While heavy metal is a badge of honor these days, it may not have always been so, and according to Geezer Butler, when Black Sabbath were first given the claim to be a band of “heavy metal”, it was not conceived in a positive way. light.
It is not uncommon for words or phrases to be adopted by a culture or movement and change their meaning. Think about that the next time someone talks about the villain playing sick riffs. And similarly, Butler tells Eddie Trunk that when they were first labeled “heavy metal” it was considered more of a “sarcastic” hit.
Speaking on Trunk’s podcast (as heard below and transcribed by NME), Butler said, “When we were on tour in America – I think it was the second tour of the [United] States – I read this review and the guy said, “It’s not music; looks like a bunch of heavy metal is smashed together. ‘”
He then added: “Somehow it happened in England, and from there it was like the sarcastic thing they applied to us – ‘this is not music , it’s a load of heavy metal crashing together.’ And for some reason, we got stuck with that.
As we’ve seen over time, musical movements often get labels that pioneers don’t really care about. Members of Seattle’s emerging band scene chafed at the term “grunge”, while Korn’s Jonathan Davis didn’t really embrace the term “nu metal” either.
While Black Sabbath may be one of the first acts dubbed heavy metal, the term began to appear in the early 60s, being used in a pair of early 60s books by author William S. Burroughs, taken over for the title of the 1967 album. With the human host and the heavy metal kids by Hapshash and the Colored Coat and referenced in the 1968 song “Born to Be Wild” by Steppenwolf.
As to who coined the term regarding the style of music, that remains to be debated. Some have pointed out Lester Bangs reviewwho had written about Black Sabbath in a review, but didn’t actually use the term when comparing “War Pigs” to Burroughs Nova Express. He did, however, use it to take a picture of Guess Who’s album. canned wheatstating, “With a good hit single, ‘Undun’, behind them, they’re quite refreshing in the wake of all the heavy metal robots of the past year.”.
Others point to Cream and rolling stone review mike saunderswho in a 1970 article for rolling stone describes Humble Pie as “a noisy, non-melodic, heavy metal-heavy shit-rock band, with loud, loud parts no doubt about it.”
Regardless, “heavy metal” has not always been viewed in a positive light, but has been embraced by fans of the style of music over the years and treated with more positivity and respect.
And while heavy metal has often been shunned by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Black Sabbath is one of the genre’s inductees, do the Rock Hall in 2006 with James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich of Metallica for the induction speech.
Geezer Butler on the Eddie Trunk Podcast
66 Most Important Moments In Metal History