Billy Ward is from Cincinnati Ohio. When he was nine, he began formal drumm lessons with well-known local drummer, Jack Volk. Mr. Volk was a stickler for holding the sticks properly, reading music and independence. He was a great teacher – Billy says. While in the fifth grade, Billy began playing with local bands. Billy listened to, and tried to play, all kinds of music; from James Brown to Miles Davis; The Who to Charles Mingus.
At the age of fifteen, Billy got his first studio experience when he became the house drummer for a local Cincinnati gospel recording studio/label. While attending The Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Billy says: I had a technical gig mixing the sound at a Thad Jones and Mel Lewis concert in Cincinnati and I met Mel Lewis, who said I needed to go to New York (to Frank Ippolitos Drum Shop) to get a set of K. Zildjian (Istanbul) cymbals. This was during the early 70s. In New York, I selected a set of Ks with assistance of Papa Jo Jones, who was just hanging out at the shop that day.
When Billy moved to New York, he started working around town playing in local groups and mostly earned his living playing in local groups, including wedding bands. Eventually, his playing became more seasoned and improved along with the work he was getting.
In the last fifteen years Billy has toured or recorded (among others) with jazz artists Jim Beard, Bill Evans Supergroup, Leni Stern, B.B. King, George Russell and Living Time Orchestra, pop artists The Knack, Jimmy Webb, Carly Simon, Richard Marx, ex-KISS star Ace Frehleys Comet, and unclassifiable talents like Bill Champlin, Robbie Robertson, Yoko Ono, and Chris Whitley. Most recently Billy completed a year and a half tour with singer Joan Osborne.