BLACK SABBATH's GEEZER BUTLER: 'I'm Playing Better Than Ever'

BLACK SABBATH's GEEZER BUTLER: 'I'm Playing Better Than Ever'

BLACK SABBATH bassist Geezer Butler spoke to Tulsa World about the band's decision to call it quits after completing "The End" tour in early 2017.

"We decided after the '13' tour to do one final tour while we're all at the top of our game," Geezer said. "We are obviously not getting any younger, and all things must end, so we felt the time was right to go out one last time."

Asked what has surprised him about fans' reaction to "The End" tour, Butler said: "The fans have been great on this final tour; it's almost like a party atmosphere as it's the end of an era. I have thoroughly enjoyed myself and feel that I'm playing better than ever, knowing that this is how fans will remember us."

Butler recently told TeamRock that he never suspected SABBATH would inspire metal when the band was formed more than four decades ago. "We didn't think we were that different," he explained. "CREAM and Hendrix were the two heaviest bands around — we went heavier because that's what we were into. LED ZEPPELIN had just come out and so we wanted to get heavier than that, but we didn't think it was earth-shattering. The press slagged our first album to death. They said we couldn't play our instruments, the songs weren't songs, the lyrics were crap, the riffs were awful, Tony [Iommi] was just an Eric Clapton clone… We were, like, 'Fuck it, who cares?'"

Geezer did admit, however, that, the band's success changed SABBATH as a band. "Yeah, we could sense it happening," he said. "We were stuck together for six or seven years non-stop. We hadn't had any social life, and it just wears thin. We were all into drugs and booze and you never get time away from it. I was the first victim. They fired me first, for about two months, and I was glad. It was like, ‘Thank fuck! Freedom!' Then they asked me back. It's just the change… something had to go. There was a lot of bickering. A lot of things that should've been said were not being said. I came back, and Ozzy [Osbourne, vocals] was stoned and drunk all the time and wasn't doing anything, so he left and we started doing 'Never Say Die' [1977], and Ozzy came back after we'd written half that album so he wouldn't sing any of the things we'd written and we had to start it again."

BLACK SABBATH will play its last show ever in the U.S. on November 12 at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. The gig will take place nearly five years to the day that the legendary act announced their reunion.

The group has also added two more headlining shows to its North American trek, on November 8 at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma and November 10 at Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.

SABBATH will bring its storied career to a close in the band's native England, with seven shows booked there in January and February. The last two, on February 2 and February 4, will take place in SABBATH's hometown of Birmingham and will likely be their final shows.

The original lineup of SABBATH came together in 1969 with Ozzy Osbourne on vocals, Tony Iommi on guitar, Butler on bass and Bill Ward on drums. That lineup recorded and toured through 1978, and periodically reformed through the '90s and 2000s for live work.

They regrouped again in late 2011 for a new album and tour, although Ward dropped out after just a few months. The remaining trio issued the "13" album in 2013 and backed it with a successful world tour — despite Iommi being treated for lymphoma since 2012.

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