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Geezer Butler recalls when Dio borrowed the “devil horns” gesture

Geezer Butler

Classic Rock

Geezer Butler recalls when Dio borrowed the “devil horns” gesture

The “devil horns” gesture became linked over the decades to Rock and Roll music and the debate about who was the first one to do it is long. Although the Kiss co-founder, bassist and singer Gene Simmons claims he was the pioneer, the Black Sabbath co-founder, bassist and main lyricist Geezer Butler says he has being doing since 1968.


The late legendary singer Ronnie James Dio first joined Sabbath in 1979 and started doing the hand gesture quite often on stage, helping to make it more popular as the bassist recalled in an interview with The Rock Experience With Mike Brunn (Transcribed by Blabbermouth).

Butler is currently promoting his auto-biography “Into The Void: From Birth to Black Sabbath” released in 2023 and entirely written by himself.

Geezer Butler recalls when Dio borrowed the “devil horns” gesture:

“That was my thing. From 1968 onwards, I was doing the devil horns. And when Ronnie joined the band, on our very first live gig, everybody was doing the Ozzy peace signs to him, and Ronnie just didn’t know how to respond. And he saw me doing the devil-horn thing in the song ‘Black Sabbath’.”

“And a couple of nights later, he says, ‘I can’t do Ozzy’s V-sign thing. Do you mind if I borrow what you’re doing, the devil-horn thing?’ I said, ‘Yeah, go for it.’ So he did it in every song and made it his. He made it popular,” Geezer Butler said.

Ronnie James Dio joined Black Sabbath for the first time back in 1979, after he already had achieved fame as the vocalist from Rainbow, which was the band created by Ritchie Blackmore after he left Deep Purple.

During that first tenure with the group he recorded two praised albums: “Heaven & Hell” (1980) and “Mob Rules” (1981). He left the group in 1982 with the drummer Vinny Appice and formed his own group called Dio.

That classic formation with Dio, Appice, Iommi and Butler still reunited on the album “Dehumanizer” released in 1992. They would only play together again from 2006 to 2010 but under the moniker of Heaven & Hell, until Dio’s death in 2010 at the age of 67, victim of cancer.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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