Geezer Butler 'Really Surprised' How Well Brad Wilk Fits Into Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath bassist praises RATM drummer skills on the new record, comparing him to Bill Ward.

Ultimate Guitar

For Geezer Butler, who was expecting to be joined by original drummer Bill Ward in the Black Sabbath rhythm section for the band's reunion, the arrival of Brad Wilk must have come as a bit of a shock. Luckily, it seems the Rage Against The Machine drummer fits in just fine.

"I was really surprised," the bassist tells in an interview to Guitar World magazine. "He had that Bill Ward kind of jazzy swing feel, rather than heavy metal bashing." Wilk was suggested for the job by album producer Rick Rubin, who produced Rages 2000 studio album "Renegades."

The group spent a year writing for the "13" project, Black Sabbath's first studio effort with Ozzy Osbourne at the helm since 1978. But when it came time to hammer out a contract prior to recording, Ward and the band couldn't come to terms.

Producer Rubin suggested Wilk, and Sabbath has now completed 16 songs. That total will be cut down to nine or 10 for the album's final song list. According to Ultimate Clasic Rock, three of the cuts "End Of The Beginning," "God Is Dead" and the appropriately titled "Epic" clock in at more than seven minutes.

The magazine talked to Butler and Osbourne at the erstwhile Black Sabbath frontman's home in California. Guitarist Tony Iommi missed the interview so that he could undergo a final round of treatment back in the UK for lymphoma.

"13", described by Ozzy as "satanic blues," is one of most this year's most anticipated rock albums, set for a June 2013 release.

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39 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Brad is a pretty durable hard rock drummer, so I agree with Geezer, as usual. Also, I'm interested in hearing the long tracks.
    Not surprised, thought he was a great choice. I think Matt Cameron would have been an amazing choice as well.
    I think of any available drummers (that aren't Bill Ward), they made the right choice with Wilk. It just makes sense, stylistically. I can't wait for the album to come out.
    Really glad Brad's getting some recognition. I always felt he was somewhat of an unsung hero in Rage. That guy is just so cool
    First RATM, then Audioslave an now Black Sabbath. He's on his way to become one of the most celebrated drummers of all time.
    Agreed. I love Wilk's whole style. He might not be as busy as, say Dave Grohl, but every project he's a part of is very tastefully done (if that makes sense).
    I love his use of the bass drum in fills and stuff very syncopated, him and Timmy C are one of the best rhythm sections ever.
    Rebel Scum
    You're both kidding right? He's gotta be one of rocks most dullest drummers. Sure he fits the bill for Ratm but his Audioslave beats were fairly mediocre. Nice guy though.
    You've got to be kidding me, right? Have you heard Audioslave's "Revelations" album? Swing beats in threes and sick fills. Its just outside of jazz and only apexed by its heaviness. Wilk is a seriously grand choice for the new Sabbath album.
    Happy things are working out for them, though it's still a shame things didn't work out with Bill.
    Hurry up June! Come on already! I really hope they do a big tour once it's released. Never seen Sabbath, or had the chance to. Also i hope Tony is doing better, haven't heard much on his condition lately.
    I love the fact that the metal masters are back in the studio, but still disappointed that Ward isn't in the line up. It's not the same but Wilk is a very talented drummer so I'm still really excited.
    Rob Man
    I understand that some tracks need to be "cut" before an album is released, BUT I think they should release all (16 tracks) instead of the mentioned 9 or 10. Why leave the remaining songs on the shelf? There is a high chance that this may be the very last album from them. It sucks that everyone is getting older, but it is a fact of life. I may be greedy when it comes to music, but I want ALL of it. I don't care if they are "filler" songs either. If Ozzy is singing, I want the songs in my collection. If needs be, release a double album. Sabbath has the loyal following who will purchase it.
    There will probably be deluxe editions, b-sides, etc, that most (if not all) of them show up on. I would be really surprised if they left them in the vault.
    I'm kinda glad that Black Sabbath are only having 9/10 songs on the album. Look at their debut and Paranoid, less than 10 songs and they're all classics! This way, I can tell we're gonna get a killer album, not just any old filler cr@p.
    I still think it sucks that Ward isnt involved, and wonder if they'll regret it in years to come, but Brad Wilk is a brilliant choice. And to all those who think he's dull or whatever, when he chooses to do fills or flashy stuff, he does it so well and is surprisingly unique sounding, just about the best use of the 'less is more' theory you could find.
    Brad has that heavy foot and that is part of the Sabbath sound... He is not a good choice... He is an excellent one. 16 songs... What will happen to the remaining ... Will it be like beyond magnetic?
    "Guitarist Tony Iommi missed the interview so that he could undergo a final round of treatment back in the UK for lymphoma." Does this mean that he's nearly cured? I haven't seen much on the issue, but it sounds like he's almost healthy again. That's great. I know lymphoma is the most treatable form of cancer, but it's still quite a scare. I hope he gets well soon.
    I wasn't very interested in this new Black Sabbath album until I learned that Brad Wilk is drumming on it. Such an exciting collaboration.
    I wonder what Ted Nugent is up to these days....been almost a week since his last lame brain comment.....
    Too bad that they got into some bad blood between them and Bill. It would be the coolest,if ALL of the founding members would be there.
    Hatenot seeing Bill with the band just like everyone else. But heyany album with Izzy, Tony and Geezer on it is well worth listening to in my book. And if they sign off on Wilk, then who the hell am I to question the masters?