Original BLACK SABBATH drummer Bill Ward performed the band's classic song "Children Of The Grave" live for the first time in 13 years last night (Tuesday, March 19) at the Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood, California as part of a tribute to Randy Rhoads's last concert. He was joined on stage by bassist James LoMenzo (MEGADETH, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY), guitarist Ira Black (DARK SKY CHOIR, I AM MORBID, METAL CHURCH) and vocalist Dewey Bragg (KILL DEVIL HILL, DAY OF ERRORS).
Video footage of Ward's appearance can be seen below (courtesy of Jessica Chase).
Also appearing on the bill were Frankie Banali (QUIET RIOT), Phil Sandoval (ARMORED SAINT), Steve Smyth (TESTAMENT, NEVERMORE, ONE MACHINE), Derek Abrams (MINISTRY), "Ultimate Jam Night" founder Chuck Wright (QUIET RIOT), Monte Pittman (PRONG, MADONNA) and Matt Starr (MR. BIG, ACE FREHLEY). Kelle and Kathy Rhoads were surprise guests. The program was hosted by THE SWEET's Paulie Z.
Ward was on board for the SABBATH reunion when it was first announced more than seven years ago, but backed out soon after. He later claimed that he sat out the recording and touring sessions because of unfair contractual terms, although the members of SABBATH have hinted in other interviews that he wasn't physically up to the task.
All four original members of SABBATH were present when the band announced its reunion in late 2011. But Ward split from the group in 2012, citing an "unsignable" contract, and singer Ozzy Osbourne, guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler carried on with their Rick Rubin–produced "13" LP and extensive international touring without him. The final BLACK SABBATH tour, which concluded in February 2017 in Birmingham, saw the founding member replaced by session drummer Tommy Clufetos.
It was rumored that SABBATH wanted to bring a second drummer on the road to share duties with Ward, something that Iommi confirmed in 2017 during a question-and-answer session about SABBATH's "Ten Year War" box set.
Back in June 2017, Ward told Rolling Stone magazine that he had "gone through a lot of tears" over his split with SABBATH. "I've grieved the loss of three of my best friends," he said. "I've grieved the loss of their company, their words, their laughter, their joy, and above all, their music... I've grieved the loss of the fans, and I've grieved the pain of what all this has created."
But he claimed at the time to have come out the other side. "I can't afford to have resentment," he explained. "I can't afford to be angry. I can't afford these things spiritually or physically. So I knew I had to be rid of them."