Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler Inspires Respect Among Peers at Bass Player Live Event
The Bass Player Live! Concert & Awards took place Saturday night (Nov. 9) in Los Angeles and you’d be hard pressed to find a better honoree than Black Sabbath‘s Geezer Butler. The bassist, who received a lifetime achievement award from event sponsor Hartke, was also saluted with a 10-song tribute featuring some of metal’s top names.
In addition to our coverage of the show itself, Loudwire also hit the red carpet to speak with a number of the performers and guests at the event, who all shared their love and respect for the Black Sabbath legend. Megadeth bassist David Ellefson attested, “He was the first one to really go there. Zeppelin and Jimmy Page has been open about his fascination with the occult, but Geezer especially because he had the pen and [wrote] the lyrics [that really pushed that dark side]. In a large way, he created Ozzy‘s whole aura and mystique and personality cause Ozzy sang ‘em but Geezer wrote ‘em.”
The Winery Dogs‘ Billy Sheehan added, “He’s a founding father of a whole genre of music and a man who really set the bar early on to be such an integral part of the sound and song structure of Sabbath.” Butler’s influence is undeniable, with several of the rockers crediting him with sparking their interest in metal.
“You know Geezer, it’s the way he played bass. He didn’t follow the guitar. He did his own thing. It was a groove. He put a groove into Black Sabbath which I love,” says King’s X‘s dUg Pinnick. “It’s his tone. I saw Black Sabbath in ’71 and his tone just engulfs the whole room. I had just started playing bass so I had to go home and find loud amps.”
Kill Devil Hill / Pantera bassist Rex Brown added, “He’s a legend. He’s everything. Geezer is so much of an influence on me. I remember walking around with the 8-track of ‘Vol. 4′ when I was 10 years old … And then I got to tour with the guy in 1998 … and we did it all over the world. Who gets to do that? You know. It’s a blessing. I got to hang out with him and we’re friends now. It’s awesome.”
With just the mention of Butler’s name, a number of top rockers signed on to salute the legend. Zakk Wylde told us, “It’s just awesome and great. All the guys that are playing are amazing and I’m proud to be a part of it. I love Geezer and whether I had to come down here and shine his shoes or get up there when he jams, I’d do it for him.”
Anthrax‘s Frank Bello added, “For me it’s everything. I was happy to be asked to come here and play for songs that I already knew. I’m so on it, but I like learning every little part of each bass line cause this is what I love to do, so for me this is a thank you to Geezer.”
And Jason Newsted admitted having a bit of nerves before his performance of ‘War Pigs.’ “I’m a little nervous. I’ve played this song a lot of times, but yeah, it’s still kind of weird. I’m playing right before the man. That’s kind of a big deal,” said Newsted.
Many of the musicians painted Butler as a humble man and a “gentle giant,” which was all the more evident later in the evening when the bassist accepted his honor telling the crowd he wasn’t sure he “deserved all of this” and even when taking the stage to perform with Corey Taylor, Zakk Wylde and Charlie Benante, he quietly played toward the back letting his music do the talking.