Chat with the chief: End of an era

This weekend, I’ll be witnessing the end of an era.

Heavy metal legends Black Sabbath recently embarked on their “END Tour,” which is to be their final tour as a band. Almost 50 years of iconic grinding guitar and grooving bass riffs will come to an end after a series of worldwide shows to thousands of fans spanning several generations.

My musical tastes lie in the past. My playlist seldom introduces a song that came out post-1997. I simply found my musical niche early and don’t care to deviate from it much.

While I can’t trace my fanhood back to Black Sabbath’s roots since the band outlives me by almost three decades, I have been listening to them since before I could form words.

My parents were both fans of the band and the heavy metal genre as a whole, so Ozzy Osbourne’s screeching vocals were a part of almost every car ride. From the car seat in the back row of the family minivan, I’d shake a rattle along, thus becoming an extension of Sabbath’s rhythm section.

Being a bass player myself, much of my playing style is modeled after Black Sabbath’s bass guitar savant Geezer Butler. As I grew as a player, Butler’s mesmerizing bass lines would act as landmarks from my progression. I chugged along to “Sweet Leaf,” as a beginner before moving onto “N.I.B.” once I became more accustomed to playing. Now, as a more advanced player I’m banging my head against the wall attempting to muddle my way through the entirety of “War Pigs.”

This band is an important part of my life, and the fact that the coming year marks the beginning of Sabbath’s last stand devastates me. I’m living in an age in which my favorite musicians are either reaching eligibility for Medicare or dying off. It’s a depressing time for a listener clinging desperately to aging rockers.

Yet the beautiful thing about music is that it’s timeless. I will forever be able to listen to Black Sabbath and all of my other favorite artists even long after they’re six feet under.

Sure, I’ll occasionally become smitten with a new artist that began writing music in this century, but they’ll never take the place of my favorites from years ago. This could be seen as evidence of close-mindedness or arrogance, but I prefer to see it as dedication.

In any case, Black Sabbath’s storied career is coming to an end.

In the words of Butler, who also serves as Sabbath’s primary lyricist, “Is it the end of the beginning? Or the beginning of the end?”

Did you miss last week’s Chat with the Chief? Click here.