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11AM Pacific Time
Shows are Metal-Hard Core Format unless otherwise specified.
Playlist archives from January 2009 onwards have streams and media, but it was decided that it would be too much work to convert several years of playlist archives, so the older ones are being left as just text.
What is Rock 50?
Rock 50 is a internet only college radio program broadcast from radio station WPMD from Cerritos College in California. If you’re in that immediate area, you can’t listen over your regular radio, you have to be listening over the Internet. The show’s regular host is Mike Stark (pictured above with Bill Ward). Mike is known for several things, but one thing most of interest to Sabbath fans is his book “An Oral History of Black Sabbath” (more info here). Bill plays songs he likes, talks about a few things both Bill Ward & Black Sabbath related – basically just speaks his mind. Rock 50 is broadcast over the internet every Saturday from 11AM to 1PM Pacific Time and the dates of Bill’s future appearances (he’s not on every Rock 50 episode) will always appear on this page. Here are some more Rock 50 related links:
Bill Ward Downloads from Rock 50
- Bombers (Can Open Bomb Bays) Live
- Snakes & Ladders Live
- Children Killing Children Live
- Bill Talks about the Straws CD and Charities
- Bill sings Happy Birthday to Ozzy with Joe Siegler
- Bill’s tribute to Tawn Mastry
- Mike Stark and crew celebrate Bill’s 60th Birthday on air
Bill & Mike Stark Interviewed about the Rock 50 Show
Q: Where did you first meet and how did the radio show idea come about?
MIKE: I met Bill when I was writing the book on Black Sabbath (For the Record: Black Sabbath – An Oral History). At the time I was also working at the LA “heavy metal” radio station – KNAC. I’d occasionally have Bill on my show and one time, on the air, I suggested that, in the future, he bring some of his favorite tunes down and “do a show”. I remember how his face lit up over the idea. Shortly after that, Bill was called into service for the Sabbath “Reunion” tour, so I probably didn’t talk to Bill for a couple of years. By that point, I was working with the Cerritos College Internet station – WPMD.org. Once Bill settled down from the Sabbath tour, I asked him again if he’d be interested in doing a radio show and he agreed. So now whenever the spirit moves him to “play” radio personality – he comes in to my show and we spend a couple of hours spinning some of his favorite tunes.
BILL: I can’t remember when I first met Mike, but I’ve read what he says, and it sounds really accurate, and I’m sure he would know a whole lot better than I would! Mike’s been a friend for many, many years, and I liked him as soon as I met him. He’s very open, a total Sabbath freak, and a total music freak in the nicest possible way. I felt extremely comfortable around him. I did some interviews with him originally, and I felt very comfortable. That’s how I kind of measure if I feel safe or feel OK with another person. I just felt a comfortability level with him. He’s just really, really easy to get along with. He’s a great guy, and he just loves music.
Q: What kind of music does Bill play on the show?
MIKE: It’s all over the board. Bill has extremely wide musical taste. I like that and I like that in a radio show, because in today’s radio market everything is so “niche” oriented. He’s plays everything from Billie Holiday to Slayer on the show. Some amazing stuff and I always learn a little bit more about music, in general, when he comes in.
BILL: What I like to play is what I feel is important music, and I like to try to be current as well because I know we have an audience, so I do like to throw in a lot of the metal songs. I play stuff that I like, and I don’t play stuff that I don’t like. I like to go everywhere really. I’m across the board with just about anything, and if I know something about it or have a story behind it, or if I know the musicians in the band, I’ll try to throw in an anecdote to try to make it interesting for the listener. I really like to have that freedom to be able to really play everything that I’ve been influenced by and bring that out on the radio show.
Q: What were some of your favorite moments on the show?
MIKE: I think the time that Bill brought the “Bill Ward Band” into the studio to play. The band brought in all of this equipment to fit in this fairly small studio. They ended up not using most of the gear, but put together an “unplugged” set that was pretty amazing. On that same day Bill had Chris Fehn of Slipknot as an interview guest, so that was probably the most memorable single show. But every show has something special about it because it usually reflects the current state of Bill’s life and career. It can be exciting, melancholy, motivational or just “fun” – sort of the way life goes for any of us. It’s really a “REAL” snapshot of another element of “Black Sabbath” that we haven’t been getting lately – a side
that is thoughtful, emotional and focused.
BILL: Yeah, I thought when the band came in, it was great. It’s just so relaxed to be able to come into a studio without a whole lot of pressure and play live. Bringing in our own band and doing some acoustic songs is just great fun. I’m going to try to focus on bringing in more interviews as well, bringing more artists into the studio, or interviewing them on the phone. We’ve been talking about that for awhile, and I would like to expand on that. I mean I know enough people in the rock-n-roll industry, so I would like to bring more of that to the listener by expanding the show a little bit. The show is so great. I’ve enjoyed every single show, I don’t think there’s a show that I haven’t enjoyed. We can bring our kids down, which we’ve done a lot in the past. The kids come down, they get to be there in the studio, and they love it. My daughter’s been down a couple times, and she loves talking on the show. I get to play a song for my wife every month which is nice. I could probably rattle on for awhile about all this. It’s just a really good experience.
Q: When did you first discover Black Sabbath?
MIKE: To be completely honest, I came to the party late. When Sabbath first came out in 1970, I had heard of the band through my youngest brother, who was really into them, but I was still in a sort of Beatles/Stones mentality. Then, in 1971, while I was with ABC-TV, I worked on the California Jam, a huge festival in Southern California that featured everyone from the Eagles to Sabbath. I was a “gopher” for the TV crew and was sent to refill these empty Sparkletts type bottles with water from a hose that was located, inside the festival grounds, but about a half mile from the stage and the half a million fans. As I was filling the bottles, Sabbath was onstage. It was kind of surreal. Here I was out away from the chaos, by myself, filling these bottles – yet this was the loudest band I had ever heard. Later, when I began working at the heavy metal giant, KNAC, I became more familiar with what the band was all about and what they meant to their fans. Shortly after leaving KNAC, my friend, rock writer Dave Marsh asked me to do a book on Sabbath as part of a series of books he was doing. It was during that experience that I became a HUGE fan and fully understood how important Black Sabbath has been to the entire history of rock music.
BILL: I don’t believe I need to answer that one!