Geezer Butler needs no introduction whatsoever. He was a founding member of Sabbath and the most important bassist in Heavy Metal along with Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris. Having read Ozzy’s and Iommi’s autobiographies, I was particularly looking forward to Geezer’s corresponding book as the truth is that he was always the quiet force in the band. Moreover, we didn’t know many details about his personal life which certainly gave “Into The Void” an extra buying incentive.
The first thing that wins you over at once in “Into The Void” is Butler’s very accessible and simple way of expressing and writing which combines his stories with the expected British, phlegmatic humour. Also, the early chapters of his childhood are very enjoyable to read as they are given through the social and musical context of the time. Let’s not forget that Butler lived through the rise of the Beatles and the Stones which inevitably influenced his musical tastes. As in the cases of Iommi and Ozzy, poverty and hardship were ever-present in the neighbourhoods of Aston and so it is no surprise that a career in music was really a one-way street for Butler.
As far as Sabbath is concerned, I mainly keep two things that reveal Butler’s sensitive character: the first is that he constantly presents the original members of Sabbath as a family with all the ups and downs in their relationships over the years. The second is the very touching chapter on Ronnie James Dio with whom Geezer had a very close relationship (though they often fought and disagreed). In fact, Ronnie’s death caused Geezer to reconsider his initial view that Sabbath was only the first period with Ozzy. “Ronnie was part of the Sabbath family and a lot of people heard Sabbath with ‘Heaven and Hell’,” Geezer writes, and of course we can’t argue with that…at all!
Finally, we have to congratulate Geezer for opening up his soul and admitting that he has been suffering from depression for decades. However, he has managed by prescribing antidepressant pills to control it and lead a normal life. “Into The Void” is a book you can’t put down and you basically want to finish it in one sitting. It’s a book about Geezer, Sabbath and Heavy Metal…well, if you think about it all of those things are synonymous so it’s a book for all fans of heavy metal. A sensational book!