Ya know, Randy and I are gettin’ a little bit older now, but when we were young, things could get a little ridiculous with the drinkin’ and whatnot. There’s was even a brief moment there where we liked to ‘ride the rails’ down ‘Ding-Dong Mountain’, if ya know what I mean. And, it’s no secret that both Randy and I have a serious worship on for the Lords of Doom themselves, Black Sabbath. But, when found out about the band spending $70,000 on giddy up in 1972 alone, we understood a little better why shit fell apart over there.
“We were young blokes, doing what young blokes do,” guitarist Tony Iommi told the Guardian, before acknowledging the recklessness of their younger days. “Nobody could control anyone else. I was doing coke left, right and center, and Quaaludes, and God knows what else. We used to have [cocaine] flown in by private plane.”
The craziest part of that mess is that the album they recorded that year, Vol. 4, cost only $60,000 to make. The spent more money on cocaine than they did on making the record. That ain’t pretty, but ya have to like their gumption. The album was initially set to be titled Snowblind (a cocaine-influenced song of the same name did make the cut), but the record company wouldn’t allow it. Black Sabbath did, however, get the last word. In the album’s liner notes, they not-so-subtly write, “We wish to thank the great COKE-Cola Company of Los Angeles.”
The excesses involved in making Vol. 4 proved a bit much for bassist Geezer Butler. At one point on tour, he drank something that had been spiked with acid, and he tried to jump out of his hotel window. “Tony and Bill [Ward] had to hold me down on the bed,” he recalled. “I started going off drugs after that.”
Ol’ Geezer worked hard to get his shit together after that. The same cannot be said for Ozzy. This is yet another topic Randy won’t talk about – it was a right friggin’ sad time for ‘Sabbath fans. I’d love to have seen Dio tame a few tigers in his time, but that was never ‘Sabbath to us. The hash never fails us over here, and the days of skiing in July are far gone, and we’re happy to see Ozzy back with the band for these past few years. I will say this though, Volume 4 is still my favorite ‘Sabbath record, and Snowblind is a mammoth of a tune. – GARY
SNOWBLIND (LIVE) by BLACK SABBATH