Original BLACK SABBATH drummer Bill Ward says that he is “very much at peace,” more than six years after he parted ways with the band for the final time.
Ward was on board for the SABBATH reunion when it was first announced in November 2011, but backed out soon after. He later claimed that he sat out the recording and touring sessions because of unfair contractual terms, although the members of SABBATH have hinted in other interviews that he wasn’t physically up to the task.
On August 25, Ward gave his first-ever public poetry reading at The Last Bookstore in Downtown Los Angeles. The special event celebrated “Absence Of Corners”, the new art/poetry book-and-vinyl set based on Ward‘s 2013 art series of the same name.
According to music writer Joel Gausten, Ward read seven poems from the book and shared some of the emotions he faced and ultimately overcame while creating the series.
“In 2012, I went through such a departure of love and relationship; [it was] something that was really damaging for me and damaging for a lot of people in [those] relationships,” he told the crowd. “A lot of the things which are kind of emerging in the poetry are really in my recovery from the detachment from something that was very sacred to me. My love was torn apart; my heart was ripped to pieces.”
Ward went on to assure attendees that the painful memory of what happened to him surrounding his split with SABBATH was behind him.
“I feel very much at peace,” the 70-year-old drummer said. “The things of 2012 are past. I’m in a very enlightened place; I love the people I’ve worked with all my life…I’m through anything that was negative about those times.”
During the question-and-answer portion of the evening, an audience member asked Ward what advice he’d give someone who was going through a rough time. He responded: “If you believe in a higher power or if you believe in God, then I would suggest that you go to God and see if you can find some solutions. If you don’t believe in God, then try to be as honest with yourself as you possibly can…When I’ve chosen the light of God or self-honesty, my own misery has brought me to a solution. My own pain, my own sadness has brought me to a place of surrender, so I’ll surrender to the truth anyway and go, ‘You know what? I need to talk to somebody about this.’ Try not to be alone with your own pain. Try to find someone you can trust your pain with. It’s really important that we communally share what’s going on with each other… Otherwise, we’re going to be walking around in a very sorrowful place.”
All four original members of SABBATH were present when the band announced its reunion in late 2011. But Ward split from the group in 2012, citing an “unsignable” contract, and singer Ozzy Osbourne, guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler carried on with their Rick Rubin–produced “13” LP and extensive international touring without him. The final BLACK SABBATH tour, which concluded in February 2017 in Birmingham, saw the founding member replaced by session drummer Tommy Clufetos.
It was rumored that SABBATH wanted to bring a second drummer on the road to share duties with Ward, something that Iommi confirmed last year during a question-and-answer session about SABBATH‘s “Ten Year War” box set.
Back in June 2017, Ward told Rolling Stone magazine that he had “gone through a lot of tears” over his split with SABBATH. “I’ve grieved the loss of three of my best friends,” he said. “I’ve grieved the loss of their company, their words, their laughter, their joy, and above all, their music… I’ve grieved the loss of the fans, and I’ve grieved the pain of what all this has created.”
But he claimed at the time to have come out the other side. “I can’t afford to have resentment,” he explained. “I can’t afford to be angry. I can’t afford these things spiritually or physically. So I knew I had to be rid of them.”