Bill Ward: Sharon Osbourne behind “unsignable contracts”

Former Black Sabbath drummer says Ozzy's wife and manager has disliked him "for a long, long time"

Former Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward has spoken out in more detail on his reasons for refusing offers to reform the band’s original line-up, dragging singer Ozzy Osbourne’s wife and manager Sharon into the mix.

Speaking to the Eddie Trunk Podcast (listen here), Ward talked went in depth on his very public spat with Ozzy over the last few years, singling out Sharon in particular for criticism:

“I know that Sharon definitely dislikes me, and she has for a long, long time. And I also know that she is inside all these contractual things, these unsignable contracts and everything else. She’s right there, right in the center of everything — as are the other lawyers as well, the other representatives. But, you know, the statements were made by Ozzy. It’s broken up the friendship that we had. There’s no doubt about it. I mean, it fucking killed the friendship.”


Speaking of the contract itself, Ward revealed a protracted negotiation process throughout 2011, and went into why the band eventually went public on the financial dispute:

“All the lawyers were involved right from the very start. And we tried to negotiate a deal for the entire year of 2011. When the turn of the New Year came, 2012, we were a given a kind of, their marching orders, which is, basically, ‘We’ve come as far as we can…’

“We just went, ‘You know what? I’m just not gonna do it. I’m not going to do it. It’s as simple as that.’ So that was what primarily was going on.

“But there was something way more important that was going on: I was being advertised as a member of the band, and there were three or four live gigs which had my name and likeness posted on them. And so, across the Universe, I think there was one gig in America and three gigs in England, the posters were saying that the original band was going to be playing, and I needed to tell the truth about that. That’s why I went public and I made a public statement, basically letting everybody in the fucking world know that there’d been problems with the contract, that I would not be appearing.”

Ward’s departure from the band came back into the headlines in a bitter feud earlier this year, with Osbourne commenting on Ward’s weight and telling the drummer he was “playing the victim”, and Ward accusing Osbourne of making “false statements, elitist comments and rude statements.”

Ward was dropped from the Black Sabbath line-up prior to the recording of their only studio release of the last twenty years, ’13’, which topped the charts around the world when it was released in June 2013. The album was Sabbath’s 19th.

Black Sabbath’s next album is widely expected to be their last. Back in May, bassist Geezer Butler told NME that the album had yet to be started, however a 2016 release date accompanied by a farewell tour is still expected.

Ward recently released ‘Accountable Beasts’, his first solo album this century, and currently has an abstract exhibition of art based on his drumming on show in Los Angeles.