Geezer Butler, much like Ozzy Osbourne, has shared a similar regret about his time in Black Sabbath, telling Full Metal Jackie on her weekend radio show that the absence of drummer Bill Ward on the band's final tour is something he wished hadn't happened.

"We were all sad about it, that he couldn't really do it," says Butler. "But yeah, I'd love Bill to have been on the last album and tour."

Butler was a guest on the show, discussing his "Into the Void" memoir. Within the chat, he speaks about seeing some of rock's biggest names before they hit it big and which fellow musicians he knew were bound for stardom. He also spoke on how time has impacted his views on religion and why the '60s were such an interesting time for forming a world view. And he offers insight on how his parents reacted once his career in music started taking off.

Geezer also reflects on Black Sabbath's Tony Martin era and his one album spent with the singer and he shares how he views music these days.

Check out the chat below.

It's Full Metal Jackie and this week I am so honored to bring you the legendary Geezer Butler. Happy to have you back on the show. Geezer has finally told his story in the autobiography "into the Void," which is available now. Geezer, we think of you with this iconic career, but the book takes us into your beginnings and coming up at the same time as other future legends in Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, The Who and others.

I realize it's hard when you're in the middle of it, but among those in the rock scene at the time, were there musicians you knew were a star before they actually became these superstars? Did anyone's career take off bigger than you expected, or perhaps less than expected from your peers at that time?

Yeah, one of the local bands that I used to see every week or so was Band of Joy, whose singer was Robert Plant. And you could tell from the first time I seen him, he was going to be massive. It was Rob Plant. And then John Bonham used to be in a local band as well, drummer. And you knew that he'd go on to greater things.

Geezer, taking on the role of lyricist in Black Sabbath and channeling some of your disillusionment with organized religion into some really classic hits. I was curious if your views have changed or softened with age. Some of our more idealistic times are in our youth when we're taking in so many things. But age and experience can sometimes shift our thought process or it makes us dig in deeper.

I suppose they remain the same. I'm not as religious like I used to be, so that's definitely changed. I think I'm a bit more conservative than I used to be as I get older. Dirty old man.

But the '60s was such an incredible time to be a teenager. All the music was changing everywhere. There was all these new ideas coming. The counter culture was going on at the time and there was big backlash against organized religion, big backlash against the establishment. The Vietnam War was raging, which my generation was totally against, and there just seemed to be so many things happening. There'd be new great bands coming out every other month, it seemed, and everything was just like, really vibrant.

geezer butler, into the void book
Harper Collins

Geezer, it's been pretty well documented that you gave up what could have been a career as an accountant. Musician is probably not the first choice of what parents wish for their children, but I have to think there was some satisfaction when things started to turn positively for the band's future. Are there any moments that stand out to you when the family's view of your chosen profession started to shift?

I didn't really give up accounting, so I was fired from it because I could never turn up on time. All I wanted to do is be a musician. I was only doing accounting because it was the softest job I could find. You stuck with it because you're in the office all the time instead of being out in the factory like the rest of my family were.

When I got fired from the accountancy thing, I couldn't tell my dad because he'd have killed me. He'd have beat hell out of me for leaving the job. And I couldn't say, "Oh, I want to be a musician" because, you know, he'd just laugh at me and probably throw me out the house. So I had to keep that to myself. I'd still pretend to go to work every day and I'd just walk around the streets of Birmingham until 05:00 in the afternoon, then come home so that he thought that I was still going to being in a job.

The first time they ever really took the musician side seriously was when I finally brought home the first album and showed it to them. I said, "This is what I've done." It's all something that you can hold in your hands and realize that my dreams are coming true.

It must have been some happiness for you. Like, okay, don't have to do the accounting thing anymore.

Yeah, I hated doing that. It wasn't even accounting. They just sent me out to buy cigarettes or go and buy the newspaper or make them a cup of tea. They were just taking advantage of me being a teenager.

Geezer, Ozzy recently commented that his biggest regret about Black Sabbath's history is that Bill Ward wasn't there at the end. And you've been part of some of the band's biggest albums, have left the group and returned. Reflecting on your own personal history with Black Sabbath, is there anything you wish you could change in how it played out?

Well, obviously, I'd love Bill to have been on the final album and the final tour that we did. I think Bill was a very proud person and he didn't want to come along and just do three or four songs. He insisted on doing the whole set and the whole album.

And I think people said he wasn't up to it health wise. And we couldn't risk booking a whole worldwide tour and then having to cancel it after a few days. And so we respected that. We were all sad about it, that he couldn't really do it.

But yeah, I'd love Bill to have been on the last album and tour.

READ MORE: How Ozzy Osbourne and Geezer Butler Started Talking Again

Geezer, one other thing in Black Sabbath world these days is the new box set collection celebrating the Tony Martin years of the band. Tony often gets overlooked when you've got Ozzy and Ronnie James Dio. But what were your thoughts on the music that you created during the Tony Martin era?

There was just one album that I did with Tony Martin that was, God, I can't even remember Cross Purposes. Tony Martin's a great singer and he was good to work with. There were no bigger egos or anything. He got down to it when he needed to.

That was a good album for me because a lot, half of it was probably written by me, but the music side of it. I went round to Tony [Iommi]'s one day and played him all this because I was doing a solo thing at the time and I'd got tons of material. I played him some of the stuff that I'd been writing, and he really liked a lot of it. So I think about half of it ended up on the album.


Geezer, it's safe to say that you've had an illustrious career that expands beyond Sabbath. And this is not a best album question, but what I want to know is what album and touring cycle was the most rewarding for you? And by that I mean the combination of your appreciation for where you were at in terms of career, but also just that entire period of your life was most looked favorably upon.

I think when the first album was massive everywhere in the world and we were finally able to get to America, which was the sort of holy grail of places to tour, I think just that whole first album and when Paranoid took off even bigger than the first album, and we came to America, it was just an amazing, incredible time.

Black Sabbath, "Paranoid"

Geezer, your life has been music, and that creative side is not something that easily goes away. What's challenging you these days as a writer, as a musician and as a fan of heavy music? What keeps it interesting for you?

Just seeing what I can come up with. I've got a little studio in the house. Only when I feel like it, I'll go in the studio, just come up with something. It could be anything, just to please me, not for like general release or trying to get a record deal. Just to be able to sit down in my studio and just come up with stuff to see what I can still come up with.

Lyrically, there's not a lot of things that inspire me these days. It's just a lot of bad things happening in the world, it seems, which isn't very inspiring. So yeah, it's more of a hobby now to me than anything else.

And is there any plans for you personally? Any additional music or anything this year?

Well, if I come up with anything interesting I'll follow it up, otherwise there's no big hurry for anything.

So it's just what inspires you and then what comes. It's not like there's any plans. You're just going as you go sort of thing, which must be nice to not have to do it.

If I come out with something that I think is absolutely marvelous and everybody should hear it, then I'll call certain people up and try and do something with it, but otherwise, I'm just doing it as a hobby.

Thanks to Geezer Butler. His "Into the Void" memoir is available now. Stay up to date with Geezer Butler through his website, Facebook, X, Instagram and Spotify. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show here.

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