Original Black Sabbath Drummer Bill Ward Says Ozzy Osbourne Never Asked Him to Join Farewell Tour

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Bill Ward and Ozzy Osbourne of Black Sabbath appear at a press conference to announce their first new album in 33 years and a world tour in 2012 at the Whisky a Go Go on Nov. 11, 2011 in West Hollywood, Calif. 

Bill Ward, one quarter of Black Sabbath’s original 1968 incarnation, has not been performing with the band on its worldwide farewell tour. Could he rejoin in time for Sabbath’s last show, a hometown gig in Birmingham, England next February? It’s looking unlikely, thanks to a new squabble between Ward and Ozzy Osbourne

Yesterday (Sept. 1) Ward took to Facebook to fire back at Osbourne’s recent claims he’d contacted the drummer. “Ozzy has never reached out since January 26/27 2012 when he called to see when I would be arriving in the UK to join rehearsals for the 13 CD,” Ward wrote. “Since that last phone call, he has never reached out to me, and I have not reached out to him.”

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The open letter was inspired by an interview Rolling Stone ran with Osbourne earlier this week. When asked if he’d consider having Ward for the Birmingham concert, Osbourne responded, “I don't know. Every time I reach out to Bill I get yelled at for something. If something can be worked out, great. [Touring drummer] Tommy [Clufetos] is doing a great job… I'm sad that Bill never came through.”

Ward left the band in early 2012, axing plans to work with Sabbath on its studio album 13, which was eventually released in June 2013. Since then, he has cited an unfriendly contract as a reason to stay away. “The contract was impossible to sign,” Ward wrote in the Facebook note. “The group rhetoric of 2012, 2013 and throughout, was fault-finding, condemning and full of dishonest evaluations of me as a person, including my so-called health issues.” 

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He also said he got a “no” from a Black Sabbath rep last year when he inquired about possibly rejoining for the farewell tour. 

In April 2015, Ward made a similar Facebook post, saying he’d “neither severed nor discontinued” his relationship with Black Sabbath, but would require his own “singable contract” to rejoin. The “heath issues” he brought up in the recent post (and the previous one) are likely linked to Osbourne’s past comments on his alleged weight issues, heart condition and shoulder surgery.

The Ward-less incarnation of Sabbath is currently touring North America, heading towards the pair of final dates in Birmingham, Feb. 2 and 4. 

Billboard’s request for comment to an Osbourne representative was not immediately returned. 

Find Ward’s entire Facebook post below:


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