BILL WARD Interview Page 6
By Bob Nalbandian and Mark Miller
SW: I heard that some of the first gigs you played as Black Sabbath, a lot of people thought it was a black soul/funk band because of the name.
BW: Oh yeah (laughs). We got that in the early days a lot. But as Earth...there was another band called Earth that was more popular than we were at the time. They were a pretty fancy band, they had everything together and had proper gigs and we would show up at their gigs - the way we looked and played - and it was a nightmare!
SW: How did Earth have the finances to tour back then, since you didn't have a record label?
BW: We didn't earn a whole lot of money, but we were able to make enough to by food and gas. We lived on the poverty level but we still managed to tour and get gigs. But it was tough. Looking back, I thought, man, we were spunky kids to do that.
SW: Growing up in Birmingham, England...many of the great heavy metal bands, like Sabbath, Priest, and certain members Zeppelin hail from Birmingham. Growing up in that poor, industrial environment - did that bring out the dark, heavy, aggressive attitude in your music?
BW: All four members of Black Sabbath lived in Aston, that itself is a no thrills place. It's a hard-core, very old area of the city that was bombed in the war. When I was growing up we had gaslights, the landscape was all bombed out from the Germans. And I've seen tough things, lot's of stabbings, men coming out of the pub and literally dropping dead, and things like that. There were a lot of vagrants, but the city had an incredible beauty at the same time. For me, it was all I knew. I met Tony first, I was about 15 or 16, than we met Ozzy and Geezer a couple years later. And they had all grown up in the same environment.
SW: How is Birmingham now?
BW: I don't like how it is now...it's lost its spirit. I can't find the heart of the city. They built freeways all the way through it.
SW: The title of your forthcoming album - "Beyond Aston" - you once wrote a poem about Aston and it's industrial post apocalyptical landscape and it seems to really come across in the music and imagery in my mind. It almost seems as though Aston itself organically formed Black Sabbath, in a way.
BW: I'm sure it at least shaped us. I know all of us at one time or another in interviews have quoted the fact that there was a lot of music at the time that didn't represent where we were at. It might have represented where other bands were. I know I would listen to certain stuff and think, "that's very nice but it doesn't have any meaning to where I'm really at right now." Because where I was at...I didn't know if I was gonna kill myself, have a job, go to jail, or anything. And none of us did. I only knew how to play drums in one way really, which was to thrash. I tried to learn some finesse like 8 years before Sabbath, but I couldn't help but to just thrash, that is where I felt most at home. I just connected with Tony Iommi, when Tony hits a chord and I meet him there, in that moment, that's the most relaxed place for me on earth.
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