Mar 8, 2021

Did Dio steal the devil horns sign from Geezer Butler?

Category: Live Reviews


Eddie Trunk interviewed Black Sabbath founding member Geezer Butler on Monday, March 18, 2021 on his live Sirius XM show and Butler made several interesting comments:

 Trunk asked Butler about the liner notes for the new Black Sabbath “Heaven and Hell” reissue where he states that despite Ronnie James Dio being credited for creating the “Devil Horns” hand sign that Butler actually created it.  Butler stated:

 “Absolutely, I’ve been doing that sign since, or I’ve got pictures of me doing it since 1971 and I always used to do it in the breakdown of the song “Black Sabbath” just before it goes into the fast part at the end and I’d do that sign to the audience and on the first couple of “Heaven and Hell” tours/shows Ronnie was saying, “When I’m going on stage everybody is doing the peace sign and that’s an Ozzy thing and I feel like I should be doing something back to them.”  He said, “What’s that sign that you do in Sabbath?” and I showed him the devil horns thing and he started doing it from there and made it famous.”

Trunk then asked if Geezer if he had ever made this claim publicly and Geezer responded:

“I didn’t really think much of it because I was doing it, I’ve got pictures of me doing it in 1971 and it was just an alternative to Ozzy’s peace signs, I was doing it.  If you look at (the) “Yellow Submarine” album cover John Lennon’s cartoon character is doing it in 1966 or whatever it was so it’s an old sign.  I was just doing it because Aliester Crowley was doing it.”

 Trunk went on to explain how Ronnie used to always say the devil horns sign was an Italian thing based off his Grandmother and that he never mentioned that it was something that came from Geezer.  Geezer replied:

 “I know there are a lot of things that Ronnie be-nicked off me and claimed that he was the originator, but he made it famous so.”

 Trunk then asked for more examples where Ronnie stole ideas from Geezer and he stated that:

“His album title “Sacred Heart”, that’s where I used to go to school and he called one of his songs “One Foot In The Grave” and I jokingly said that he should call the record “One Foot In The Grave” and then when he left the band he called one of his songs that.  He was very naughty with things like that. I used to sign, when I did an autograph, I’d write “Magic” and so Ronnie started writing “Magic” as well (Laughs) and in fact he called his album “Magica”.  He was very naughty with things like that."

blacksab1Trunk then asked Geezer if he’d ever confronted Dio about it:

 “Nah, only about the devil horns sign.”

 Trunk asked Geezer what he could say about the new Black Sabbath Dio era reissues and the bonus content.  Geezer stated:

“Absolutely nothing!  I haven’t even heard it."

 The deluxe 2 cd reissues of “Heaven and Hell” and “Mob Rules” by Black Sabbath are out now via Rhino Records and both include expanded artwork, in-depth liner notes, and a bonus disc chock full of rarities.

Author: Bob Suehs