Geezer Butler Nixes Chances of One-Off Black Sabbath Shows: ‘It’s Best Not to Drag it Out’
It's almost been one year since Black Sabbath played their final show in their hometown of Birmingham, England. The performance has been documented on The End live album and concert film and bass legend Geezer Butler called in to Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio program to discuss the finality of metal's founding fathers, what he's been up to since the last gig and what the future has in store on the musical end. Check out the chat below.
How are you?
I am very well thank you, Jackie!
We're celebrating Black Sabbath's The End, which is out now. It documented the final Black Sabbath show and a lot of behind the scenes stuff that was truly amazing to watch. When did the finality of that night actually resonate with you?
It wasn't until a couple weeks after because we went into a studio as well to lay down five tracks that were missing from the live CD. It wasn't until I got home that the whole thing sunk in that that was it.
Black Sabbath started as four kids in a working-class city and wound up making an immeasurable impact on popular music. Does humility make it hard to acknowledge what you did?
Not sure it's humility — I think it's because we were like disregarded by the critics for so long in the '70s. We started to believe them in the end and it wasn't till the '80s and '90s bands like Metallica and Anthrax started citing us as the influence that we sort of started believing [in] ourselves again.
People grow, music changes, it's inevitable, especially over the course of a long history like Black Sabbath. But thinking about the new DVD and that final show, what always remained constant about playing with Tony and Ozzy?
I think it's just sort of playing with them because we grew up together and we are all friends together. It's almost like a physic experience with each — we sort of know what's going to happen next. It's totally different when I am playing with Tony and Ozzy and Bill to anybody else. It's sort of... we all know what we're going to next without talking about it.
The final Black Sabbath tour was pretty extensive with 81 shows around the world over the course of a year. What have you been doing since then to decompress, not only from the tour but also all the years being in the band?
I haven't been doing much to be honest. I have been traveling a lot around Europe and North America just as a tourist. I have been getting mostly moving into a new house, I have been getting that setup. That's it, really.
The Black Sabbath story has so many twists and turns. What's the most important lesson you've learned from all your years with the band?
The most important lesson? Just to stay true to the music you are making. We've seen a lot of trends come and go but we've always stuck to what we believed was that true Sabbath band and I think that is really important to do. I think when you lose your identity you lose your following.
The End was the final Black Sabbath tour. What's the likelihood of any one-off shows or studio work in the future?
No very likely at all. I think Ozzy is going out on his farewell tour so that will be him doing touring for the next two to three years. So I don’t think there will be any chance of doing anything like that, which I am fine with and we went out on a high. It's best not to drag it out.
Is there anything that you have in the works on your own?
I've got like 10 to 15 years worth of ideas and riffs and stuff like that written throughout the years that are different computers and stuff so I've been archiving all of the ideas I have had. Maybe next year I will put them together and hopefully put out another album.
Good luck with all things to come. It was such an honor to have a chance to talk to you.
Thank you very much, Jackie.
Thanks to Geezer Butler for the interview. Pick up your copy of Black Sabbath's 'The End' here and don't forget to follow the bassist on Facebook. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie’s weekend show at this location.
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