The band last year announced they were regrouping as the original lineup of Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Ward, and had begun work on their first album together since 1979.
Later Ward announced he didn’t feel able to participate because he wasn’t being offered a contract he regarded as “signable.”
Speculation increased that Appice, who played with Black Sabbath when Ronnie James Dio fronted them, and later appeared in offshoot band Heaven and Hell, would replace Ward. But he’s previously stated he was never asked – and now insists Ward is the only man for the job.
Appice tells The Great Southern Brainfart: “It was kinda funny to see this big deal about Black Sabbath coming back, and then suddenly Bill’s not doing it. Then I read all these posts saying: ‘Vinny should be next in line,’ then others saying: ‘Fuck Vinny – it should be Bill.’
“Then I read Tommy Clufetos from Ozzy’s band is thrown in the mix and they’re like, ‘Fuck Tommy. Vinny should be up there.’ It’s like the gossiping housewives of Jersey Shore or something.”
“I think the first choice should honestly be Bill Ward. At this point it’ll probably be the last Black Sabbath tour. The fans honestly want to see the real band. I would like to see it too – they play unbelievably together.
“I guess the whole problem with this thing is money. It’s a shame to see that. If they end up doing it with another drummer it’ll be the second-best thing.”
Appice also reveals some of the frustrations of working with Iommi and co – including the strangest touring experience of his career.
“Black Sabbath toured the States and Bill was actually playing on that tour,” he recalls. “But I was on tour with them in case Bill had a problem. He didn’t have any issues, so I went the whole tour without playing. It was ridiculous. I felt like I was getting out of shape from not playing.”
And he explains the reason behind his understated playing style on Heaven and Hell’s 2009 album The Devil You Know, for which he took a good deal of flak from fans and critics: “It was written with a friggin’ drum machine.
“It was stupid. I wanted to go into a rehearsal plane and jam, and work the shit up loud. That’s the way we did Mob Rules and Dehumanizer. But instead it would up with us working in Ronnie’s studio with a drum machine.
“It wasn’t inspiring. You can’t hang or swing on a drum machine – it’s hard to work that way. If we’d been in a room rehearsing, the music would have been a lot more aggressive and a lot more Sabbathy.
“When the album came out I got feedback like, ‘Vinny didn’t play shit on the drums.’ I was like, ‘Okay, but you guys don’t know the whole story.’”
Appice is now working with new outfit Kill Devil Hill, also featuring Rex Brown of Pantera and Down fame. He’s also preparing to tour with Vivian Campbell in the first Dio lineup, with Andy Freeman fronting the band.
-Classic Rock Magazine