Black Sabbath minus Bill Ward equals Bill Sabbath t-shirt

When word first went out in November of 2011 that Black Sabbath was getting back together for its first studio album since 1978–and a worldwide tour to boot–hard-rock fans far and wide rejoiced.

I was among them.

But the shine came off the project later on when it was revealed that, due to financial squabbles, original Sabbath drummer Bill Ward—who you may remember from such classic drum beats as the ones on “War Pigs” from the 1970 Paranoid album—was not going to be part of either the album or the tour.

So on the one hand you had the hardcore Sabbath freaks who were just happy that guitarist Tony Iommi, singer Ozzy Osbourne, and bassist Geezer Butler were hooking up again, and on the other you had the hardcore Sabbath fans who felt it was not cool without Ward behind the kit.

I got to thinking about the Bill Ward controversy a bit more recently when I saw the latest Monster Magnet video, for the track “Mindless Ones” off its Lost Patrol album. At the 50-second mark you can clearly see that drummer Bob Pantella is sporting a “Bill Sabbath” t-shirt, which uses the famous BLACK SABBATH winged-demon logo above an image of the legendary skinbasher.

No other Sabbath members are in sight.

When I interviewed Monster Magnet frontman Dave Wyndorf last month, in advance of his band’s sold-out Vancouver concert, I asked him about the shirt. “I don’t know where he got it,” he replied, “but, yeah, he really loves that shirt.”

For his own part, Wyndorf believes it was sad that Ward wasn’t part of the Sabbath reunion—”It was like, ‘come on’, you know”—as he grew up with the original quartet’s earbusting sound.

“When I was a kid, Black Sabbath was like God to me,” he said. “There was nothing like them–there still isn’t anything like ‘em.”

That said, Sabbath’s decision to soldier on without Ward has definitely coloured Wyndorf’s current view of the metal legends, especially as regards its universally acclaimed reunion album, 13.

“I listened to it a coupla times,” he said. “Pretty cool; it’s alright. I kinda wish Bill Ward was there. I missed his drumming; I missed his style. It was kinda sad they didn’t stick with… at least if they’re not gonna have Bill they would have somebody do it in the style of Bill Ward. So I missed that.

“But it’s okay.”

Comments (2) Add New Comment
Michael
I am absolutely pissed off at the whining elitist Bill Ward fan boys! Great drummer as he is, he is one of music's greatest quitters. He quit during the H & H tour in 1980, leaving Vinny Appice to pick up the sticks. Then 3 years later, he came back for 'Born Again', then dropped out just before the tour was due to begin. He refused to come back for the 'Dehumanizer' album and tour in '91-92' so Vinny had to pick up the slack again. More recently, he quit the Dio-fronted Heaven & Hell band as they were just about to start touring, leaving our hero Vinny to save the day once again. And now, he's left them in the lurch YET AGAIN, never giving an explanation of his actions to the other band members! And you know what else? The guy isn't the only great drummer the Sabs have had. Vinny Appice and Cozy Powell can certainly give him a run for his money, alive or dead. If you don't believe me, check out 'Mob Rules','Headless Cross' and 'Tyr' And Brad Wilk does a splendid job behind the kit on '13.' Who cares, Bill? Get over yourself, deal with your own personal/health problems instead of bitching about them to the media and move on (that goes for the Ward fan boys like Wyndorf too). Black Sabbath will still be BS as long as the Iron Man himself-Tony Iommi!-is at the helm. Ozzy, Tony, and Geezer have all got balls twice your size. You drama queen.

And '13' kicks ass! All the Bill Ward elitists can suck it! Black Sabbath rules, with and without Bill Ward!
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Craig
Sorry, man. But that's just flat-out wrong. Bill left the H&H tour because he needed to get a hold of his own substance-abuse issues and because it didn't feel right to him without Ozzy. Its just too bad the Oz camp doesn't seem to feel the same. In their lawsuit to try to steal some the the BS rights from Iommi (the ONLY one to soldier on through all the years), the OZ camp claimed that Black Sabbath was 4 equal parts and the rights should be distributed equally. AND that there was no Black Sabbath without all four. So why did the lawyers offer less than 25% to Bill? And why did the band move on so quickly without talking to one another or the lawyers to clear it up?

I think Brad Wilk did an admirable job. And I think Cluefetos did a very nice job in concert. But the Sabs will never be able to substitute the sound of Bill's swing style, which gives their music depth beyond the pedestrian thudding of most metal drummers.

I thought the Dio years were great, but H&H is easily the best of those 3 records because of Bill. Vinny just sounded unimaginative to my ears.

I hope the Sabs settle the money differences and give us a real reunion album. Because, though the Oz camp seems to have conveniently forgotten their lawsuit argument when faced with making a lot of money, they really aren't the same without all four.
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