What thousands of fans were afraid of seems now to have turned into the inevitable. Today, through his website and facebook page, Bill Ward publicly announced that a last effort to work things out so that he could join the band for their upcoming gigs has failed. Bill Ward will not join his long time bandmates and friends Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Ozzy Osbourne for their upcoming concerts in Birmingham, the Download Festival and the Lollapalooza.
As a fan, I am deeply saddened. This would have been probably the last time seeing the four original Black Sabbath members touring together and producing their probably last studio album. It would have meant a lot to me, and hundreds of thousands of fans around the globe. I love Tony, Ozzy and Geezer, but I will absolutely not go to any of their “Black Sabbath without Bill Ward” gigs. This has nothing to do with being stubborn, but this could have easily been avoided. This is not because of health issues, emergencies or family matters, this mess was created by what Bill calls an ‘unsignable’ contract. It’s just disgusting and not only an utterly disrespectful act toward Bill, but also the entire fan community who is usually prepared and willing to put up with a lot of nonsense. But everything has its limits.
I’m not going into all the details, but I encourage you to read Bill’s official statement. One thing that stood out to me: apparently, Bill was ‘graciously’ offered to fly over to the UK and play for free. He said that wouldn’t have been a problem – and I believe him. However, he was then offered to play three tracks and sit out for the rest of the show and have somebody else playing for him. I mean, what the hell is that – are they out of their minds? I know that this isn’t coming from the other band members but some idiot who works behind the scenes and to whom ethics, morale and dignity don’t seem to mean anything. That alone ‘justifies’ Bill’s decision not to join the others, as much as I want them to be together one more time.
I just left a comment on Bill’s site saying that “Hope dies last” and being the naïve and notoriously positive fool I am, I still hope for somebody stepping in and bringing this nonsense to an end. All it probably takes is a call, a fax and Bill is on the plane.
And whoever you are out there being that one person with all the power, please make that call and send that damn fax – in return, me and a few thousand other fans will pay the ridiculously over-priced admission to the concerts, we will buy the t-shirts and other merchandise and max out our credit cards, so that you don’t have to worry about your country-club membership, the college tuition for you children and your wife’s extravagant taste in fashion. We, the fans, are not that sophisticated – all we want is seeing Bill Ward doing what he’s supposed to be doing: playing the drums in the best Rock ‘n’ Roll band in the world, namely Black Sabbath.