Black Sabbath Reveal ‘Worst’ Drug They Used In Studio

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In a new Bass Guitar Magazine interview, Geezer Butler revealed on which album Black Sabbath started using ‘serious’ drugs, and why alcohol is actually the worst thing he abused in regards to recording.

Which were the wildest recording sessions for Sabbath?

“We only started using drugs while recording [1972’s] ‘Vol. 4’ onwards. The first few albums were recorded reasonably straight, maybe a few joints were smoked. The serious stuff was imbibed when we recorded that one in LA… and then later on [1973’s] ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.’

“None of it made me play better. I’d think so at the time – then when listening to it back sober, I’d have to redo everything. Alcohol is by far the worst for performing. I only ever did that once, and that was enough.”

On meeting Ozzy Osbourne:

“My first impression of Ozzy was that he was not the full shilling, as we used to say back then. I’d seen his ‘Ozzy Zig Needs Gig’ advert in the local musical instruments store and noticed he lived a few streets away from me in Aston. I went around to his house, but he wasn’t in.

“Later that day, there was a knock on the door and my brother said, ‘There’s someone asking for you.’ I opened the door and there was this skinhead, with a factory gown on, no shoes or socks, a chimney brush over his shoulder and a sneaker on a dog lead. He was perfect for my band…

“I later switched to bass when we joined up with Tony and Bill. At that time, we were a six-piece, there was already another guitarist and a sax player – so I switched to bass, being the least proficient guitarist in the band.”

And before you owned an actual bass, you used a detuned Telecaster guitar.

“When we started rehearsing as the Polka Tulk Blues Band, I tuned down my Telecaster and used it as a bass. I can’t imagine now what that must have sounded like; the rest of the band must have had great patience!

“I borrowed a bass on the way to our first gig from the bass player in the Rare Breed. It only had three strings, but it was a damn sight better than using the Telecaster.”

You learned how to play very quickly.

“I don’t class myself as a great bass player, but I do credit Tony and Bill with providing the inspiration for me to play as well as I can. They were and still are very accomplished musicians.

“I can only thank them for having the patience and giving me the encouragement while I was teaching myself to play bass. I think the biggest mistake is trying to do too much too soon.”

Now that touring with Sabbath is over, what do you plan to do with your time?

“I will mainly be spending time with my family, dogs, and cats – and probably doing lots of tourist-type traveling. Of course, I’ll be writing ideas for songs, which may or may not ever be heard publicly. I just enjoy experimenting in my home studio.”

There is some good news in that Sabbath are still open to one-off shows in the future… If you were a betting man, when do you see that happening?

“I’m totally resigned to the fact that Sabbath is over… except for its legacy…”