Could the greatest reunion of all time be in jeopardy? So far, it looks like the Black Sabbath 2012 reunion will be one short, missing original drummer Bill Ward. Exactly what circumstances led to his departure, however, remain a bit murky – did he quit, or was he fired by Sharon Osbourne? Most importantly, is there still a chance he will be a part of the reunion and new album?
Metaltalk.net originally reported the Ward firing rumor, quoting an unnamed “reliable source”. According to Metaltalk, Ward was fired and will be replaced by Tommy Clufetos from Ozzy Osbourne‘s solo band. Sharon Osbourne took to Twitter (@MrsSOsbourne) to refute the rumor.
I am not in any position to hire or fire anyone in Black Sabbath. I don’t manage the band, I manage my husband.
— Sharon Osbourne (@MrsSOsbourne) February 9, 2012
Ward’s departure from the planned Sabbath reunion also comes on the heels of his being offered what he deemed an “unsignable” contract. Ward addressed that issue on his website BillWard.com, stating that though he is “packed and ready to leave the U.S. for England,” he won’t be on board for the reunion unless he is offered a contract that he feels respects his legacy as a founding member of Sabbath.
Despite the turmoil, the other members of Sabbath have publicly stated that the reunion will go forward with or without Ward. Posted last Friday on the official Sabbath Facebook page: “We were saddened to hear yesterday via Facebook that Bill declined publicly to participate in our current Black Sabbath plans…we have no choice but to continue recording without him although our door is always open… We are still in the UK with Tony. Writing and recording the new album and on a roll… See you at Download!!! – Tony, Geezer, and Ozzy”
With conflicting stories, fans have taken sides – some villainizing Sharon Osbourne, while others choose to label Ward as greedy or selfish. Many more have come out in support of Ward, including the drummer’s own son Aron, who felt that many of the negative comments he received via social media networks were unwarranted. “My Dad hasn’t ‘declined’ playing with Black Sabbath or ‘threatened’ to pull out of the reunion,” the younger Ward stated on his website, lashing out at both the media for sensationalizing the story and at critics of his father for saying that the senior Ward needed to “Get over it” or “Stop being so greedy.”
Bottom line here is that if Ward isn’t a part of the reunion, it’s not a true reunion. What I can’t understand is why management can’t just offer him an equal share of whatever the profits may be? Ward plays an important role in the band as the drummer. He’s an important contributor to the band’s songwriting. Without him it just won’t be the same, especially if a younger hired gun like Tommy Clufetos is used. It’s like Tommy Thayer wearing the “Space Ace” makeup in KISS – sorry, but it just ain’t the same, guys.