BLACK SABBATH's GEEZER BUTLER Explains Why He Didn't Use Co-Writer For His Autobiography

June 2, 2023

BLACK SABBATH bassist Geezer Butler spoke to the "Far Beyond Metal" podcast about his autobiography, "Into The Void: From Birth To Black Sabbath - And Beyond", which will be released on June 6 in North America via HarperCollins imprint Dey Street Books. The book will arrive in the United Kingdom on June 8.

Regarding his reasons for writing his autobiography, Geezer said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "It was just really to tell [my story], because I always regretted not asking my parents much more than I did. I just took them for granted. It was, like, 'There's mom and there's dad and I haven't really heard [any details about] any of their lives.' And I just wanted to have a kind of history of my life so the grandkids can get to know me a little better, and their kids and stuff."

Asked why he didn't write his autobiography with the help of a co-writer or a ghostwriter, Butler said: "I've read lots of other [autobiographies], and they just don't sound like the people that are supposed to have written 'em. And I just wanted a book that sounded like me in the writing."

Geezer went on to say that he did get some help in researching and fact-checking the material that ended up being included in his book.

"I had somebody that sort of went through all the archives through the '70s and '80s," he said. "I couldn't remember half the things, where I was or what gigs were there, what gigs we did and where we were at a particular time. So he helped me with all that. He went through what gigs we did and how long the tours were and when the albums were released."

According to Geezer, some of the stories that he had originally intended to include in his autobiography ended up being on the cutting-room floor.

"I just sent in several manuscripts of my stuff, and the final manuscript I sent in was about — oh, God — probably about five hundred pages, and that was edited down to three hundred pages, as in the book," he explained.

Asked if the leftover material and other stories he may have thought of since the book was completed might end up being included in a special future paperback edition of his autobiography, Geezer said: "I'm not sure how that works. 'Cause I keep thinking of things that should be in the book, and it's too late now. So I don't know how that works, if I can do an updated version when the paperback comes out. I'm not sure. I'll have to ask the publisher."

Pressed about whether doing another book would interest him, Butler said: "Uhm… It depends if I'm gonna get sued or not. [Laughs] 'Cause I had to leave out so much stuff. They were saying, 'Oh, you can't say that.' 'You can't say that.' 'How can you prove that?' and all that kind of thing. So I don't think there would be enough for another one."

"Into The Void: From Birth To Black Sabbath – And Beyond" is described by the publisher as "a rollicking, effusive, and candid memoir by the heavy metal musician and founding member of BLACK SABBATH, covering his years as the band's bassist and main lyricist through his later-career projects, and detailing how one of rock's most influential bands formed and prevailed.

"With over 70 million records sold, BLACK SABBATH, dubbed by Rolling Stone 'THE BEATLES of heavy metal,' helped create the genre itself, with their distinctive heavy riffs, tuned down guitars, and apocalyptic lyrics. Bassist and primary lyricist Geezer Butler played a gigantic part in the band's renown, from suggesting the band name to using his fascination with horror, religion, and the occult to compose the lyrics and build the foundation of heavy metal as we know it.

"In 'Into The Void', Butler tells his side of the story, from the band's beginnings as a scrappy blues quartet in Birmingham through the struggles leading to the many well-documented lineup changes while touring around London's gritty clubs (Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, and THE WHO makes notable appearances!),and the band's important later years. He writes honestly of his childhood in a working-class family of seven in Luftwaffe-battered Birmingham, his almost-life as an accountant, and how his disillusionment with organized religion and class systems would spawn the lyrics and artistic themes that would resonate so powerfully with fans around the world.

"'Into The Void' reveals the softer side of the heavy metal legend and the formation of one of rock's most exciting bands, while holding nothing back. Like Geezer's bass lines, it is both original, dramatic, and forever surprising."

Back in 2021, Butler told that he started writing a memoir "because when my parents died, I always wished I'd asked them a lot more things than I knew about. I don't really know much about my mum and dad, 'cause they were always just there," he explained. "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."

In the fall of 2020, Butler told Australia's Wall Of Sound that his book would be "about growing up in Aston, Birmingham and how SABBATH came about." The bassist also reflected on everything he has accomplished in this past half a century, saying: "It's a great achievement to still be relevant 50 years after we recorded our first two albums. We honestly thought we'd last a few years, then be forgotten about. Fifty years ago any form of popular music was seen as a passing fad — people even thought THE BEATLES would be forgotten about after they broke up, but nobody then [realized] how powerful the nostalgia effect would be."

A founding member of BLACK SABBATH, Butler is also the lyricist of such SABBATH classics as "War Pigs", "Iron Man", "Paranoid" and others.

Butler, singer Ozzy Osbourne and guitarist Tony Iommi reunited in late 2011 and released a comeback album, "13", in June 2013.

In February 2017, SABBATH finished "The End" tour in Birmingham, closing out the quartet's groundbreaking 49-year career.

"The End" was SABBATH's last tour because Iommi, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2012 and is currently in remission, can no longer travel for extended amounts of time.

Although SABBATH will not tour again, Butler, Osbourne and Iommi have not ruled out recording together.

Geezer is the third member of the original SABBATH lineup to release an autobiography. Ozzy's memoir, "I Am Ozzy", debuted at No. 2 on the New York Times' "Hardcover Nonfiction" best-seller list. The book was published on January 25, 2010 in the U.S., nearly two years after it was first expected to arrive. "I Am Ozzy" chronicled the legendary metal icon's life from his working-class beginnings in Birmingham, England to his initial fame with BLACK SABBATH to his massive solo career and forays into television.

Osbourne won the "Literary Achievement" honor for "I Am Ozzy" at the 2010 Guys Choice Awards at Sony Pictures Studio in Culver City, California. Ozzy was presented with the award by Sir Ben Kingsley.

Iommi's memoir, "Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven And Hell With Black Sabbath", was released in hardback in November 2011. It landed at position No. 35 on the New York Times' "Hardcover Nonfiction" best-sellers list. Da Capo reportedly paid a six-figure amount at auction for the rights to the 352-page book, which was described as "'Angela's Ashes' meets 'The Ground Beneath Her Feet' meets 'Spinal Tap'" by Foundry Literary + Media co-founder Peter McGuigan, who completed the North American rights deal for the memoir.

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