Geezer Butler and Ozzy Osbourne Discuss Ozzfest Meets Knotfest, Black Sabbath’s Legacy + More [Exclusive Interview]
A slew of heavy metal legends took the stage at the May 13 press conference in Los Angeles to announce the one-off festival Ozzfest Meets Knotfest, which will take place September 24 and 25 in San Bernardinio, Calif. Once the microphone was passed around during the press conference, one thing became clear: they all felt they owe their careers Black Sabbath.
From Disturbed's David Draiman to Slipknot's Corey Taylor, they all paid tribute. But so did the several hundred fans that had been let into the Hollywood Palladium earlier for a rare viewing of the Penelope Spheeris documentary We Sold Our Souls for Rock and Roll, which followed Ozzfest back in 1999 (when Slipknot, along with Rob Zombie were also along for the ride). The crowd went wild whenever Ozzy Osbourne or Black Sabbath appeared on screen and erupted even more when Ozzy (introduced by his wife Sharon, who originally had the idea for Ozzfest) took the stage in the flesh with his bandmate, bassist Geezer Butler.
Born out of Birmingham, England's bleak soot and grit, Black Sabbath endure on many different levels for many different audiences. As they begin to close in on the end of their around-the-world final victory lap, we had a chance to sit down for a few minutes with singer Ozzy Osbourne and bassist/lyricist Geezer Butler. Check out our interview below:
It's interesting to see both of these festivals brought together over one weekend. Obviously, yours had a huge influence on Slipknot. What do you expect it to be like?
Ozzy: Well, for us, these things are strictly about having fun. At this stage of the game that's what you have to do. None of us are getting any younger and so you really have to make the most of these things. I remember when Tony [Iommi] was diagnosed with lymphoma, and we all went, "What the f--k?" Like we thought that might be it. I said "Tony, if you just want to pull the plug, it's okay." And he said, "Well what the hell am I going to do? Just sit around my house? Of course we're going to go on." And then we go to work on the 13 album. It was like when my wife Sharon was diagnosed with cancer. That's not like a cold. That serious. I'd never known anyone to beat cancer until then. But they do it and so we all go on. You have to go on and do what you enjoy doing. You just don't know what's going to happen.
Geezer: I think what I like about shows like this and big festivals is that it proves that this music isn't over. People forget sometimes what metal means to the audience and it's still a very big deal.
These are some of your last shows in United States. Do you think the very last show ever will be in Birmingham, England, where it all started? There has been some talk of that.
Ozzy: Well, it's hard to say because these plans change dated day. One day, you think you know what's going on and then it changes. So I can't say for sure. But wouldn't it be fabulous if it all ended in Birmingham?
Do you keep up with a lot of the other bands on the bill at festivals like this?
Geezer: Well not so much all of the real younger bands. But, Rival Sons have opened up for us and they're tremendous. They're a really great band. And, of course, Disturbed and Megadeth -- just terrific bands that we love to play with.
How does it make you feel when every musician up on that stage today says that they wouldn't be here if it were not for you?
Ozzy: I remember a long time ago passing by Metallica's dressing room and they were playing a Black Sabbath album. I said to my assistant that I was surprised, and [my assistant] said, "Why? All of those bands really love you." It's just something that's hard to think about when you're on the inside of it. Like today, whenever they kept saying, "We wouldn't be here without Black Sabbath," I almost feel like everyone's playing a joke on us by saying that. But then you realize they're sincere and it's really touching. I mean for bands to say that about us makes us realize that there was like a meaning to all of it; it's really a beautiful thing to hear all those those words of praise.
Geezer: I agree. Hearing those words is very humbling and it never quite seems real. It means a lot to us that other bands feel that way.
Our thanks to Geezer and Ozzy for taking a few minutes to speak with Loudwire. Get all the details on Ozzfest Meets Knotfest here.
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