Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler has started writing his autobiography… and it promises to be quite a read.
“I started out because when my parents died, I always wished I’d asked them a lot more things than I knew about,” Butler admitted to the Cleveland.com website. “I don’t really know much about my mum and dad, ’cause they were always just there. So, I started writing a memoir for my grandkids to read, and that’s been fun going through stuff — old times and growing up in Birmingham, and all that. I’m right in the middle of doing that at the moment.”
Born in Aston, Birmingham on July 17, 1949, Terence Michael Joseph Butler grew up in a large Irish Catholic family, and enjoyed “an adventurous childhood”, he told Metal Hammer in 2019.
“Birmingham got heavily bombed during WWII, so in the early 50s it was still full of a lot of bombed-out buildings,” he recalled. “We had rationing – you could only get a government allowance of food, but I didn’t know anything different, so I had a very adventurous childhood. I had air raid shelters and destroyed buildings to play in. It was great for the imagination.”
“Aston was very much a place for immigrants. My local school was all Irish, being a Catholic school, and everyone I knew as a kid was either Scottish or Irish or Indian, in the case of the family next door. I didn’t even really meet anyone from Birmingham until I went to secondary school.”
Speaking to Classic Rock writer Paul Brannigan in 2019, Butler admitted that, growing up, he thought that his father was involved with the IRA, and revealed that he himself was drawn into “a couple of knife fights” during his teenage years.
“I found my father’s revolver under the oven one day, and the family were always singing Irish songs, Kevin Barry, The Rising Of The Moon, all that kind of stuff. So I just put two and two together and thought he was in the IRA. But it turned out that he’d got the gun during World War 2 when he was an air raid warden. He used to have bayonets, knives, flick-knives, everything, but that was all from the war.”
“I never went out without my flick-knife,” Geezer admitted. “Aston was rough. When you walked around Aston it was best to be armed. I had a couple of knife fights, nothing serious. It was mainly for show. You’d square up to each other, get your knives out, shout a bit, and that’d be it. It didn’t go full Zorro!”
While Butler hasn’t gone into specifics about what memories he'll be sharing with the world in his forthcoming book, we can only hope that it includes anecdotes like the one he shared with Cleveland.com about his time living in Los Angeles with the other members of Black Sabbath in the 1970s, which he fondly remembers as “completely mental”.
“We used to have bucketloads of cocaine there, and we had this big bowl in the middle of the table, full of cocaine,” he recalls. “One day Ozzy noticed this button below one of the windows; He kept pressing it, ‘I wonder what this does?’ The next thing, the police turned up - it was a panic button. And there was us with this great big bowl of cocaine in the middle. So, we dumped all the cocaine down the toilet and ran upstairs to get rid of our own stashes. The coppers went,‘What’s the problem?’ Oh, nothing... ‘OK, see ya...’ And we’d dumped about five grams of cocaine down the bog!“
No date has yet been set for the publication of Butler’s memoir.