The 1970s were a great time to be (barely) alive for Black Sabbath. A recent report byDangerous Minds tries to put together just how much cocaine went up the noses of the godfathers of heavy metal, and the answer is a lot, in fact $75,000.
The revalation came from bassist Geezer Butler himself, who stated that the band had a budget of $60k for the album and spent about $75k on cocaine. The band would have the coke flown in by private plane, and Quaaludes and other drugs were also prevalent. After a certain point, frontman Ozzy Osbourne had no idea where it was coming from, stating in his autobiography, I Am Ozzy:
Eventually we started to wonder where the fuck all the coke was coming from…I’m telling you: that coke was the whitest, purest, strongest stuff you could ever imagine. One sniff, and you were king of the universe.
The band wanted to name the album “Snowblind” but decided not to after pressure from the label. Of course, the band dabbled in many drugs during that time period. Geezer Butler recalled a tale of being high on coke, and then somebody dropped some acid in his drink which led him to contemplate jumping out of a window and killing himself. Iommi and drummer Bill Ward had to physically hold him down to prevent that. That was the last straw for Geezer, who soon after, gave up drugs. In fact, the whole band started cutting down, except for Ozzy:
“You can’t write or play songs if you’re out of your brains,” says Butler. “But because [Osbourne] didn’t have to play an instrument, while we were writing he’d be in the bar getting legless or doing all kinds of things.” The latter included relentless pleasure‑seeking, leading to blackouts.
“I didn’t believe it when they said I had blackouts,” says the singer. “I’d look at my watch and it would say four o’clock. Then I’d look again and it would say 9.30. I’d totally forget where I’d been or what I’d done. But then you don’t think about that before you start drinking. You don’t think: ‘I wonder what jail I’ll wake up in tomorrow?’ Because that’s not your intention.”
With inflation, in today’s money, Black Sabbath spent $426,934.81 on cocaine to recordVol. 4. I guess it’s worth it when you consider what a classic album it is.