Billy Ward is from Cincinnati Ohio. When he was nine, he began formal drum 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."
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 and from 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.
Billy quit the conservatory in the second year when he realized that he wanted to play jazz and rock. "Counting two hundred and ten measures to play a two measure chime part wasn't my thing."
His symphonic career ended, it was off to North Texas State University; a jazz school that emphasized playing.
"I was too stubborn and headstrong to participate anymore in a college program, so I quit NTSU after one week....but lived there and played in the Dallas / Fort Worth area four years before coming to New York. All I did was practice- practice- practice ... wierd stuff too (largely thanks to a Northern Indian Nonesuch record that I fell in love with) seven over five over three kind of stuff! I then believed that jazz, or improvised music, was the only real art form. I now know I was way off base. The world is round, not flat, and there are many ways to create art."
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 and /or recorded (among others) with jazz artists Jim Beard, Bill Evans Supergroup, Leni Stern, George Russell and Living Time Orchestra, pop artists The Knack, Jimmy Webb, Carly Simon, Richard Marx, ex-KISS star Ace Frehley's 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 Osbourne.
He also recorded over twenty (20!) Motion Picture Soundtracks. Among them:
- Dead Bang
- The Walking Dead
- That Thing You Do!
- Sister Act
- The Island Of Dr. Moreau
- The Specialist
- The Substitute
- Point of No Return
- Under Siege
- Double Team
- The Next Karate Kid