The legendary Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler recently joined in for an interview with Eddie Trunk on SiriusXM’s “Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk” when he looked back on the experience of recording the band’s final studio album “13” with Rick Rubin. He went on to state that he “still doesn’t know” what the producer’s contributions to the album actually were.
Geezer Butler opens up on Rick Rubin’s contribution
Rubin has been labeled as the producing wizard and having the man himself produce your album is largely seen as a sign of class and quality. Rubin’s work definitely includes a host of history-making albums – including Slayer’s “Reign in Blood”, Chili Peppers’ “Californication”, and S.O.A.D.’s “Toxicity.” However, the famous producer has also since become somewhat of a polarizing figure in the fans’ eyes. This time around, Geezer Butler seems not to be impressed with the contribution.
Although Black Sabbath’s original lineup toyed with the idea of releasing an album with Rubin as early as 2001, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Ozzy Osbourne (Bill Ward opted out of the deal a year earlier) only entered the studio with a serious intent of recording “13” in August 2012. “13” would be Black Sabbath’s final studio album before the band’s retirement in 2017, and the first to feature Iommi, Butler and Osbourne in 35 years.
While speaking about the experience of working with Rubin, Geezer Butler said:
“Some of it I liked, some of it I didn’t like particularly. It was a weird experience, especially with being told to forget that you’re a heavy metal band. That was the first thing [Rick] said to us. He played us our very first album, and he said, ‘Cast your mind back to then when there was no such thing as heavy metal or anything like that, and pretend it’s the follow-up album to that,’ which is a ridiculous thing to think.”
At this point, Butler was reminded that he wasn’t the only artist to feel nonplussed by Rubin’s studio input, to which the bassist replied:
“I still don’t know what he did. It’s, like, ‘Yeah, that’s good.’ ‘No, don’t do that.’ And you go, ‘Why?’ [And he’d say], ‘Just don’t do it.’ I think Ozzy one day went nuts ’cause he’d done, like, 10 different vocals, and Rick kept saying, ‘Yeah, that’s great, but do another one.’ And Ozzy was, like, ‘If it’s great, why am I doing another one?’ He just lost it. And that’s the way it was. Tony wasn’t happy with some of the stuff he was trying to make him play. He was making Tony get 1968 amps — as if that’s gonna make it sound like back in 1968. It’s mad. But it’s good for publicity and it’s good for the record company. If you’ve got Rick Rubin involved, then it must be good, kind of thing.”