BLACK SABBATH drummer Bill Ward spoke to Tom Russell of U.K.'s Rock Radio about why he terminated 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".
"There was a track that I was uncomfortable with," he said. "And I was trying to accomodate the wishes of a couple of the bandmembers, and I'm not very good when I have to do that. I guess I'm just not that kind of a drummer; I have to play the way that I feel it. The way that a couple of the guys wanted the drumming to be, I was unable to accomodate it; I didn't see it that way at all. So it was a problem musically.
"All the way through that particular project, everybody had an open mind — I had an open mind; I didn't know if it was gonna work or not work. I went in there and tried to lay some track in the best way I could, and it was one of those musical things that didn't work out, as far as I was concerned.
"I can't remember initially... I think there were a couple of other... I have never actually spoken publicly about this — I had made a couple of remarks before in the press — but at the time, I think, there were some things that were said about me having other schedules to meet and so on and so forth, and that wasn't the case at all. It was definitely a misunderstanding.
"I was uncomfortable with some of the things surrounding that particular project. So, that was it. And I moved out. I thought Vinny [Appice, former SABBATH and current HEAVEN & HELL drummer] would be a much better choice [for HEAVEN & HELL], because Vinny is able to do those kinds of things... he's able to accomodate the kinds of things the kind of things that were being asked, and I'm not. I react. I'm a reactionary drummer, and Vinny plays drums; there's a big difference between us."
Audio of Bill Ward talking about his split with HEAVEN & HELL (excerpt in question begins around the two-minute mark):
In a separate interview with Rock Radio, Tony Iommi was asked about Ward's exit from the HEAVEN & HELL project.
"Bill Ward is not a part of this mainly because of his choice," Tony said.
"Originally, when we put the three [new] tracks together for 'The Dio Years' [compilation], I asked Bill if he wanted to be involved with it and he said, 'Yeah.' And I said, 'Well, you're gonna have to come to England from California and I'll run through the songs with you, what we're gonna do.' So he did. And he couldn't quite grasp it that quick, and we needed to... The record company was asking for the songs fairly quick — they wanted to get them out. And Bill wanted to take more time doing it, and it was getting longer and longer, and we thought, 'Well, it's probably best we don't do them with Bill,' because Bill was feeling uncomfortable. And it felt even more uncomfortable when we [spoke] to him about touring for a year. He sort had a fit, because Bill hasn't done that extensive touring for a long time. And we were planning on doing a lot of touring. So Bill said, 'I don't think I'm gonna be up for touring to that extent.' And we thought it's probably best that we bring Vinny into this situation, because Vinny has done more [BLACK SABBATH] albums with Ronnie [on vocals] than Bill has — Bill has only played on the one album, which is 'Heaven And Hell', and Vinny has played on 'Mob Rules' and 'Dehumanizer', and, of course, all the live sets, so it seemed the obvious thing to have Vinny back."
Audio of Tony Iommi talking about Bill Ward's departure from HEAVEN & HELL:
In a recent online posting, Ronnie James Dio's wife/manager Wendy Dio revealed that there are plans to release a 30th-anniversary BLACK SABBATH "Heaven And Hell" DVD sometime this year. The package is expected to include brand new interviews that Ronnie, Geezer and Appice gave to Eddie Trunk — co-host of the VH1 Classic television program "That Metal Show" — on January 22, 2010 in Los Angeles, as well other extras.