Tony Martin: Why can’t Sabbath do a Def Lep over Ward?
Former Black Sabbath singer Tony Martin believes Black Sabbath should have done everything in their power to bring Bill Ward back into the fold.
The drummer was left out of the band’s reunion with original vocalist Ozzy Osbourne after saying he hadn’t been offered a contract he regarded as “signable.” His place on upcoming album 13 was taken by Rage Against The Machine sticksman Brad Wilk after producer Rick Rubin failed in an attempt to bring Ginger Baker into the studio.
Martin previously wondered if it was nothing more than a publicity stunt. But now he cites the example of Def Leppard to illustrate how far he thinks Sabbath should have gone to make Ward part of the reunion.
He tells Legendary Rock Interviews: “The thing is weird – because they always loved Bill. They never had a bad thing to say about him, so I don’t quite get why they wouldn’t take time out to nurture him back into the fold.
“If he had any problems I can’t see how a period of rehearsal and help from his band wouldn’t fix them.
“And if it’s about money, then what the fuck? He is the original drummer so he should be given a good cut of whatever.”
Martin admits he has no inside information regarding the contractual arguments, but adds: “I just see bands like Def Leppard, whose drummer had an arm ripped off in a car accident. They waited years until he developed a drumkit he could play with one arm.
“It proves nothing is impossible these days – that’s why I don’t get the Bill Ward thing.”
Looking back on his ten-year stint with Sabbath from 1987 to 1997, Martin recalls how keyboardist Geoff Nicholls experienced a hard time as a member.
“Geoff was treated the way he was because the image-makers – sometimes Tony Iommi, sometimes management – were always trying to make the band look credible.
“The thinking was, one thing that’s not usually associated with Sabbath is a keyboard player; so it was decided that Geoff would be off stage left. But he had so much input in the band, and was such a close friend of Iommi, that he’d be brought out on stage – until they’d battle with the image thing again and he’d be off stage again.
“I don’t think it was ever resolved. But no one should doubt Geoff’s input to Sabbath – he was absolutely right in there.”