Bill Ward Remembers When Black Sabbath Just Slept and Performed
Former Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward recalled periods during the band’s touring days when they were so tried they’d sleep until 20 minutes before showtime, then go back to sleep right after the performance.
Despite the seemingly negative connotations, he said, his memories of those days are affectionate.
“One of the things I loved about Black Sabbath was, when we were on the road, there were times we had been on the road for so long and we were tired and we were exhausted,” Ward remembered in a new interview with MusicRadar. “We would show up at gigs and we were so tired that we would be fast asleep in the dressing room. Our road manager would come in and say, ’20 minutes, guys.’ Nowadays I have to be awake at least two hours before a show, I have to do all kinds of things. Back then, it was 20 minutes and I would watch everybody get off their chairs. All we wanted to do was go to sleep for a few days.”
Ward hailed his band’s “tenacity” back then. “Regardless of injuries, we would get onstage, and as soon as we were up there it was like, bam! You were hit with an incredible force. The band came alive on stage like someone had switched us on.”
But that liveliness lasted only until the show had been played. “When we were finished we would go back to the dressing room and lay down again like we had been before going onstage,” he said. “The gig was always the priority. We never gave up.”
Ward wasn’t part of Sabbath’s final years of activity after becoming involved in a contract dispute that led to public acrimony between himself and singer Ozzy Osbourne. His main point of contention had been that he wasn’t offered a contract he regarded as “signable.”
Asked in the new interview about the best piece of advice he’d ever been given, he said, “To be true to yourself. That has worked for me in music and in my family life. That way I can have a stronger relationship with myself. I am honest about who I am, where I am and what I think. Things haven’t always worked out how I want them to, but the eventuality of being honest is a daily gift. Being able to tell the truth is a gift.”