Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler on “lunatic” attempting to “sacrifice” Tony Iommi

Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler has recalled the time that his bandmate Tony Iommi was nearly “sacrificed” onstage by a “lunatic”.

Speaking to Reader’s Digest, Butler reflected on growing up in a strict Catholic home, the band’s “satanic” imagery and how that resulted in several weird experiences for the metal pioneers.

“My dad wasn’t very pleased when he saw the inverted cross on the sleeve of our first album. But, generally, nobody in the UK or Europe cared that much about our Satanic imagery,” Butler shared.


He went on to explain: “In the US, though, people would threaten us and turn up at our gigs with crosses and bibles. In Nashville, someone jumped on stage and went for Tony with a knife. Fortunately, Tony had turned around to kick his faulty amp at that point, saw the attacker and got out of the way.

“The police arrested the attacker, though we don’t know what happened to him. But he wanted to sacrifice Tony. Lunatic.”

Geezer Butler
Geezer Butler. Credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Elsewhere in his interview with Reader’s Digest, Geezer Butler recounted key moments in his life and career, including the time original Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward flashed the audience at the Milton Kynes Bowl in 1997.

“We played at Milton Keynes Bowl, but Bill had had a heart attack and couldn’t join us. Instead, he introduced us. Tony decided to pull his shorts down for fun. But Bill wasn’t wearing underwear and the crowd got quite an eyeful. Especially as Bill was very well endowed.”

Butler also recalled the band’s final gig and how he celebrated: “In 2017, we broke up for good. Tony had been diagnosed with lymphoma and was absolutely knackered after each gig, and it just felt like the right time. Our final concert was in Birmingham, where it all started. I’d been sober since 2015, so I celebrated afterwards with, I think, a lemonade.”


Geezer Butler most recently released his autobiography, titled Into the Void: From Birth to Black Sabbath – and Beyond, which hit bookshelves on June 6. The book traces the founding Black Sabbath bassist’s personal and professional life, including a recount of Black Sabbath’s multiple line-up changes and internal struggles, as well as the band’s “beginnings as a scrappy blues quartet”.