GEEZER BUTLER Says OZZY OSBOURNE 'Desperately Wants' To Play One Final Concert

June 16, 2024

In a new interview with Jonathan Clarke, host of "Out Of The Box" on Q104.3, New York's classic rock station, BLACK SABBATH bassist Geezer Butler reflected on the band's "The End" final tour, which concluded in February 2017 in SABBATH's original hometown of Birmingham, England. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "It was great. I mean, we knew that physically it was becoming a hard, especially [since SABBATH guitarist] Tony [Iommi] had cancer at the time and he just said, 'I think I've got one more tour left in me and that's it. That's all I can do.' And so we put that two together as the final thing. We all would have loved to have Bill [Ward, original SABBATH drummer] with us, but Bill's a proud guy. He's had heart problems and everything. And we said, 'Well, just come out and do, like, three songs or something,' and he said, 'No. I either do the whole thing or I'm not doing any of it.' And so, fair enough. And so we just carried on to the end, and that was it."

Asked about SABBATH singer Ozzy Osbourne's recent comment that he would love the original band — including Ward — to reunite for one final concert, Butler said: "Yeah. Ozzy desperately wants to do, 'cause of his health conditions, he desperately wants to do a final Ozzy Osbourne [solo] concert. And he said to me, 'I'd love SABBATH to do a couple of songs, two or three songs, as the final show ever' — Ozzy's final show and SABBATH's final show. And I said, 'Yeah, I'm up for it, definitely.' But I'm not sure what the others are up to. Me and Ozzy, we're up for it. But whether Tony and Bill would do it, I don't know."

Earlier in the month, Butler was asked by SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk" if he thinks Bill would be physically able to play a couple of songs, either as part of a concert or a new SABBATH recording project. Geezer said: "I don't think so. Maybe, I don't know. I mean, the way technical things happen these days, maybe a couple of songs, but who knows? There wouldn't be any traveling involved. We wouldn't be actually all in the studio at the same time together. So it could be done that way — maybe."

When host Eddie Trunk pointed out that Geezer wrote in his his autobiography "Into The Void: From Birth To Black Sabbath – And Beyond" that he hadn't spoken to Ozzy in years, Butler revealed that he has since been in touch with Osbourne "every day practically. There was a lot of miscommunication [before]. He didn't think I was asking about his health 'cause I know he's been going through a lot of health problems, and I was sending all these messages to him and they weren't being passed on to him. So he thought I was just ignoring him. And then the weird way I had to go through SABBATH's accountant to tell Ozzy I'd sent him all these things. 'Cause he did this thing in Rolling Stone saying that I hadn't been in touch with him about his health. So I went through the accountant, and he got in touch with Ozzy and said, 'He's just been sending you stuff. He wants to talk to you.' And we've been fine since that."

Asked if he is in regular contact with Ward, Butler said: "He's not on e-mail and I hate the phone. So, I send e-mails to his wife, who passes it on to Bill."

Asked if he misses playing, Geezer said: "With [the SABBATH guys], yeah." He went on to say that he still practices his playing regularly. "It's like part of me daily exercise. I don't get down to the gym. I just go up to my studio."

Seven months ago, Geezer disputed Ozzy's claim that the BLACK SABBATH bassist never contacted him to check up on him while was battling a host of health issues in recent years. Last November, Butler took to his social media to write: "Rumour has it; Ozzy is upset, saying he never received my get well messages. I made 2 different attempts at getting in touch during his illnesses. My first email (8 Feb, 2019) went through his office because I didn't have Ozzy's new number to text him. Sharon [Osbourne, Ozzy's wife and manager] responded but I didn't hear back from Ozzy. 11 months later (21 Jan, 2020),I emailed Sharon to check on Oz. That email went unanswered.

"I don't want to engage in a tit for tat," Geezer added. "Having made 2 attempts to wish Ozzy well , without a reply, I figured it best to privately keep him in my thoughts."

In "Into The Void: From Birth To Black Sabbath – And Beyond", Butler addressed his relationship with Ozzy, writing, "Me and Ozzy are fine. It's just that we're both ruled by our wives. He's got a big heart and was always there for me in times of trouble... We might not be as close as we were, but we'll always be brothers."

Last fall, Ozzy blamed the breakdown in his friendship with Butler on a falling out between his wife/manager Sharon and Geezer's wife/manager Gloria Butler. He told Rolling Stone UK: "[BLACK SABBATH guitarist] Tony Iommi has been so supportive of me since my illness. Geezer Butler hasn't given me one fucking phone call. Not one fucking call. When his son was fucking born, I phoned him every fucking night even though we were at war with each other, BLACK SABBATH and me [after I was out of the band]. I thought, 'Fuck it, he's my mate. I'm gonna call him.' But from him, not one fucking call.

"It's sad, man," he continued. "We all grew up together, and he can't pick up the fucking phone like a man and see how I'm doing. Even [original BLACK SABBATH drummer] Bill Ward has been in touch with me. I said some things about Bill, and I don't know why I said it, but when I came through my illness, he contacted me.

"I'm not in shock. I'm just very fucking sad that he can't just call me after all this time and say, 'How you doing?' Fucking arsehole."

Asked why he and Geezer had a falling out in the first place, Ozzy said: "His wife and my wife had a falling out. But that's got fucking nothing to do with me. Are you really going to hide behind your wife's skirt because of that?"

In June 2023, Geezer addressed the fact that he hadn't been in contact with Ozzy in an interview with Ultimate Classic Rock. Speaking about the fact that he mentioned Iommi in the book acknowledgments, where he wrote that Tony "actually still keeps in touch", Geezer said: "Yeah, he's always been there for me. You know, he's a good friend. We can slag each other to death. It's like marriage, really. You have terrible arguments, you fall out and you come back together. But he's always there. He always is. I hope he is after this book as well. I still love Bill, but he's not on the Internet. If you want to talk to Bill, you have to e-mail his wife and she has to tell him. It's really awkward. [Laughs] Ozzy I don't speak to at all." Asked if he thinks there's a chance those lines of communication will open back up at some point, Butler said: "I very much doubt it. We didn't fall out; it was the wives."

During an appearance on the "Appetite For Distortion" podcast, Geezer elaborated on his Ultimate Classic Rock comments, saying: "Well, it's like with every family. We've fallen out loads of times over the past 50 years — you fall out for a year or two and then you get together. I don't see any of the rest of the band. It's just that people have picked up on the Sharon part of it because everybody knows who Sharon is. If I would have put Bill's wife in there, nobody would have said anything about it, or Tony's wife. But because everybody knows who Sharon is, they seem to pick up on that. We were such a close band anyway. You have these fallouts and you beat each other up and whatever, and you don't talk to each other for two or three years, and then you get back together as if nothing's ever happened."

Butler and his wife, Gloria Butler, split their time between Henderson, Nevada and Utah while Ozzy and his wife, Sharon, are preparing to move back to the United Kingdom after living in California for the last few decades.

In 2022, Ozzy described Tony to Metal Hammer magazine as "incredibly supportive" while admitting that he hadn't spoken to Butler in a while. "Last I heard, he was living in Vegas," Ozzy said.

During an August 2020 appearance on Steve-O's "Wild Ride!" podcast, Sharon Osbourne was asked if it's correct to say that when the original BLACK SABBATH lineup reunited more a decade ago, it was done on her terms, with her husband owning the SABBATH name and the other members of SABBATH acting as "employees" of the band. She responded: "It's about right, but Ozzy and Tony own the name — Geezer and Bill don't. So it's Ozzy and Tony that own the name, and they are partners in BLACK SABBATH. So you're kind of right. Ozzy and Tony are equal, and at the time, the other guys, you know, it's kind of like pay-for-play."

Ozzy filed a lawsuit against Tony in May 2009, claiming that Iommi illegally took sole ownership of the band's name in a filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Osbourne sued Iommi for a 50 percent interest in the "Black Sabbath" trademark, along with a portion of Iommi's profits from use of the name.

The Manhattan federal court suit also charged that Osbourne's "signature lead vocals" are largely responsible for the band's "extraordinary success," noting that its popularity plummeted during his absence from 1980 through 1996.

Lawyer Andrew DeVore argued that Osbourne signed away all his rights to the BLACK SABBATH trademark after he quit the band in 1979.

Osbourne's lawyer, Howard Shire, called that agreement a "red herring" that was "repudiated" when the singer rejoined in 1997 and took over "quality control" of the band's merchandise, tours and recordings.

In June 2010, Ozzy told The Pulse Of Radio that the lawsuit between him and Tony had been settled and that everything was okay between them.

According to Rolling Stone, Butler had sold his share of the BLACK SABBATH band name to Iommi in 1984 and has since gotten over any regrets. "I still get a quarter of everything, so it doesn't matter financially," he told the magazine. "It's just that I can never go out on the road and call myself BLACK SABBATH."

In his book, Butler wrote that the original SABBATH reunion didn't go as planned after it was announced in November 2011, adding that "there was a big row about the SABBATH name, all over again. I was under the impression that since the original members were back together, writing and recording a new album, the name would revert to all four of us, whatever had happened between Tony and Ozzy a couple of years earlier," Geezer wrote. "But when the name was discussed, it became clear that Tony and Ozzy had no intention of sharing the SABBATH name with me or Bill. I felt cheated, so I left the band again. They got someone in to replace me, but a couple of weeks later I got a call from Tony, begging me to come back. In the end, I got my lawyers on the case and they managed to sort everything out. I was assured that despite not part-owning the SABBATH name, everything would be split equally, and the band wouldn't be able to tour as SABBATH without my approval, if needed."

"Into The Void: From Birth To Black Sabbath - And Beyond" was released in June 2023 in North America via HarperCollins imprint Dey Street Books.

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