Black Sabbath’s former touring drummer Tommy Clufetos admitted to ‘studying’ Bill Ward when he replaced him in the 2010’s for the band’s reunion tour.
He told Joel Gausten, “It’s the most I’ve ever had to dig into the drummer. Bill [Ward] has a very unorthodox style. In all really great bands, every musician is very important – whether it’s Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, or Deep Purple. Each player really matters.
“In Sabbath, there’s four guys, and each guy had a counterpoint to make that one sound. So, I really had to do my homework and go, ‘What makes Bill Ward him? What’s making it work – or making it different?’ I really did a lot of homework and studied.
“I’m pretty good, but I’m not the world’s greatest drummer. I never claimed to be, but I am good about digging into what makes who I’m working for special and trying to be the best drummer they could hope for.
“That’s my goal; I want their musical vision to come out. I want them to feel confident in what I’m doing. When you’ve got a confident drummer back there, you’re free to go do your show and sing or play guitar and just not worry about what’s going on back there.
“When it’s shaky back there, it makes you shaky out front, so I want to be solid…
“With Bill Ward’s thing, even though it may move, symphonies move – but they move in unison. Fish move in unison. Great things move together. Chuck Berry may waver; Jerry Lee Lewis may waver. None of the music on my album was recorded to a click. We didn’t even wear headphones; it was all in one room. I wanted to take that approach of the old-school way. ‘Perfect’ ruins rock ‘n’ roll.”
“I understand the situation. You’re coming in and substituting or filling in for an icon in a band. Somebody’s gotta do it. I wanted it to be me, and I wasn’t afraid of the challenge. I got asked to do it, and I was proud to do it.
“I was proud of the job I did, but I understand it from a fan’s perspective. I can handle it, and it’s a part of the gig. I don’t think many people walked out of any concert disappointed, because I was there – and we rocked people.
“I was part of that; I was part of the four guys up there, and I was very proud of the job I did. It was a total honor; it was my pleasure. To play with those three guys was the musical peak thus far in my career.”