Geezer Butler recalls the time a stage invader with a knife tried to "sacrifice" Tony Iommi at a Black Sabbath show

Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler
(Image credit: Katja Ogrin/Redferns)

Geezer Butler has recalled the time when a "lunatic" stage-jumper tried to "sacrifice" his former bandmate Tony Iommi at a Black Sabbath show.

While in conversation with Reader's Digest, the bassist discusses how the band's image ignited a backlash from various religious groups.

Noting how his Catholic family wasn't pleased with the inverted Cross symbol on their 1970 self-titled debut album, Butler adds: "But, generally, nobody in the UK or Europe cared that much about our Satanic imagery."

Speaking of how their controversial persona resulted in one man trying to attack the band during a show, he continues: "In the US, though, people would threaten us and turn up at our gigs with crosses and bibles. In Nashville, someone jumped on stage and went for Tony with a knife. Fortunately, Tony had turned around to kick his faulty amp at that point, saw the attacker and got out of the way.

"The police arrested the attacker, though we don’t know what happened to him. But he wanted to sacrifice Tony. Lunatic."

Elsewhere in the interview, the bassist reflects on another highly memorable on-stage moment which saw Sabbath drummer Bill Ward accidentally expose himself to an audience in 1997.

He says: "We played at Milton Keynes Bowl, but Bill had had a heart attack and couldn’t join us. Instead, he introduced us. Tony decided to pull his shorts down for fun. But Bill wasn’t wearing underwear and the crowd got quite an eyeful. Especially as Bill was very well endowed.”

Last month, Butler released his autobiography Into the Void: From Birth to Black Sabbath – and Beyond.

The synopsis for the book reads: "Into the Void sees Geezer tell his side of the Sabbath story for the first time, from early days as a scrappy blues quartet through to the many lineup changes, the record-breaking tours and the international hell-raising with Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Bill Ward. Featuring Geezer’s candid reflections on his working-class childhood in Luftwaffe-battered Birmingham, his almost-life as an accountant and his fascination with horror, religion and the occult, Into the Void will also include 30 photos from Geezer’s personal collection – some never-before-published.”

Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music.