One of the most giddily anticipated shows this summer is Black Sabbath's Aug. 24 stop at the Gorge Amphitheatre, a sure-to-be-epic set that will feature such classic cuts as “War Pigs,” “Iron Man” and "Sweet Leaf" alongside legacy worthy jams from last month's chart-topping comeback disc, “13.”
Icon frontman Ozzy Osbourne held a press teleconference recently to talk about all that stuff, and none other than yours truly got to throw out the first pitch. It seemed like a good idea to start with the obvious. So I asked if he'd spoken to estranged drummer Bill Ward since contract negotiations between he and the band broke down last year, and whether Ward could be back in the mix any time soon. (Rage Against the Machine/Audioslave vet Brad Wilk will continue to fill in at the Gorge.)
“We would love to have Bill back in the fold. Unfortunately, it didn't work out,” Osbourne said. “I wish him no harm. I still love him a lot. We all do, you know. It would be great to have him back.”
But his Ozzness didn't elaborate much more and quickly cut me off when I sought clarification on Ward's claims that his Black Sabbath bros had a backup drummer in the wings, even when he was still part of the discussion. The drummer's open letter to fans can be found on his web site.
Click the link below to hear the exchange; and stay tuned for more outtakes, featuring Ozzy talking about everything from working with super-producer Rick Rubin to Tony Iommi's ongoing battle with lymphoma.