Original BLACK SABBATH drummer Bill Ward has released the following statement:
"I have not made any public statements regarding my relationship with BLACK SABBATH since February 2012. Today, I want to address that relationship in this formal statement. Thank you.
"I have neither severed nor discontinued my relationship with BLACK SABBATH. However, since 2012, the often inaccurate statements about me as a person and as a musician have caused me to be guarded and be especially detached emotionally and spiritually from Ozzy [Osbourne, vocals]. His rhetoric above all has brought me the most discord. The continuing misguided information about me has established a necessity on my part to confront these issues. And now, with the imminent release of a new BILL WARD BAND album, and the flurry of rumors about new SABBATH projects, I feel it appropriate to speak in a truthful and an un-cynical way.
"There is always speculation about a true, original SABBATH lineup for the next tour or record. 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. 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. I would want Ozzy to amend his opinions and exaggerations. I would want him to be forthcoming about his unrealistic viewpoints. And because I was chastised publicly, I would want him to amend publicly in his words, and not through an Ozzy representative, the nature of the wrongs. I would not want to continue on with him without this seemingly impassible dilemma being addressed.
"I don't think previously strong relationships can remain strong after dispute by just sweeping the offensive stuff under the carpet, or by saying a puny sorry, or 'oh, that's all over now.' It doesn't work like that for me. Righting of wrong works, and that's what I want if I'm ever going to be his friend again.
"Still undone and faraway is a 'signable' contract. I would require a 'signable' contract before moving one step toward a pathway that could lead to us all playing together again. I want a contract I can approve.
"That's my truth. That's my stand.
"I've listened to nothing but insults and false remarks, and if as a band or as individuals they wish to continue along the same lines, then any notion of an original BLACK SABBATH lineup will continue to fade away.
"Put simply, it's up to them.
"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.
"Very soon my band, BILL WARD BAND will release a new album ironically called 'Accountable Beasts'. I re-kickstarted it in May 2012, and in an off and on journey to record, we have reached our final destination — a good mix, and a well mastered record. At this time we are putting the final touches on the digital booklet.
"There are other multiple projects in different stages of progress, and I hope to bring more definitive news about them as things unfold this year.
"I have been very happy writing new songs, playing drums and working with other musicians. I have been blessed with musical visions and the ability to harness them. I'm moving into the future with an optimistic outlook.
"For our many SABBATH fans, I love you all dearly. You are extremely special people. You fucking rock.
"I have been in deep regret since January 2012 that a true union was denied. I've remained faithful to you and honest with myself. Had I not been honest throughout, I would have perished long ago. My hand is within yours, and I am encouraged to know you better. Stay safe and stay strong.
"Now it is time to meet the circumstances of my statement and attend to what else is ongoing and before me."
Ward was on board for the SABBATH reunion when it was first announced in November 2011, but backed out soon after. He later claimed that he sat out the recording and touring sessions because of unfair contractual terms, although the members of SABBATH have hinted in other interviews that he wasn't physically up to the task.
SABBATH has used Ozzy's regular touring drummer Tommy Clufetos since then for live work. RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE's Brad Wilk laid down the drum tracks on the band's comeback album, "13", which came out in June 2013.
It was rumored that SABBATH wanted to bring a second drummer on the road to share duties with Ward, which he allegedly balked at. Ward said in one interview that he "would never, ever show up for a commitment that I could not do physically."
Ward said he would return on one condition, that he "play all or nothing." It's been speculated that SABBATH wanted Ward to play only part of its live shows because he wasn't in shape to perform an entire concert.
Ozzy told the New York Daily News, "I don't think [Ward] could have done the gig, to be honest. 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."
In an interview with the Phoenix New Times, guitarist Tony Iommi stated about Bill's absence from the SABBATH reunion: "We were hoping Bill was going to do it.
"It was Bill who pulled the plug, it wasn't us. Bill decided on his own he didn't want to do this, because he didn't like things the way it was. But we still don't know exactly what that was, because Bill won't exactly talk to us about it. He got his lawyers to talk with our lawyers, and it went that way instead of talking to the band personally. It got to be a silly situation.
"It would have been nice to have had Bill on the album, but it was getting too complicated. It had been after a year of this stuff, and we just had to get on with it."