Bill Ward, Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi at the Black Sabbath Reunion Press Conference in 2011.
Touring with a rock band is a workout every night, and if you're not in shape, you probably shouldn't hit the road. Which is one of the reasons founding Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward wasn't welcome on the heavy metal band's reunion tour, according to singer Ozzy Osbourne.
"I don't think he could have done the gig, to be honest," Osbourne told the New York Daily News prior to the band's performance in New Jersey over the weekend. "He's incredibly overweight. A drummer has to be in shape. He's already had two heart attacks. I don't want to be responsible for his life."
While Sabbath, whose self-titled debut album was released 43 years ago, is riding high at the moment — the band scored its first No. 1 album with "13" just recently — but apparently not every original member is welcome in its current incarnation. Ward left Sabbath in 1980 to get help with his drinking and played with them on and off throughout the next two decades, but in 1997 he was replaced, and said he learned he'd been excluded by watching MTV. Eventually the band had him back in the group until they split in 2005, but he did not play on "13."
Ward and the band have been at odds since shortly after Sabbath announced they were reforming in 2011; he wrote a 1,500 word letter about why he wouldn't participate in the reunion, and the band responded with a terse 45-word reply.
In late July, Ward said he had specific reasons for not wanting to play with the band this time around, and they seem to echo Osbourne's feelings. Though emphasis was put on being unable to agree on a contract, Ward admitted there was more going on later.
"I was offered a contract and I couldn't sign it," he told Guitar International. "I would never, ever show up for a commitment that I could not do physically. It was one of the toughest decisions that I ever had to make. Because I absolutely and without question wanted to play."
First published August 6 2013, 5:32 AM