Original BLACK SABBATH drummer Bill Ward has once again insisted in a new interview that he is quite capable of playing a full concert with the group, despite the bandmembers themselves saying the opposite. Ward stepped away from the SABBATH reunion in early 2012, while the group hinted that he was not in good enough physical shape to either record or tour.
Speaking with Rei Nishimoto of Ghost Cult magazine, Ward said: "I was never in a position where I was never able to drum. It's really sad that those statements made about me that inferred that I wasn't able to drum.
"When I'm in the studio, I can play in the studio. I was laying down tracks. We settled in 2011. By August 2011, I was already training and getting trained. You have to ramp up to go out on tour so that takes a different attitude. I started getting into shape for a tour. Touring is completely different to me than being in the studio. So I was already doing that work."
He reiterated: "Never at any time was my drumming impaired, my health impaired or my ability to play drums. I'm so angry about those suggestions and that was going on."
Ward also discussed the specific health setbacks that he has been dealing with, including previously disclosed shoulder issues. He explained: "The one thing that did stop me, of course — it stopped everything — was in 2013 when I had something called perforated diverticulitis, which is a very, very serious illness. That came out of the blue. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I had to have a couple of surgeries. I was on death's door and I died. There was no way I could have played drums or sang or done anything else. I couldn't even stand up. I actually had a lot of people helping me at that point. I'm very grateful I had a lot of love in my life and good doctors and everything, and they pulled me through."
He continued: "As soon as I was able to come through the perforated diverticulitis, I started playing again. The only issue that I had with my health at that time was that I had a shoulder operation. Four days before I had the perforated diverticulitis, I had a shoulder operation! The shoulder operation was something that's pretty common with drummers, as we're getting older like me. It was basically an outpatient — you go in, take care of some things, come out and that was it. It wasn't a big deal, but because I had the perforated diverticulitis, which was life-threatening; they couldn't do much about the shoulder. Normally, you go ahead and look at the shoulder and do all of these exercises I couldn't do that because I was in the hospital dying. So when I came back to life in February of 2014, we had to deal with the shoulder getting back into shape as well. I'm doing very well with it."
BLACK SABBATH singer Ozzy Osbourne told The Pulse Of Radio during the band's last tour that Ward was not in shape to participate. "Bill Ward has got the most physically demanding job of the lot of us, 'cause he's the timekeeper," he said. "I don't think personally he had the chops to pull it off, you know. The saddest thing is that he needed to own up to that, and we could have worked around it, whether we had a drummer on the side with him or something."
Ward was reportedly insulted when SABBATH offered him a contract stipulating that he would only play a portion of the show each night, with another drummer along to take over.
Bill told Ghost Cult that Osbourne's comments were unwarranted. He said: "Whatever Ozzy expected of me, I expect far more than Ozzy expected of me. I expect far more of me. If anybody's going to drive me, it's me. I'm going to drive me. For being the best possible shape I could be in and play a good show."
Brad Wilk played drums on SABBATH's latest album, "13", while Tommy Clufetos was behind the kit for the group's world tour.
SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler appeared in public with Ward for the first time since late 2011 at the Ivor Novello Awards in London, England on May 21. The members of the legendary metal act were on hand to accept a Lifetime Achievement Award. Iommi accepted on the band's behalf, confirming that SABBATH will embark on a "final tour" next year.
Osbourne was not present at the ceremony, which has celebrated British songwriting and songwriters annually for 60 years.