BLACK SABBATH drummer Bill Ward has posted the following message on his official web site:
"HAPPY NEW YEAR READER,
"Well Ho, Ho, Ho came and went. I'm still trying to figure out who I want to send Christmas cards to. I've been trying to get myself to sit down and put pen to paper these past couple of weeks now to do a Year in Review.
"It's raining tonight, and the surf is high. We're in the second night of a winter storm passing over Southern CA, U.S.A. Living on the beach, we've received notice of possible mild to moderate flooding. I put sandbags out earlier, dropped them against the front door, we ought to be OK.
"My wife and I are supposed to be in TX tonight getting our daughter, and coming back home to LA. At about 5AM this morning, we made a decision to call off the TX trip until Sat., Jan 1st.
"This Christmas has been really quiet, no kids this Christmas. I actually got to sleep in!! On Christmas Day, that was pretty good.
"In thinking about the year, I'm grateful to be sober, and still alive. On Jan 2nd or 3rd 21 years ago, I was at the end of my life, as I understood it, I didn't get to the end of my life overnight, I killed myself slowly, little by little. I never want what I had drinking, back again.
"I've tried to be a human doing this year, and I've done my best to give when and where I could.
"My personal life began to bloom again in '04 with my wife and I and my daughter, Em, all putting in an incredible amount of hard work to better overcome the hurdles and impasses. My two boys, Nigel in TX, and Aeron in England, are doing great. Aeron, my oldest boy, is making incredible music. My younger son, Nigel is participating in life. I feel most fortunate in knowing that both men live healthy lifestyles, not from my doing, it's just working out that way. I have little or nothing to feel miserable about when I compare my kids to how I was when I was their ages.
"I regret not finishing 'Beyond Aston' and having it released in '04. Everyone here who's behind the project, all want to see the end result. I've had a tough time hanging with the project, myself. It's been a long time in the making. I've written a lot of new stuff this year, in between 'Beyond Aston' tracks. Hopefully, this work is going to find a good home that can distribute it. We are shopping with one record company at this time.
"The 'Straws' project has turned out pretty good. I was hoping to earn a lot of money for the various charities. We slashed the asking price, we've definitely raised money, and I thank all of you who have supported 'Straws'. The money will get to the proper people. I feel good that we did the project. We had some nice letters back from one or two actors and statesmen/stateswomen, and of course we got great feedback from you, the folks who bought it. Ozzy loves the song, raved about it, that helped a lot.
"If there are any 'Straws' CDs left for sale, and you haven't gotten one — buy one! No, do as you will, I'm just jiving your ass.
"Ozzfest, I had a good time. Tony I. and yours truly went out walking as often as possible. We had great conversations and great walks. He's the best, and I'm honoured that I get to play drums with him. We've been together since we were nearly 16 years old. We're both 56 now. We had a lot to talk about, especially the fact that it's SABBATH's 35th Anniversary in '05. We've been coming stateside for 35 years, in '05. Of course at this time amidst the rumors gathering in clumps, and scattering across the airwaves of a new SABBATH album, I shall say nothing, but I do hope for a great time with SABBATH in '05, if it can happen.
"On my radio show, 'Rock 50', at wpmd.org, we'll be doing a special 35th Anniversary portion for the entire 12 months of '05. First show is January 15th, 11:00 AM ' 1:00 PM Pacific Time at wpmd.org. Check it out.
"Back to Ozzfest, so we got rained on, and I was sorry we didn't make West Palm Beach. The summer storms across America are most formidable, and this year's Ozzfest had some brilliant storms. I call it God's effects or God's lending a hand to the stage show. Mind you, PRIEST got plenty of thunder and lightning on their shows, too. I had a great summer with Ozzfest. I loved playing, and it's a pleasure, it's a treat, to play with Tony and Geezer. They're just such great players. It's just incredible how things are turning out with the band. I thought Ozzy was absolutely brilliant coming from where he was mentally and physically. He overcame, he constantly improved, and he performed with a level of personal strength and conviction that must be recognized and applauded.
"When he fell sick, we had a very difficult situation to deal with, and before going any further, I want to salute every single audience member at the now infamous Camden, NJ gig. I love playing Camden, and my heart went out to that audience. Rob Halford deserves a medal for coming in like he did. Rob was great. There is no doubt. I think that night, everybody — Tony, Geezer, Rob and myself — worked our nuts off. We were very sorry that the Camden audience was disappointed, and at such a late hour in that day. We poured it out, and now I think there's a live bootleg somewhere, of that show.
"Ozzfest, with so many great bands. SLIPKNOT, I think they made the best album of '04. They need to be honoured. I think the guys are up for a Grammy. Outside of that, I think they deserve Best Album of '04. SLAYER, always brilliant, a great live band. DIMMU BORGIR, outstanding band. LACUNA COIL, great people, great band. JUDAS PRIEST, what can you say, absolutely fucking great. I want to compliment all the drummers who played Ozzfest this year. The bar is lifted, and a new history of drumming is being born. There are many great drummers who've been carving new ideas and techniques for a while now. At Ozzfest this year, I thought we saw a pinnacle of just plain great drummers. I met most of them, some I've known for a while. Drumming in '04 needs much applause. The advancements are nothing short of incredible and beyond.
"We say goodbye to many this year. Most notably, and because of the recent tragedy, is Dimebag from the great band DAMAGEPLAN and of course PANTERA. Among others, we also say goodbye to Ray Charles, British radio pioneer John Peel, and on a personal note, Rigger Dan from the Ozzfest crew.
"Going back for a moment to Mr. Peel, I think it's valid to raise a speculative question. Had it not been for John Peel, I question whether SABBATH's music would have ever reached the airwaves at a national media level in the U.K. in 1969. Pondering that thought for a moment, it's scary to realize that without airplay, SABBATH's demise could have come in '69. Scary thought, leaving hard rock/heavy metal in the balance.
"Bush is still President, and music will be as it has always been, powerful and comforting, enlightening and energizing in times of despair or hopelessness, or in times of happiness and strength. We're still at war, and while young men and women continue to die and receive injury, I'll do all I can to participate in helping organizations who really help those in harm's way. I'll continue, along with my peers and as many musicians that come across my path, to uphold life for all beings and continue to encourage peace. And yes, I support war because sometimes war is inevitable. I'm not anti-war, but at the same time, I hate war, and I hate that people are suffering and dying because of it.
"So we go into '05 at war, and in the shadow of a tsunami that killed thousands and thousands. Old institutions are dying and youth deserves more credibility. Not enough people are saying 'objectification' is a crime against mankind. We have really good medicines now for people like me with heart diseases. I hope someone will stand up for old buildings in the U.S.A. and pass a law to stop knocking them down. Again, Bob Dylan's lyrics from 'The Times They Are A-Changin'' wreak with intelligent insight and form pillars as strong as time itself. The song's great, play it.
"So what time is it? It's midnight, Dec. 28th, I just ended writing this piece, the wind is howling and the seka palm and palms period are bowing 45 degrees. The waves are pounding onto the shore and rattling this house's very foundation.
"Happy New Year, Everyone. There's much to look forward to, and yeah, even if your life is ending or you want to end your life, there's still much to look forward to. Remember (I know we've heard it all before), but suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. So go out and kick ass.
"Shit, there's even really good solutions and ways out of despair and life threatening mental illness and addictions. Not bad, I guess, if that's your bag in '05. Again, Happy New Year."