Ward: Ozzy fans 'have every right to dislike me'
But drummer insists "too ill to play" claims only arose after he'd refused to sign reunion contract
Bill Ward accepts that many fans of Ozzy Osbourne hate him – and says he "supports them" in their attitude.
The drummer has been the focus of rage since he demanded a public apology from the singer over claims he was too ill to take part in Black Sabbath's reunion of 2012.
He insists those claims are untrue – and that they were only made after he'd refused to agree to a contract he regarded as "unsignable."
Ward tells Classic Rock Revisited: "The sickness agenda started after I wouldn’t sign the contract. In 2011, nobody said anything to me about that – they all seemed to be quite happy that I was there. My health was really good."
He underwent shoulder surgery in 2013, and admits it was "serious shit." But he adds: "They say, 'He couldn’t have done it anyway because he got sick.' That's a bunch of bullshit. These things are unforeseeable.
"Ozzy has had to cancel on multiple occasions because of unforeseeable events since all this has happened."
Asked if the dispute simply boils down to money, Ward replies: "In my particular case, yes."
He says one of his biggest regrets is that Sabbath supporters have been split by the argument. "I am really saddened," he continues. "All the Ozzy fans fucking hate me. My team are very concerned about the people who dislike me – but they have every right to dislike me.
"I actually support them in their right to dislike me. They're entitled to their opinions. I don’t necessarily agree with them that I'm an asshole, but if they want to call me an asshole I will support their right to do that."
Ward released his solo album Accountable Beasts last month and he's nearing completion on another record, Beyond Aston. Sabbath were expected to deliver their final album and tour this year, but Ozzy recently revealed it wouldn't happen until 2016.