Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler Speaks on How Rick Rubin Behaved During ’13’ Sessions, Recalls ‘Ridiculous’ Thing Producer Told Them

Although it didn’t feature all four original members, Black Sabbath’s “13” was a pretty decent record. In their final chapter, Ozzy, Tony, and Geezer were joined by Rage Against the Machine’s Brad Wilk on drums, with the whole process overlooked by legendary producer Rick Rubin.

However, during a recent chat with Eddie Trunk, bassist Geezer Butler shared a few details on how the work with Rubin went down. And, according to his words, the three original Sabbath members weren’t exactly thrilled about it. Of course, they’re not the only ones. Plenty of other musicians had some mixed reactions on the producer’s way of work.

When asked about the process, Geezer said (transcript via Blabbermouth):

“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 [Rick] 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.”

Black Sabbath - God Is Dead?

When reminded of other musicians’ underwhelming experiences with Rick Rubin, Geezer said:

“I still don’t know what he did. It’s, like, ‘Yeah, that’s good.’ ‘No, don’t do that.’ And you go, ‘Why?’ [And he’d say], ‘Just don’t do it.’ I think Ozzy one day went nuts ’cause 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. And that’s the way it was. Tony wasn’t happy with some of the stuff he was trying to make him play. He was making Tony get 1968 amps — as if that’s gonna 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, kind of thing.”

Black Sabbath - Loner

Of course, these words are different compared to the days when they actually worked on and promoted the record. But as Geezer puts it in the last part – “it must be good” if you have Rick Rubin on board. At this point, we could argue that Rubin is more of a brand rather than just a producer. But we’ll leave that for you to decide.

BLACK SABBATH - Rick Rubin on Producing The '13' Album

Photo: Wikimedia Commons (Jason Mogavero, RickRubinSept09), Wikimedia Commons (Stefan Brending)

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor and brands like Sam Ash.