Geezer Butler worked with producer Rick Rubin on Black Sabbath’s final studio album, 2013’s 13, and it’s an experience that still leaves him puzzled.
In a new interview, Butler said of working with Rubin, “Some of it I liked; some of it I didn’t like, particularly. It was a weird experience, especially with being told to forget that you’re a heavy metal band. That was the first thing [Rubin] said to us. He played us our very first album, and he said, ‘Cast your mind back to then when there was no such thing as heavy metal or anything like that and pretend it’s the follow-up album to that’ – which is a ridiculous thing to think.”
Butler continued, “I still don’t know what he did. It’s like, ‘Yeah, that’s good. … No, don’t do that.’ And you go, ‘Why?’ ‘Just don’t do it.’ I think Ozzy one day went nuts. He’d done like 10 different vocals, and Rick kept saying, ‘Yeah, that’s great, but do another one.’ And Ozzy was, like, ‘If it’s great, why am I doing another one?’ He just lost it.”
Butler added, “He was making Tony [Iommi] get 1968 amps, as if that’s going to make it sound like back in 1968. It’s mad! … But it’s good for publicity and it’s good for the record company. If you’ve got Rick Rubin involved, then it must be good.”