BLACK SABBATH singer Ozzy Osbourne has disputed original drummer Bill Ward's claim that Ward was physically capable of taking part in the group's current world tour.
Ward (pictured above) said in a new interview with Guitar International that he sat out SABBATH's current reunion because of a contract dispute and not physical issues, as the other members of the band have suggested. Ward explained, "I was offered a contract, and I couldn't sign it. I would never, ever show up for a commitment that I could not do physically . . . It was one of the toughest decisions that I ever had to make, because I absolutely and without question wanted to play."
RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE drummer Brad Wilk played on SABBATH's new album, "13", while Tommy Clufetos is the touring drummer for the group, which plays Tuesday night (August 6) in Detroit, Michigan.
Speaking to the New York Daily News, Ozzy stated about Ward's absence from the SABBATH tour: "I don't think he 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."
Despite this, Ozzy said "the door is always open" to Ward to return and admitted that without him "it's not the same."
Ward said he's open to returning to SABBATH, but on one condition: "I 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.
Osbourne told The Pulse Of Radio that he couldn't necessarily blame Ward for the way he felt about that. "I mean, if someone said to me, 'You should sing with this guy,' I'd be pissed off, you know," he said. "I mean, it's understandable, the way he feels. I'm not saying he's wrong or right, you know. But we had a mission to do an album, you know, and I mean, I think it would have taken twice as long as it did and that was long enough already, you know."
In an interview with Mojo earlier this year, Ozzy revealed that Ward was not prepared when he came to the band's earliest rehearsals for the reunion.
He explained, "We looked at Bill, and he couldn't remember what the fuck we were doing. He didn't come clean and say, 'I can't cut this gig, but can we work something out, guys, where I'll come on but with another drummer backing me up?' Or, 'I'll come and play a few songs.' That would have been cool."
Ward said that playing for only part of the set "would kind of be aligning to my demise in SABBATH and minimize me. I'm the drummer in SABBATH and quite capable of doing the job."