Black Sabbath: Bill Ward wanted wiped from website
Cut out: One of the images on Sabbath's website with the original, including Ward, overlaid
Black Sabbath say pictures of Bill Ward were removed from the band’s official website at the request of the drummer’s representatives.
Fans were quick to react in fury after the website change, which mirrored Van Halen’s 2007 attempt to airbrush bassist Michael Anthony from their history.
But after Sabbath played their warm-up show in Birmingham last night, ahead of their Download Festival appearance, they confirmed Ward’s people had called for the move.
The said: “At the request of Bill Ward, through his attorney, so as to not give the public the wrong impression about his involvement in the current Black Sabbath lineup, we have temporarily removed Bill Ward’s images from the main pages of the official website. In accordance with Bill Ward’s attorney’s request, we are doing so for the duration of the forthcoming shows.”
Before the announcement, one upset fan had put “Black Sabbath’s integrity” on eBay.
Tony Conley of Facebook page 1,000,000 Black Sabbath Fans say Yes to Bill Ward had commented: “That is simply one of the most dastardly, chickenshit things I have ever seen done in my 40-some years of watching rock and roll. Definitely the manoeuvre with the least class, and disrespect. Your fans deserve better, Bill deserves better, and you deserve better.”
The band’s official biography retained a quote from singer Ozzy Osbourne: “In my opinion, there’s only ever been one Black Sabbath, and that’s Iommi, Osbourne, Butler and Ward.” That’s reinforced in the official discography, which only includes albums featuring Osbourne.
Five years ago Van Halen replaced Anthony’s image on their back-catalogue covers with those of his replacement, guitarist Eddie’s son Wolfgang. In the band video game Wolfgang was seen performing tracks that had been written and released long before he was born. They later backed down after a massive fan backlash.
Black Sabbath played their hometown charity warm-up with the addition of Ozzy Osbourne’s solo band drummer Tommy Clufetos. Revealing his inclusion, bassist Geezer Butler called him a “great bloke” and regretted the reunion had become a “soap opera on the internet,” adding that he hoped to play again with Ward in the future.