Geezer Butler Shrugs Off Black Sabbath’s Satanic Image: ‘People Like to Find Negative in Everything’
As anyone who’s ever closely listened to Black Sabbath‘s music knows, there’s a wide disconnect between the band’s “evil” image and the actual lyrical content of most of their songs. It’s easy to assume that being the subject of decades of misperception would bug the guys in the band, but bassist Geezer Butler — who’s been largely responsible for their lyrics over the years — seems to be taking it in stride.
Butler good-naturedly addressed the subject in a recent interview with Jamie Blaine at The Weeklings (via Classic Rock Magazine), during which Blaine recounts watching a preacher decry Sabbath as the worst of the allegedly Satanic metal bands during a childhood church visit. After stumbling across the group’s 1971 album Master of Reality in an uncle’s record collection and investigating the music firsthand, Blaine realized “the lyrics were actually — quite Christian.”
“People like to find negative in everything,” shrugged Butler. “We weren’t interested in writing songs about the ‘nice’ things in the world — everyone else was writing about that. We wanted to inject some reality into music. I think,” he laughed, “if we’d been called White Sunday we’d have had a totally different reaction!”
Explaining that the band members were all raised Christian and adding “We all believe in God,” Butler talked specifically about Sabbath’s “After Forever,” which Blaine points out has been referred to as the first Christian rock song. “A lot of it was because of the situation in Northern Ireland at the time. There were a lot of religious troubles between the Protestants against the Catholics,” Butler explained. “I was brought up strictly Catholic and I guess I was naive in thinking that religion shouldn’t be fought over. I always felt that God and Jesus wanted us to love each other. It was just a bad time in Northern Ireland, setting bombs off in England and such. We all believed in Jesus — and yet people were killing each other over it.”
So, given all that, is Sabbath actually — as Blaine puts it — “some sort of secretly gospel band”?
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