Geezer Butler claims he was the one who showed Ronnie James Dio the “devil horns” hand gesture that he made famous.
In a new interview, Butler said, “I’ve been doing that sign since, I’ve got pictures of me doing it since 1971. And I always used to do it in the breakdown in the song ‘Black Sabbath,’ just before it goes into the fast part at the end, I’d do that sign to the audience.”
Butler continued, “And on the first couple of ‘Heaven And Hell’ tour shows, Ronnie was saying, ‘When I’m going on stage, everybody is doing the peace sign to me, and that’s an Ozzy thing. I feel like I should be doing something back to them.’ He says, ‘What’s that sign that you do in ‘Black Sabbath’?’ And I showed him the devil horns sign. And he started doing it from there and made it famous.”
Dio had long said the “devil horns’ hand gesture was something he first saw used by his grandmother, who would use the gesture as a form of protection against “the evil eye.”
Butler would go on to say, “There’s a lot of things that he nicked off me that he claimed that he was the originator, but he made it famous, so I didn’t care. The [Dio] album title ‘Sacred Heart’; that’s where I used to go to school. And he called one of his songs ‘One Foot In The Grave’. I jokingly said, ‘We should call the album ‘One Foot In The Grave’.’ And then when he left [Black Sabbath], he called one of his songs that.”
Butler continued, “He was very naughty about things like that. And when I did an autograph, I’d write ‘Magic’. So Ronnie started writing ‘Magic’ as well. In fact, he called his [Dio] album ‘Magica’. He was very naughty about things like that.”
When asked if he ever confronted Dio about these alleged incidents, Butler simply responded, “Nah. Only about the devil horn sign.”