The drummer issues on Black Sabbath’s new album, “13,” apparently ran deeper than co-founder Bill Ward’s decision to drop out of the reunion over what he said were contractual issues.
Tommy Clufetos, the drummer in Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne’s own band, was targeted to take over the stool, but producer Rick Rubin ultimately selected Rage Against The Machine’s Brad Wilk — which Osbourne tells Billboard left him “pissed off.”
“The way it was dealt with wasn’t very fair on Tommy. Rick Rubin just didn’t want to work with him for reasons I don’t know. He’s a great drummer, and he’s been with me for awhile now and I just felt that nobody discussed the decision about Brad to me, and it’s not fair to Tommy. Tommy was promised the album… It’s not because he was my drummer and my ego wanted him. It was just the fact the way it was dealt with. It just got me a bit, it got me pissed off about it. It’s alright now. He’s a great drummer. I don’t know what the problem was.”
Osbourne does, however, feel that Wilk “did a good job. I don’t have anything bad to say. He’s a very nice guy.”
Via e-mail, Rubin explained that “Brad is a muscular drummer with great feel and understands the groovy nature of their music — Rage Against the Machine is a groovy rock band, not a metal band — so it was worth a try. When they played together the first time, it was obvious he would do a great job in the seat Bill left vacated. Bill’s a great drummer and I’m sure it would have been an amazing album with him. We all wanted him to participate.”
Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith — who’s played on Rubin-produced sets by the Dixie Chicks, Kid Rock, the Avett Brothers, Jake Bugg and the upcoming solo debut by Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles — says he was also hoping for a shot on “13.”
“When Rick didn’t call me for the Black Sabbath thing, I gave him a hard time about it,” Smith says. “I was like, ‘Come on!’ He’s like, ‘No, I got Brad Wilk from Rage playing on that.’ I had to tell Brad I was a little jealous, a little drummer envy that he was playing with Sabbath. But I heard the record. It’s really good, fuckin’ heavy as fuck. Brad did a great job, I have to say. He did a great job. The band’s swingin’.”
“13,” Black Sabbath’s first full studio album with Osbourne since 1978’s “Never Say Die!,” came out June 11 and is poised to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard this week. The group begins a North American tour on July 25 in Houston. After it wraps up Sept. 3 in Los Angeles, the group heads to South America during October for dates with Megadeth, then starts a European run on Nov. 20 in Finland that finishes with a pair of shows Dec. 20 and 22 in the group’s home town of Birmingham, England.