Bill Ward Asserts Black Sabbath’s Punk and Prog Credentials
Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward asserted the band’s punk and prog credentials, using 1976 album Technical Ecstasy as the basis of his argument.
He said the band’s seventh studio LP – recently reissued in extended format – saw them operating beyond the doom-laden sound that had become their trademark and had a lot of positive aspects. He also revealed the one thing he didn’t like about it.
“We never made music to fit into anything or to reach a certain audience,” Ward told Metro in a recent interview, after being asked if Technical Ecstasy was their response to punk. “Black Sabbath has always been noncompliant. I admired punk because I came from a violent band as well. Especially in the first four or five years, we were very aggressive when we played live.”
He said guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler still helped deliver “big songs” in a “sonic landscape” that was “very panoramic." “Tony used big fucking chords," he noted. "All the things that we had initiated in the first few albums still existed on Technical Ecstasy. The band had not lost any of its vitality. If you listen to ‘Back Street Kids,’ Tony’s got this demonic, almost morbid lick that’s passing through. Geezer played brilliantly. The bass work there … he’s pushing the crap out of that song.”
Ward added that he thinks the album "stands up and shows that we were open-minded and progressive. But you can tell it’s the same band. We didn’t jettison our loudness. Those chords on ‘You Won’t Change Me’ are huge. ‘Gypsy’ is huge.”
However, he admitted he was never been happy with the album cover - created by the era-defining art house Hipgnosis - which shows two robots involved in what looks like a digital sex act on an escalator. “Geezer liked it a lot, but even today looking at it I have mixed feelings,” he said. “I don’t mean any disrespect to Hipgnosis. I’ve seen a lot of their artwork and it’s incredible. But it’s one of those where even when I’m in me coffin I’ll be looking at it thinking, ‘I’m not so sure about this!’”