This Is The Most Underrated Member Of Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath is the godfather of heavy metal. Their signature "horror" sound, driving riffs, gothic aesthetic, and dark lyrics gave birth, essentially, to an entire genre of music. The feel of their music still lingers like a faint energy signature touching all metal music produced up this very day. The band started in 1968 and had their most recent show in 2017. They've gone through a few different bandmates, having Ozzy Osbourne go off on his own and such, and some of those bandmates (Ozzy, only Ozzy), have led to an odd string of TV shows and movies.

When you think of Black Sabbath, you probably picture Ozzy Osbourne biting the head off of a bat that was thrown on stage, or the famous feud between him and Ronnie James Dio, who took over vocals after Ozzy left the band. But there's one member whose name is only raised to glory by serious music aficionados, and he was on bass guitar: Geezer Butler.

Butler's sound brought a special tone to Black Sabbath

In physiology classes, you'll learn that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell, but if someone ever writes a very specific Musical History of Early Metal Bass Guitar, you'll learn that Geezer Butler is the powerhouse of Black Sabbath. His heavy hammering style is probably highlighted best in the song "War Pigs," but that's not the thing that makes his bass-playing style so special.

Ultimate Guitar puts Butler in the top five metal bassists of all time and rightfully so. The website points out that he's influenced musicians from several different genres. His riffs often have a bluesy tone to them but with a seriously chilling vibe that comes from Butler's use of both the minor pentatonic scale, the scale that really makes rock sound like rock, and the blues scale. Mixdown Magazine credits Butler for giving Black Sabbath their signature, doomy sound by taking the same sound that gives blues its lulling groove and hitting it with enough minor pentatonic attitude to chill your spine. Without it, Black Sabbath's music couldn't have the horror tones that define it.

Bulter wrote a majority of Black Sabbath's songs

Ozzy may have been the frontman, but he didn't write the majority of the music. That was Butler. Granted, according to Song Facts, Butler used the "stream of consciousness" style singing that Ozzy exhibited while they were putting songs together and reworked them into meaningful lyrics. Rolling Stone says that Black Sabbath's original drummer, Bill Ward, would refer to Geezer Butler as the "Irish poet." Butler's lyrical style, along with his bass licks, wove together a gothic horror vibe from his uneasiness with the world, death, and the afterlife.

Not only that, but Butler is the reason that Black Sabbath is named "Black Sabbath." Originally, he'd written a song by the title and the band adopted it. Different sources say the name came from different origins, but they all attribute the actual choice to Butler. For instance, Rolling Stone says the song's name came from Butler's inspiration after the band saw the 1963 Boris Karloff film by the same name, whereas Song Facts says that the music historian William Ruhlmann claims the title was taken from the Dennis Wheatley novel The Devil Rides Out. Regardless, the band being named Black Sabbath wouldn't have happened if it weren't for Butler.

You can't say Butler won't fight for his beliefs

Geezer Butler's real-life story seems to be as interesting as his musical contributions. No one could say that Butler won't fight for what he believes in. Well, they could, but he's proven otherwise. Yes, we mean literally fighting, the "punchy punchy" kind. In one of the more recent times (and it doesn't seem to happen very often) that Butler made headlines, the bass guitarist found himself at the middle of a news story surrounding a bar fight. This happened in January 2015 while Butler was in his mid-60s. Butler's sister had just died, and he thought he could take a break from the grief and the post-holiday commotion. He headed down to a western bar to have a beer. It didn't turn out well.

"The next thing I know, this guy started mouthing off about something. He was, like, some drunken Nazi bloke," Butler tells Louder Sound. "He recognized me, and because I was in the music business he started going on about Jews and everything. Jews this, Jews that. My missus is Jewish. And I'd just had enough, and my hand sort of met his chin. I whacked him one."

And that's the story of how Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler got arrested for punching a Nazi in a Death Valley, California, bar.