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Black Sabbath: “We Used To Have Cocaine Flown In By Private Plane”

Written by Mike Hohnen on June 7, 2013

Being the self-assuring substance that it is, cocaine has often played a key role in the initial stages of many a chart-topping album. Back in the ’70s and ’80s, the illicit drug notoriously fuelled a lot of the music industry and, in a recent interview with Black Sabbath, we’ve been given insight into just how rampant coke use was.

Speaking to The Guardian, guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist ‘Geezer’ Butler have explained the lengths they went to in order to obtain some cheeky Charlie. “We were young blokes, doing what young blokes do,” Iommi begins (though being a young bloke myself, I can safely say I’ve never been holed up in a Bel Air mansion coked out of my mind with a horde of groupies in my bed).

“Nobody could control anyone else,” he adds, dismissing to the notion that he, Butler and drummer Bill Ward were the sobre forces hindered by Ozzy’s drug consumption. “I was doing coke left, right and centre, and Quaaludes, and God knows what else. We used to have [cocaine] flown in by private plane.”

It’s important to point out now that the band’s seminal Vol. 4 album cost them around $60,000 to create – $15,000 less than they spent on cocaine during the process of creating it.

Other incredibly successful material that has been heavily influenced by cocaine includes David Bowie and Freddie Mercury’s (surprise surprise) Under Pressure. According to Mark Blake’s book Is This the Real Life?: The Untold Story of Freddie Mercury and Queen, that particular track was written during a cocaine and wine bender over a 24-hour period.

This doesn’t mean that if you buy an 8-ball and hole up in the studio you’re going to write a hit that defines your generation. Chances are you just won’t have the common sense to tell that what you’ve written is a poorly contrived version of the Frank Zappa track you’d been listening to for the last 6 hours.

Gallery: Black Sabbath – Allphones Arena, Sydney 27/04/2013

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