More than four years since his fellow Black Sabbath co-founders retired the band without him, drummer Bill Ward is still hoping the original four can reunite the right way.
After initially agreeing to return to Black Sabbath last decade, Ward never actually took part in the band's 2013 reunion album, 13, or its 'The End' farewell tour. The reasons why remain unclear.
While touring again with Black Sabbath is a bit far-fetched, given health concerns among all the members, including Ward himself, the drummer firmly believes the band could be revived for one more studio album.
"I'm in contact with the guys. I talked to Ozzy [Osbourne] two nights ago," Ward told Metro in an interview published Thursday afternoon. "A lot of things have crossed between us and there's new boundaries that I've had to build, but I don't think any less of them. I've been working with Tony [Iommi] since 1964 when I was 16 years old. They're my brothers and I love them."
He continued, asserting "the book's never closed with Sabbath. I'm writing like a demon, I'm living life."
"My biggest contention has been, 'Let's make another album,'" Ward said. "Nothing live necessarily, because I'm looking at what I can realistically do. The way I play the drums, it's becoming tougher as I get older. I haven't spoken to the guys about it, but I have talked to a couple of people in management about the possibility of making a recording. Which I can do safely, even with COVID around. I can lay track at my studio in Los Angeles. I'm very open-minded about doing something like that."
Why exactly Ward was excluded from Black Sabbath's reunion remains unclear. Ward has indicated that it came down to the contract he was offered and his lack of trust in Black Sabbath's management. But the band was also on the clock due to concerns over Iommi's health (he was battling cancer at the time and it was unclear how long he'd be healthy enough to tour).
Nevertheless, Ward and his former bandmates have all lamented his exclusion from 'The End'. Iommi once publicly excoriated the band's management for the oversight, asking "What the f---k happened..." with Ward not being in Black Sabbath.
Ward has appeared publicly with Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler since Black Sabbath was laid to rest. The band members briefly considered reuniting at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, which are to be held in their hometown of Birmingham, England, but with the COVID pandemic, that possibility seems less realistic than ever.
The co-founders remain busy with separate musical projects, but it seems Ozzy is the only one who might have a conflict with a Black Sabbath reunion. The frontman has been working desperately for two years to get back onstage after a series of life-threatening health conditions. His longtime sideman Zakk Wylde told Q104.3 New York that he expected to begin rehearsals again in January.
"The only thing I do regret is not doing the last farewell show in Birmingham with Bill Ward," Ozzy said. "I felt really bad about that. It would have been so nice. I don't know what the circumstances behind it were, but it would have been nice."