Former Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward was so moved by the resilience of victims of the 2017 Las Vegas shooting at the Route 91 festival that he wrote a folk song, “Arrows” in their honor. He recorded it with his Bill Ward Band. The song’s release coincides with the second anniversary of the shooting.
“Bless the youth, for realizing they could hear the truth,” he sings over strummed acoustic guitar. “Bless the man, who sought to love but fell with his demons/Bless us all, for surely, surely, surely we have cried.” It picks up when the band kicks in, and Ward sings, “Never again shall we shoot all our arrows to kill,” over a fluttering, prog-rock guitar riff.
“In the evening of October 1st, 2017, there was a mass shooting in Las Vegas,” Ward said in a video, released on Instagram. “What we’re going to do on October 1st, 2019 is we’re gonna release a song that I hope will be supportive. To me, it’s kind of like laying a wreath and sending the very best to everybody and wishing everybody well, the injured. It’s just a way of saying we’re very sorry that all those things happened and that we honor those who are not with us today. It’s a very solemn gesture, but, at the same time, I’ve written a song that I hope can bring some solace and good things to those that are still working through that particular shooting and those particular issues that they encountered because of the shooting.”
The lineup for the recording features erstwhile Whitesnake and Billy Idol drummer Brian Tichy, former Megadeth bassist James Lomenzo and Ward’s longtime collaborator guitarist Keith Lynch. Sarah Dugas and Ezra Ward also sing on the tune.
In 2017, when Rolling Stone ranked the 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums, Ward made a list of his own favorites. It included LPs by Metallica, Slipknot, Judas Priest, Motörhead, Type O Negative, and his own band, Black Sabbath, among others.