Despite how firmly it appeared that Black Sabbath closed the book for good after their final gig in early 2017, metal’s originators have been caught in a ‘will they or won’t they?’ situation regarding a reunion show and/or new record. The latest new album chatter has come from estranged drummer Bill Ward, who is eager to write and record a follow-up to 2013’s 13.
“I’m in contact with the guys. I talked to Ozzy [Osbourne] two nights ago,” Ward said of his relationship with his former bandmates in a new interview with the U.K.’s Metro. “A lot of things have crossed between us,” he continued, “and there’s new boundaries that I’ve had to build, but I don’t think any less of them. I’ve been working with Tony [Iommi] since 1964 when I was 16 years old. They’re my brothers and I love them.”
Tension has permeated the Black Sabbath camp since the group made the decision to carry on without Ward after announcing the reunion of the classic lineup in 2011. Rage Against the Machine’s Brad Wilk played on 13 and Ozzy Osbourne drummer Tommy Clufetos anchored the group on the road from 2012 all the way through the farewell tour’s conclusion. Meanwhile, members of Sabbath publicly slagged Ward’s drumming capabilities. Osbourne even went as far as addressing Ward in a statement where he said, “Physically, you knew you were fucked,” after Ward had argued he was offered an “unsignable” contract.
“As far as I’m concerned, the book’s never closed with Sabbath! I’m writing like a demon, I’m living life,” an optimistic 73-year-old Ward told Metro.
Always looking to keep the door wedged open, the drummer went on, “My biggest contention has been ‘let’s make another album.’ Nothing live necessarily, because I’m looking at what I can realistically do. The way I play the drums, it’s becoming tougher as I get older. I haven’t spoken to the guys about it, but I have talked to a couple of people in management about the possibility of making a recording. Which I can do safely, even with COVID around. I can lay track at my studio in Los Angeles. I’m very open-minded about doing something like that.”
Only time will tell if Ward’s ambitions will materialize.