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Writer Mick Wall Offers Insight On Bill Ward/Black Sabbath Rift

Mick Wall, whose rock journalism career is as storied as the bands he’s written about, has seen it all, and very early in his career, he worked as a publicist for Black Sabbath, who’ve been in the news as of late because of the war of words between Ozzy Osbourne and Bill Ward.

Speaking to WDHA’s Jim Monaghan and Kim Mulligan, Wall, who wrote the book Black Sabbath: Symptom of the Universe, gives his take on the Sabbath drama and some details as to how all this mess started:

“…What Bill was upset about originally was the terms under which he was invited to join the other guys to reform the original lineup, it was not a simple four-way split.  It was never going to be; it never could be, because Ozzy’s gone on to have this incredible career, and then he had ‘The Osbournes’ [TV show.]

Ozzy has no particular career reason to put Black Sabbath back together. The other three guys, bless their hearts, had no careers left.  Nothing was going on for them…They need Ozzy more than Ozzy needs them, and that’s just the way  it goes in the music business…and the deal Bill was offered, he decided wasn’t commensurate with his status as an original member, and he turned it down and went public.  And what Sharon did…she went out to prove him wrong, and she did.  They got another guy in; they made an amazing album. [They] had a big number one and have been living off the fumes of that ever since...

It’s heartbreaking that Bill isn’t involved in that, but he was meant to be.  He was going to be, but he had a falling out because he didn’t think he was going to get as much money as he should have.  As Col. Tom Parker, Elvis Presley’s manager, always used to tell people when it came time to write songs with Elvis, ‘You can own 100 percent of nothing, or you can own 50 percent of something very, very big indeed,’ and I think Bill just didn’t take his percentage, and I think he will live to regret that.”

Black Sabbath: Symptom of the Universe is currently available at Amazon.

To listen to this interview in its entirety, go to


Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock reporter who never leaves home without her iPod, because to her, there’s something very comforting about carrying around every piece of music she’s ever owned in her life.