Ozzy Osbourne has said that original Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward was “too overweight” to join the band on their reunion tour.
Ward was meant to be a part of the band as they returned earlier this year for a new studio album and world tour. However, he pulled out of the reunion with reasons including money, time and his ability to drum all cited as being behind the departure. In a new interview, Osbourne has now claimed that the drummer is out of shape and that a gruelling set of live dates was too much of a health concern.
“I don’t think he could have done the gig, to be honest. He’s incredibly overweight,” Osbourne told the New York Daily News. “A drummer has to be in shape. He’s already had two heart attacks. I don’t want to be responsible for his life.”
Osbourne previously claimed that Ward was no longer a capable drummer, stating that he required too much help to play along with his bandmates: “We looked at Bill, and he couldn’t remember what the fuck we were doing,” he explained earlier this year. “But 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.”
Guitarist Tony Iommi also explained that his recent cancer diagnosis made him want to reform the band, with Ward or without him. “We waited a long time for Bill and we wanted to sort it out. But at the end of the day, especially after I was diagnosed, I thought ‘Fucking hell, that’s it – we’ve got to get a move on. I might pop off next year!’ So I emailed him and said ‘Bill, we can’t wait any longer. We’ve got to get a move on with it’. And that was it.”
However, Ozzy Osbourne has said he hopes Ward will appear on the next Black Sabbath album, following their recent Number One record, ’13’. Speaking to NME in LA earlier this year Osbourne said: “Maybe we can work things out by the next one. But it won’t take another 35 years. I’m 65 now. There’s no fucking recording studios in the afterlife. We’re all even closer for all this shit, so there’s one positive, one fucking silver lining.”
Black Sabbath release their new album ’13’ on June 10. The band go on a UK tour in December. They play:
London O2 Arena (December 10)
Belfast Odyssey Arena (12)
Sheffield Arena (14)
Glasgow Hydro (16)
Manchester Arena (18)
Birmingham LG Arena (20)