BLACK SABBATH singer Ozzy Osbourne recently spoke to U.K.’s Metal Hammer magazine about “13”, the first SABBATH record in 35 years to feature Ozzy, guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler all playing together.
“I’ve not been this happy about an album in years,” Ozzy said. “I’m not trying to sell my home. If this record was just OK, I’d fucking say it. But honestly, hand on heart, it’s one of the best things I’ve done in my entire life.”
Ozzy also offered some thoughts on the situation surrounding original SABBATH drummer Bill Ward, who backed out of the band’s reunion last year.
“It would have been great to have Bill — all of us said that,” said Ozzy. “But you can’t expect someone of Bill‘s age to be as agile as he used to be. He’s had heart attacks. If he’d turned up and played like he used to, or nearly as well, maybe we’d have worked something out… But we decided that if we were ever going to do this fucking album, you’ve got to be on the case. It got to the point where we said, ‘Are we just going to sit and wait for him to get off his fucking arse or what?’ We had to decide — we couldn’t just keep the fans waiting any fucking longer.”
In a recent interview with Mojo magazine, Ozzy offered more information about the reasons behind SABBATH‘s split with Ward. “I guess it’s to do with finances or something,” he explained. “But there was also another side to it. When Bill came along, we all had to ask, ‘Can he do an hour-and-a-half, two-hour gig? Can he cope?’ My suggestion was that we run through a set and see how he got on because he was so out of condition and the drummer is the most demanding job in the whole band. We looked at Bill, and he couldn’t remember what the fuck we were doing.”
Ozzy added that it “would have been cool” for the band to tour with a back-up drummer or just have Ward play a portion of the set, but that Ward “didn’t come clean and say, ‘I can’t cut this gig.'”
Ozzy continued, “I get where he’s coming from, though. His pride was hurt and I get it. I really do get it. The guy will always be a dear, dear friend and a brother to me . . . I’m not gonna give Bill a hatchet job, but at the same time we haven’t got the patience to deal with it.”
Ward was on board for the reunion when it was first announced in November 2011, but backed out soon after, claiming that he was given contractual terms that were not fair.
SABBATH has used Ozzy‘s regular touring drummer Tommy Clufetos since then for live work. RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE‘s Brad Wilk laid down the drum tracks on “13”, due out June 11.
SABBATH finished the Australian leg of its world tour earlier in the month and played Japan’s first-ever Ozzfest on May 12. A North American trek begins on July 25 in the Woodlands, Texas.