Geezer Butler Recalls First Meeting Ozzy Osbourne
The pair met after Osbourne had placed an ad in a Birmingham, U.K., music shop. It later attracted the attention of Tony Iommi and Bill Ward, leading to the formation of Sabbath, originally named the Polka Tulk Blues Band, in 1968.
“My first impression of Ozzy was that he was not the full shilling, as we used to say back then,” Butler told Music Radar in a new interview. “I’d seen his ‘Ozzy Zig Needs Gig’ advert in the local musical instruments store and noticed he lived a few streets away from me in Aston. I went around to his house, but he wasn’t in. Later that day, there was a knock on the door and my brother said, ‘There’s someone asking for you.’ I opened the door and there was this skinhead, with a factory gown on, no shoes or socks, a chimney brush over his shoulder and a sneaker on a dog lead. He was perfect for my band.”
Butler recalled that the first three Sabbath albums were recorded in a “reasonably straight” fashion before the band started using hard drugs during the making of Vol. 4 in Los Angeles in 1972.
“The serious stuff was imbibed when we recorded that one in L.A. ... and then later on Sabbath Bloody Sabbath,” he said. “None of it made me play better. I’d think so at the time – then when listening to it back sober, I’d have to redo everything. Alcohol is by far the worst for performing. I only ever did that once, and that was enough.”
Since the iconic band completed its farewell tour in February 2017, there has been some speculation that it could regroup for standalone shows. But Butler, who recently surfaced with a new band called Deadland Ritual, appeared to believe it won’t happen. “I’m totally resigned to the fact that Sabbath is over … except for its legacy,” he said.