GEEZER BUTLER – Into the Void: From Birth to Black Sabbath and Beyond

GEEZER BUTLER – Into the Void: From Birth to Black Sabbath and Beyond

This scribe has been eagerly awaiting this autobiography by legendary bassist Geezer Butler – one of the founding fathers of the mighty Black Sabbath – and this literary gem has undoubtedly been worth the wait as it provides the reader with a wealth of insight into the pioneering metal act and the enigmatic man and musician himself. Having read countless books on Sabbath as well as the autobiographies of Ozzy Osbourne and Tony Iommi, I was rather curious as to how Geezer’s life story would translate to the page, and the short answer to that is that this vivid memoir is as heartfelt, spirited, and unforgettable as they come.

      This engrossing and moving account of what it was like to grow up in a Catholic household to Irish-born parents residing in the grimy environs of Aston, Birmingham, and eventually teaming up with his three musical brothers in his late teens only to find fame and success with Sabbath a few years later make for an inspired and inspiring narrative. The book captures the mood of the time and is much more than a passionate story of how heavy and thunderous rock music with a bleak outlook changed the world and influenced millions of fans and listeners; it is a reflective and beautifully uplifting piece of work that one can return to every few years.    

      Into the Void is refreshingly honest and strikes the perfect balance between the personal, the gloriously entertaining, and the unbelievable. When it came to Black Sabbath, reality was undoubtedly stranger than fiction at times, and there is wit, wisdom, and imagination in spades throughout with every single anecdote being memorable – for better or worse. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about his times touring and recording with Ozzy’s solo band and, more importantly, Geezer’s own work as a solo artist. Black Science and Ohmwork in particular do not get the credit that they deserve. Hopefully that will change.

      Butler describes his life-long struggles with depression, panic attacks, self-doubt, and anxiety with remarkable candor, and perhaps the most touching aspect of it all is his uniquely fascinating way of illustrating the emotional costs that came with being a working and touring musician in relation to family life. The alcohol and drugs, the groupies and shenanigans, and the combustible egos surrounding a rock ‘n’ roll band are obviously touched on too, but they take up very little space overall, and the book is all the better for it.  

      Into the Void is an essential read in every sense of the word, a quintessential commentary on the inner workings and dynamics of Black Sabbath, and a proper gem that you just might find yourself devouring in one go. Highly recommended.  

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