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Ozzy on Bill Ward’s Sabbath Exile: ‘He Looked Like an Old Guy’

Ozzy Osbourne and Bill Ward
Scott Gries, Getty Images

Word to the wise: If Ozzy Osbourne tells an interviewer he isn’t going to “slag you off” because you’re “a very dear friend,” you might want to cover your ears for whatever he says next.

During a recent chat with Classic Rock Magazine (via Blabbermouth), Osbourne weighed in once more on drummer Bill Ward‘s absence from the Black Sabbath reunion — and this time he continued to suggest that Ward was simply too out of shape to keep up with the band’s heavy metal demands.

“Here’s the bottom line: Being a drummer is the most physical part of any band,” said Osbourne. “And when Bill turned up, he looked like an old guy. I don’t think he had the stamina to play for an hour or so onstage.”

Trying to put himself in Ward’s shoes, Osbourne continued, “If I’d had a heart attack like Bill had, I’d go, ‘F—, I’m going to lose some weight.’ I train — I work my arse off. So you can’t expect someone who’s been sitting on their f—ing arse, eating s—, to come along and go, ‘Equal split.’ It’s insane.”

Having said all that, Osbourne insisted that “I honestly don’t know what went down with that deal, but I suppose it’s something along those lines.” Continuing along those lines, Osbourne further supposed that “There wasn’t any other reason. We didn’t gang up on him. And it wasn’t like, ‘Bill’s just the drummer.’ I didn’t go, ‘Oh, if Bill’s not here, I get more money.’ I don’t f—ing need any more money, man.”

Asked if Ward isn’t as important, in his own way, to the Sabbath sound as John Bonham or Keith Moon were to Led Zeppelin and the Who, Osbourne admitted that without him at the kit, the band’s new record is “kind of a Sabbath album to a point,” but countered, “If we’d had Bill, I honestly don’t think we’d have been this far up the road. It was time to s— or get off the pot. Are we going to do this f—ing album, or are we going to sit with our thumbs up our arses forever? It was time to stop f—ing around and get on with it.”

Reminded that he’s called Ward his closest friend in the band, Osbourne responded, “I love him. … Bill is a very dear friend of mine and he will always have a place in my heart.” So does that mean he might get his job back if the reunion continues? “If he gets his s— together,” shrugged Ozzy. “I’m not going to slag Bill off. But it’s not our fault. For some reason, getting us all on the same page is the hardest thing in the world.”

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