BLACK SABBATH bassist Geezer Butler spoke to U.K.’s Classic Rock magazine about his surprise January 2015 arrest following an altercation at the Corkscrew Saloon on the Furnace Creek Ranch in Death Valley, California. The 66-year-old musician said: “My sister-in-law had just died, and I’d gone to Death Valley in California just to get away from it all. Not just that, everything — Christmas, New Year’s, everything like that. I went down to the gift shop in the hotel, and there was this nice Western bar there. I thought, ‘I may as well have one before I go to bed.’ It was the strongest beer I’ve ever had in my life.
“The next thing I know, this guy started mouthing off about something. He was, like, some drunken Nazi bloke. He recognized me, and because I was in the music business, he started going on about Jews and everything — Jews this, Jews that. My missus is Jewish and I’d just had enough, and me hand sort of met his chin. I whacked him one.”
The bar owners called the Inyo County police, who arrived shortly after midnight and reported a broken window and one person struck during the altercation.
“I was absolutely legless at the time,” said Geezer. “I don’t know what happened, but one minute I was in this bar, and the next thing I was being arrested. I woke up jail. That was bad enough, but waking up with a hangover was horrible. I was totally ashamed. I should have just walked away. But when you get pissed out of your brains, you don’t know what you’re doing.”
According to Butler, he initially planned to stay away from alcohol that month as he was observing Dry January — the annual campaign in the U.K. run by Alcohol Concern that encourages people to stop drinking for the month after Christmas. “Because it was Dry January, I wasn’t even going to drink,” said Geezer. “And it was something like January 28, so it was so close. But I haven’t touched booze since.”
After his arrest, Butler was booked at the Inyo County Jail under this full name of Terence Michael Butler. He was charged with misdemeanor assault, public intoxication and vandalism and was released “after detox and citation,” the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department said in a press release.
Geezer‘s mug shot can be seen below.
A founding member of BLACK SABBATH, Butler is also the lyricist of such SABBATH classics as “War Pigs”, “Iron Man”, “Paranoid” and others.
Butler, singer Ozzy Osbourne and guitarist Tony Iommi reunited in late 2011 and released a comeback album, “13”, in June 2013.