Sean Dudley of Australia’s TheMetalForge.com recently conducted an interview with BLACK SABBATH bassist Geezer Butler. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
TheMetalForge.com: How does it feel to have the original band (minus Bill Ward) back together again? Has that feeling changed at any time the band has come back together since the good old days?
Geezer: Well, we have been together, off and on, since 1997, but it is particularly exciting this time because we finally have a new album recorded. You have to feel extremely comfortable with each other to write and record an album, since we have seen each other almost every day for the last two years, but we persisted and we have done the almost impossible.
TheMetalForge.com: What considerable changes have you noticed, in terms of songwriting and also gelling as a band from the early days of BLACK SABBATH until now?
Geezer: In the early days, we would jam until one of us, usually Tony [Iommi, guitar], hit on a riff. On this album [“13”], Tony had recorded two or three CDs’ worth of riffs, so we decided on what we were doing before we started jamming on it. A couple of the new songs were spontaneous while we were jamming, like the old days, but we needed a starting point for this album, and Tony had more than enough choices.
TheMetalForge.com: Remembering to back in the ’60s, in your own words, explain how much the technology has changed in terms of recording/producing/mastering albums? How easy/hard was it to record the albums throughout the subsequent decades with the technology at the time?
Geezer: The first and second albums were recorded on two four-track machines — the first album in two days, the second in five days — so it was basically like doing a live gig in the studio. We didn’t know anything about recording, as we had never been in a studio before, except for one two-track demo we did. We were just happy to have our songs recorded. As technology advanced, it was almost a curse to have so many tracks to record on; we lost focus of what the band was supposed to be about. It was great for experimenting, but we wasted a lot of time (and money) just pissing about in the studio on the later albums. These days, it’s great, because you can have the equivalent of a major studio on your laptop, so you can save a lot of time and heartache by recording your ideas at home and then playing them to whoever you are working with, to get instant feedback. There is nothing to replace jamming live together, but it is great to have a reference point, to give direction.
TheMetalForge.com: After being in the music business for so many decades, are you still as passionate and excited as you were back at the start? Explain how it feels now long after the band was created to go on stage in front of thousands of fans compared to a few in pubs back in the day.
Geezer: It sounds contrived, but I still get the same rush going on stage now as I have always done, whether it is one hundred people, or one hundred thousand. We did a gig back in our home town in Birmingham last year, and it was the best gig I can ever remember. The atmosphere was pure magic; it was as if the band and the fans became one entity. Fantastic gig.
Read the entire interview at TheMetalForge.com.