Bill Ward And Ozzy Osbourne
Photo credit: Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Ozzy Osbourne and Billy Morrison have unveiled the newest installment of their online series, “The Madhouse Chronicles”. In this episode, the iconic BLACK SABBATH vocalist reminisces about the creation process behind the band’s last album, 13. This LP, released in 2013, marked the return of Osbourne, guitarist Tony Iommi, and bassist Geezer Butler after a hiatus of 35 years.

As for how 13 came about, Ozzy said: “[Producer] Rick Rubin, I had met him a long time ago, before he did the album. And he would say, ‘Listen, if you ever get back together again, you’ve gotta let me produce the album.’ … And when we reformed to do that [1997] tour, we recorded the live album, [1998’s] Reunion. He actually walks into the studio and he goes — we’d had two [studio] bonus tracks [that were included on the album] — he says, ‘I like that track, but I don’t like that track,’ and f**king walked out . And then, as time went on, [Ozzy‘s wife and manager] Sharon goes to me, ‘Rick Rubin wants you to do an album with him.'”

“The only criticism I have about the album — not criticism; the thing we all found hard to do, none of us had that much input,” he continued. “So it was kind of like going straight back to the beginning when we had [early SABBATH producer] Rodger Bain and we didn’t know about double tracking and all that. If you have a producer, you don’t produce it yourself. Because Tony would basically produce all the albums after a certain time. He must have had to swallow his pride and all that.”

“One of the tracks was a f**king jam. [They would] just say, ‘Just f**king play and get warmed up before.’ And it was recorded. And it ended up on the f**king album.”

Commenting on the absence of original SABBATH drummer Bill Ward from 13, Ozzy stated: “I can’t remember why Bill didn’t do it. I’ve gotta be truthful. It wasn’t really BLACK SABBATH because Bill wasn’t there. I mean, if you had Ginger Baker playing with THE BEATLES, it wouldn’t be THE BEATLES.”

Ozzy also discussed the final concert of SABBATH‘s “The End” tour, which occurred in February 2017 in their hometown of Birmingham, England.

When asked if he felt relieved it was over at that point, Osbourne replied: “Yeah, but I was sad that Bill wasn’t there. I mean, I mean, Tommy [Clufetos], my drummer [for my solo band], did a great job [stepping in for Bill], but he ain’t Bill Ward.”

When asked if he is satisfied with the legacy of BLACK SABBATH, Ozzy responded: “No. Because it wasn’t BLACK SABBATH that finished it. It’s unfinished. If they wanted to do one more gig with Bill, I would jump at the chance. Do you know what would be cool? If we went to a club or something unannounced and we just got up and did it. We started up in a club.”

During a last year’s interview with Houston Press, SABBATH bassist Geezer Butler discussed the absence of Ward from the group’s final album and reunion tour over a decade ago.

“We asked him if he’d do two or three songs a show or whatever he felt comfortable doing,” Butler said. “And he said he’d do the whole show or nothing at all. And I totally respect that. If they told me to do two or three songs on bass and go away, I’d have told them where to go. All I know is Bill was in the band, then me and my wife went to Hawaii for a week, and when we got back, Bill wasn’t in the band anymore.”

When the reunion of SABBATH was first announced over a decade ago, Bill Ward was initially on board but withdrew shortly after. The drummer claimed that he didn’t participate in the recording and touring sessions due to unfair contractual terms.

However, the band members have hinted in other interviews that he may not have been physically capable. Although all four original members were present when the reunion was announced in 2011, Ward left the group in 2012, citing an “unsignable” contract. Despite this, Ozzy OsbourneTony Iommi, and Butler continued with their 13 LP and extensive international touring, produced by Rick Rubin, without him.

BLACK SABBATH played their final concert on 4 February 2017 in Birmingham. The final song was streamed live on the band’s Facebook page and fireworks went off as the band took their final bow. On 7 March 2017, SABBATH announced their disbandment through posts made on their official social media accounts.