Black Sabbath Bassist Geezer Butler Discusses Dealing with Depression


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Geezer Butler: Depression has been a big part of his life – Story by Charles Ken, courtesy photo via Black Sabbath

Geezer Butler: Depression has been a struggle for him on and off for the majority of his life

Rock stars aren’t immune to dealing with depression and anxiety. Just ask Geezer Butler of Black Sabbath. Butler, apparently, has been battling depression for a long time. He opens up about that depression in a recent interview.

As a guest on NPR’s Bullseye With Jesse Thorn podcast, Butler talked about his first experience with depression. It began when Black Sabbath was just starting to form. Starting then, Butler had bouts of depression his entire life. Finally, he went to medical professionals. But, at the time, depression often had a bad stigma surrounding it, so Butler’s depression was undiagnosed for many years.

“I wasn’t depressed all the time,” Butler explained (as transcribed by “Just the occasional bout would come on me. At first, when it was getting really bad… Back then nobody ever said anything about depression or anything like that, and people were terrified to mention that you might be depressed because you automatically thought you were gonna be taken away to a mental hospital and be locked away forever. So you couldn’t talk about it to people in case that happened.”

Then, he described how doctors, at first, dealt with his depression. “One day, I got a really bad bout of depression, and I went to the doctor and he said, ‘Oh, go down to the pub and have a couple of pints. Or take the dog for a walk or something. You’ll be all right.’ And it was, like, ‘No, I’m not gonna be all right. It doesn’t work like that. And that kept happening,” he explained.

So, Butler didn’t want to talk to anyone about his condition. But, because of his depression, people often called him “moody and miserable.” At long last, during his time in St. Louis in the 1990s, a doctor diagnosed Butler with clinical depression.

“I went to this doctor, the usual doctor, and I just explained everything to him and he told me that I was clinically depressed and he put me on Prozac,” Butler said. “And after six weeks, I finally came out of the depression. And I thought, ‘Oh, yeah. This is what I’m supposed to feel like.’ And ever since that, I’ve been OK.”

Meanwhile, Butler was recently named one of Audio Ink Radio’s best metal bass players of all time. Find the article here.

Charles Ken
Posted by Charles Ken | Metal, Music, Rock News

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