Welcome to Sentinel Daily, Mr. Butler – it is indeed a pleasure and an honour to feature you within our cyber pages… I’m not going to sing these words, but… And now, the end is near… as you face the final curtain for Black Sabbath, looking back, have there ever been times when you’ve thought ‘what the hell am I doing here?’ “I’ve often thought that, but I feel very lucky to have lived the life I have”.
Your bass style is an integral part of the Sabbath sound, yet not many people have replicated it – how did you arrive at that way of playing, and who was the biggest influence as a bassist in your youth? And what would be your first piece of advice to youngsters thinking about picking a bass up for the first time? “I felt I was born to play bass. I was originally a rhythm guitarist, but when we formed what would become Black Sabbath, I switched to bass, as originally the band had 2 guitarists. Tony (Iommi) and Bill (Ward) showed great patience while I was playing along with them, because I was fairly crap in the beginning. My biggest influence in those days was Jack Bruce. I had seen Cream three times and I was fascinated with Jack Bruce’s playing- he was unlike any bassist I’d ever seen, bending the strings like a lead guitarist, and almost playing the bass like a lead instrument, rather than just part of the rhythm section. My only advice would be practice, practice, practice”.
Which of course is the best advice of all! Being part of one of the most iconic bands in the history of popular music has to have its drawbacks – what for you is the biggest drag in being in Black Sabbath on a personal level? “There is no downside to being in Black Sabbath. I feel very lucky and blessed to be here”.
So what gives you the most pleasure? “Life”.
You are still touring at a time when most people are pottering around the garden in a comfortable cardie – what’s the driving force that’s kept you going as a band well into your sixth decade of performing? “The love of touring and playing live. There really is nothing like it- you get to see the world in comfort, stay in the best hotels and play the music you love to the best fans in the world. And of course, there is the money”…
Of course! And talking of playing to the fans, there are obviously songs you wouldn’t mind never hearing again, let alone playing – but which one Sabbath song never fails to get your juices flowing in a live situation? And is there a song that you don’t play live much that you’d like to have played a bit more over the years?|”I suppose Paranoid, since it’s the signature song of the band.I’d have liked to do Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Symptom Of The Universe, and A National Acrobat more over the years”.
And we’d like to have heard them! Being in a band like Black Sabbath, do you ever stop to think about how history will view the band? Or would you never get anything done if you kept having to think how your actions would affect the band’s legacy? “I don’t think about how history will view the band, as no one can predict the future. It would be nice to think we’d be heard in the future, but for now I take things one day at a time”.
Very wise. Now, I’d like to move away from Sabbath for a moment if I may to concentrate on more serious matters. As a QPR supporter it beggars belief that someone could have had a worse season than we did last year, but it looks like Aston Villa will do just that in 2015/16 – surely they should have given Tim Sherwood more of a chance? “Villa have been awful since 2010 when Martin O’Neill left. ‘Doomed to the Championship’ has become inevitable. Tim Sherwood was the wrong choice, as he had little experience as a manager, and it showed with his tactics. Even when Villa had Benteke and Delph they still lost 6-1 to Southampton and lost 0-1 at home to relegated Burnley, and were an embarrassment in the F.A. Cup Final against Arsenal. Still, I’m Villa ‘til I die”…
Yes, your team is the itch that can’t be scratched I guess…Thanks for your time and all the music and enjoy the shows Down Under! “Thank you”.
Black Sabbath tour Australia, starting tonight in Perth:
Fri 15 Apr
Perth Arena, WA
Sun 17 Apr
Adelaide Entertainment Centre, SA
Tue 19 Apr
Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, VIC
Sat 23 Apr
Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney, NSW
Mon 25 Apr
Brisbane Entertainment Centre, QLD