BILL WARD Says 'Musical Difference' Was The Main Reason He Dropped Out Of HEAVEN & HELL

BLACK SABBATH drummer Bill Ward was interviewed on this past Friday's (August 7) edition of Eddie Trunk's "Friday Night Rocks" radio show on New York's Q104.3 FM. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below (transcribed and edited by BLABBERMOUTH.NET for clarity).

On why he pulled out of his involvement with HEAVEN & HELL — the band featuring fellow SABBATH members Tony Iommi (guitar), Geezer Butler (bass) and Ronnie James Dio (vocals) — in November 2006 while the group was recording three new tracks to be included on the BLACK SABBATH collection "Black Sabbath: The Dio Years":

"Let me see if I can say this as comfortably as I can, because there's some sensitive stuff about this, and I haven't spoken at public level about any of this stuff...

"There was a musical difference. For quite a long time now, the only band that I've ever felt comfortable in is the original band. And I've tried to do SABBATH with Ronnie, SABBATH with Ian [Gillan] and SABBATH with other singers as well. And as much as I either like, or don't like, these guys or whatever, it never feels the same to me. And I've never been able to make that move when it comes to being with Tony and Geezer with another singer. However, I thought that because, originally, we were talking about Ronnie — when we were first trying to put some of this together — and I thought, 'Well, I'm gonna have an open mind to this.' But, at the time, it felt like I was kind of backpedaling a little bit, but I thought that I would be able to actually hang with it and do it and what have you. So I went in there as much as I could with an open mind. A couple of things happened, which I'm gonna have to keep private, which, actually, I felt very angry about. Originally, there was some stuff on the business end, which really, really, really cut me up. And there's still some unresolved things on the personal end as well, which I'm hoping to have clarified and resolved one day — one day it'll clear up. But the main reason inside everything was that Tony, on one of the songs, it was a pretty fast song, was pushing his guitar — it was just like a down beat — and in all the years that I've played with him, since I was, like, 16 — me and him have played together a long, long time — I've never cut across him. In other words, I never go through him — I don't travel through him, I travel around him, and I either build or I pull away, or I make holes, or I do whatever I can do to make sure that I am interacting with the bass and the guitar in the way that I do it. It was requested of me to play a straight beat through, and playing a straight beat through was absolutely against everything I know about drumming, and it was an intolerable request. End of story. I can't do that, and I'm not gonna do that to Tony. He's a man that I love — I'll love him for the rest of my life; we've done so much together. But I could not adhere to the track in which it was being requested of me. I need to go with him. So if he's punching, I punch with him; it's just a natural way that I play. I never go through him like he [doesn't] exist. To me, what was being asked of me was disrespectful to Tony as a player. So I didn't do it. I won't compromise my sensibility... and my sensitivity, either, in music. So I just couldn't cut it."

On whether he regrets not being involved in HEAVEN & HELL and what his feelings are on what the band is currently doing:

"I'm out of that situation, [but] I support [HEAVEN & HELL] completely. I've already seen them play live. I thought that Geezer was absolutely amazing — he blew me away; I was like, 'My God, that's my mate up there playing.' I've known Vin [HEAVEN & HELL drummer Vinny Appice], basically, since he was kid. I know all of the guys, so where I'm at with it, I completely support them, and I hope they make as much great music together as they want to and I hope that it's a complete success for them in any way that they feel that success is, since we all go about in different ways in deciding what is success and what isn't success. So I'm 100 percent behind the guys."

On whether he would be open to reuniting with his original BLACK SABBATH bandmates for more touring and/or recording:

"If everything gets in order and everybody is on the same page, or even half a page, I'm ready to do multiple tours, or multiple albums, with the original band. I always have been; I've never moved from that stance in the last 30-odd years. So I'm down [with] that."

On Ozzy Osbourne's lawsuit against Tony Iommi in which the singer claims that the guitarist illegally took sole ownership of BLACK SABBATH's name in a filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office:

"You probably know more than I do on this one. I ain't got a clue. I just look at the e-mail and I just see it come through the door; that's pretty much where I'm at with it. Oz and I spoke on it very briefly and then we started talking about the children, which is what we normally do. And that's it. I don't know anything at all about what's happening there. But then again, I ain't stupid either. So, obviously, like we all have in our band, in SABBATH, we've all got our lawyers and our accountants and everybody else. So everybody's watching what's going on, except that I ain't; I have somebody else watching it for me. So if I need to know anything that's gonna roll over my patch, then hopefully somebody will let me know. But otherwise, I just see it as a progression. [Laughs] . . . In our private lives, I've seen a lot more go on... Lawsuits, to me, to be honest with you, is like sitting down for a cup of tea in comparison to some of the crap that we've all gone through. So we can certainly ascend and rise above lawsuits. It's just where it's at right now, and I know everybody's really busy. Like you asked me earlier, did I miss not being in HEAVEN & HELL? And the answer was no, I don't miss it at all. I'm very happy with where I am and going in the direction that I'm going in. I'm fine with the outcome of what happened. I know that we're all busy doing all the different things that we need to be doing, and I'm in that place too. But I'm always open-minded to go play with the guys. Who wouldn't wanna go and do that?"

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