I may be a little late to the burgeoning party, but sweet merciful fuck, am I glad to see the rally of support behind Bill Ward. To be fair… to me, anyway… I did recently highlight the man in my first rant about Black Sabbath. Plus, I probably voiced my disapproval while DJing once or twice.
Anyway, lots of great evidence has recently cropped up on 1,000,000 Black Sabbath fans say yes to Bill Ward—who have blazed from zero to over 20k Facebook fans in their first 24 hours—with a broad swath of fan photocaps, personal family letters, artist-friend endorsements, and kind words/posts from those running the Page (I’ve come up with the name Tony Conley of Rock Guitar Daily, but I’m not sure who else is involved).
What frustrates me about the whole situation is that it shouldn’t be an issue. This is an all-or-nothing deal here. Besides the fact that drummers have fundamental differences in terms of style and substance, the spiritual side will lack the most in Bill’s absence. I have never seen the transcendent “fifth member” quality in any band to the degree of Black Sabbath. How many groups out there bust out covers of classic Sab slabs? Surely, many of you have seen Ozzy kick out the jams over the years with different band members, yeah? And perhaps you were also lucky enough to catch Heaven & Hell before Dio died? Well, regardless of preference for the various incarnations, there’s something undeniably special behind the Butler-Iommi-Osbourne-Ward connection onstage—a feeling nigh-impossible to miss.
We don’t want something that’s pretty enjoyable; we want the genuine article. We don’t want 3/4 of the band that invented heavy metal; we want them all. You know they can make this work. Complicated though it may be, money can always be shifted around, and is so fucking unimportant in the grand scheme. This could be their last tour, and I’ll be damned if it’s not truly complete. I will not personally attend without everyone present and accounted for; all real fans should likewise boycott. Do you agree or not? Would you attend a show yourself? Who would be the best replacement for Ward, and who would be outright unacceptable? (You know, if you had to choose… gun to your head.)
Lastly, in terms of pure logic, if you believe that the original members of Black Sabbath are Bill Ward, Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler, and Tony Iommi—and a definition of ‘reunion’ is: “a gathering of the members of a group who have been separated”—then an reunion as originally promised would necessitate all four Brummies. Should they sally forth with Ozzy’s skinsman Tommy Clufetos, they must rename the act, or risk lying to our angry faces and empty wallets.