The Black Sabbath Feud Just Got Much Worse
One day after Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward released a 700-word statement blasting frontman Ozzy Osbourne and detailing intra-band squabbles, Osbourne has responded on his Facebook page, bluntly asking, “What the fuck are you on about?”
In Wednesday’s post, Ward reiterated that he would not rejoin the band until Osbourne apologized for unspecified statements Ward said were insulting to him. “With a sad heart, I have to say I will not participate in any musical undertakings until a righting of the wrongs spoken against me has been achieved,” the drummer wrote. “I must admit, I have little to no expectations of this happening, but in the order of first things first, I’m looking for an honest accountability of all of Ozzy’s statements that I felt were untrue.”
Osbourne, however, remained unrepentant in his new post. ”I cannot apologize for comments or opinions I may have made about you in the press during Sabbath’s 13 album and tour,” the singer wrote. “Physically, you knew you were fucked. Tony [Iommi, guitar], Geezer [Butler, bass] and myself didn’t think you could have done a two-hour set with a drum solo every night, so we made the decision to move on. With Tony’s [lymphoma] condition, we felt that time was not on our side.”
In August 2013, Osbourne called Ward “incredibly overweight” and said, “I don’t think he could have done the gig, to be honest…. A drummer has to be in shape. He’s already had two heart attacks. I don’t want to be responsible for his life.”
Osbourne also called Ward’s claims that a 2011 Black Sabbath reunion contract was “unsignable” disingenuous. Ward had previously said that he would need something he could approve of before moving forward with the tour, but Osbourne now claims it was Ward’s ill health that prevented the drummer from touring with his bandmates.
“Bill, stop this smokescreen about an ‘unsignable contract’ and let’s be honest,” Osbourne wrote. “Deep down inside, you knew you weren’t capable of doing the album and a 16-month tour. Unfortunately for you, our instincts were correct, as you were in [the] hospital several times during 2013. Your last hospitalization was for a shoulder surgery that you now say you’ve only just recovered from. This would have meant that our world tour would have been canceled. So how is all of this my fault? Stop playing the victim and be honest with yourself and our fans.”
The band decided to carry on without Ward and record their comeback record 13 with Rage Against the Machine drummer Brad Wilk.
While the situation between the longtime bandmates exacerbates, Osbourne did end his note with a quasi-olive branch. ”Bill, we go back a long way,” wrote the singer. “Let’s stop this now before it gets out of hand. God bless you.”
Despite writing that he’s “listened to nothing but insults and false remarks” and that “any notion of an original Black Sabbath lineup will continue to fade away,” Ward expressed resignation and regret at the current situation.
“It’s up to them,” he wrote. “I have dearly missed playing with them and as people, I have been heartbroken over the loss of who I thought we were. And now you know where I stand.”
The group recently canceled a scheduled appearance at Ozzfest Japan in lieu of an appearance by Osbourne. The appearance had been billed as the group’s “farewell,” but a Sabbath rep told Rolling Stone that’s not the case. “Although there have been discussions about a Sabbath Farewell Tour, nothing has been confirmed,” she said. With Osbourne and Ward’s recent statements, the chance of a full Black Sabbath reunion continues to diminish.