Black Sabbath beloved bassist Geezer Butler has recently appeared on The Eddie Trunk Podcast. During the conversation, Butler looks back on the last days before Ozzy Osbourne quit the band and he expresses what he thought and felt back in those days along with Ronnie James Dio’s taking Ozzy’s place on vocals.
We all know that the beloved musician Ozzy Osbourne started his professional music career with Black Sabbath and carried on with the band until he got fired in 1979 due to alcohol and drug problems. But the bassist and founder of the band, also an old friend of his Butler has recently talked about those days of him and said Ozzy had already left the band way before that actually because he fell out of love with what they were doing together with Sabbath.
Geezer Butler is asked if Black Sabbath was “shocked” about the massive success of Ozzy after he left the band during the conversation:
“No, I mean, Ozzy had already left the band before the ‘Never Say Die!’ album, and he was always going on about doing his own thing back then. In fact, in one of the Sabbath photos, he’s got a ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ t-shirt on, so he just fell out of love with what we were doing in Sabbath,” he replies.
Geezer Butler also replies to the question of whether they were watching what Ozzy was doing and says he wasn’t paying actually that much attention to him. And he admits that Ozzy came out bigger than Sabbath as well. After some time, Butler ended up playing with Ozzy for a while as well. So the bassist also shares his opinion about how was it along with how Ozzy was when he quit Black Sabbath.
“We all loved Ozzy. We were so glad that he got himself – because he was killing himself. The state that he was in when he left Sabbath, he really was on the verge…”
Butler says and emphasizes Sharon’s role in Ozzy’s recovery followingly:
“If it wasn’t for Sharon, I think he’d topped himself eventually, he’d OD or something, and she pulled him out of it, got him straight again.”
After talking about Ozzy, Geezer Butler also talks about the addition of Ronnie James Dio and then drummer Vinny Appice after Bill Ward left in 1980, and says:
“It was great for me because I was relieved of having to write the lyrics, I could concentrate on bass for once. And yeah, me and Vinny played really well together – good rhythm section. Vinny, as you know, is a good bloke anyway, he fitted in straight away – no problem.”
So it actually seems a turning point for him and Sabbath, as the talented songwriter admits that Ronnie’s being the lyricist really relieved him.
When we did the ‘Never Say Die!’ album with the original Sabbath, doing the lyrics was like pulling teeth. I used to do some lyrics and give them to Ozzy, and he wouldn’t even read them. He was totally disinterested, so it was just such a relief when Ronnie came in,” Black Sabbath bassist says and continues telling more about Ronnie and looks back at the times he first came in the band.
I think people started accepting Ronnie after the first week of the ‘Heaven and Hell’ tour because, you know, they’d heard the album by then, and they sort of accepted him almost straight away.”
After, Butler also explains what led the Black Sabbath to the breakup the first time was because Ronnie’s coming in and changing things or not as people said back then.
“That’s what was according to the engineer that was engineering the live album, and plus Ronnie was concentrating on his solo album by then. And I think Tony sort of took offense that Ronnie had got himself a solo album instead of concentrating on Sabbath, so it all came down to that.”
You can also hear the whole conversation of Geezer Butler as Eddie Trunk takes a deep dive into Black Sabbath’s history, and more here.