Brandon Marshall of Sonic Excess conducted an interview last week with legendary BLACK SABBATH drummer Bill Ward. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Sonic Excess: BLACK SABBATH wrote new material, but nothing came of it. Will those recordings ever see the light of day, and if not, can you tell us SABBATH-heads what SABBATH album it's comparable to?
Ward: Well, it is true that there is a lot of material written and stored away in a very safe place. I don't know what SABBATH album it would be comparable to. We did all these jams in the spring, I think it was seven years ago. The songs have some brilliant riffs, obviously from Tony [Iommi, guitar], and my drumming has changed a little bit. My approach and Geezer's [Butler, bass] approach was a bit different in supporting Tony, I thought. Oz [Ozzy Osbourne, vocals] was cutting across with some really nice things as well. I think it was more mature, because we are more mature, even though we are kids at heart. I don't think I can compare it to any SABBATH album, but it sounded really, really, strong.
Sonic Excess: Why was it never released?
Ward: Politics. (laughs)
Sonic Excess: Well, I don't want to pry to much then, but do you think the songs will ever see the light of day?
Ward: I think the songs that we have, and there were quite a lot of them, they ought to [be released]. They deserve to see the light of day, but whether they will or not, I don't know. It would be very sad not to let them see the light of day, because there are some really good foundations and grooves, some real nice chops. It was our band playing. To me, in my opinion, they're perfectly great enough to make another BLACK SABBATH album. The music is very current. It's us, 40 years later slamming it out, ya know?
Sonic Excess: After the tragic death of Ronnie James Dio, the remaining members of HEAVEN & HELL will perform the Dio tribute show and won't carry on after that. Tony Iommi said, in a British newspaper, that there would be discussions between he and Geezer Butler about BLACK SABBATH. Can you give us any insight?
Ward: The only thing I know, and I have talked with Tony... Well, the only person I haven't spoken with is Geezer, but that is because he prefers e-mail to the telephone, and Ozzy called me yesterday. I think the statements have been made into a little bit of a cake. I saw the statements only last night on BLABBERMOUTH.NET, when I got home from the studio. Where Ozzy's at, with wanting to tour with BLACK SABBATH is that Ozzy has been in his place for a long time and says, "I'm never going to say never." I have the same attitude. My quotes would be, "I never want to say never." I'm in the same place. Tony has a completely open mind to the possibility of touring with SABBATH again. I think what's happening is that some people have hooked into that and written a story out of it. I think realistically, right now, I can't see where it would be a possibility, with Ozzy on tour for the next 18 months and having a new record out that's great. I've got a new record, and I know that Tony has other things he wants to do musically, and Geezer also. We might all agree to it, but when it would happen, I just don't know. Other than those few comments, I just don't know about a SABBATH tour anywhere near in the future. Tony has already stated that he doesn't want to talk about it until he finishes that concert for Ronnie in London. It would be great, but I don't know where any of it sits right now. It's like the press has gotten it and is kindling the fire before anything has been said. I talk to Ozzy all the time, and he hasn't mentioned shit to me about SABBATH.
Sonic Excess: After a career that has spanned over 40 years, million of albums sold, the creating of a music genre, multiple Grammys, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and someone who is one of the most respected and emulated drummers in history, what is the one single moment you think back on?
Ward: Ohh man, fuckin' hell. I've been batting pretty good up until now, thanks. (laughs) (Long pause) I live with the memories all the time. I try to savor my memories, and I have so many. I have met so many people that have just touched me. A lot of them are gone now, so I have sad memories. I can see the accomplishments and the tears as well. I don't think I can grab just one thing to give an explanation, I don't know if I can do that. I try to live honorably. I try to live as a musician who has really enjoyed the journey so far, despite all the ups and downs. So, it's very hard for me to answer that question (the last portion of the question). Ohh, that is very flattering, and, of course, I love drummers. I have talked to many many guys who play drums, and I just love to talk to them. I admire all drummers, no matter what age they are, I've met drummers in clinics. I have met 15-year-old kids that are going be giants in the next 20 years so. For me, it's like a big family. I like to sit on the back of the stage and talk to other drummers prior to the shows and exchange stories. Those are many things that I have really enjoyed. It's very flattering, and it has given me a larger life than what I had.
Read the entire interview from Sonic Excess.