SABBATH Drama Update: Sharon Says She Didn't Fire Ward; Ward's Son Defends His Dad's Decision
Things are heating up with this Black Sabbath drama. To quickly recap, drummer Bill Ward released a public statement saying he could not commit to the contract sent to him for the reunion and wanted a fair share. Sabbath responded by saying they are moving on without him. A huge backlash erupted by fans demanding Ward be in the fold, and a rumor spread that Sharon was the one that "fired" Ward. Last night, Sharon publicly commented for the first time on the rumors of her involvment in this drama tweeting the following:
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
There you have it. Black Sabbath is not just Ozzy's baby, it's Tony Iommi's baby too. He's just as involved in the decision making process as Ozzy (by Ozzy we of course mean Sharon), so it isn't fair that Sharon is being scapegoated here.
On the other end of the debate, Bill Ward's son, Aron released a lengthy statement defending his dad against certain criticism thrown his way about the way he chose to handle this. Here is his lengthy statement:
"The press is spinning this shitstorm to read as if my dad has quit. This is not true. The guys know that. That's why they said the door is ALWAYS open.
"My dad hasn't 'declined' playing with BLACK SABBATH or 'threatened' to pull out of this reunion. As he stated, his bags are packed and he's ready to go. He says it loud and clear, he definitely wants to play on the album and he definitely wants to tour. I know he's been committed to this project from the beginning all the way to the point everyone else flew off to the U.K. When I saw him over the summer, he had this little CD case with him that had all the rehearsals and song ideas. Each CD was Sharpie scrawled with rough titles and ideas they had been working on.
"About a month ago, my dad called me to let me know that Tony [Iommi, guitar] had been diagnosed with cancer. He said they were all flying over in the next couple of weeks to continue recording the album in the U.K. and begin rehearsals for the summer tours. He'd been rehearsing more than I've ever known him to.
"Up 'till about three weeks ago, he was working extremely hard and close with the other three on this album/reunion tour. He was in very good spirits and sounded excited to be writing with Tony, Geezer [Butler, bass] and Ozzy [Osbourne, vocals] again.
"I know if they sort this shit out, you guys won't be disappointed.
"I've always stayed out of my dad's business and would like nothing more than for everything to be worked out swiftly between the guys. Unfortunately, it's become personal with all these idiots slagging off my dad, so this is for the fucking morons saying, 'Get over it, Bill': My dad has 'gotten over it' again and again. He's risen above this bullshit thing called showbiz for the last 30 years. He's respected because he's real and honest, not just because he's a complete bad-ass on the drums. He's been there for other musicians. In all kinds of circles — punk rock, hardcore, metal whatever. He was one of the first to get his head screwed back on after the '70s and get cleaned up. He's given so much support to so many people trying to pull themselves out of the hell called addiction. He tries so hard to stay in touch with the fans. He'll talk your ear off if you get a chance. He is humbled by your support and loves you.
"'Can't believe he needs to make this public' or 'it's not the first time': you're an idiot and have no idea what the hell's really going on. Just shut the fuck up and keep the speculation and lies to yourself. What my dad posted was from his heart, on the level and as usual completely honest. He wants you to know what's really going on. That he has been given a contract that he can't sign. Nothing more to it. No hidden agenda. Disappointingly, someone else is trying to shroud everything in some kind of X factor 'yeah, it's full steam ahead — we have no choice' bullshit. Of course they have a choice.
"'Don't be so greedy': he is by no means greedy, man. If he was, he would have settled with whatever contract given him. It's kind of obvious someone else is greedy. Wake up. He lives in a modest home in Southern California. Pays rent like the rest of us. In case you're still blind, look at it this way — sadly, the current 'SABBATH' statement reads as if someone would rather see the remaining members play in front of thousands of disappointed, confused and resentful fans then give my dad a dignified agreement. Additionally, the record sales will be severely affected because it isn't the promised original lineup. All this because of someone's inability to respect him as the committed founding member he is. This has derailed the fans' hopes of seeing the original lineup and strongly divided the fans. What a way to fuck up such a powerful, influential and inspirational legacy for the rest of time.
"'Who cares? It's just a bunch pensioners': I'm just as cynical about old rock legends getting back on the road 'one more time' as anyone, but this is BLACK SABBATH. They've never been a conventional band. Thing is, I know these guys have been rehearsing loads. Over the last couple months. When I've caught up with my dad, he's been talking about how heavy the jams have been and how hard he's been playing. Do you think people were looking at Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman or Max Roach going, 'Man, these guys are boring and old?' No! It's the music that's important, played by the masters themselves. That's what we want. They're here to teach us, inspire us and make us flip out.
"I saw the (CAPTAIN BEEFHEART) MAGIC BAND recently on tour and they were clearly the definite article. Legends. Completely schooled any new, hip shiny, processed, hyped out mush you've been exposed to in the last couple years. There's no doubt that there are loads of new heavy as fuck bands out there, but to me, BLACK SABBATH are still totally relevant. It's pointless to bitch about their age. They will kick serious fucking ass. Trust.
"To Terry ([a.k.a. Geezer] my godfather), Ozzy (my friend when I was little) and Tony (towering hero), I hope that you will listen to your fans. They want all of you together. As YOU are BLACK SABBATH, so is my Dad. I hope you guys can work it out."
While this was a touching statement, business-wise I think it's time to take things behind the scenes and out of the public eye. Things are starting to get a little messy and dramatic and that can't end up being good. Ultimately, the fans are the ones who lose because we don't get the true Sabbath reunion we are clamoring for. Please, damn it…JUST MAKE IT WORK!