The Science of Heaviness
Chronicles of Chaos talks to Geezer Butler
by: Adrian Bromley
Few albums this year will surpass the sophomore Geezer (formerly known as G//Z/R) record called _Black Science_, in my mind. This record has it all: intensity, groove, substance, and above all, creativity. The songs leap out at you with multiple personalities, scratching and carving at your psyche with its pulsating grind and heaviness. This is a truly heavy record.

Geezer, the hard driving new band from legendary Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler, had little to show last time out with their TVT debut, _Plastic Planet_, other than a solid, well-crafted record. The record was pure heaviness, an attack which was lead by Butler's sci-fi song writing exploration and Fear Factory singer/screamer Burton C. Bell delivering a blistering vocal assault. Guitarist Pedro Howse and drummer Deen Castronovo rounded out the band.

Album number two and things have changed. Out is Bell, who's commitments with Fear Factory had really not allowed G/Z//R to tour much of their debut record and kind of led Butler to search out and find a new frontman for his band. Who would sing for the newly named Geezer? Who would it be? His name is Clark Brown, a relatively unknown singer from Massachusetts. His mission? Keep all things heavy. Mission accomplished.

"_Plastic Planet_ was put together so fast," starts Butler on the topic of new record _Black Science_ vs. debut LP _Plastic Planet_. "I just grabbed people and put them in the band to get the record out. I borrowed Burton from Fear Factory. And then I became frustrated because we couldn't really tour with it. I decided that as we were going into making this record, I wanted a permanent lineup, to get a new singer and take him out on tour and to play with us. To be able to play whenever we wanted to. Touring was the main objective for us this record. It looks like we will be able to get out and play this year and that makes me happy."

And what does Butler think about his new frontman Clark Brown? "I think he is great. Having Clark Brown in the band has given Geezer an identity now. A lot of people got confused with the record because Fear Factory's LP (_Demanufacture_) was out at the same time, too. People were just getting confused because Burton was singing on both records. While _PP_ was a good album, it never fully had its own identity. This one definitely does. Clark is great and much like Burton, he can sing both aggressively and melodically." He adds, "I like this record because of the variety. I felt that _PP_ had no variety and was pretty much the same record throughout."

The thing that helps separate both LPs (in sound and style) was Butler bringing in Brown to add his own personal touch to the music. "When we wrote this record we didn't have Clark in the band yet. He joined after we had written it. He didn't change anything when he came to sing for us. He added to it. His vocals really helped make this record. Doing the next album is going to be great because all four of us will be there from scratch."

Butler mentions that the band has already started work on a third Geezer record, something the band is eagerly anticipating, seeing that this will be the second time out with its present day lineup. Butler notes, "I have my own studio at home so we can record and work on stuff when I want to. I do a lot of experimenting in the studio and all that experimentation seems to be carrying over into the new record. Weird vocals and stuff. I'm pretty sure come album number three, you will hear what kind of weird things I am trying to bring into the band."

Another thing that helped shape and separate both Geezer records from the pack of other heavy bands is the lyrical content and ideas explored by Butler. His songwriting, as was in his days in Black Sabbath, is still very creative and unique. What does Geezer think is the reason why his sci-fi story-telling goes hand in hand with this heavy music? "I write all the lyrics for my songs. I am just interested in all this stuff. I was into all this stuff back in the Black Sabbath days too. Look at songs like "Iron Man" or "The Wizard". This horror and sci-fi stuff just interests me and what I do is take those ideas and put my own angle on them." He adds, "I have never had to change my style of writing to adapt to a sound or a style we play. I am writing the same way I did when I wrote stuff for Sabbath."

"I am creative more than ever when it comes to songwriting now," Butler goes on to explain. "I am constantly writing new stuff now. Whenever I am home I am writing. It's good to see that I still have good ideas floating around in my head." So does Geezer think he still has a lot more to express and do as a musician? "Oh, yeah... I think I still have my 'ultimate' album in me. I'm never 100% satisfied with what I do, anyway. If you are 100% satisfied, then you should just get out of the business and do something else."

And seeing that Butler has toured all over the world, recorded numerous records and dealt with the music industry hoopla for years, has he grown tired of it all? He answers, "I'm tired of the 'big' people. All these labels have everything set to a formula. That is why I am glad to be on a label like TVT. They never interfere with the music. The people at Warner, when we were putting together the last few Sabbath records, there would be an A&R guy coming in every day telling us what to change. Bands can't write or create music like that. It's uncomfortable. Bands need to be given space and time to work on their material. I have that now with Geezer."

(article submitted 14/7/1997)


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