Jeff Kerby of KNAC.COM recently conducted an in-depth interview with BLACK SABBATH bassist Geezer Butler. Several excerpts from the interview follow:
KNAC.COM: It seems that the new GZR record contains lyrics that typically deal with alienation and darkness. Do these lyrics reflect more about the band personally or is it more of a representation of society as a whole?
Geezer: "Well, the lyrics come from me and Clark [Brown, vocals]. He has led sort of a bleak life up there in Massachusetts where he is from, while I'm sort of stating more of a worldwide view with the war in Iraq and the troubles in the Middle East and how religion has poisoned everybody. It just seems as though people never learn from their past mistakes. I can't believe that people can't just get on with each other, but it seems like there always has to be violence. I know it might be a bit naïve, but those are the feelings in my songs."
KNAC.COM: You mentioned working with Clark — is there almost always a period when you are collaborating with someone new where the other person invariably has to get over the fact that they are, in fact, working with "Geezer Butler of BLACK SABBATH?" Does it take a little longer than normal to get on a personal level?
Geezer: "Yeah, I think it wasn’t so bad this time, but Clark on the last album got really nervous, which is bad in way because people get frightened and only want to take the easy way without trying anything different because they might mess up. That is sort of the way he was at first on the last album, but then, after we worked together for a while, he realized I wasn't this big monster or anything. The fact is that I respect his input as much as I respect anyone's input, and once he realized that, things came much easier for him, and he really came out of himself and felt relaxed a lot more."
KNAC.COM: What is it like to realize that you have that type of effect on other people or fellow musicians? Or is it just something you have had to deal with for so long?
Geezer: "It's hard for me to realize it. I've played with the guys in SABBATH for years, and we've grown up together and have just always been around each other. When you meet other people, it's hard to think that they think that you're something more than just an ordinary person. They soon realize though that I don't have this big ego or anything."
KNAC.COM: When you tour with GZR versus SABBATH, is this harder because it is more personal for you?
Geezer: "With SABBATH, it is really comfortable because the emphasis is not on me. You get to go out and play songs that everyone has heard before — most people just tend to look at Ozzy anyway. When it is a case where I'm on stage with my band, sometimes I get really uncomfortable when I realize that everyone is looking at me. [Laughs] I start to get paranoid."
Geezer: "Yeah, it was like that. One night, I was on tour and I just started thinking about it and it just occurred to me that everyone was looking at me. It had never really occurred to me before. Then I couldn't stop thinking about it."
KNAC.COM: Yeah, I’m sure you were wishing that the thought had never come into your mind.
Geezer: "It got to the point where I wanted to hide behind the amp. It was like stage fright. I had never experienced that before. It is much easier for me to go on in front of twenty thousand people when I feel fairly anonymous than it is to go out in front of sixty people in a club."
Read Geezer Butler's entire interview with KNAC.COM at this location.