Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Should Black Sabbath Still Be Black Sabbath?

I'm what you would call a die hard Sabbath fan. I'm not that extravagant when it comes to the Sabbath merch I own, but they are my favorite band and I love picking up my guitar and jamming to one of their songs. Paranoid, War Pigs, Black Sabbath, and The Wizard were the first songs I ever learned how to play, but I can play just about any Sab riff. Yeah, even Tony Martin stuff like Anno Mundi and The Sabbath Stones. I love debating about who the best singer for Sabbath was and whether or not Iommi should have ditched the name in the 80's.

I've said all I can say when it comes to their previously released studio albums. I ranked them and stand by my ranking. But I haven't really discussed my feelings on the Bill Ward situation here or whether or not the talented trio and hired drummer should carry on under the Sabbath name.

These things need addressing. First I'd like to re-state that I am a fan of all things Sabbath and that includes all non-Ozzy albums. Even Forbidden to an extent. So I view Sabbath as the brainchild of Iommi and Iommi's solo albums are more or less default Sabbath albums. Of course, Geezer's punchy bass is missed when he's not in the line-up and Bill Ward's ability to play off Iommi and Geezer really made the original line-up gel. They could play everything from "metal" to jazz when they were in their prime. 

But here's the crux of the issue. The thing about Bill Ward. At first I wanted to blame Sharon Osbourne for meddling and I did. It's just so easy to throw that one out. We all know about the lawsuit Ozzy filed over the Sabbath name and the reason that Iommi and Dio used the "Heaven & Hell" moniker on their last trip together. So why should this line-up of Sabbath be called "Black Sabbath" when it is in fact not the original line-up?

Well, I guess I'm here to begrudgingly defend the remaining members of the band Sabbath. Bill Ward wants a signable contract. I can understand that and I respect it. The man contributed more to the band than Ozzy did and he stuck around for two more albums than Ozzy did. But Ward seems to always come up short on the Sabbath totem pole. Apparently, Ward's attempts at drumming for the original songs on Reunion were so bad that they weren't even used and a drum machine was used instead. That's right folks. The first two new songs with Ozzy at the helm in over two decades had a drum machine. Of course, all of these guys aren't the picture of health and they are all luckier than hell to still be living. But of all of them Bill Ward is the only one to largely be out of the public eye. Why? I mean, you'd have to be a real nerd to even know he's had a few solo albums. Even Geezer's solo band has a higher profile. 

Aside from touring, he hasn't played drums on an original song since Sabbath's would-be original song Scary Dreams performed in 2001. That's a long fucking time. Maybe Bill Ward just isn't up to snuff anymore. And maybe that's why Iommi and co. don't want to pay him what he wants. It's like in sports. Remember when Emmitt Smith, one of the greatest running backs to play the game, took a huge payday at the end of his career to play for the Cardinals? Remember him taking them to playoffs? No, you don't because he was a bust... even though he was the all time leading rusher. Not saying that adding Bill Ward would cripple Sabbath, but I understand the business aspect of it. 

Again, I appreciate Bill Ward's contributions to all things Sabbath, but I sort of understand why the remaining group at Sab Co. maybe don't want to shell out the dough. I mean, if he couldn't get it done on Reunion then how could he do it now? Maybe he can. Maybe he can still drum like a motherfucker, but if he can then it seems to be his big secret. But... there's an element of doubt there. Ward has a history of dropping out of tours and line-ups. And maybe that's it, too. Maybe Bill Ward just isn't committed to making this Sabbath album really happen. Or maybe his ideas for Sabbath no longer gel with his cohorts as he apparently had the same problem when he was initially approached for the "Heaven & Hell" reunion. 

But then again maybe Ozzy, Geezer, and a sickly Tony Iommi just want to fuck Bill Ward in the ass. 

All of this is difficult to assume because I'm so far away from the situation. As we all are. 

But I think the answer is a bit deeper than the whole "let's blame Sharon for everything" concept. 

Either way, I'm buying this album, damn it. This could very well be the last thing any of them do before they meet Dio in the afterlife. 

So if Bill Ward doesn't want in on it or if the Sab ones don't want to pay him... 

Then so be it. Let's just get this shit released already. After all the false starts and all the public squabbling let's get that bad boy out and in the open. I'm ready for 13 and I'm just about to the point where I don't care if Pickles the cartoon drummer from Metalocalypse plays drums. 

Let there be Sabbath. 

1 comment:

  1. I fell into the "blame Sharon" trap early on but I really don't think she has anything to do with it. I think the sad truth is that Bill probably sucks. He has been the most unstable member all along and being that it has been so long since his has recorded anything speaks volumes. I don't think Ozzy, Tony and Geezer really want this drama surrounding the album and they wouldn't boot him unless it was necessary.