Groovey.TV recently conducted an interview with legendary BLACK SABBATH drummer Bill Ward. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Groovey.TV: How did the “Absence Of Corners” [Bill‘s collection of fine art created from rhythm] art project all get started?
Bill Ward: Well, the company we are doing this with is called SceneFour and they have a brief history of doing this kind of thing with other drummers, and I guess it was my turn to be asked. [laughs] It was my publicist that introduced me to the idea, and at the time, we didn’t know a whole lot about what this would mean. Because, what happened is, basically, the project has gotten bigger in many ways, that at the time we started, were invisible to us; so it has been a very interesting project in terms of what it has developed into. Originally we were approached by SceneFour. I was asked to do a drum session and for about an hour and a half I played in the dark at our rehearsal studio in Los Angeles with a bunch of cameras and lights and all sorts of strange things aimed at the drum kit. I was kind of wondering what might be going on, but they just said, “Play drums, Bill.” And that’s exactly what I did rather than wondering what they were doing. They knew what they were doing, so you know.
Groovey.TV: Did you get everything you wanted captured in these works?
Bill Ward: I wasn’t sure what I wanted in the first place. That might sound odd, but all I knew was that at that time I was playing and looking at the pictures thinking, “This is okay, this is interesting.” But not long after that they asked me to name the pictures, and that’s when things began to turn around. I caught a glimpse of the picture I call“Grief”, and I began to realize that there might be a lot more going on here than I had thought before. I called it “Grief” because when I looked at it fitted exactly how things had been for me. It was a portrait of some of the emotions, if not all of the emotions, I have been feeling from A to Z since January 2012 up until “Grief”. I didn’t realize that there was something coming out of me that became more than colored sticks making nice patterns and doing different things with me playing drums behind it. I began to see a lot of imagery in the pictures where I was actually able to write about the pictures and also name them. As I did that, as I started naming the pictures, when I started doing that that’s when I realized it was becoming quite therapeutic for me.
Groovey.TV: What are your plans for the rest of the year? What else are you working on?
Bill Ward: Right now we are doing all the promo for this project. I’m also in the studio still trying to finish my album to be which is called “Accountable Beasts”, and we are getting closer ever single week to having that getting complete. It’s been a long time coming but we are in there bit by bit a little bit by bit.
Groovey.TV: Do you have a release date yet?
Bill Ward: I would like to think that it will be out very very soon. I need twenty more days to mix or thereabouts. I could maybe do it in fifteen. Everything is at mix level, so we got about 40 percent more mix on about eight tracks. Then that’s all, we’ve done it, it’s finished.
Groovey.TV: What’s the vibe and feel of “Accountable Beasts”?
Bill Ward: It’s very heavy. It’s very fucking heavy. I play drums on 90% of the tracks. We’ve really gone balls out, you know. When I came off the last BLACK SABBATH tour, I was so ramped up, I could have gone round again one more time. I was full of energy and some of these tracks were laid down literally weeks after I came back. I was inspired to make it loud and make it hardcore, so there’s some strong tracks on “Accountable Beasts”. One of them, we got bass-drum tempos that nearly killed me. [laughs] They’re pretty fast, man. When I see people like Dave Lombardo [SLAYER], who is a buddy of mine, working around these guys, it’s like, “Man, give me some of that.” So I was very inspired after the last BLACK SABBATH tour. I thought the gigs were absolutely brilliant, I thought the band played fantastic, considering everything that was going on we played really well. It really is a stimulant from that, and that’s how the album got started. As time has gone on, and we gradually got more finances into the production, we added more things and written more songs for it. So I’m hoping it will be out quite soon.