Bill Ward: ‘I’m at Peace’ With Black Sabbath Bandmates
The final note of Black Sabbath's touring career rang out in February of this year and drummer Bill Ward did not end up returning to the band, but in a new interview, the stickman says that he's at peace with his feelings toward his former bandmates at this point in his life and has "grieved the loss of three of my best friends."
Speaking to Rolling Stone, Ward stated, "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 defense 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."
He continued, "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."
The drummer says he was initially very upset when they couldn't work out the contractual issues that led to his exit, but he's come to terms with what happened and resolved his feelings.
"I'm in a different place; I've moved on," says Ward. "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."
Ward says that while some disagreements may play out publicly with him correcting statements he feels are false, it doesn't diminish his love for his Sabbath cohorts. "When I think about them, I don't think about them with resentment in my heart or revenge in my heart or anything like that. I don't have any of that whatsoever," says the drummer.
Ward says that he did reach out to the band's management when the farewell tour was planned asking if there was interest in him returning and he was told, "No, thank you." "That was fine," said Ward. "I remember being very OK with that. It's just like, 'Well, we asked, they said no.' I just moved on with my life, so yeah, I'm at peace with this."
Reflecting on the relationship breakdown, the drummer says, "It was really nice [to see Tony and Geezer in 2015]. It fell right into place, like nothing had happened. It was very nice to see Terry [Geezer Butler], and I miss Terry a lot. It was really nice to see Tony –- I miss Tony, too. I miss Oz. I think about Ozzy all the time. This is not to discount Tony or Terry, but probably the biggest loss has been Oz. I loved him in a very special way. That's been the toughest one to let go and to wish him farewell and happiness in his life and everything else."
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