For almost 40 years, Bill Ward has been the backbone of Black Sabbath, the first true heavy metal band. Forget technique, Ward’s appeal lies in gut-level thrills, like the momentum he creates in “Paranoid” or, say, the beefy, busy kick in “Iron Man.” Following Sabbath’s chart-topping reign in the first half of the ’70s, the band became increasingly fractious and Ward pursued other projects, including Max Havoc; contributed to Sabbath guitarist Tommy Iommi’s Iommi; and briefly went solo himself. Whatever the vehicle, Ward never strayed from the crushing oomph whose legacy is felt today in a gazillion doom-metal rhythm sections. After the original members of Sabbath reunited in 1997, Ward suffered a heart attack during rehearsals for Ozzfest (Mike Bordin completed the tour). Ward made a full recovery, and has been with the band ever since.
“The drums for me are something that happen, and they explode, and it happens, and comes out, and that’s that, you know?”
–DRUM!, June/July 1998
Tama drums and hardware, Sabian cymbals, Vic Firth sticks.
With Black Sabbath (on Warner Bros.): Black Sabbath; Paranoid; Master Of Reality; Black Sabbath Vol. 4. (On Castle): Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.