David Swan of Australia's Faster Louder recently conducted an interview with BLACK SABBATH bassist Geezer Butler. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
On naming the new BLACK SABBATH album, "13":
Butler: "[BLACK SABBATH singer] Ozzy [Osbourne] came up with that last year. We were going through different titles for the album, and Ozzy just said, 'What about '13'? It's going to be out in 2013.' And we’d written 13 songs at the time. Then when we got to the studio we wrote three more, just off the top of our heads, jamming. Then that made it 16 but the record company said, 'The songs are really long, you can only fit eight on there.'"
On writing lyrics in his 60s:
Butler: "It used to come naturally back [in the early years]. Plus they would be written while we were doing gigs, over a period of time. Whereas this album, I literally had to write the lyrics the night before Ozzy sang them, so I didn't have any time. Literally the night before. I think there was one song, 'Dear Father', which I'd written about 12 months ago. But when push comes to shove, it had to be done. And I work better under pressure. It's just trying to come up with different themes for the songs, that's the hardest part. Once I worked out what I was writing about, it made it a lot easier…. Although I did most of the lyrics, Ozzy did four sets of them, I think. Originally we did 16 songs, but I think there's only eight on the basic CD, 11 on the deluxe version or whatever they put out these days, then there's another five of them. Ozzy did four, and I did 12. He really nailed them, vocally."
On studio drummer Brad Wilk (RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE):
Butler: "He was great. We literally had two weeks to work with him before we recorded the songs, and the first week were going, 'This guy's just not working out,' and we were panicking. And suddenly it just all fell into place. But we were literally doing it three songs at a time, so we had a week rehearsing at Ozzy's studio, and by the end of the week, he was getting into it. So we went into the studio and recorded the first three songs with him. And that was probably where [producer] Rick [Rubin] really worked out the most. He had the definite idea of what the drummer should do, so he was communicating with Brad, and he's worked with Brad before. So he knew what he wanted from Brad with the songs. And that's the way it worked out, and he did a great job in the end."
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