Bill Ward Opens Up About Black Sabbath Contract Dispute
By: Gary Graff

The controversy over original drummer Bill Ward's absence from Black Sabbath continues to rage.

The latest salvo is a recent interview Ward gave to Guitar International where he refutes his bandmates' intimations that he wasn't physically able to perform anymore, saying that, "I would never, ever show up for a commitment that I could not do physically...I absolutely and without question wanted to play." Ward said the matter was entirely about finances, explaining that, "I was offered a contract, and I couldn't sign it...It was one of the toughest decisions that I ever had to make."

Ward is currently promoting a new art exhibition called Absence of Corners, whose pieces are constructed from drum sticks and percussion instruments, while Black Sabbath is on a North American tour to promote its new album, "13," which debuted atop the charts in both the U.S. and the U.K.

And Ward's former bandmates still profess ignorance about the specific issues that are keeping him out of the group.

Bassist Geezer Butler tells us:

"Honest to God, I don't know what happened. I mean, I was talking to Bill. I went away to Hawaii for a week on holiday...I came back from holiday and Bill was gone. So it was down to whatever business thing, I should imagine. I really have no idea what happened."

Butler says the doors is not closed for Ward to return, however:

"It would be great if he could, even for a couple of songs. We did ask him when we did Download if he'd come on stage for three or four songs and he didn't want to do it. He wanted to do the whole set or nothing. It would be great. I'd love it to happen."

Black Sabbath wraps up its North American tour on September 3, then heads to South America in October and Europe in December, finishing the year with shows December 20 and 22 in the band's home town of Birmingham, England.

CLICK HERE to learn out more about Gary Graff and his award-winning music journalism including the books he has written on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.

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