geezerbutler400 Jeb Wright of Classic Rock Revisited spoke with Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler. Excerpts from the interview appear below.

Jeb: Black Sabbath is about to do their final tour. A lot of band’s say it is the end Geezer, but then it isn’t the end. Is THIS tour really the end of Black Sabbath?

Geezer: It is one hundred percent the end. We’ve all agreed that this is it.

Jeb: How did you come to decide to call it quits? Was it Tony’s illness?

Geezer: It was our decision. Tony’s condition was an influence on it, but we all felt the same. The 13 tour went great. We just felt we’d do one more tour… to make it official, we called it The End. We are all in agreement that this can’t go on forever, so we should go out on the top.

Jeb: Are you looking ahead to the date where you are playing that last gig? Or is that just too much to think about right now?

Geezer: No, I have not thought about it yet. I won’t think about it until that last date is confirmed. We don’t know where and when it will be. We are still going to finalize where the last gig is going to be. It is better not to think about it yet. We are just taking it one day at a time at the moment. We are always looking forward to the gig that comes next. We take it one gig at a time.

Jeb: There have been rumors there will be one more studio album, but lately I’ve heard that is not the case.

Geezer: If there is then fine… but I don’t think there will be. It would be nice if there was another album. We had some songs left over from the 13 album, but we’re putting it out as a sort of EP that can only be bought at the gigs from this tour.

Jeb: I have to ask this question: I’ve heard that you were in a band with Ozzy Osbourne before he was with Black Sabbath. You were called Rare Breed.

Geezer: That is true, yeah. We only did a few gigs, locally, in Birmingham. That is how we got together. Ozzy lived literally two streets away from me and I used to see him around. He went to the same school as Tony Iommi. We lived so close together that we would see each other in the streets. I heard that he was looking for a band in the music shop… I didn’t even know it was him. I went to his house and it was Ozzy. He was a skinhead at the time. I thought, “This isn’t going to work out.” Skinheads at that time were into soul music and reggae. He liked Robert Johnson and blues so we got together and formed the Rare Breed. When that finished we were looking for a drummer and we went around to Tony’s house to see if he knew of any drummers and Bill Ward was there. Bill said he would join the band if Tony would come along and that is the way we got together.

Jeb: [On The End tour], will this be the greatest hits or will you throw in some rare songs?

Geezer: It is mainly… we are doing practically the whole of the Paranoid album. We’re doing everything but Planet Caravan. We tried that but it didn’t really work live. We’re playing mainly older stuff. We’re doing Hand of Doom. We have not played that for god knows how many years. It will be mainly old stuff.

Jeb: As thrilled as I am for Tommy to do this tour, the elephant in the room with every Sabbath fan is that Bill Ward is not present. I will be blunt… why not just give Bill the money?

Geezer: It’s beyond the money thing. It is not really anything to do with that. It is whether he’s capable of touring or not. On the 13 tour, he was not on that tour. About a week after we started he had to go into the hospital for major surgery. We would have had to cancel the tour if Bill was still with us. He hasn’t been well for a long time. He’s had a couple of heart attacks. You have to face facts when you get to our age and you’re not in great, great health rather you can go out on the road for two years, or whatever. It is a hard life to do. The easy part is when you’re on stage playing. It is all of the traveling and everything else that comes with it that is the hard part. I think Ozzy, in particular, didn’t think Bill would get through it. He certainly wouldn’t have got through the first part as he was in the hospital. We can’t keep cancelling tours just because the drummer can’t play.

Jeb: It is nice to hear you say it was not an easy thing to do.

Geezer: We started out with Bill on the 13 tour. That is the way we all thought it was going to be, that Bill was going to be part of this whole thing. It just turned out that is wasn’t to be. His health has to come first before anything.

Jeb: Are there any songs from a bass standpoint that you’re looking forward to playing?

Geezer: I am looking forward to doing Hand of Doom again as it is very bass orientated. I think 1972 is the last time we played Hand of Doom. We are always asked if we can do it, but for some reason we’ve never included it in the set. We have a lot of old classic Sabbath songs; to do that, it is hard to drop stuff to put songs like that in. This time we decided to put Hand of Doom in.

Jeb: Were you ever happy and satisfied to be the lyricist in Black Sabbath?

Geezer: [long pause] No.

Jeb: Last one: Geezer what do you want to say to the fans of Black Sabbath that have stuck with you all these years?

Geezer: Thanks for keeping us here. Thanks for being with us for all of these years. It has been great. They really are the best fans that anyone could ever wish for. They’ve been with us since day one. They have been fighting for us and they are so loyal. It is incredible. We are so blessed to have them.

Read more at Classic Rock Revisted.


17 Responses

  1. Going to see them for the first time together Feb 27th at MSG. Saw Sabbath/Heaven & Hell twice and Ozzy once. I’d cream myself (Sorry Dana, lol) if they did ‘A National Acrobat’. It would be really cool (for me) if they did Johnny Blade, but don’t see that happening. It’s great that they’re doing Hand Of Doom but i don’t want to know the setlist, i’d like to be surprised. Kenneth, I really like the idea of them doing the intro of ‘Heaven & Hell’, that would be really cool, just a little tribute to Ronnie on the final tour.

    1. Another one my favorite Sabb songs, A National Acrobat. I also love Snowblind, N.I.B., Hole In The Sky and Fairies Wear Boots.

      D 🙂

  2. The more i think about it the end of the intro of Heaven & Hell, before it goes into the bass line is the same note as the intro to Paranoid, it would fit so perfectly and as the last song too. It would be Brilliant!!!! p.s. Back in the day Supernaut was probably my favorite Sabbath tune. H&H would make a great intro to that also, or Under The Sun.

  3. We used to do Snowblind in the band i was in a few years ago, one of my favorite Sabbath songs to sing. The first Sabbath album i ever heard(not counting Iron Man, Paranoid, 1st songs i ever heard by them) was Vol. 4. I stole, (i mean borrowed lol) it from my brothers collection in the late 70’s. It’s one of those albums that’s very special, like Stained Class, the first album i ever heard by Priest.

    1. Well Greg,

      You know Priest is my numero uno band (along with John Sykes) 🙂 , and my favorite Priest album is Screaming For Vengeance. But, it seems we are on similar wavelengths.

      D 🙂

  4. No doubt about it Dana, we are disciples of the mighty Priest!! My favorite Priest album is Stained Class (mainly for the reasons i mentioned earlier, being the first album i ever heard by them makes it very special for me). But it’s a toss up between SC and Unleashed, with British Steel being a close 2nd, i mean just the raw power from beginning to end on U.I.T.E. is truly mind boggling. It was the heaviest thing to come out of the 70’s and pretty much spawned everything that followed. What an amazing time it was, the early 80’s, special indeed!

    1. Greg,

      I could not have said it better, myself. When I hear the music today, I know just how fortunate we were to grow up with such great music.

      Cheers to you, and the mighty Priest 🙂

      D 🙂

  5. i love the fact that they are pulling out some really great gems,its just a shame that the old ozz cant sing ,that great anymore,and as much as i am a sabbath fan of old,the last few times i have seen them,the real classic songs he destroyed,the band was great,but for me it was really hard to listen to him really singing that badly,and for the prices they are charging for decent seats,i think i will pass,the second the tickets went on sale for the garden in nyc,the only seats that were available were the upper level or the rear of the stage,the rest of them went right into the hands of the ticket agents for resale on the secondary market for double and triple the cost,and for me to pay that kind of dough for a band that is far from there prime is just not worth it anymore…..

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