Let's discuss Bill Ward

equipmentdork

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War Pigs is like a showcase for Bill. Jazzy swing on the intro, amazing reserve on the drum breaks yet still intense.


Dan
 

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I remember well the one and only Sabbath show I saw was known for Van Halen being the opening act. Sabbath looked worn-out particularly Ozzy. Van Halen (as predicted by schoolmates before the show) blew them off the stage. But overall Sabbath was pretty good. Bill Ward is an incredible drummer, perfect for their style. Interestingly I believe that tour was for Vol. 4 which gets some play time on my turntable these days. Even Frank Zappa lists Supernaught as one of the best Hard Rock riffs around. That's probably more of a compliment to Tony Iommi than Bill Ward, though.
 

Frank Godiva

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"My floor toms were particularly important in the way that I tuned them because we were already going to things like the song ‘Black Sabbath’ so I needed power in my toms. I needed that for my build-ups and for songs like ‘Fairies Wear Boots’. I tuned to maintain the integrity of the sound but at the same time to give the kit some wallop.

Keep in mind that we still didn’t use PAs for the drums back then, everything was live without microphones" - BW
 

Rock Salad

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Nothing to add, but glad to read and listen to any more you guys more in the know got.
Love Bill Ward and Sabath
 

KevinD

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I'm really glad to see Bill Ward get some appreciation. I really think he is one of the more under=appreciated drummers from that era.
I really liked his open playing on the first album, he really had a great bouncy swing feel (as mentioned earlier in this thread, a lot of those great British drummers had grown up listening to a lot of blues and some of the great wartime and post-war swing bands in Britain).

His playing had great personality, especially on those first few albums.
That whole 6/8 intro then the funky beat into "Behind the Wall of Sleep" is so tasty. "Wicked World" is another one.
Off the tope of my head, "Fairies Wear Boots," "Electric Funeral," "into the Void" "Wheels of Confusion" St Vitus Dance," "Sabra Cadabra" etc... great stuff.

Back when I lived in LA, in the early '90s I ran into Bill somewhere and I told him how great I thought he was and how much his playing made an impact on me and some others that I knew.

He was really taken back and appreciative of that.

From what I understand, he was going through some health and personal issues at the time, so maybe that was good that he was able to hear that from a fan.
Great thread
 

Browny

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War Pigs, Behind the Wall Of Sleep, The Warning, The Wizard, Sabra Cadabra, NIB, Supernaut, After Forever, Cornucopia, Children Of The Grave, National Acrobat, Iron Man, Hand of Doom, Wicked World... the list goes on....


...and not to forget the title track of the self titled record.... Black Sabbath. Weird, dark, perfect.
 

Houndog

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"My floor toms were particularly important in the way that I tuned them because we were already going to things like the song ‘Black Sabbath’ so I needed power in my toms. I needed that for my build-ups and for songs like ‘Fairies Wear Boots’. I tuned to maintain the integrity of the sound but at the same time to give the kit some wallop.

Keep in mind that we still didn’t use PAs for the drums back then, everything was live without microphones" - BW
I wish he would have went into detail on how he tuned ....
 

RIDDIM

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Saw him mentioned in chat box ,I'm ready to read about something other than "Wood types and how they do or do not affect sound" threads .

I'll start by saying that there are parts he plays that I still can't figure out . Like the song Snowblind , I'm lost ....

I grew up listening to Sabbath , I'd like to pick up some new insights .

As a side note and no one cares , but my buddies son is married to Bills Daughter .
When he told me I was like WTF , how does the godfather of metal drummings daughter end up in OKC ?
Rob Ferrell transcribed it: https://robertferrell.com/Resources/Snowblind.pdf
 

RIDDIM

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Damn , I’ll can’t read well enough to sort that out.
That's curable. If you can count, you can read, given some work. There are tons of folks who can help you with that, especially now. Get a copy of Haskell Harr Book 1 or Alfred's Beginning Drum Set and go from there. You can start on your own and got a teacher when you get stuck. Look on YT for videos on how to read.

Look for someone who can teach you on line. Check out JamKazam or other collaborative software packages. Make sure you have an ethernet connection, camera capability, and go for it.

After you get a teacher, start transcribing tunes you like. It's a great way to accelerate your ability to recognize what other folks have written.

Good luck!
 
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ppfd

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That Ward had some serious talent as well
 

tillerva

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His playing is so incredible when you think of his influence on heavy metal and rock music. When I was much younger I wasn’t into him because he didn’t play with the power that people like AVH or Tommy Aldridge do. I got into a big Sabbath kick recently and decided to play along for a bit-not easy!
Snow blind is one of my favorites, right there with the Wizard and Fairies wear boots aka Jack the stripper.
 
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Bill was a huge huge influence on my playing - this quote sums it all up for me

I play orchestration; I play back to what comes at me. I build structures around things. And I make allowances for the bass to sweep over me and for Tony to break through; they allow so much to happen. I never thought about “keeping a beat” in Black Sabbath. Some things needed a groove. But groove accompaniment seemed to work and then as soon as that stopped, I would move on to where else I needed to support things.
here's a recent MD interview
This quote sounds very similar something Paul Motian said to me once, imagine that. Paul Motian and Bill Ward, soulmates.

I recently taught a student "Electric Funeral" and I have to admit, after listening to Sabbath for my entire life, I was always a fan of Bill's, I always loved his loose grooves and creativity, but I was never really "puzzled." But "Electric Funeral," DAMN (!!!!!) that's some slippery sheeet.

I've said it before, I always hear Keith Moon and Bill Ward as the avant garde 60's rock drummers. I hear them as rock versions-extensions of avant garde jazz drummers like Rashied Ali, Milford Graves, Barry Altschul, Sunny Murray, or Tony Oxley. Keith and Bill were "rock drumming impressionists," and were both geniuses!!!

Pretty cool that someone brought him up here. I agree, how long can you discuss the differences of Zildjian stamps, wood species, tuning issues, and bearing edges?

MSG
 

repete

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What are your thoughts on who played on the Born Again album? It was after Dio but doesn't sound like Vinnie and to my ears doesn't really sound like Bill Ward.
When I saw the Born Again tour Bev Bevan was playing - thoughts??
 

Drm1979

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I remember when I first got into sabbath. The first record I owned was paranoid. When the open track war pigs kicked off and it was swinging so hard I was blown away. Up until I actually listened to them I thought yeah it's another classic hard rock band that I'm sure to like. 25 years later and I am a diehard sabbath fan for life. And its Bill's swing in his playing that really just got my attention. War pigs and fairies wear boots are still to this day 2 of my favorite songs and Bill's the reason for that. I love how his playing, even though you can hear it has purpose, it still sounds chaotic at times and downright beautiful.
 

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