GEEZER BUTLER Opens Up About His Past Battles With Depression: 'People Used To Think I Was Moody And Miserable'

August 19, 2023

In a new interview with NPR's "Bullseye With Jesse Thorn", legendary BLACK SABBATH bassist Geezer Butler opened up about his past battles with depression. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Well, I wasn't depressed all the time. Just the occasional bout would come on me. At first, when it was getting really bad… Back then nobody ever said anything about depression or anything like that, and people were terrified to mention that you might be depressed 'cause you automatically thought you were gonna be taken away to a mental hospital and be locked away forever. So you couldn't talk about it to people in case that happened. One day I got a really bad bout of depression and I went to the doctor and he said, 'Oh, go down the pub and have a couple of pints. Or take the dog for a walk or something. You'll be all right.' And it was, like, 'No, I'm not gonna be all right. It doesn't work like that.' And that kept happening. And it wasn't until, I think in the 1990s. I was living in St. Louis at the time, and I had a bit of a nervous breakdown. And I went to this doctor, the usual doctor, and I just explained everything to him and he told me that I was clinically depressed and he put me on Prozac. And after six weeks, I finally came out of the depression. And I thought, 'Oh, yeah. This is what I'm supposed to feel like.' And ever since that, I've been okay."

Butler reiterated that he "couldn't talk about" his depression with anyone. "And when I did get depression, people used to think I was moody and miserable," he said. "And they'd be going, 'Well, what's the matter with you? What's happened to you?' And nothing bad had happened. So they were saying, 'You've got all the money you want, you've got your house, you've got your cars and everything. What's wrong with you? Cheer up.' And they couldn't understand that it's nothing like that. You can have everything you can possibly want in the world, but when you get into those dark, depressing days, nothing matters. All you think about is, like, 'So I'll just end it or what.' And luckily I used to come out of it."

Asked if he felt any shame about the way that he had felt and behaved when he was depressed, Geezer said: "Not really shame. I just wish people could have [understood] that I wasn't miserable at the time. 'Cause if you're a rock star or whatever, if you're in a band, you're supposed to be this happy person and you're up all the time and everything is available to you and you can do this, you can do that. And you're not supposed to get depressed if you're a rock star and all that kind of thing. It was just hard coming to terms with it and admitting that's where it was. And it was just the occasional thing. I wasn't depressed all the time or anything like that. It's just that when I'd get into those black holes, I just couldn't get out of it. And it wasn't until it was diagnosed that I finally found a way out of it."

A couple of months ago, Geezer told Uncut that he "started cutting" himself to get relief from his depression because he couldn't talk to anybody about how he was feeling. "Nobody talked about it and nobody understood it," he said. "One day I cut myself so deeply that I couldn't stop the blood. People used to think I was really moody, but it was when the depression hit me I couldn't get out of it, I couldn't talk to people. People used to think I was miserable.”

Butler explained how he started taking antidepressants during a tour of America and has remained medicated since. He said: "Then I wrote the song 'Paranoid' which is all about mental health stuff and it wasn't until ages after that that I went to the doctor and they gave me pills. I had a mental breakdown, went to a doctor in America and he put me on Prozac. After about six weeks on that, the depression started lifting. I've been on various antidepressants ever since."

The bassist added that he has a "big black hole" inside of him and called it a disease. Butler added: "I enjoyed the success of the album, absolutely. People would say, 'You've got all this money coming in. You've got a No 1 album. What have you got to be depressed about?' It's like a disease. There's nothing you can do about it, no matter how much money you've got or how happy you are with your job.

Butler continued: "When you're in it, you don’t think you're going to get out of it. I'd go into this big black hole. And once you're in it, you can't remember what normal life was like. People used to think if you were depressed, that you were antisocial, miserable."

Butler is promoting his autobiography, "Into The Void: From Birth To Black Sabbath – And Beyond", which was released on June 6 in North America via HarperCollins imprint Dey Street Books and on June 8 in the United Kingdom.

Find more on Black sabbath
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • reddit
  • email

Comments Disclaimer And Information

BLABBERMOUTH.NET uses the Facebook Comments plugin to let people comment on content on the site using their Facebook account. The comments reside on Facebook servers and are not stored on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@) with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).