Vinny Appice discussed replacing Bill Ward in Black Sabbath in a new Drum for the Song interview.
“Well, I got the call from, I was actually on a photoshoot for Ludwig drums. They were doing a big photo shoot of all the endorsers, so all the drummers from that time, and that was 1980 were there; Ginger Baker, guys from Foghat, Aerosmith, my brother, me, Aynsley Dunbar…
“My wife got the call, she goes, ‘Somebody from Black Sabbath called,’ while I was in Chicago. I live in Los Angeles. So I got the number and I called back, and they said, ‘Yeah, we’re looking for a drummer, we heard about you,’ because Bill Ward left the Heaven and Hell tour.
“In the middle of the tour they were playing Denver, and Bill didn’t show up, had to postpone that date for a later date, and I said ‘Well, I’m back in town tomorrow,’ ‘You want to come down and meet Tony Iommi at the hotel?’ I said, ‘Sure…’
“So that’s how I got the call, and I went down and Tony had an album that I did with a band called Axis, a 3-piece power trio produced by Andy Johns, and it’s really good drum sound on it, and he that album with him checking me out.
“I met Tony, we got along really well, hit it off, and he invited me to come down to the rehearsal, this is in LA the next day, so I went down with my little Ludwig drum set, I met Ronnie, Geezer, Geoff Nichols was on keyboards.
“So we played, the first song was ‘Neon Knights.’ I didn’t really know it, but I knew it was *hums* – it was that kind of tempo, and there wasn’t much of a stop. There was one stop in the song, so it’s easy to eat through it.
“You go, ‘Well, I could play this through the whole song, just follow what I hear after that.’ There’s no accents really unless you want to get really into the song, and then played a couple of songs and they said ‘Wow, cool, you’re able to do this?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’
“We had to rehearse, we had like four days of rehearsals total, so I had to spend every waking minute listening to this stuff. The first day they were so happy they found a drummer, we played a little bit, and then they all went to the pub, and I’m like, ‘Where are you going? Are you going to the pub?’
“So I stayed back with the keyboard player, Geoff, and we went over stuff. I think one day, it happened two days where they went to the pub, and then Ronnie stayed there with me and helped me out and stuff, and they were getting nervous in the last two days, of course.
“Tony and Geezer were really nervous because they never played with another drummer other than Bill, so this was a big thing; not only you got a new drummer and the first gig was 30,000 people, 40,000 people at Aloha Stadium in Hawaii, so you’re dealing with this big gig, new drummer, and you never played with another drummer, so they were really nervous.
“I went for lessons for three years, I could read drum music and stuff, so I wrote out charts, visual charts, and they weren’t proper charts, it was just like, ‘OK, who counts off?’
“And then it would say ‘verse’, it would say, ‘OK, stop on two,’ things like that, and that got me through it, except when it started raining, and the book got wet halfway through the set, and then I look over, so then we had to wing it the last half of the set.
“It was one of those things where you’re playing, ‘OK, the end’s coming up, maybe go around one more time to relax a bit here,’ that kind of thing, and they were used to playing it a certain way, so Tony’s ready to go to the ending, and I’m like, ‘Let’s keep going one more round.'” Ultimate-Guitar transcribed his comments.