Original BLACK SABBATH drummer Bill Ward has once again insisted in a new interview that he is quite capable of playing a full concert with the group, despite the bandmembers themselves saying the opposite. Ward stepped away from the SABBATH reunion in early 2012, while the group hinted that he was not in good enough physical shape to either record or tour.
Speaking to Classic Rock Revisited, Ward said: "That's their fear that has nothing to do with me. That is somebody else's fear. That is simply fear, and that's all that is. It is not the truth and it has nothing to do with the truth. The only thing that happened to me that is the truth is that I actually got sick on October 18, 2013. Up until that point, I was fully capable of playing drums and I could have played multiple world tours, et cetera, et cetera. I just had not signed a contract. Had I signed a contract, then I wouldn't have been sick, according to them."
He continued: "I hate what's going on, it is terrible. It is a good question: Had I signed the contract that was offered to me, which I wouldn't have done, but had I signed it, I probably would have been exonerated from health problems. That is crazy. Once you sign, you just don't have health problems.
"I would never, ever, ever commit to taking on any type of live commitment, or studio commitment, if I knew there was something going on inside of me which could stop me from doing it. There wasn't a fucking thing going on inside of me that would stop me from playing in the studio or in a live band rehearsal. It absolutely didn't exist.'
Ward added: "The sickness agenda started after I wouldn't sign the contract. You know all the problems of what I was like in 2011; it all started to happen after the event. In 2011, nobody said anything to me about that, as they all seemed to be quite happy that I was there. I am getting better with it now, but I was infuriated when I first heard of that as my health was really good. I was playing drums every day and practicing 130 beats per minute for a half an hour on the bass drum. I wasn't walking ten miles. I usually walk ten miles a day, but I was walking six to eight miles a day. It is what I would be doing anyway. It is what I am doing now. I am walking on treadmills. I had to rebuild my core after the operation I had.
"What happened on October the 18th of 2013 was serious shit and I needed surgery. Had I been on tour then, yes, that would have happened. That was something that was unexpected and unforeseeable, as life can be. That would have meant that I would not have been able to continue on with the band for at least five months. It would have taken that amount of time. They have canceled shows as well when unforeseeable events happen. They say, 'He couldn't have done it anyway because he got sick.' I think that is a bunch of bullshit. These things are unforeseeable and everybody knows that we go in good faith and we know unforeseeable events can happen. Ozzy [Osbourne, vocals] has had to cancel on multiple occasions because of unforeseeable events since all of this has happened."
Asked if fans should hold out any hope that SABBATH will reunite with him, Ward responded: "That statement that I made was actually an olive branch. It was a real olive branch, not a pie-in-the-sky olive branch. I gave exact specifications of what would put me back in the band. I don't fuck around, you know. You want me back I the band? Then make a public apology about the things that you said about me that weren't true. That's the first thing. The next thing is give me a signable fucking contract.
"This contract isn't the Rockefeller of all Rockefeller contracts. I just want something that is decent and fair and what every other person on earth who is playing rock and roll would want."
Ward also spoke about the breakdown of his friendship with SABBATH singer Ozzy Osbourne. He said: "I love him and I miss him. I grieved his loss in 2012. I went through absolute murder, emotionally, with him saying the things he was saying. I was absolutely gobsmacked. I couldn't believe it was somebody that I had known for so many years. It was really horrible going through that.'
He continued: "I don't dislike Ozz. I don't have any animosity, or any revenge, and I am not seeking to be better than him, or anything like that. I am not trying to be right in these things in terms of, 'You are wrong and I am right.' I am simply stating the facts and asking for an amendment of the facts, as they stand. It is very matter of fact with me. It is actually quite simple.
"I am really saddened that all of the Ozzy fans and all of the Bill fans are all upset. All the Ozzy fans fucking hate me. There is a lot of controversy. We try to keep an open mind to all of the fans and all of the interested parties.
"We are very concerned, my team, we are very concerned about the way these things are handled. We are very concerned about the people who dislike me, but they have every right to dislike me. I actually support them in their right to dislike me and they are entitled to their opinions. I don't necessarily agree with them that I am an asshole, but if they want to call me an asshole, I will support their right to do that."
Asked if there has been any communication between him and the other members of SABBATH other than Ozzy's public reply, Ward said: "Absolutely not. They found it offensive.
"I had no expectations. The thing that I needed to do was to write down and tell the public the things that I require and that these are the things that happened to me.
"I don't expect everyone to understand, because they didn't walk the walk with me. I walked the walk through this and some of my family members did as well. It felt very sinister and not very nice at all. I had to rebuke that. I had to say, 'That wasn't really nice. Before we move forward and before we are all happy families, let's get some things straightened out.' It is what any family would do. When somebody comes in and fucking shits all over the place, you go, 'Hey, clean that shit up and then maybe we can talk.'"
Ward recently revealed his terms for a "signable" contract with SABBATH, telling Rolling Stone magazine: "I wanted to earn some better money than we had been (paid) in the past for festival gigs. I think it was somewhere like $80,000 for the festivals, which I can hear everybody gasp now, but $80,000 is not a lot of dough when you're playing festivals."
The drummer said he also wanted to receive some publishing money from the group as well as a "secure contract" for the use of his name and likeness.
Asked if he was still legally a member of SABBATH, Ward said, "I wonder myself actually. I don't know. I'd probably have to ask my legal department. [Laughs] I'm actually not sure."
Ozzy responded to Ward's letter last month, saying, "Bill, stop this smokescreen about an 'unsignable contract' and let's be honest. Deep down inside, you knew you weren't capable of doing the album and a 16-month tour."