Bill Ward admitted that he had major ‘reservations’ about replacing Ozzy Osbourne with Ronnie James Dio in Black Sabbath in a new Eddie Trunk Podcast interview.
Trunk said, “I know it was difficult for you to see Ozzy leave, but did you feel it was the right thing to do at the time? Were you on board with the decision at that time?”
Ward responded, “No, I didn’t agree necessarily with the decision, but I could understand that it was the right thing to do. Sometimes there’s a difference between doing the right thing and doing the ‘right thing,’ if that makes any sense. And so I thought it was a very dangerous move – that’s how I felt about it. But you know, I’m a musician, and so I agreed to the idea of moving on.
I found Ronnie to be very friendly, we were pretty good mates, so there was no problems like that. And I did what I’m supposed to do. I’m supposed to play drums, be helpful in any other way that I can. And I tried to do that the best I could, but deep down inside, I had a lot of reservations about the entire idea of moving on because one of the guys was hurt in battle, and he was having problems.”
Trunk followed up, asking, “What are your thoughts on the ‘Heaven and Hell’ record now and the material on it?”
Ward shot back, “I like the dynamics, I think it’s great, I think we did some really great stuff. There’s some songs which I…I don’t really want to go down in this interview and kind of push out each individual’s excitement or how everybody else felt, say things that will be negative – if I haven’t already said enough – because I don’t feel negative towards it at all.
Ronnie, I think did a fantastic job, but musically it wasn’t my favorite album, I’ll just say that. But I do like the dynamics that we did, especially on ‘Die Young.’ I think that dynamically, the band was excellent, I think Ronnie was absolutely incredible. One of the songs that I like the most is ‘Lonely is the Word,’ and I like it because it’s a neutral song.
It’s a place that is based in more or less a blues thing, and the commonality of that makes it more appealing for me – because it’s neither coming from a Ronnie place or a Tony place, it’s coming from a blues place, and that’s the commonality, and it sounds so good.
Ronnie did an incredible job on that, and so did Tony – the playing is just really, really good. I put that on, occasionally, and listen to it just for the nostalgia of it, so I like that a lot.
I thought ‘Heaven and Hell’ was kind of like a Sabbath thing, the way I understood the Sabbath to be. I think Ronnie very carefully and lovingly made that what would be a Sabbath song, in my opinion, I think it was very honorable on that record and on that song, and he had his own Ronnie lyrics and he had his own Ronnie way.
But that song worked really, really well, from three guys from Black Sabbath, and then Ronnie coming from Rainbow and other bands he was coming from, and putting it onto ‘Heaven and Hell,’ I thought it was extremely well made, I think it was very well done.” Ultimate-Guitar transcribed their comments.