Five years after he quit the Black Sabbath reunion over a bitter contract dispute, Bill Ward says he’s completely “at peace” with the band.
The influential drummer has maintained close contact with Tony Iommi and Geezer but his relationship with Ozzy and the band’s manager Sharon Osbourne has been somewhat more strained.
As recently as September 2016, Bill accused Ozzy as being “spiteful, dishonest & disloyal” after the vocalist said he was “sad” Bill wasn’t a part of the farewell shows.
Now, in a fresh interview with Rolling Stone, Bill said he doesn’t bear any resentment towards Sabbath – in fact he “really, really, really loves” Ozzy, Geezer and Tony.
Asked when he last had contact with his ex-band mates, Bill said:
"It was 2015 when I saw Tony and Geezer and it was cordial. But that's been the last time. I haven't talked to anybody or written any private emails to anybody. I think there's been a couple of other press statements that might have gone backwards and forwards, but that's been about it, really. I'm at peace with those guys. If something comes up that I feel is contradictory, I'll always make a statement back in defence of whatever I need to defend. But my general outlook towards them is not of resentment, it's not of fear, it's not of hatred or anything like that. I actually really, really, really love these guys. I wish them absolutely nothing but the very best, I wish them nothing but the best in their lives. Every day, I say prayers and I wish for them health and happiness and just nothing but good things to befall them. I [don't] in any way... have any grudges or any arrogance or anything else. It's been like that for a while."
"At first, I was really upset but I've cooled off a lot. I'm in a different place; I've moved on. But I haven't moved on from the idea of if [they] ever wanted to play again. I've not moved on from that idea. That would be something that would have to be worked out. But if they've moved on from that idea, then that's fine, I'll support that. I haven't moved on. I've been told to have an open mind, so I'm going to be open-minded about it... That's how I feel about them. I don't have any anxiety about them or any tragedy anymore."
Questioned about whether he’d be open to the idea of returning to some future incarnation of Black Sabbath, Bill responded:
"Yeah, I'm open-minded to it. It depends what it is and it depends what all it [entails]. But I definitely have an open mind. I'd be stupid not to. Time's moving on; we're getting older. I've loved them guys for a long time now. I love Black Sabbath's music."
Black Sabbath in the early 1970s © PA Images
As reported earlier this week, Bill is selling more than 200 pieces of studio gear from the past five decades on his Official Bill Ward Reverb Shop.
"I've collected a lot of stuff over the years, and I'm just trying to thin some things out," Bill said in a video announcement.
“Whoever gets this gear will get good karma. I really hope the new owners will be able to feel the energy of it. Of course, I’m going to miss all of the gear – there’s some really nice history here – but if these items are going to drummers who will use them, then that warms my heart.”
Meanwhile, Black Sabbath’s ‘final’ show at Birmingham Genting Arena is hitting cinemas across the globe for one night only on Thursday 28th September.
Black Sabbath: The End of The End was directed by Dick Carruthers (Led Zeppelin ‘Celebration Day’) and features footage of the band in their imperious live glory together with behind-the-scenes clips and intimate personal anecdotes.
You can find your nearest participating cinema at the film’s official website.