Former Black Sabbath drummer Vinny Appice discussed meeting a drunk Bill Ward for the first time in a new Eddie Trunk Podcast interview.
“I met Bill Ward after that tour, in fact. I live in L.A. and I went to the Rainbow bar and grill, sitting there with my wife, and I saw Bill Ward. Oh my god. We go over to say hi, but that’s when Bill was drinking, and it was pretty wild, he was pretty loose, let’s say – I’m being nice. If I went there and he started hugging me, I went, ‘OK, time for me to get out of here…’
I felt very uncomfortable. I didn’t want to get into anything. He was nice, but he was just really a little bit… a couple of drinks into it. So I actually left. I said, ‘Let’s go.’ Later on, I met Bill a couple of years later when he was straight, stopped drinking… And he’s the sweetest guy in the world. I’ve met him many times thereafter, we always got along great, and he’s a real sweetheart.”
Trunk said, “The condition he was in at that time probably led him to bail on the tour. Geezer, when he was on, was telling me that he almost didn’t make this lineup himself because he was dealing with a rough divorce. And then you’ve got Bill in this condition, but then he bails on the tour, Tony could’ve been in a really rough position there.”
Vinny responded, “Yeah, it could’ve been a bad situation, it wouldn’t have been the authentic Black Sabbath with a new singer. And of course, nobody would have been on the ‘Heaven and Hell’ album. I wasn’t on it, and the bass player might’ve been on half of it…
I know they’ve worked with some other bass player for a little bit, and then Geezer came back, so you’re right, it could’ve been that when it went down. But luckily, Geezer stayed in there, and I think when they came back to L.A., they found me quick, and it wasn’t like they had to cancel another bunch of weeks of the tour to find somebody.
As soon as they got to L.A., I got the call, I got down, we got together and we were able to keep the rest of the gigs in place, and then for the first or actually two weeks, all I did was study those songs and get them as tight as we can.
I used Bill’s parts, played the important parts that Bill played in their songs. So yeah, we wound up with people accepting it. It’s easier to accept a new drummer than a new singer. Ronnie would have those banners in the front, ‘Where is Ozzy?'”