.
You can listen live in the UK on 97-99FM and online worldwide at http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/listen/index.shtml
And listen back from Tuesday AM, all week, on the link on the Rock Show homepage; http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/rockshow/
There’s another cool audio interview with Bill online now. This one comes from 106.1 Rock Radio in Manchester. You’ll want to check it out and give it a listen to hear what Bill has to say.
Bill Ward made an appearance on the Kerrang! Video Podcast where he mostly talks about the re-releases of the first three Black Sabbath albums as enhanced versions. But more importantly he talks about those red tights on the Sabotage album cover! 🙂
Check it out…
I have been expecting negative letters, rumors, and general gossip mongering over my not participating in the “Heaven & Hell” project. It’s not unusual, as yet I’ve made only one brief statement to confirm that I would not be involved.
It has been brought to our attention that there is a posting on a few web sites which discloses a supposed statement I made to a Clear Channel personnel. THIS IS COMPLETELY FALSE. Every piece of verbiage therein that posting – supposedly quoting me – is FALSE also.
OK. I’m off to get on with my life. Hopefully there won’t be too many shite letters floating around, as I don’t think anyone out there – myself included – wants to waste anymore time on complete falsehoods.
Bill Ward today announced that he will not be recording new tracks for the “Black Sabbath: The Dio Years” CD or playing drums on the “Heaven & Hell” tour.
“I realize there has been some speculation as to whether or not I am participating in the Heaven & Hell project,” said Ward. “I want to confirm that I will not be involved in either the recordings for the upcoming CD or the subsequent tour. I want to wish the guys Tony, Geezer, Ronnie, and Vinny – much success for the coming year.”
No further statements are available at this time.