Black Sabbath wrapped up their touring career with two hometown gigs in Birmingham, England, in 2017, but the shows and the entire farewell trek were bittersweet, with founding drummer Bill Ward not part of the lineup. Now, Ozzy Osbourne says “it should have been the four of us ending it.”
The “four of us” are original members Osbourne, Ward, guitarist Tony Iommi, and bassist Geezer Butler, and, in fact, that was supposed to be the lineup when the band announced a final reunion in 2011. But soon after, Ward cited an “unsignable” contract, and parted ways with the iconic metal band.
Black Sabbath went on to record a final album, 13, with Rage Against the Machine drummer Brad Wilk, and embark on a very successful farewell tour with Tommy Clufetos (of Ozzy’s solo band) behind the kit. In subsequent interviews, Ozzy also revealed that the band didn’t feel that Ward was in proper physical shape to participate in the tour.
In a newly published interview with Kerrang!, Osbourne noted, “I didn’t like the fact that Bill Ward wasn’t there, for a start. People put that down to me, but it wasn’t me, honestly. We didn’t have the f*cking time to hang around, we had to get going, but I’m sorry it didn’t work out with Bill.
He added, “Tommy did great, but the four of us started this, and it should have been the four of us ending it. Those final gigs in Birmingham were bittersweet because you think of how far we came, and how much we did, and it would have been good to have shared that together. Maybe one day there’ll be one last gig, I don’t know.”
Last year, in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, Osbourne revealed that he didn’t have a great time on the final Sabbath trek, explaining, “With them, I’m just a singer. With me [as a solo act], I get to do what I want to do. I was getting bad vibes from them for being Ozzy. I don’t know, what the f*ck else can I be?”
While we hold out hope for one final Sabbath show with Bill Ward behind the kit, Ozzy will embark on tours of Europe and North America in 2020, having postponed all 2019 dates due to illness and a fall that resulted in serious injuries.